After John’s briefing, you will all go to a nearby fuel station to fill up and then your adventure begins. Some interesting winding roads will take us up to the pretty village of Pal, (La Massana Parish) with it’s romanic church of Sant Climent. Onwards and upwards passing the ski station of Vallnord until we get to the high point at the Port de Cabus (2300m) which is the unattended border where we cross into Spain. We are now on off-road trails winding down through the Valls of Seturia through the tiny, little inhabited village of Tor, and on through some narrow gorges following the river. This was well known in the past as one of the main smugglers routes out of Andorra to Spain, both for refugees escaping the Nazis and for contraband – tobacco and alcohol!
Arriving at the tarmac we stop for a well-earned refreshment and maybe a mid-morning snack of tomato bread with local ham. Then more off-road to the cross-country ski area of Sant Joan de l’Erm. Slow down as this is a popular area for families to make a day out for a picnic. Wonderful viewpoints to stop and take photos and appreciate the wide-open spaces. We will stop at our 100+ year old lunch spot, called locally a “refugi”, situated in a wide valley, below the mountains near a stream. People can stay overnight at these places as they were originally meant as mountain refuges for those caught out.
A great chance to try the local fare – soups, lentils, peas with ham, followed by tasty grilled meats with homemade chips. Delicious. Move outside and sit on the grass in the sun while having our desserts, coffees and tea.
Batteries recharged, we retake to the trails for a further 80kms until we reach the small village of Os de Civis which, though situated in Spain, can only be accessed by road via Andorra. Here again we have another unattended border and we are back in Andorra from where we will bike back the remaining 20kms on road, through the capital town of Andorra la Vella, to our hotel in Ordino.