Day 4, Perpignan – Andorra; ~170km, 4 cars, ~3.5h waiting time
With my sign saying “Andorra” I stood for about 3 hours at the exit of the Aire. But before, I had to completely unpack my backpack again. It appears that I didn’t clean it carefully enough the other night. So I had to get rid of the animals that were running all over and inside it….
Anyway some people’s expression looking at my “Andorra” sign gave me the impression of them not knowing where or even what “Andorra” is. Even another hitchhiker coming from Cologne (Germany) didn’t know what Andorra was – how the …? I was really appalled. I mean it’s a (I admit rather small) country inside of Europe, they pay with Euro… I couldn’t understand why someone (I mean mainly European citizens) would not know it – the capitals, ok I can understand. But maybe I’m just a freak and it’s normal not to know Montenegro, Moldova or Andorra.
However I decided to change tactics and made a new sign saying “Perpignan”. From now on, everything went quickly: Basically the first car stopped and brought me to the northern highway exit of Perpignan. I couldn’t even put my backpack on the ground, when the next car stopped and two older Mesdames gave me a lift near Andorra and even a nice small lunch. It was a pleasure to drive with Lucy and Luciette who were really fun.
From the spot they left me I got another ride after 15 minutes 50 kilometres to Andorra. On the way to the border of France and Andorra the car was stopped by the French police. To my and the driver’s surprise the officer answered quite non-standard to my reply, I was heading to Andorra. She said “Ah, c’est moche.” which means like “That’s totally lame.” The driver said since the left wing party is in charge, the police acts more relaxed.
There I was picked up by a Catalan mother and her daughter who drove me via the Spanish exclave Llivia to Andorra. The mother recommended me the “Val d’Inclues” for hiking and let me out at its parking lot. I hauled my backpack for 40 minutes up the valley to the “Cabana de Sicaro” – a simple cabin with two rooms. One with a fireplace and a three storey bed, the other had beds for about 16 people. There was no toilet but running mountain water outside at one side of the house.
There were already a Dutch family in one room and 3 guys from Valencia in the other: Susanna, Luis and Paco. Because they already occupied the fire place room, I put my stuff in the Dutch family’s room, but spent my evening with the Spanish guys and they recommended me to go to the other cabin “Refugio Jucaro”.
With Andorra, I’ve been to all mini-states in Europe: San Marino, Vatican, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Andorra.
Day 5, Andorra
In the late morning I began hiking to Refugio Jucaro and had in mind to climb the peak Jucaro as well. But I couldn’t find the path, though existing on my map, leading to the peak. So I just chose from a couple of peaks which one was the right and started climbing. But since the terrain was really difficult with my hiking shoes and no rope, I resigned. I could have got to the top, but it was just too dangerous – and I honestly would only say it when I mean it… I usually take certain risks. So I climbed down the steep mountain and enjoyed an omelette in the Refugio instead.
Back at Cabana di Sicaro I sat down on a stone reading Harry Potter in the sun and learning some phrases of Spanish. In the evening I took a bath an ice-cold lake nearby just before the rain started. With the following thunder storm the 3 Spanish guys arrived at the cabin.
They brought some wood to light a fire inside their room. The problem was it was that wet we only produced smoke in which the room was soon totally covered in. So we had to decide to get outside, breath fresh air but getting wet or hit by a thunder strike or staying inside dying of smoke poising. In the end, we all stood in the door case watching an amazing thunder storm in the mountains. These are really really stunning beautiful.