We left the village of Llavorsi, popular for rafting and other river activities, and headed north east through Alins towards Tor.
The narrow, single track, winding tarmac road lined with occasional wooden barriers to protect us from the steep drops, took us past mountain beehives and followed the course of the stream.
An historic and popular route used to access Andorra, known as Tobacco Road or the Smuggler’s Route, so named for obvious reasons. The surface changed from tarmac to concrete and then to a dusty rocky track into the hamlet of Tor.
We arrived at Casa Sisqueta, a rustic farmhouse, where coffee and complimentary cake was served.
A Dutch couple arrived on a trike, ‘It’s not the best of tracks for a smooth ride!’…
…while a thirsty Spaniard on his trials bike drank a bottle of cerveza before riding off to his destination.
A wolf-like dog was vigilantly guarding from his wooden kennel behind the cafe, a cat was lapping up the crystal clear water from the stream and some chickens were making the most of their penthouse suite!
Back on to the trail, we meandered up the stony track which took us along the lush, green valley.
A small river to ford, before negotiating many hairpin bends on the track towards Andorra.
Fortunately, no other vehicles came to meet us, but a band of horses who knew the rules of the road kept to their right hand side!
We arrived at the border between Spain and Andorra where the road instantly changed to smooth, wide tarmac. The highest pass of the trip so far at around 2100 metres afforded spectacular views of the ski resorts and high mountain peaks of Andorra.
A long winding tarmac descent took us through Pal and La Massana before climbing the Col De Canillo for a small detour for lunch, passing tobacco crops on the way.
Port D’Envalira, at over 2400 metres, afforded fantastic views over the Grandvalira ski area, one of the largest in Europe.
The go-kart track and village of Pas de la Casa could be seen in the shadow of the mountains.
La Terrasse served a delicious paella for lunch, overlooked by ski slopes and cable cars.
Entertainment was provided by two locals wheeling a fridge down the steep slope!
We strolled around the busy resort and took advantage of the duty free goods on offer before resuming our journey.
How strange to see snow ploughs in the centre of roundabouts when temperatures are in the 80’s.
The journey took us through the upmarket resort of Soldeu El Tarter. All of this hustle and bustle is a far cry from the solitude of the mountains.
After passing the capital of Andorra La Vella, the route climbed to the Adventure Eco Park at Naturlandia which hosts a mixture of wildlife and the world’s longest alpine toboggan run at 5.3kms. If only we’d skipped the shopping and arrived before closing time for the last ride of the day!
Over the border with Catalunya along dusty, narrow tracks passing the sleepy villages of Bescaran and Estamariu. A sense of hiraeth for my fellow Welsh traveller was ignited by the sight of an Ifor Williams trailer!
By early evening, we arrived at the medieval town of La Seu D’Urgell, where an abundance of Tesla statues was exaggerated by the lack of the actual cars!
A spontaneous moment had led to a luxurious birthday treat at the majestic Parador Hotel!
Nos da 🏴