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Andorra: Envalira mountain pass

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Envalira mountain pass > Andorra > Europe

[Visited: August 1993]

There has been a period in my life in which I was fascinated by cycling up mountain passes. I went to the Alps to "collect" passes by just cycling over their summits. And then I had a girlfriend, my very first, who was going to babysit in Southern France. So for the first time I went with a girlfriend on holidays, and for the first time I decided to climb mountain passes in the Pyrenees instead of the Alps. Since the Pyrenees are a smaller mountain range, going up one side nearly always results in going down on the other side, and this other side is often also another country. So it was almost inevitable that I ended up in Andorra.

Picture of Envalira mountain pass (Andorra): Wide view from near the top of Envalira pass

I was in this area in the most busy time of the year. Hence, the roads were full with traffic, and the road to the frontier with Andorra seemed more a highway than a pictoresque mountain road. I actually had to slalom around cars and buses, which were queueing up to go. It was a bizarre way to cycle up to 2431 metres. Not at all like the privacy for suffering which can be found in the Alps. Because climbing mountains on a bicycle is almost always suffering.

Picture of Envalira mountain pass (Andorra): Envalira pass: one of the curves on the way up

Going down implied being very careful, and was not so much of a pleasure. And then I arrived in the capital of this mountain state: a huge fun fair, absolutely loaded with people. I realized later that this was mainly because of the tax-free status of Andorra which drew so many visitors to the small area. As soon as I crossed the border with Spain, I was able to take a sideway and I almost did not see any other people at all for hours. An absolute contrast!

Picture of Envalira mountain pass (Andorra): The summit of Envalira pass

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