Part 3

From Andorra Encamp to Mollo

126 km, 7 days of hiking

The threatening danger of avalanges at the ascent to the Anayet lakes was the reason to continue for now my walk in Andorra. The alternative hiking in the Izas Valley was quite out of the question since I really want to make photos of the Pic du Midi d´Ossau on the plain of the Anayet lakes.

I thought it, I done it, so I drove by buses to reach Andorra. About 7 pm I pitched my tent at Camping International in Enchamp. About 9 pm I gathered detailed inquiries about the begin of the GR 11 trail which I would leave tomorrow morning as early as possible.

What a fine weather when I walked to the Riu Madriu. Here a nice view into the valley of Andorra. My plan for today was the Cabana dels Esparvers 20 km from here after an ascent of 1350 m.
The Riu Madriu is falling in mild and strong cascades down to Andorra. Here in a forest looking like a park.
I stayed for the night in the cabana and climbed up the next morning to the Portella de Calm Colomer. You can see the big overhang of snow that I had to get over. I took the south side and climbed down in the rocks of degree 2.
There was a steep north-slope with ice firn. Crampons and a ice pick were very helpfull. For these two wanderers, who had nothing of them, it was very dangerous.
In Refugio Malniu I got a wonderful sandwich with "Jamon serrano" . That boosted morale enormously.
Behind the Malniu lodge the markers lead me to a little pitoresque lake in the middle of a wood.
Puigcerda within my reach but even so I got lost the GR 11 trail and arrived Camping Pireneus in the dusk short before darkness.
Gathering clouds above the Cerdanya massive.
At the height of the Cerdanya massive. I walked as if I was dreaming. For the first time I tried to get kilometres as much as I could. I was only curious to see Dorria.
The GR 11 winded a long time at the French border before it went down to Dorria, the very little village with the old romanic church. It was only just 6 o´clock in the evening and I choose to hike further to Planoles.
In Queralbs I met two funny Germans from Leipzig. They had crossed the Pyrenees from France to Spain. Wonderful these spontaneous meetings where everybody told from his experience.
I ordered an "ensalada mixta". That was the most beautiful plate that I had ever got during the whole tour across the Pyrenees.

The hotel complex Nuria, in which it was expensive and noble.

It was a hard day today as I climbed up 1600 m. I was very hungry. So I intended to eat so much and substantial as possible. However the host served some salad and a plate with a little leg from a chicken with potato chips. To this came cool water on the table. It was the custom to thank the host for the meal and to show how content you were with them. But in the night I heard the growling of my stomach.

A little rest with big hunger at the Coll du Noufonts 2645 m. Today the GR 11 attains its greatest height on the Coll d´Tirapits with 2800m.
On the way to the Refugium d´Ulldeter it began to rain.
My last hope to get something to eat was the Refugium d´Ulldeter. But the host regretted that he couldn´t give me something to eat. Randomly I could take a view into the kitchen and there I saw a baking tin with delicious Bologna sausages. I confronted him why he didn´t give me one of this sausages. It is only for wanderers who would stay the night here, he answered and so I left hungry the lodge as it was too early for me to stay here for the night.

In any way I was frustrated and passed Setcases without a view. I wasn´t hungry anymore. Some steps behind Setcases a soft rain was falling down when I thought that I can surely find a shelter. So I walked higher and higher deep in a thick forest. But there was no shelter and the rain became heavier. At the Coll Liens on a meadow I was encased from dens fog. From one moment to another I had lost my orientation as a lightning over me and a deafening thunder let me frighten.

I sheded my backpack and set up my tent with wavering hands in the pouring rain. Then I flopped myself into the tiny tent, rolled up the mat, pulled the sleeping bag out of backpack and crawled into it with all my wet clothes. It was a rainy, windy and restless night.

But when the morning dawned the landscape gleamed in a nice red sky as if nothing happened yesterday night.
Just before Mollo I hung out my tent, the sleeping bag and all my wet clothes for drying them. Ready at last I could cook a thick pea soup with half a chorizo. Incredible what it could tast fine.
I entered Mollo about 12 am. The little "supermarket" was open and I bought bread, cheese, cherries, milk and beer. Here at the village I took a long rest before I walked to Camprodon.

Camprodon is a nice little town with many narrow alleys and a church worth seeing.

Now the European weather conditions were very good for the next two weeks. I rejoiced at the good fortune and was determined to continue my tour on the GR 11 into the Central Pyrenees at Canfranc.

Therefore the next day I drove with bus and train to Canfranc, in order to start as early as possible the stage to Sallent de Gallego.

Part 4

from Mollo to Llanca, Mediterranean Sea.

148 km, 7 days of hiking

Beget is a beautiful village that live very well from tourism.
Always again old bridges from roman area, here grown with common ivy.
On the Coll de Bassegoda I had the idea to climb up the Puig de Bassegoda 1374 m. I hoped to have a very good visibility. But during I scrambled up between rocks and grass the weather was turning more claudy. The view from up there became worse. A thunderstorm was treatening. Cautionary I gave up may be 30 m or so below the top of this mountain.
Behind the wood the Puig de Bassegoda.
The more I walked east the more the landscape became hot and dry. Many founts had dried up or were only dripping. As from now I had two bottles of water with me.
Macanet de Cabrenys is one of this little towns where it is better to sit down in the shadow whole the afternoon and drink coffee than to walk.
Rather starved out I went into a little restaurant and ordered a mixed salad. I got a Catalan salad, with lettuce leafs, tomatos, cheese and sausage. A lovely meal in the blistering heat.
The mediterranean charakter of the landscape was clearly visible the more I came to east. Now the crickets were chirping and the air glimmered.
Just before Coll l´Auleda the remains of burnt wood. Over the Pass I hoped to see the Mediterranean See but there was no good visibility.
The Castell de Requesens watched from Requesens. Signposts announced an open bar in Requesens. I enjoyed to get a coffee and possibly even something to eat. But when I arrived not a soul was seen and so I had to walk on without having achieved anything.
In this landscape I couldn´t see anything to get exited about. I dreamt of the moment in which I could see the blue see. I walked on in blistering heat like in state of trance. Now and again I took a swallow warm water and went ahead.
Since Bassegoda I had only slept on a mat under the open sky. Surprisingly I had no problems with mosquitos. I took a good insect repellent and this was enough for whole the night. What made me nervous was the permanent lack of water. Even if I had enough water for drinking, for personal hygiene it could be been more.
Blooming oleander in Vilamaniscle. Before I arrived this nice village I had to walk along time on pistas and roads.
As from now I was accompanied by agaves and cactuses, the messengers of the Mediterranean climate.
The living Desert! If I saw only dry grass then cactuses were a feast for the eyes.
Here in the bay of Llanca I felt great pleasure. What I hadn´t considered as possible has become true. I hiked on the GR 11 trail from the Atlantik to the Mediterranian Sea. It was a wonderful and adventurous trekking tour across the Pyrenees which required good fitness basics and a great deal of attention to avoid pitfalls along the trail. This tour is belonging to one of my greatest experiences. I will keep this journey in best memory.
7 weeks before I hiked with a little backpach from Llanca, here a little part, to Port Selva and Cap Creus.
The lighthouse from Cap Creus seen from sea-direction.
An island just off the coast Cap Creus. You see the white red marking of the GR 11, that met accompanied persistently since the Atlantik.

I arrived in Arinsal in Andorra early in the morning. From there I took bus, train and bus to Camprodon and hitchhiked to Mollo. After a quite night I hit the trail about 9 am. For today I would stay some time in Beget to fotograph this pitoresque little village.

The valley of the former monasterie St. Quirze de Colera.
The monastery, a basilica from romanesque period. Defiant and gloomy it kept the entrance of the valley under control. I sat on the terace of a restaurant and tried to imagine the live in this desert under the ardent sun, permanently praying and working.
Eventual the long-desired instant was come, the sea, the longed for Mediterranean See. First I was deeply affected, cheered loudly but after a while I had to consider again the needs of hiking: looking at the trail marks, to avoid falling over rocks and stones and thinking about what to do next. The town on which I saw is Llanca.

Cap Creus at the Mideteranian See.

Thanks to the great number of people in Spain maintaining the long-distance way GR 11 and his red white markers , weather they live in Catalonya, Aragon, Navarre or in the Basque region. It is a gigantic buisness, which has to coordinate with a lot of organisations.

Muchas gracias!

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