Day 6-7, Andorra-Zaragoza

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Day 6, Andorra – Zaragoza; ~300km, 3 cars, many hours of waiting time

T06 Andorra-ZaragozaThe next day I walked back to the main road going through Andorra. Two French-Algerians picked me up and brought me to the capital of Andorra Andorra La Vella (Andorra, the old town).

They asked, if the logo of BMW is showing the beard of Hitler and let me sent a message to “all” Algerian football fans: “One, two, three: ALGÉRIE” and an apology that Germany beat Algeria in the world cup.

In a supermarket I bought some cheese, bread, fruits, vegetables and sweets. But I could as well have bought a 5kg bucket of Nutella or a package of like 200 cigarettes (I’m not a smoker, so if that number doesn’t seem that extremely high then please take it times 7,59).

A French couple then took me to a toll station near Lleida – yes I haven’t learnt from my French mistake. But in fact there was no other opportunity to stop. So after I waited for some time and ate raspberries growing on a tree, I walked to a service area. It was about 5kilometres away, but hasn’t been on the way of the French couple.

At the service area after having spoken to an eye specialist I got a ride near Zaragoza passing the Zero Meridian, which was announced by multiple signs. Before the driver left the highway, I ask him to drop me off at– take a guess – yes, a toll station again. I really haven’t learnt from my mistakes and this time, there was no service area nearby. At least people stopped, but there were all going to Zaragoza and getting out from there, especially at night, would have been quite hard I thought denying all offers. So in the end I just walked away for a kilometre and put my tent next to the highway; typical gipsy style.

Day 7 (Sunday), Zaragoza; forced stop, ~72km, 1 car

I recognized that the place I slept smelled like rabbit pee when I woke up. So I hurried getting back to the toll station. But there already some employees of the highway company were waiting for me, driving me to the national road, because it’s illegal to hitchhike on the highways – at least during the day when these persons work, because the evening nobody seemed to care.

So I found myself in a desert like surrounding, mountains with a huge bull in front of me and the sun slowly shining more intensive – a nice place for a red-head to wait for hours…. But fortunately I was picked up soon by Sergio who just came from Barcelona. Although he didn’t sleep the night and therefore was pretty tired, he drove me to several gas stations and helped me finding someone who would take me further north. But none of us had success.

At the gas station he drove me last I met the two fellow German hitchhikers Teresia and Jessica. They have been on the road in Spain including many cases of sexual harassment by truck drivers for 3 weeks. We decided to try to get further together. But after hours I proposed to go to a service area some 7 kilometres away; which we did under the merciless sun and in 41°C.

Of course we arrived exhausted and didn’t have much motivation to continue trying. Thus we bought some expensive gas station food and drinks from as dinner and went to a playground to pitch our tents and spend the night there. The nearby river Ebro was to dirty and too difficult to access to swim in it.

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Day 6

Day 7

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Day 4-5, Perpignan – Andorra

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Day 4, Perpignan – Andorra; ~170km, 4 cars, ~3.5h waiting time

T04 Perpignan-AndorraWith 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.

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Day 4

Day 5

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