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Day No. 21: Wrong side of the mountain

May 21, 2016

As I was crossing from Spain to France, I took a detour via Andorra. The tiny country (it’s equivalent to a third of London in size) was a special place with rugged mountains enclosing one long winding road, which runs through its heart.  Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and beautiful mountains, I decided it would be a great idea to climb one and watch the sunset from the top (I do love a good sunset!).

*Just prior to attempting to climb some mountain late at night, best idea yet Kane*

Of course, I estimated that it would only take me a couple of hours to climb up and down, so I left around 4pm but as I climbed higher and higher up the mountain, I was nowhere near the top and within a few hours the sun had already started to set. At this point, I still had another third of the way to go.

Even though it was getting dark, I’m not the type to quit, so instead of turning back I decided that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do this again and so I kept going. Things started getting a little exciting towards the top, as I had to dangle, jump and hang off rocks to pretty big drops.

I called my girlfriend being slightly worried that I’d never see her again, but my phone died ten minutes into the conversation and I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.

I couldn’t see further than an arm’s length in front of me but worryingly could hear a bull’s bell very close nearby, so I sped up and finally made it to the top with a glimmer of light on the horizon.

By now, my phone and camera had both died and I had ran out of food and water. I decided it would be best to descend via the other side, as I wasn’t looking forward to climbing down the steep bits in pitch black without a light source. Thankfully the other side was just full of rocks and earth, so I was able to slide on my ass, doing some reverse crab exorcist sh*t for a few hundred metres.

After the rather quick descent, but still being ⅔ of the way up from where I had started I came across what seemed to be a large field of boulders and rocks, with lots of gaps in between. With only the starlight to guide me, I was jumping over gaps and boulders – it definitely felt like something from Ninja Warrior.

Having passed the boulder test (at this point I just saw it as a big game/challenge I had to pass) a few hours later, I finally found a path, but not one that was heading in my direction.  I had cleverly parked my bike on the complete opposite side of the mountain, so would have to go all the way round to get it. Instead, I continued to walk.

3-4 hours and many random roads and detours later I found my to the bridge that crosses over the river to the main road, which I remembered I had crossed originally. (Stupidly I’d left the satnav on the bike, so I wasn’t exactly sure of the address, but I figured I could recognise the street). After walking down the main road that crosses through the whole of Andorra, I arrived at the place where I expected the hostel to be, but of course I couldn’t see it.

There wasn’t much else to do but to keep walking – I thought that I must have had the wrong place…there was only one main street after all. An hour of walking later, I was totally confused and thought I must have missed it, but I had explored every detour on the road, so I presumed It must be further, so I just kept walking for hours, finally making it to the main town in Andorra, where I bumped into some friendly guys who offered to give me a lift.

It was about 7am by this point and they drove me to exactly where I had been in the first place…I just hadn’t gone up the road far enough! Absolutely starving and a little dehydrated, I rushed to the vending machine and bought all the biscuits and juice I could get with my coins and drifted into a coma in bed until the maid woke me.

I can’t really remember when I woke up, but let’s say it was the next day, I realised that the adventure wasn’t over yet as I’d left my bike on the other side of the mountain and had to go get her, which was a couple of hours walk, but I managed to get a bus pretty close.

Needless to say, I was glad to be leaving Andorra even though I loved my time there. Making my way back to France I finally got to ride some of the great hairpin roads down the mountain sides with cows casually grazing in between the sharp corners…which was pretty much the main reason I went to Andorra in the first place.



Kane Avellano
Saint Cloud, MN

In 2016/2017, I spent 9 months riding my motorcycle 'Bonnie' around the world to raise funds for UNICEF while attemtping to achieve the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to circumnavigate the world by motorcycle! Follow my adventure on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest news and shenanigans!