Andorra la Vella to La Pobla de Claramunt

Today proved to be an incredibly hot and tiring day crossing a desert like environment.

The short stretch from Andorra la Vella to the border resumed the unpleasantly busy and poorly surfaced roads of yesterday.

Breakfast was courtesy of one of the plethora of service stations that line the main road through Andorra. I kept questioning why drivers in such a small country require the facility to refill their vehicles every 200 meters but, at 65p a litre, I guess demand is high!

The cycling improves the moment you leave Andorra; there is an immediate increase in road width and quality, accompanied by a pleasant decrease in the amount of traffic.

Early on I became optimistic about making the 200K required to reach Barcelona; especially as many of the obstacles I was expecting to encounter had been usurped by tunnels that did not feature on the maps I had used to plan the route.

The route profile seems to indicate this was a reasonably easy day with lots of lengthy downhill sections, but that was not how it felt. There were no cols today but quite a bit of climbing and, in the hot arid air, it was difficult to fill the lungs. The desert conditions made every climb a long laboured affair.

Stopped for lunch at a bistro just after Ponts and ordered the 11 Euro menu and was somewhat overwhelmed by the number of courses. After the large starter, salad and pasta courses, I had to squirrel away the half a plate sized steak for later.

As the day wore on my foolish optimism gradually eroded, but I carried on regardless and was still cycling at eight o’clock with 50K between me and Barcelona.

I only stopped once it dawned on me that arriving in Barcelona in the dark with nowhere to stay was not a good plan. Once again I rued stopping in Andorra, as tacking another 50K on yesterday would have been easy enough.

Stopped at the Hotel Robert which completely belies its 35 Euro price by easily being the poshest place I have stayed at on any tour and comes with a mandatory recommendation.

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Day:9 of 15
Date:27 July 2007
Distance:154 KM
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