On the 30th of the month I was celebrating my birthday.
For this great event, Juan offered me “a week-end on the bike with the right to as many “pics stops” as I wished”.
We had planned to leave early on the 1st to an unknown destination (for me). We went on my bike, me as pillion, to just enjoy the views.
We got up early, and seeing that it was pissing rain, we decided to… go back to bed until one hour later, to see if it stopped. One hour later we got up again, but it was still raining. We got up anyway, started preparing the things and we would go when ready. At about 11.00am it stopped raining and the sun appeared. We went to pick up the bike, put on the saddlebags, put on our rainsuits just in case and at last we left.
Juan told me that the first step was to get to “Sant Llorenç de Morunys”. I knew quite well that road for having ridden it a few weeks earlier, so I could indicate him the way (although he had a map, I am a good GPS- a sometimes kind of hysterical GPS but GPS anyway!).
So we started C58, Manresa, Solsona… I was surprised to see snow caped mountains and some views I had not seen a few weeks earlier when I took the same road. Maybe it was because there was no snow by then? (it had been snowing 2 days before), or maybe because as I was riding myself I couldn’t see all the landscapes that I was seeing now.
When we arrived at the crossroad that goes to Sant Llorenç, Juan stopped and told me he thought Googlemaps had got confused, and he preferred to follow suit to Bassella to get the road to Andorra. What we did… And we stopped to fuel and have a bite in “Pans&Company” of Bassella motorbike museum. There in the sun at the terrace, nor cold nor warm, it felt so good!
After “recharging our batteries”, we hit the road to Andorra again, to I didn’t know where… We went through Coll de Nargó, and after that I didn’t know where we could go apart from Andorra… After el Plà de Sant Tirs and with the road quite busy, we suddenly took a turn on the left… and there started the Road of the Pics…
The N-260, so-called “Eix Pirinenc” in Catalan, from there is a road with twisties and more twisties, first up during some kilometres, with views to valleys and snow-capped peaks, more valleys and more snow-capped peaks… We stopped many times to take pics…
We had time, we had no schedule, I didn’t check the time in all the day, and at no time I knew what time it was… and where we were going to…
We arrived in Sort (“luck” in catalan). A village famous for many lottery winning prizes. In Sort we took the C13 to Vielha. Though we didn’t get to Vielha. In Llavorsí we took a small road that followed along a ravine, it was quite windy now. After getting lost at a crossroad we went back, and we followed the road until we arrived to a village. A village with about 20 houses, a small hotel, and another bar-restaurant in front of the hotel. The hotel was actually where we were going to sleep. And I still didn’t know what time it was (and I had not even seen the name of the village…). It was very windy, the sky was starting to be cloudy, though we could still see between the clouds a snow capped peak at the end of the road. It started to rain. We left the bike parked outside and went to the hotel. The room had a terrace with view over a small river.
On the other side there was a shepherd, 3 dogs and many sheeps.
After a well-deserved rest, we went for a walk around the village, take a bite in the bar and another walk through the path at the back of the hotel, along the river.
As the wind started to be quite cold, we went back to the hotel, to rest, to have dinner and finally sleep dreaming of the snowy landscapes waiting for us the next day.
We got up early, had breakfast: toasted bread with “pan con tomate” (you rub the bread with garlic, then with a fresh juicy tomato, and you finish with a bit of virgin olive oil) with Serrano ham. We had decided to follow that road until it ended. We then followed the “Cardos Valley”, with this same snowed peak in front of us, and from time to time another mountain that appeared and disappeared with the twisties. Along the road were nice villages.
We arrived to Tavascan, crossed the village and followed a small road that indicated the ski station (which was closed, but the road was opened). So we started going up, quite slow as the road was very wet in the shadow and quite narrow, but it was quite good though.
After a few kilometres, a “pic stop”… Nice waterfall!
We followed up, and up, stopping from time to time to take pics, and we finally arrived to a tiny village (the station?), but it was the end of the tarmac and between stones, mud and puddles, we decided to turn around an go back. We will come back with a dirt bike!
After a few more pics stops we went back to Llavorsí. We had planned to follow with the C13- C28 to Vielha, and then go back through C230, to Pont de Suert, and then N260 to la Pobla de Segur, stopping for lunch in Senterada, a village where we always try to stop when on our way, to eat toasted bread with homemade pork products in a bar-restaurant-hostal we discovered some years ago by chance.
But let’s not go too fast…
So we took the C13 up… and up we went. The more up we went, the more snow… so we stopped quite often…
Until we got “in the middle” of the snow. We couldn’t stop to stop 😉 .
It had been snowing a few days before, but the road was fully cleaned from the snow. The road had very good tarmac and very nice twisties. We stopped several times, one of them to build a snowman, that looked a little bit scary but well…
The road went up till we arrived to “Port de la Bonaigua”. It was a little bit cloudy there and quite windy. And loads of snow.
The road sign indicating the pass was broken and covered with 2 metres of snow.
After a few more pics we started to go down. On the other side of the pass it’s the start of the “Aran Valley” and the road on that side was in a very bad condition, some parts with no tarmac, with mud, and potholes. So we went down at a slow pace, with beautiful snowy landscapes around, though the peaks were already in the clouds.
We arrived to Vaqueira, ski station quite ugly in my opinion (as so many others….) and proceeded down to Vielha where we took the tunnel (it was sooo cold inside, like a cold tunnel of 5km… the only moment of the trip I felt cold). And then to Pont de Suert. After the village we stopped to help a French couple, with a XJR1300 each, who was lost… how wouldn’t they, they had no map… So we indicated how to go to Bielsa through Ainsa, and we got back on the road. I thought that on that road it was the end of the snow-capped peaks… But I was wrong, we still had a few more to see. And with a beautiful village in the front.
We stopped for a while, in the middle of a field, we could only hear the birds and the silence. The truth is that it would have been an ideal place for a picnic, but we had no picnic nor drink, and as it was starting to be late and we were hungry, we had no more choice than to head to the village of the toasts with homemade pork products. There we stopped for a good while, and yes we had the toasted bread with pan con tomate, ham, 2 different types of dry sausage, another type of pork product, 2 different types of cheese, pate and so on… Everything homemade. After lunch we had some more rest on the terrace outside, next to 2 English bikers.
Well at some point we had to go back home, so we headed back.
We went to Pobla de Segur, and followed the N260 to la Seu d’Urgell, to get back to the road we arrived through. A very nice road but full of Mossos d’Esquadra… (the Catalan police. We saw a couple on their bikes, a mobile radar, and another control later.)
In Sort we went back to the road we arrived from. We did our last pics stop in Pervés Pass and enjoyed a little more of the road…
Then we got to the C14, back to Bassella, where we stopped again to rest and have some coke, and proceeded to Solsona, Manresa, etc… and back home. With lots of traffic and few enjoyment…
In total about 650km of twisties and more twisties, surrounded with snowy landscapes along the whole way, fully enjoying the landscape and the road…
A Happy Birthday 🙂