Warm-up lap survived - Merry Christmas!
What a ride. The last kilometres of this 7'500km "warm-up lap" through 7 countries were just incredible. After Valencia, I did a short 300km day and was then invited by Johnny in Barcelona shortly after midnight. His hospitality was simply unbelievable, he cooked for me, did the laundry and I was able to take a shower at his place. Small detail: That was the last shower until I reached Switzerland... In Andorra, I was greeted by a considerable amount of snow. Admittedly, this small country doesn't have too much to offer, but I won't soon forget the day I spent in the mountains of Andorra. After just 3.5 hours of sleep in the snow, I crossed the entire ski area of Arinsal, followed a long and wild ridge and was almost on the summit of Comapedrosa - itself the highest mountain in Andorra at 2944m above sea level - when it became just too tricky and too risky for me. The place in question was incredibly exposed and icy - so mistakes were absolutely forbidden... In the mountains it is enormously important to find a good balance between "never give up" and "not too much risk", so I turned back with rather mixed feelings. A little later, however, my guilty conscience got the better of me, I felt that I couldn't just give up, so I turned back again. Somehow I managed to pass the tricky part and shortly afterwards I was standing on the roof of Andorra. An unbelievable feeling. I hadn't had anything to eat or drink for a long time, so the 6-hour descent in waist-deep snow was rather exhausting.
Back in France, I was treated to breathtaking roads, lots of sun, the sea and numerous wonderful towns and places - Aix-en-Provence, Saint Raphael, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Monaco, or Menton, to name just a few - on the beautiful Côte d'Azur. In Monaco, the highest point is just 170 metres above sea level and therefore hardly worth mentioning. With a heavy heart, I left the Mediterranean and the almost summery weather in Imperia, Italy, behind me and continued north via Turin and the Simplon Pass back to Switzerland. The last few kilometres were hard, I just wanted to get home, so I just reeled off the last 500km in one piece...
Somehow I came home healthy, happy, really tired, but rich in memories, experiences, adventures, encounters and emotions. Now I'm enjoying a few days here with the people I've missed so much, a warm bed, a full fridge and without much exercise before I go back in January.
In the next few days, there will be a more detailed blog post about these first 7,500 kilometres.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends, sponsors and everyone who believes in the success of this project. Without you, this whole thing would hardly be possible!
Pictures say more than a thousand words, so here are a few impressions of the last few days. For daily updates, pictures and videos, it's definitely worth following me on Instagram or Facebook as well....
Merry Christmas and a good start into the new year!
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Adventurer and athlete, soon bikepacking through europe, climbing the highest mountain and visiting the most beautiful cities in every of the 47 countries!