It rained and rained but in Harry Hymer the Crew were cosy .. again in the middle of no where ..What next .. Back to Lerwick he says ..not actually saying we need fuel ..”But you promised” said The Cook..There by hangs a story .. Let go back thirty years … Morocco.. hirecar ..Out of Essouria ..we need fuel she says .. he says we will get some on the road .. she says “Third world country ..fuel has to be got when it’s available !!! “ Driver ignores Cook … 20 miles out of town car runs out of fuel ! We flagged down a passing car who were French and they took The Driver back to get fuel whilst The Cook sheltered from the sun under a culvert by the road … Now you know why she gets het up when we are low on fuel . Up hill was worrying but so much down hill .. we coasted back oto Lerwick with spare and a very relieved Cook .
Photos of Letwick
Ferry back to Aberdeen was good .. not flat calm but nothing to worry us Force 6 on the nose .. SW .. lulled to sleep and off at 7 am .. A fast dash to Fleetwood for the next National Championship of the season ..
After The Viking sleepy spot ((60.7853353, -0.8351433) ) our thoughts turned to clean clothes ..A fail as far as washing at the Youth hostel the cry was “ Let’s take the ferry to Yell .. we know of a washing machine .. Didn’t book the ferry just got in line and boarded and as there as only us and a lorry it was like a chauffeur driven boat all to our selves ..
Off the ferry turn left ..over the moors ..single track roads
Lots of passing place and sunshine .. found the sleepy spot on a tiny harbour with community facilities with showers ..a kitchen.. washing machine and tumbler dryer for campers walkers and yachtsmen ..sleepy spot.. Burravoe (60.4974457, -1.0447798)
A wild wet night windy after sunset .. Awakened to more sunshine with all the washing done .. what now .. Another ferry .. again get in line .. The none booked line ..and yes we are on .. 30 minutes to cross .. now back on mainland Shetland..
What now .. Mavis Grind .. not a girl doing the grind but the area in between the Atlantic and the North Sea ..where ..back in the day instead of sailing around the very dangerous north shore of the islands ..fisher men came here and pulled their boats ashore dragging them the 100 yards from one sea to the other saving time and possibly saving lives . The Driver wandered off up the hill .. for a better view .. this area is where two tectonic plates met and there is a significant change in rock types at this point …
Let go furthest west we can .. ohhh the roads … perfect as far as surfaces but narrow .. over the moors and mountain with the cloud so low we were in fog ..The Cook was tad nervous .. so many edges one could fall off .. so many sheep trying to get run over … Max speed 25 mph ..over 12 miles ..which took over an hour to get here ..Where is here you ask .. at the end of no where ..overlooking Papa Stour …Tonight’s sleepy spot (60.30524 -1.663715)
The sun has got his hat ..and a need to get a move on ..left Vidlin after a call to Shetland ferries for a through ferry to Unst to climb to the most northerly edge of the UK ..in the sunshine!!
A drive to Toft ..The ferry terminal on the east coast of mainland Shetland ..see photo of map ..11-15 ferry to Yell which turned out to be perfect for The Cook .. We stayed in Harry for the 30 minutes crossing ..No hand sanitizer in use as her hands are badly blistering with over use of hand cleanser..nor masks ..self isolating in Harry .. One of the crew looked like a Viking red hair n beard ..The Cook will try for a photo on our return journey ..Next ferry was at 12-35 and a quickish drive across Yell .. Moors and sheep..farms and not much more ..next ferry …from Gutcher on Yell to Belmont on Unst ..again stay in Harry for the 15 minute sailing ..
Lets go and look at the only campsite on Unst as we need a washing machine ..running out of clean clothes now ..The camp site which isn’t far from the ferry in the most gorgeous village of Uyeasound (60.6884 -0.91845) .. sun shining just fabulous BUT no washing machine which is housed in the closed down due to COVID Gardiesfauld Youth hostel …We didn’t stay ..Off again ..up n up over the hills ..more up to our destination ..the last road in the UK ..You can’t go any further on a road ..but you can walk up n up..to the end of the UK ..Sadly The Cooks blistered foot made it impossible for her to do this 4 hours climb ( TeeHee ) The Driver was off with his packed lunch not to be seen again until nearly 6 pm ..
Decided not to stay up the mountain to sleep as the wind was piping up …Down again hoping not to meet another vehicle coming up …Lots of passing places but the roads are just wide enough for Harry .. Lets go to the Viking Longhouse to bed down ..This is a reconstruction based on three types of long houses found locally .. A reconstruction of a Longboat origins Sweden for a transatlantic voyage but abandoned on the Shetlands ..repaired by the local boatbuilder and put on display next to the longhouse..A flat parking spot was available for Harry..Beeches Lasagne was supper brought in the freezer from Barrowford ..Yummy ..
The weather isn’t very good but not a problem we are going out for lunch ..Restaurant Da Haff https://www.tasteofshetland.com/members/da-haaf-restaurant perhaps The Cook is a tad spoiled but she wasn’t so impressed I think her expectations were higher or as she said I can cook this menu .. she expected seafood .. Oysters ..Lobster or Crab all brought ashore here .. not a small bowl of Cullen skink or a Mac n cheese with Finni haddock bits … Perhaps it was the weather and the balcony part of the restaurant wasn’t available .. Wandered back to Lerwick as the gas bottle needed replacing
Heading north east passing the ferry to another island at Laxo ..Norse for Salmon river ..This area was the base for the Shetland Bus operations WW2 when the fishing boats took spies and undercover agents to Norway to help with the war effort and bringing back refugees fleeing Norway .. resulting in this area resembling Norway with coloured wooden houses and way of life LINK TO SHETLAND BUS WW2
Our next sleepy spot is at a small fishing village Vidlin see map .. so quiet .(Sleepspot (60.3697603, -1.1325202)
More later as we head to the last road in the UK .. The Top .. forget John a Groats .. This is the very top ..
After the trip to the south end of mainland Shetland off to the mid west .. A cafe/restaurant The Cook read of in the Independent travel review in Scalloway.. Booked for lunch the next day .. Scalloway wasn’t an easy place to look round as the narrow Main Street was being tarmaced .. making it impossible to park ..so off to our next known sleepy spot (60.1022691 -1.3233486 water and toilet ) at The Sands of Meal near Hamnavoe
Thanx to Steve Fletcher for the photo of Harry at The Sands of Meal sleepy spot
After the trip to the hospital we drove to the very southern most part of the Shetland Islands where the Lighthouse has been built. The road up to the Lighthouse seemed quite narrow but theres larger than us motorhome that was in front of us we felt it was safe to follow ..The car park was quite away down from the Lighthouse ..Obviously The Cook was in no fit state to walk all 300 m up the hill to look at the Lighthouse so off the driver toddled sadly not open to the public but you could see virtually everything which meant it was free so The Driver wandered around and looked at everything apart from the engine room but he peaked in through the window and had a good idea about what it was about.
After this bit of fresh air we went back down to the Sumbergh hotel and from their car park The Driver could go and look at another pile of archaeological stones as the cook says “Another pile”.
This was a very interesting pile dating back 4000 years about the same as most of the other piles but this one had had other younger piles built on top so we have the Picts .Vikings The southern Scots and then the slightly more modern Scots of about 500 years ago all in the same Acre or two of land close to the sea and close to some ground that stuff could be grown on. It was very interesting because you could actually get down and dirty into the archaeological structures there where longhouses round houses and a new one on me wheel houses I took a video you may be able to see what I am talking about very nice very nice ..
There endeth The Drivers first blog !
Wednesday 15th September Today’s blog will start with a health bulletin from Harry Hymer’s crew. The Cook stepped on a shard of glass around a month ago …yes it was pulled out but since then a blister formed then two or three septic blisters …The Driver operated on them with a safety pin ..obviously the point was sterilised by flame releasing the septic gunge from the blister and added a plaster ..The next day walked 7 miles and the blisters became more inflamed so a pad was added ..Yesterday the blisters had spread ..The foot was swollen incredibly painful and she was unable to put her foot to the floor ..At 2 o’clock in the morning the pain was incredible so the driver decided at dawn to go back to Lerwick from St Ninians beach to the hospital’s accident and emergency …Arriving there he went to the office and came back with a wheelchair for The Cook …she was not at all impressed and would have preferred a Sedan chair . A delightful staff nurse Cloe looked at the damage
..cleaned it and then the doctor turned up I don’t think he had the first idea what it was ..but he suggested that we had antibiotics and painkillers ..The nurse then cleaned the wound yet again and put on new pad and a large plaster but now the Cook still can’t walk and another thing her hands have blistered as well ..we are putting this down to too much hand sanitising on the many ferries that we’ve taken.. This happened in the first lockdown with sanitising ..The skin peeled off the cooks fingers and palms ..she did actually think she got a foot and mouth or hand and foot 🦶 End medical bulletin
NB ..One never know when a hospital visit may happen .. Always wear matching underwear …Thought of the day ..
Having bid a fond farewell to our friends Sue n Ian who headed for The Churchill Barriers ..Harry Hymer’s crew shopped and as there wasn’t much else to do off they went to the ferry terminal for a late ferry to Lerwick from Kirkwall 11-45 PM sailing ..No one around .. our supper was cooked only to be interrupted by an officious lady from the ferry company telling us “You can’t park there” The Driver having none of it told her in no uncertain terms his dinner was on the table and he would move when he’d finished .. This was 2 hours before check in for The MV HJALTLAND of Northlink ferries. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Hjaltland.. We moved eventually and Harry was back in the next bay to where we were before .. Then came the fun bit .. reversing down the ramp in to the hold of the ship ..parking so close to a chill container our door wouldn’t open properly.. and we had to squeeze out ducking under the container .. We never ever do an over night crossing be it from UK to Spain Spain to Sicily on the cheap .We like a little luxury .. The Cook booked a deluxe cabin .. This came with full breakfast and silver service in The Magnus Suite which is separate from the main cafeteria.. The Cook isn’t keen on self service she tends to spill stuff or burn herself on the warming trays .. Nore is she good with queues .. Our cabin had lovely white fluffy towels for the shower …Comfy beds ..kettle ..tea.. coffee ..cocoa.. shortbread biscuits.. Drinks were waiting for us as well ..The Driver chose 4 cans of Tenants 🍺 lager .. He did have one as his beddy drink ..The Cook preferred a cuppa tea.. a little late for booze at 1am ..He stored the rest in his rucksack to take off the boat
Smooth crossing zero waves zero wind ..and off at 7-30 am ..Down south to St Ninians beach ..
No one there but us ..and a seal playing in the waves .. what a gorgeous beach .. Met a guy from London in a rental van who told us for the 3 week holiday excluding ferries.. camp sites and fuel he’d paid 3K to rent … ouch
A wedding was happening on the beach the next day ..The couple from Hertfordshire had been together for 30 years ..It took so long to get round to it the Groom said .Their new MH …only 3 weeks old .. and a top of the range Merc is raining in like a sieve ..cutting short the adventure We were going to watch the wedding but had to go to hospital to be mended ….read next blog !!
How can one write about rain .. not drizzle but a 24 hour downpour ..No view.. but ..our buddies Sue and Ian we’re heading in on the next ferry from Scrabster after their week travelling from our sailing event up the west coast ..We overnighted on the end of the golf coarse in Stromness (Sleepy spot 58.9504734 -3.3000823) to wave at them as they came in early morning .. Ferry coming ..we raise umbrellas.. at least the rain is straight down .. we wave .. we sent a message to say where we would be
.. nothing .. no one waving back .. now if they had they would known where we were when we said
Drive off the ferry and follow sign to campsite ..
Then bare off down golf club private road !!!!
We wait and we wait .. a phone call “Where are you ?? “
They thought we meant the campsite in Kirkwall we booked onto for the night of their arrival .. On finding this campsite which incidentally would not be suitable as it was on a rain soaked field miles for civilisation ..( Gave our apologies for not staying on a wet field ) A definite no no for 3.5ton vehicle .. don’t want to get bogged down .. Ian said “Where are they we can’t see any water we’d said we were on the waters edge “.. Then the penny dropped they were in a completely different town .. so back they came following updated instruction .. and it rained on .. and Brews we’re imbibed So what next .. no one wanted to cook so off we all went in our own vans back to Kirkwall for Fish n chips ..a 3 minute run from the council run carpark which allows Campervans to park for 24 hours ..( sleepy spot Kirkwall 58.9813648 -2.9659180) places marked out for around 15 vans .. near to Indian n Chinese takeaway ..Tesco and Lidl 2 minute walk .. in fact a very splendid stop over with Rumikub being taught to our visitors… The Cook won one and Sue Sinc won one …
Morning came with broken cloud and an event was happening in our carpark ..in fact two events ..0ne.. the local pony club turned up .. horse boxes and small children turned out in the pony club outfits .. very smart .. and off they went with a police escort and two chaps in some ceremonial dress ..sort of mayoral ..aldermen ?? They were doing a a circuit of the town last time we saw them ..Number two event 100 various motorbike and a Model T Ford .. and off this lot went but not until the Council road sweeper had cleaned the raid of horse pooooo ! And .. the
Sun came out
Now waiting for the time to board our over night ferry to The Shetland Isles .
More later ..
Last nights sleepy spot
DREEK is a Scottish word for today..A ghostly mist ..fog ..cloud..rain and hail has descended on mainland Orkney.. zero views ..rain as we leave our carpark sleepy spot with toilets and bins .. at Sandy sands ..not that we could see Sandy sands ..
Yesterday a trip down the Churchill Barriers .. set up to keep the German U Boats out of Scapa Flow which housed most of the British naval fleet in the early part of WW11 … originally blocked by sunken boats still to be seen and later Italian POW were brought to Orkney after being captured in North Africa ..The POW’s sealed the narrow gaps between the many islands surrounding Scapa Flow permanently with concrete blocks later top with tarmac to create the roads ..
The only thing left of the POW camp is The Italian Chapel and a statue of St George made out of chicken wire and concrete The chapel is 2 nissan huts joined together lined and painted by the artist .. Various prisoners had skills required to build the Chapel .. a smith ..metal workers in a previous life pre war ..It was the artist Chiocchetti with his talents to create the chapel as it stand now .. very much worth a visit ..
A few photos of our stop over aire .. 59 Degrees North..The aire on Sanday Island.. which is just fabulous ..in the Orkney isles .. Peaceful and very quiet Harry’s crew are sleeping 8 hours without any disturbance ..We loved every minute on Sanday .. Being waves to by locals .. A custom to show friend rather than enemy.. The Community Shop with stuff one wouldn’t find or buy in any village in England .. and lastly the ferry crew squeezing us on the last ferry ..it pays to ask .. stand by worked ..
Helpful chats and info when required from Jon Chapman and .. Signage for your campervan’s name .. just call him or look on Etsy
Sanday..(an hour and twenty five minutes on the ferry from Kirkwall) A calm crossing in the sunshine .. ferry full with 4 motors homes It’s north easterly of the Orkney mainland and flat and practically traffic free..An ideal time and place to try out Scootering ..
Our new Vespa name Ubo his reg or Ubbb for short ..Brand new and raring to go ..A trip off yesterday to Whitemill bay on the top of the north side but very near to 59 Degrees North the first aire on the Orkneys (59.287100 -2.595610 ) set up by Jon Chapman who is famous for all the Hymer owners stickers ..He left Berkshire 2 years ago.. and never looked back ..Eventually he will have an Artisan bakery and pizza shop here on site .. atm lots of work going to to complete the shop side ..
All very nice and worth a visit
He has also made Harry Hymer his own sign on the front on the MH ..
Today a mammoth ride to see a Burial site dating back to 4000 BC
Our ride was 10 mile south at least .. the scootering was fabulous.. then down the track in the dunes leaving Ubb at a area of grass no more road was available then we walked and walked .. seals in the surf ..(video didn’t upload )
There and back was 6.5 miles ..to see another Pile of Stones ..
The Cook will learn to say no ..not going .. back on the scooter to the Aire only to entertain the campers.. The Cook got her foot stuck whilst dismounting and fell off on to her back .. how we laughed 🤣😂😆
Sunday 5th September
I’ve seen some strange names on my travels but as we left Birsay to drive to Broch of Gurness..(another pile of stones) a very small village came into sight .. “What “ giggled The Cook .. “Yes” The Driver said .. “it’s called TWATT .. your eyes are not deceiving you “ ..
How we laughed and laughed !!!
Ok! back to the sensible side of blogging ..
After TWATT.. on to a sleepy spot with toilet down on the shore at Evie Bay (59.1200028 -3.0993055)
Good for a visit to The Broch of Gurness .. The Cook booked The Driver in for a look round but she didn’t go .. when The Driver came back it was like a child coming home from school with masses of info .. Built in the Iron Age and inhabited through to Norse civilisation.. INFO ON BROCH OF GURNESS
On to Kirkwall and our carpark sleepspot ready for the ferry to Sanday
INFO ON ST MAGNUS A walk He says .. To the town and in particular St Magnus Cathedral 1137yet another scaffolded building on the exterior .. The Cook moans !! But not to worry the interior is amazing in red sandstone ..pillars and fly buttresses to ogle at .. 16C carvings fascinated The Driver .. Scull n Cross bones and Sand timers ( egg timer ) saying life is ended when the sand runs out .. Quite macabre.
A decent over night in a sleepy spot ( 58.9813 -2.96725 ) with Tesco on one side and Lidl on the other before driving 1/2 mile to the ferry for Sanday
Ferry’s are not cheap here up to today we have paid in the region of £800 from mainland to Sanday and return .. More probably when we get to the Shetlands but only scooter cost to Yell and Uist .. not Harry Hymer but who knows when we get there …
More to follow about wonderful welcoming Aire 59* north .. and The Cooks first scooter ride !!!
Saturday 4th September
NB: Nearly up to date with the blog ..
Sleepy spot Brough of Birsay ( 59.135228- -3.3246088) lovely quiet with fabulous sunset
Harry Hymer’s crew awakened to a bright and chilly day as the sun rose around 6 am…Where shall we go today said The Driver.. perhaps the Italian chapel which is in the south east of the islands but no it’s to Skara Brae …what the hell is that you ask ..Ok .. it’s a Neolithic (spell checked ) community found after a storm at sea washed away the shore ..and out popped a 4500 year old village ..Now as you know The Cook hates relics but this one is fascinating ..like Hobbit Town .. passages under ground to go to your next door neighbour.. suits The Cook as she wouldn’t have to go out in the cold …Brrrrr .. it’s chilly today
Now from The Drivers viewpoint ..Who finds ruins fascinating.. humorously scoffing this is the reason he married The Cook ..
Two tickets where easily booked over internet for our visit to Skara Brae ..Setting the Sat Nav.. off we toddled ..On the way we found an ancient version of Stonehenge ring of stones called The Ring of Brodgar ..Stopped off and went for a walk around this stone circle which has approximately 60 stones in the circle. The Driver again is fascinated !!!
On our arrival at Skara Brae a car park attendant park us in the coach area .. The Big H lived up to his name and needed space .
On entry to the site and welcomed by a very friendly chap who gave us the low down on the area we entered an exhibition of all the bits and pieces and a plan of the site.
We then went outdoors and could walk through a modern version of Skara Brae built taller than the original as we are possibly taller than the ancients where even the driver didn’t bang his head.
The footpath to Skara Brae had plaques going back in time starting with men on the moon down through the building of the Pyramids .Stonehenge and Skara Brae is even older still.
In the bright sunshine we walked into the area on the shoreline and could look down into the old encampment and it was amazing to wander round and look back in time.
The next place of interest is The Brough of Birsay which incidentally is our next sleep spot .. sun still shining .. managing the near traffic free winding roads with ease
Yet another ancient site on an island with access at low tide on a narrow causeway ..
Parking easily in Motorhome size parking bays on the headland over looking the sea
Birsay has a large Viking settlement built on top of a Pictish s settlement of the 6th century AD ..The visible ruins are all Viking with long houses up to 20 meters long .. Nearby is a church and monastery dating from the 11th century thought to be constructed Earl Thorfinn .. when Norway owned these islands
The Cook yawned .. and decided to leave The Driver to his relics and off she went like a gazelle up and up the hill to the lighthouse on top … The Driver caught her up before the top … A look over the edge to see puffins and a search over the sea as Orca whales had been spotted earlier .. They didn’t show .. A quick return across the causeway before the tide cut us off .. played on the beach building stone pyramids.. watched the sunset and had curry and rice for supper .. Bed in Harry is very early 9 pm is around the time to get bedded down.. a read for not very long as the fresh air and exercise wipes us out ..
Friday 4th September
An early start for the ferry just 10 minutes away from the sleepy spot ( 58.5968418 -3.5129213 ) next to an amazing hardware shop .. This shop sold every thing from riding boots.. off shore gear..diving and fishing down to jigsaws .. if in Thurso with an hour to spare it is worth a visit .. CBL Trading centre on the quay at the end of Sir Archibald Road ..The Cook came out clutching a pair of dark brown leather rigger boots .. her favourite winter foot wear ..
Boarding on time and a champagne crossing ..calm and sunny .. outside on deck to see a pod of Dolphins leisurely swim past just before The Old Man of Hoy came into sight
.. The Cook remembers watching on television in the early 60s a chap called Joe Brown climbing the stack. This was entertainment in that era and the family would sit round watching on black n white TV .. Weird in this day and age
“Copied from the BBC”
Over the weekend of 8 and 9 July 1967, viewers of BBC One were treated to a succession of programmes, which followed the climbing of the Old Man of Hoy. The 450 foot sandstone stack, located on the remote west of the Orkneys, was a great challenge to climbers, having only been conquered the previous year. The achievement of capturing the action on camera and bringing it to viewers made for a weekend of television that was both compulsive television and a landmark outside broadcast.
The ferry arrived on time and we disembark..
Following instructions on how to get to the campsite basically turn right not left because left leads you through the tiny streets which could with a bit of an imagination be likened to Whitby.. fortunately signs were posted to the Stromness campsite which was at the end of the peninsula to the south of the town .. on our arrival the campsite warden Gem informed us we were at the wrong site and should be at Birsay but if we paid for electric we could have a sea front site which of course we grabbed quickly putting chairs out before she changed her mind .. Stroll into town was called for in the autumn sunshine and Harry Hymer would never have managed to drive this route through narrow flagstone streets rather nice really.. Buy locally is the thing to do so off to buy Orkney Black pudding for breakfast and Ordinance survey maps finding the ones we required ..returning to the campsite to use their internet and downloaded to my iPad for off line maps of all the many islands
The Driver now known as the Bar Steward brought gin and tonic out to The Cook who now sat sunning herself watching the ferry go back to Scrabster
Thursday 3rd September
A visit to The Castle of Mey and gardens at the summer home of The Queen Mother
A sea fret is hovering over the north coast .. Misty ..damp ..hair frizzing weather .. We drive Harry down the narrow road just a couple of minutes away from our pub sleepy spot to the gates manned by a kilted gentleman who checked our tickets and pointed to the lower wall to park against ..
Off shore a trawler which had been converted into a rich man’s live aboard yacht was at anchor
Entry to the house was by appointment to keep the visiting public apart from each other during Covid..
The Cook said she could live here ..Comfy , cosy ,yet elegant but she would have to have a kitchen make over .. tiny ..unmodernised defiantly 50’s style ..
After seeing around the house we head for the sweet smelling garden .. Everything is scented Roses.. Honeysuckle ..Sweet peas ..see link to photos ..The Cook pocketed seed pods off the sweet pea plants to grow next year ..Photo link house and gardens (The reason I am adding photo links is because my data limits are low and will add photos when I edit blog on home WiFi)
A wander round Thurso parking in Tesco carpark .. The town seems to be dower and in need of investment .. Nothing more to say other than a quiet lorry quay for a sleepy spot ( 58.5968418 -3.5129213 ) before our ferry from Scrabster to Stromness on the Orkney Islands
NB: Nearly caught up with my blogging now .. just another couple of days and will be back on track
Monday August 30th
Sleepy spot at Blenkinsopp Castle Inn 54.9739 -2.5257
Sailing ended but before the prize giving Harry Hymer and crew were off .. A sprint up the M6 and on the A 74 to our over night pre booked sleepy spot
The Blenkinsopp Castle Inn for supper ..free sleep over .. with either drinks or food .. We opted for food as usual .. Delightful dining room .. although we did have a couple next to us and the husband / boyfriend was verbally abusing his wife / girlfriend .. horrid .. The Cook was temped to slap him but resisted .. https://www.blenkinsoppcastleinn.co.uk/
Tuesday 31st August. A long hop to Inverness The Driver thinks .. get 250 mile under our belt .. The next 120 to the North coast of Scotland would be a slow jog .. The aim is to go to visit the Queen Mother’s summer retreat of The Castle of Mey ..Having found a carpark sleepy spot just outside Inverness ( 57.5017469 -4.2454343) bedded down .. only to be wakened at 3am by engines running .. but .. hey ho if one parks in carpark it’s only to be expected ..It’s good job The Cook has a good book ..
Wednesday 1st September. Link to photos Off through gorgeous country side to our next over night sleepy spot which was The Castle Arms carpark in the village of Mey ready to explore the castle the next day .. The land lord was very welcoming .. giving us a printed list of rules as he has had staycationers in rented motor home abusing the system.. giving long time van travellers a bad name…
After spending a week with besties Sue n Ian Sinclair at the IOM National Championship.. To the uninitiated this is what we do …Our hobby is radio controlled yacht racing at national level ..Along with probably 150 other people at Fleetwood Marine Lake ..my blogging has been somewhat neglected as we have had too much fun in the evenings laughing fit to bust around our barbecues with glorious sunset..
My link to photos from IOM National Championship
My blogging on this adventure is not going well as I need to catch up .. I’m a week behind .. Grrrr Where next you ask? The Orkney and Shetland Isles !
A FOREIGNER IN A FOREIGN LAND
The driver said let’s go to Fleetwood ..we will sail and then go on to ? ..The Cook is suspicious! Yes she knows she’s going to Kettlewell in the Dales next weekend .. she thinks 5 days in Fleetwood would be restful but no .. The Driver has other ideas .. A new mast for his IOM is awaiting his collection in of all places Workington .. who has ever been to Workington ??
He says we will amble up the Cumbrian coast wild camping .. NO .. The Cumbrian coast doesn’t seem to want campervans .. Millom and Haverigg a childhood holiday spot say “Thou shalt not park “
On we go after a walk on the beach in Haverigg.. cold and blustery but nice .. Off to the next free camping stop .. road side .. we declined as to noisy and uneven .. Ahh say The Cook ..A Pub .
A closed pub with a big carpark which when open welcomes MH er’s… yes that will suit .. cheeky yes but no one threw us off ..
Morning came and off again to “Workington”..lunched on the Spit which is a belting place for a sleepover if the wind was less or nil
.. Now of to collect his mast ..parked up .. chap whose house we parked in close t ..not covering his access wasn’t to chuffed and when The Driver popped out to get the mast said house owner moved his car blocking us in .. The Cook panicked and verbally abused the guy under her breath ..She has acquired some choice word of late .. but all well when Driver returned and placated said householder who moved to allow us to go on our way to ???
SCOTLAND and CARLISE
Fabulous over night in a park..
Free and the sun is shining for a walk .. but … The Driver has an accident.. falls over some trip hazard and busts his knee open .. see Photo
He will live after Nursy mended him with a spray can of New Skin …Magic medication .. a must for all MH’s ..
The Cook had to be mended with it a few years back when her IPad fell on her leg when the Driver over braked and the iPad flew to take a massive chunk out of The Cook shin .. since then the spray skin hasn’t been use till now .. Broken Driver was administered too .. large plaster bought and all is well
What shall we do now .. well as we are near let’s go to the GALLOWAY FOREST to see Red squirrels(not seen ) ..Red Kites(seen) and Starry skies(seen) as it is one of the areas in the UK without light pollution Its Dark ..really Dark ..
Clattershaw forestry visitor centre have a carpark on a lake for £6 for an over night stay ..Loo Cassette empty facilities ..Bins ..Water ..Coffee and cake in the cafe… and cuckoos .. which we haven’t heard since Italy 2 years ago
The cook got up at 2-30 am .. with coat on and nighty tucked in her knickers to view the big dark sky and stars ⭐️ Just magical ..
A long sleep then a walk to Robert the Bruce’s stone .. rumour has it he stopped mid battle to rest …
It rained ..
So cake and coffee were called for in the cafe but the Cook has had a sense of humour bypass regarding the state of the roads .. pot holes .. the size of Gaping Gill .. Sat nav flew off a couple of times .. bangs and rattles just terrible roads here on the Galloway peninsular..
Where next .. atm we are on the Solway firth or is it forth .. Another freeing wild camping place on the Quay owned by the Nith Hotel.. donations are accepted.
Tomorrow where ? .. The Driver has just suggested Aysgarth Falls in Yorkshire and we can over night in the visitors carpark for a £10’er … but a curry is in the cards for supper tonight .. home made .. and a couple of gins may be consumed.. more later ..not Gin ..just words and photos….Tomorrow where ? ..
Sunshine ..and ready for the off ..Passing wild flower meadows on the Scottish Borders ..and a route never before taken as we head off the M6 and onto unknown territory .. although perhaps the cook recognised bits of it from her wandering in her Smart car when the driver worked in the north east..
Let’s hope we don’t meet anything coming in the opposite direction .. It’s called Tommy Road ..narrow ..only wide enough for Harry ..my heart is in my mouth as The Cook breath in on narrower bits ..23 miles of North Yorkshire moorland ..No passing places..but not another vehicle to be seen until the turning on to a wider ( but not much ) road at Pendragon Castle ..:
Phew made it to Aysgarth in one piece..The carpark over looks the church ..not too out of plumb but The Drive lugs a stone flack to add to the chocks to get even .. £12-50 from 6 pm to 10 am and £2-50/an hour there after .. expensive ?
After another great sleep a walk to the Falls ..A beauty spot last visited in The Cooks childhood memory in a Standard 8 named Peter ..but probably wrong .. her brother will know and no doubt correct her ..
A dry morning with a showing of brightness in the sky ..slippy underfoot on the rocks but The Driver wanders off down to the edge with the agility of a gazelle..as The Cook looks on not venturing to the edge ..very pretty ..now off to the lower falls..and as it’s very early morning only one dog Walker seen and one Red squirrel.. blue bell woods are a delight at this time of year even though the sun isn’t shining ..
Now off to our first organised meet ..The Cook is not at all sure..She like people on her own terms ..But she says she will try !!!!!!!!!
KETTLEWELL in a field ..Harry Hymer is asked to park in a certain way ..in a designated area ..Ok The Cook growls under her breath ( Doesn’t bode well so far ) and that was it ..no more contact with anyone .. A walk to the pub .. Sweet little village .. never stopped in Kettlewell before ..just driven through many time on the way up to weekend with The Driver when he worked in North Yorkshire..
Saturday came and The Driver decide he’d had enough of communal camping in the rain with fears of being bogged up to the chassis in mud ..A decision made and up sticks and went home ..
N.B. No time to edit photos ..I didn’t blog daily as I have done on HETTY’S Adventures .. Should have done ..not back in my stride as yet .. will try harder on next blog ..
Book read .. excellent ..
So what do we think of an outing after all this time …
A bad case of brain fog for blogging .. Surprised the Cook can still speak let alone blog after 14 months of lockdown .. but here she goes ..
What are the rules for an away in a Motorhome
Don’t go near ppl .. But.. they are our friends .. keep social distance ..
Birthday and Wedding anniversary usually spent in Europe..
This year The Bull at Broughton near Skipton Yorkshire about 10 miles from home for lunch (Coordinates for sleepy spot 53.956922 -2.082307) .. Our thought was to stay for supper as well and have a sleep over in their carpark which is allowed if eating and asking before parking up .. A take away to eat in Harry perhaps .. Lunch was lovely but so cold eating outside in the marquee which was erected at the rear of the Inn to be Corvid secure ..
We decided to go on to Ribblehead and The Station for supper instead of staying the night at the Bull .. perhaps dark sky for a starry night ..not a chance
Ribblehead sleepy spot (54.207357 -2.362368).
The weather is appalling ..cold rain ..sleet and it’s May 4th .. on arrival no supper ..The Station doesn’t open till the 17th May .. so a pre prepped pasta supper in Harry Hymer and a lovely sleep only to awaken to blue skies and snow top hills and the Viaduct in all her glory..
A lovely Birthday present .
Thanks Mother Nature.. back home to re victual Harry Hymer
Off to Fleetwood for 4 days ..sailing .. (Fleetwood prom sleepy spot 53.924029 -3.034084) The Cook froze to death on her first sail after two years absence .. The driver won every thing ..
The Cook took a photo on a walk at dusk on the prom..one of the best of sky’s ever seen
Harry Hymer was so comfy .. still don’t think he is ours .. too posh for us
So first outing went very well let’s hope for many more ..
And yes more to come but the Cook has run out of mobile phone data .. so you will have to wait for the next episode of Travels with Harry
I was looking at a Hymer owners web page and noticed a gorgeous dog .. A Newfoundland by breed I thought or perhaps a Pyrenean.. He had a Hymer Motorhome .. ok you say what are you on about ..wait I will get there .. Next day The Driver says I have found Hetty and she has a big dog for company .. I had skimmed past the page only seeing this magnificent dog and failed to recognise My Hetty Hymer .. Since then I have the low down on her new family
Hetty’s new pal is called Enzo and is trained to rescue people from the water and is very put out when a lifeboat goes off without him https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMejxH34F/ His and Hetty’s family are Rachel and Jason who live in north Essex .. Funnily another coincidence ..Hetty lived for 8 months very close to where she is now when The Driver was working in Colchester prior to his retirement and I was down there wandering Constable country in my Smartie .. A beautiful part of England …We are so happy she has found a forever family as we miss her terribly.. it has been said on more than one occasion we made a mistake letting her go .. Harry is fabulous but a little too posh for us wandering nomads .. There endeth the story of “Where’s Hetty “
We are now the owners of just the one Hymer as we decided to sell Hetty .. Sad I know but we had an offer and don’t have to bring her back up north …Peter Curry’s contacts paid the price we asked but then it was a run down to the Cotswolds in The Big H before Pendle went into extra lockdown as we in this area are the highest in the country .. Not our village or the satellite villages around but the two main towns of Nelson and Brierfield which we avoid .. dare I say .. like the plague !!!!
A dash down the M6 finding a sleepy spot very near to Peter Curry’s work shop in Mickleton where Hetty was waiting to be cleared out and cleaned … How can we have accumulated so much stuff .. we bagged up bedding towels tins and all the stuff you need for long term adventures filling The Big H to the gunnels .. Cleaned her within an inch of her life ..I don’t think she has ever had a toothbrush to all her nooks and crevices..
We said a fond farewell and thanked her for her magnificent performances over the last 24/5 years Driving away from her with a tear .. She is going to Essex ..and we hope she enjoys better weather down south ..
Parked up again in Ilmington sports ground.. GPS coords (52.09444, -1.69666) for the night for an early start to get back in time to be locked down . Now to get The Big H solar panelled .. new batteries.. organise the cupboards .. This I’m finding difficult as Hetty’s were so sorted I could cook with my eyes closed but I’m sure it will all be sorted before we go off to pasture new ..
Hetty is still in Peter Curry’s hospital for sick Hymers in Warwickshire.. click link https://www.facebook.com/motorhomerepair/...Yes a long way from home ..We dropped her off in January on our way to Gatwick airport for a pre C-19 three week trip to the sun in Egypt with a hint she may be better by the time we arrived back ..
Not to be ..Peter breathing in with the mechanics shake of head telling us “Its the parts “and …”The corrosion is much worse than initially thought” shake of head again …sucks in breath again “Its going to cost a fortune” “Shall we scrape her “NOOOOOO we say ..Go for it we say ..Make her better and off we went back to Lancashire without her ..so…from what The Cook gathers another Hymer was taken to bits and Hetty gained a chassis …Then C-19 struck .. Work stopped as social distancing made it impossible for Peter and his workers to work in close contact
It’s now July 16th and still no Hetty The Driver has just said she will be back soon and he will ring Peter to get an update
Karen & Myles, The Motoroamers
We are a fun-loving couple travelling full-time around Europe in Scoobie our trusty camper.
We’re driven to deliver seriously entertaining travel through our blogs, photography and humorous videos. We hope to inspire you too to travel.
To visit The Norway adventure click link below
What a treat for fellow campervan foodies ..Karen and Myles sold up .. Bought a Motorhome and set off to find adventure over three years ago and never looked back
They have kindly allowed me to publish their free down loadable cook book on my TRAVELS WITH HETTY blog
Click link below
Thnx to Emma Morgan of Gozo fame .. it’s yummy
Bet you thought we had hibernated.. No ..Here we are with last weekends Mini adventure to Ilkley Moor Photos on link above ..
Sleepy spot on Friday (53.9164578, -1.8006507).
A climb to the Cow and Calf rocks .. A bit of sailing at Weecher Res .. Good grub at The Vault in Ilkley
Sleepy spot on Saturday. (53.9285792, -1.8300471) .
Weather looks good
A splendid night in the pub and as it was 2 steaks and a bottle of decent red wine thrown in for £20 we had steak .. Lot of good chat with pals from both the north and south of England .. Furthest travelled competitor came from Chelmsford.. An early bed and a walk back to Hetty on the sea front as the sun was setting ..The Isle of Man ferry could be seen coming into its base at Heysham and a yacht under sail going into Fleetwood marina…
We woke to sunshine so let the competition begin ..26 entries The wind all over the place ..but after a full and interesting days sailing The Driver took second place over all and The Cooks boat which was lent out to Peter Baldwin came in in third position ..
That’s it for the mini adventure .. Perhaps there will be more summer outings soon …
FairhavenParked Hetty on the road near the lake with easy access to the shore The Cook busied her self with cleaning and The Driver now The skipper took his boat to the club to rig ..The Cook was going to sail but didn’t have the get up and go this morning as the weather looked indifferent with a bit of drizzle in the air .. She is happy enough getting Hetty Spick and Span again …The Skipper sailed well and was placed second over all and the weather perked up by 2pm giving the Cook the impetous to leave the warmth of Hetty to take a photo
The leaders in the club house !!
Today’s sailing over and a quick trip down the Blackpool Prom heading for Fleetwood for tomorrow’s sailing
Blackpool seems to have smartened up or did it look so because the sun was shining and it was full of tourists
Vintage trams.. Big Dipper ..Tower and Big wheel
Tonight we’re heading for The Mount a pub in Fleetwood for supper with other like minds
MINI ADVENTURE 1
Hetty has had an adventure with the Driver .Yes .. Just the two of them with boats … To Milton Keynes ..The Cook couldn’t see the point of a Milton Keynes adventure so stayed home but here is the report from said Driver
- Friday ..A long dull drive
- Went to the pub
- Saturday…sailed..went to the pub
- Sunday ..sailed .. drove back home
- The End
- No photographic evidence
MINI ADVENTURE 2
Radio Controlled Laser sailing at Lytham St Annes on the Fylde coast on Saturday and Fleetwood on Sunday
Sleepy spot Lytham St Annes swimming pool carpark £5 for over night … £8-50 for 24hours …3 days stay only GPS coords (53.7461728, -3.0318169)
Fridays weather at home was again awful as it has been since we arrived back from Hettys European adventures sending The Cook into a depression of epic proportions..Within a week of our return she was planning another adventure to Denmark in early September after reading a report from other adventurers “Heels for Dust ” who are in Scandinavia at the moment and have been to the artists area called SKAGAN on the northern tip of Denmark where the light is so special drawing artists such as Peder Krøyer to paint here
Back to this weekends outing with more planning for Denmark to come in later blogs
The closer to the west coast the brighter it got and the sun came out whilst we strolled around Lytham remembering childhood visits The town has an old fashioned air about it in a very pleasant way ..Gardens along the Prom and a shortened Pier after a fire back in the 70’s .. Slot machines at the entrance to the Pier .. Penny push again bringing back memories The Driver splashes out with a 2 p but didn’t win anything ..
The town is mostly charity shops We love a charity shop and search for treasures The Driver came out with a pair of deck shoes for £6
A pint (The Cook has a sparkling water as she’s on another diet) in the town pub to watch the cricket was our next stop before a walk to the beach huts on the promenade and supper in the local Toby Carvery ..We can recommend it ..
On our return to Hetty sailing friends arrived in their Motorhome and the people in the next van came back with their tiny 2year old girl called India so then there was lots of chatting and bed time was put back a while but slept like a log
Morning came too early as we moved off to Fairhaven lake ..a mile down the road for the sailing event and breakfast
More later ..
Purple icon denotes sleepyspots (even though one is missing in between Belgium and Italy) for Spring2019: See complete main map in menu
Miles driven 3889
A much more expensive adventure.. More spent on campsites than on any other trip and finding Aire de camping sites payable as we have been travelling in season .. €190 for four nights in a hostel boat park on Lake Garda .. with poor leccy and WiFi ..In retrospect and knowing the area now we would have parked up in the derelict Aire and winged the loo dumping .. I still think we could have got away with using the hostel for our washing but hey ho it’s only Euros ..
We normally run on €45 per day but have found diesel a lot more expensive as well..with the cheapest in Andorra at€1.066 and the most €1.48 in France
For the third time in the last five years it has to be Venice
Best sleepy spot !
In Hetty curtesy of The Cook and Lidl’s own sausage stuffed cannelloni lasagne
Most interesting journey!
The disappointment of not getting to bathe in the hot springs at Saturna and the awful roads there after !
So that’s it for this adventure ..
All photos on this trip have come from IPhone camera as my big one is just to heavy
Days 44 / 45
May 21st / 22nd
•A note on insurance
The reason we could only have 45 days adventure is a clause in both our house and health insurance.. only 45 days BUT if ..as we have done in the past.. fly back for a couple of days we can have another 45 days .. We did this a couple of years back leaving Hetty in Gozo and flying home from Malta .. That was for the health insurance we didn’t know the building insurance had the same problem. Seemingly even if you have someone popping in every day it would be null and void ..Thank goodness the house didn’t burn down ..
THE PENULTIMATE POST
Over night in Cherbourg
GPS 49.643067. -1.617709
Packed aire 2 mins drive from the ferry.. Hetty grabbed the last place
Not a good nights sleep why we don’t know ..up at 4am for our 8-45 crossing
Day dawned calm with the sea like a mill pond .. The ferry was an extra one due to Brexit or non Brexit ..which ever…and it was empty .. more staff than passengers.. No queue for breakfast..
The sailing was on a flat sea arriving in Poole at 12-30 with the sun beating down .. Studland bSandbanks and the harbour looking the best I’ve ever seen em..
I’ve had a couple of nasty yachting incidents down there with too much wind and failed gear .. again 100% survival rate ..
A long drive home with a decision to call and see our chums in Hagley West Midlands arrangement made by phone only to be told as we arrived Toby had to go to hospital to be sorted out and wouldn’t be home .. Look in search4sites finding a Black Country pub in Claverley.. The Plough free parking whether you eat in the pub or not We did as it was their Fish n Chip night and highly recommended ..and amazing sky’s
GPS 52.537562 -2.304889
Arrived home midday .. all was well 😎
My last post will be the cost and stats of this adventure ..Not the cheapest we’ve done (too much wineing and dineing ) but a good one !!
May 19Th / 20th
After a pleasing stay of two days in Tregastel with a smattering of sun it’s was time to wander the Brittany coast ..Passing St Malo by as we’ve been many times and don’t fancy the crowds ..Looking out for the cosy little harbours the Cook sailed into in a past life Lézardrieux being one .. only stopping for lunch on the massive and fabulous beach of Frèhal
After lunch on to our next over night stop … with Oysters brown bread and a glass of Muscadet… He has Fish soup with croutons and a CUP ? of the regions driest cidre .. back to Hetty for a trying game of Rumicub .. Didn’t run The Cooks way unfortunately..
GPS for last nights sleepy spot
48.602963 -1.771623 am aire €12-50 with all services including leccy … bit expensive but served the purpose…
Onwards ever onwards towards Cherbourg .. past Mont St Michel
and into and out of Cherbourg as The Cook wanted to go to a place on the headland over looking Alderney where she nearly came a cropper .. The Alderney race is a powerful water current running from the Cherbourg peninsula past Alderney a southerly direction ..or northerly depending on the tidal flow .. get it wrong and one could end up in difficulties.. As did the cook and crew .. 1975 ..No wind under engine going into Cherbourg.. Engine failed ..tidal flow changed .. going backwards at a great rate of knots .. till another kindly yacht threw a line towing Cooks boat into Goury .. scraping the keel on the rocks as she went
.. all was well .. Engine mended and off back across the channel to Portsmouth andHardway SC where the boat was moored
Now we are back in Cherbourg .. in a free campervan carpark next to the ferry terminal for tomorrow’s crossing to Poole
Days 39 and 40
May 16th and 17th
St Marc Sur Mer
I add the GPS for fellow travellers and for my self to upgrade our sleepy spot map on my puter when I get home
Another long drive to Concarneau.. We’ve been before but only remember it being cold n wet ..We found the aire de camping car .. massive carpark .. It has to be for all the camper vans which are growing in size every year now the normal is 21 foot some bigger at 27 feet .. Hetty get lost amongst them as she is only 15 feet long .. Quick search for Hetty .. ahh there she is ..hiding amongst her big brothers .
A walk into Concarneau.. down to the town and the Old Quarter .A sheltered harbour brings in 200.000 tons of tuna from the waters off Africa . Weathers cloudy and humid but I bet we’ve got a bit more sun on our face tan today …Feeling glowy ..
Jutting out into the harbour is the old village dating back to the 14th century ..On an island with the quaintest shops and bars .. all very touristy .. even a Breton band playing .. but .. playing Danny Boy .. not even singing in Gaelic but in English .. sighs .. no soul these places .. we’ve moved on now to another camping place .. much quieter and a beach 2 mins away at….
Last nights sleepy spot
Two boggy fields which should be avoided in the rain but dry for us and free ..
A walk was called for early morning .. still over cast but refreshing
“AN INCIDENT “
We were shouted at on the road to this place as we tried to go up a road that said NO .. we do this kind of thing but this time we didn’t get away with it and we’re yelled at in French by a chap driving an equivalent width vehicle A Porsche 4 wheeled Chelsea tractor .. we didn’t understand stand so he yelled louder … After some manoeuvres requiring the cook to stand in the road directing traffic and yelling back at said French person The four point turn was a success and a turn around and off on the correct route
Yet another long drive up to the Rose Coast ..Brittany at its best.. We found an Aire de camping car in the village of Tregastel €8-50 a night (see photos) another walk around the bay….Flowers everywhere and a bit of sun
Now back in Hetty with a beer waiting for supper of bacon eggs and sausage curtesy of The Driver whilst I complete another post .. it’s my post cards home for any of you who choose to read em xxxx
Weather lovely and sunny
Tonight sleepy spot
GPS 47.237542 -2.300750
Parking des Jaunais St Nazaire
The Drivers blog …Edited by The Cook
After a stroll around the German fortifications on the headland within the camp site,
which appear to have been the location of a radar installation. This had assisted the defence of the German submarine pens at St Nazaire…
We strolled into town for lunch viewing some large stink boats on the hard for polishing and anti fouling.
Perusing several menus in the beach bars until we found Moules Marinair and Frites ..Picking a table only to be told it was reserved …slightly disappointed we where then seated away from the view ..But… The Cook could ogle all they dishes and puddings passing by.
We chose to share a starter of assorted pate…cheese ..Jambon on a breadstick skewer and a salmon mayonnaise pate with copious baguette pieces
Followed by probably the best Moules for ages( we had been informed slightly apologetically that the moules where Irish as the local ones where now out of season(no R in the month …perhaps in Gaelic May has an R in it)). We chose a carafe of white to accompany the meal which was very palatable and rolled back to Hetty with a smile on our faces and a slight wobble in our walk
Setting out the chairs we sat and read until the sun started to set . No evening meal was required.
This morning we tidied up Payed up and headed Hetty towards St Nazaire and an aire from Jason&Julies map. On crossing the very fine bridge the Uboat base could just be seen. …At lunch time we managed to find one of the last pitches at this free aire and had lunch… We decided to stay set Hetty on wedges to level… fitted the silver screens to keep her cool and headed for the beach with sun lotion…water ..books and chairs
…The beach is lovely and I was slightly tempted to swim but a brief paddle soon changed my mind cold Brrr. ..It’s a grand spot to stay but the aire has only space for about 14 vans. Supper was an early event taken before we fried on the beach the weather is top class ..25c or more .. just fabulous
Last nights sleepy spot
GPS (46.2570045, -1.2243231)
As per usual most of our sleepy spots are wild ( none camp site )
Until today finding this beauty
GPS 47.0241 -2.3033
A municipal camp site on the shore
L’Herbaudière, 85330 Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, France
Let’s go back to this morning with another womble on the back roads… “Let’s go there” said the Cook so off on a side road to a beach and the Oyster beds .. A small harbour for the Ouster men to bring ashore and clean their catch .
Flora.. Beach.. Oysters in baskets under water
What could be nicer than an Oyster ..The Cook wanted Oysters but the Driver would have none of it “Just don’t fancy any today ” said he
Now we’re here on the campsite ..sometimes it’s difficult to trailing round trying to find a free NICE area to stop… We have slept over night in Lidl carparks before now
This place is lovely great view and easy so we’re staying for two days ..A walk tomorrow perhaps lunch .. it’s nice to just stop
Last nights sleepy spot
St Trojan les Bains
GPS 45.840950 -1.205173
Slept like a log untill cramp in the leg attacked The Cook .. She dived out of bed so fast squealing like a stuck pig the neighbouring vans must have though there was hot stuff going on .. Her leg ache today so a quiet day is called for .. not to long a drive .. We did try to find a parking spot in La Rochelle to no avail as the place was full …Off we went only about 100 miles North up the coast through the most gorgeous villages and country side .. none of the massive MWay drives .. just lovely …
A wonderful day of sunshine arriving at our destination Les Sablons at lunchtime with lunch in the sun .. lots of French people here collecting mussels and oysters from the shore ..buckets of em .. perhaps tomorrow morning we will do similar for our lunch ..
The rest of the day was spent reading in the sun
Supper of Singapore noodle curtesy of The Cook and a pre cook chicken
Suns down and it very quiet just two French campervans with us .. one a fisherman and wife .. blue dot on map is our sleepy spot for tonight
Weather was dark rainy and dull but now bright and sunny
Last night free sleepy spot
BARZAN 45.528364. -0.883428
Today started on a low.. The Cook wanted to go home .. She’s bored with France .. much preferring Spain .. Some thing to do with a Castle on every hill or cute white villages .. France isn’t like that .. it’s green and dull as the cloud hasn’t lifted .. Flat and just roads … BUT .. Then we got on to Île de Oleron.. an island over the bridge near ROYAN in Poitou Charente region .. Driver says the bridge must be a mile long ..and even though an over night parking place wasn’t obvious we arrived in St Denis Le Oleron which we though would do only to find Julie and Jason of Our Tour (see their blog and map ) sleepy spot didn’t exist and a house was built on the coords we used .. After all they were there in 2012 ish and nothing stays the same but the village was a treat as we walked around the yacht basin..
The sun was shining and all was well with the world ..Off to try and find any place to camp for the night finding colourful Oyster huts along with artisan jewellery and hats and a bike covered in crustaceans having been abandoned on the mussel beds now a piece of art (see photo)
Our next port of call was St Trojan Les Bains and yes we found a free parking place and what’s sweet little village full of flowers so that’s it for today Chicken Chips and veg with a cheese sauce made by The Driver as The Cooks blogging…
Weather mixed bordering on over cast
WHAT A LONG DRIVE
Last nights sleepy spot
Arcachon 44.651533. -1.48300
Not one of our best sleeps ..on a main road with bin men on the move all night but it’s next to Lidl and the Aire has facilities ..
Morning came at last …What to do on a sleepless night but read ..More Book reviews later
A short drive HE said.. and we found another parking spot
An official aire overlooking the sea in a pine wood .. No facilities but use the town one to dump and come up here.. No big vans 7 meters and under ..Its much more preferable but hey ho you win some you loose some ..
The new GPS for Arcachon beach
Wish we’d found this lovely peaceful location last night. A walk he said as a Red Squirrel bounded off to the sea ..
GIRONNE WINE TRAIL Avoiding Bordeaux we again drove for miles and miles up the coast then inland on the MWay .. then off into the rural wine growing villages and on to the coast again Found the parking spot was a pay for so off again down the road to a carpark with a sea view and free to stay ..Always go to the local shop for bread or even eat their Plate de Jour in the local hostelry as long as we get it for under €12 per head Sort of saying thanx for our free night in your carpark
Yes it look grey and dismal but we’ve cracked open the beer and all is well Frey Bentos for supper with mash .. Yum Yum
Weather some cloud some rain some sun!
Last nights sleepy spot
After a long drive supper in the local restaurant.. no cooking.. To tired We’ve been here before Taverna St Jacque .. lovely food but expensive …
Off this morning to the highest Sand Dune in Europe
Now that’s a climb and we didn’t do it the easy way Oh No .. Straight up not the staircase .. One foot forwards and two back .. Very soft sand and shoeless . I made it after lots of stops …The Driver was patience personified having to wait for me every few feet but I made it to the top 🤪
We are now on an aire in Arcachon and had the thought of going to Bourdeaux but can’t find any decent parking for Hetty so keeping to the coast for our next stop
The Driver love watching other people park their Motorhomes and has written a little aside for you
The Dance of the Motorhome’s
“By the Driver”
I have been observing the antics of some Motorhome’s in this trip and it has not failed to amuse me.
1 . Motorhome turns up picks a spot
2 . Levellers used to keep beer/wine from spilling
3. Satellite dish deployed scanning for a signal(wir wir wir)
4. No signal so Motorhome drives to another location with wife holding wine/beer glasses
5. Attempt to get a signal on satdish after levelling again
6 Repeat from item 4 until a satdish lock is achieved or until run out of locations to park.
These antics become even more fun an a camp site as the owner or wife have to go to the office for another pitch and even more fun if the Motorhome is huge.
Over the pass into France from Andorra ? NO … A climb to the top of the pass in the snow with road signs saying something in Spanish…. GOBBLEDYGOOK .. Google translate couldn’t work it out .. We couldn’t work it out .. Chap on the top says French haven’t dug the roads out on the other side of the pass .. Sign said “No way through ”
Ok .. So we will come back down in second gear .. All the way back into Spain 🇪🇸
Red dot 🔴 From Gavà to Montserrat
and on to Andorra and back again to France around the Pyrenees not over em 😡
We found a sleepy spot in a town called Monzon and from there set off again for France .. More up and up into the Pyrenees and weather .. Tunnels and weather
A two mile tunnel and then the Somport Tunnel 5.3 miles long at 5300 ft above sea level
The weather then took on a lot of unpleasantness ….It poured and lightened and thundered .. The rivers were full and boiling but Hetty kept on keeping on .. low gears all the way down to our next stop of Navarrenx.. We were here in September and found a smashing little restaurant …so that’s what we intend to do and tomorrow off to a place just south of Bordeaux for our journey up the French coast
We haven’t booked our return ferry as yet just looked at them ….
Day 24 to day 30
Did you think we got lost ..
The reasons for zero posts are
1. Ferry crossing Wifi nil
2. Campsite in Gave Wifi poor.. Weather solid rain .. laundry done
3.Birthday and Silver Wedding anniversary bus trip in to Barcelona then Tourist bus top deck to view Gaudí architectural highlights Gaudí gardens disappointing Ticket for house sold out Boooo!!!! 10am til 8pm to tired to blog
4. Today is too sunny to blog perhaps tonight when there’s nothing to do 🤪
5. Nope to much fizz in the sun …blog tomorrow
6.No blog …Massive drive to Montserrat and Andorra
GPS ANDORRA SLEEPY SPOT
+ A big shop in duty free ..too tired to blog
7.Up to the French border NO ! Road blocked by snow on the French side.. lazy so n so’s but we still went up the mountain (Port d’ Envalira) to 8000ft.
What do you do if to can’t get over the mountain? Turn round and come back to Spain 175 miles back to start going back north to France and another 110 miles to our next destination
Now in MONZON …CATALONIA SPAIN
Sleepy spot GPS 41.918521 0.189546
We hit the middle of our travels and are now on our way home ..Tonight we head north on a ferry from Civitavecchia Italy to Barcelona Spain ..wending our way through Spain and France for the next 22 days ..
Here in Italy it’s gone from Mozies in Wellies and BIG coats to glorious sunshine and we’re having a day off from wandering ..Reading in the sun in yet another camper stop over by a beach north of Rome
As you know I read and read and here’s my reading list so far this trip
A A Dhand A trilogy of crime in Bradford featuring Harry Virdee
These have featured the Bradford-based police detective Harry Virdee, a progressive British Sikh who struggles with his cultural identity and family loyalties. Race, violence and exploitation are on the agenda in the Virdee novels, and Dhand has not shied away from controversial issues of tension between British Asian communities and the controversy over such issues as the ‘grooming‘ of vulnerable females by organised gangs of men. Dhand is fairly unique as he sets his protagonists (who are shaped by Asian culture) in a British setting.
VOX by Christina Dalcher
On a lighter note
Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell
NO WAY OUT by Cara Hunter
Book 3 in the DI Fowler collection ..all very good reads
THE SECOND CHILD by Caraline Bond….read the reviews .. Just suppose someone swapped your new born for another child
THE MAKING OF US By Lisa Jewel … as you can gather I love this authorRead review
Last but not least
YOU LET ME IN by Lucy Clarke
Elle Fielding has taken the literary world by storm, with her first book hitting the bestsellers lists and making big money. But now she’s under pressure from her publisher to produce a follow-up that’s just as compelling.
I couldn’t put it down .. many a twist
I read a book by FERN BRITTON so poor I can’t remember the title ..but cannot recommend it as it bored me I don’t do Chic Lit
So what next perhaps MAD BLOOD STIRRING by Simon Mayo … the DJ from BBC radio 2 now gone to Scala Radio
GPS 42.439178 11.220443
Spotify link to Hettys Disco have a listen it’s fun
We’re having our first Hetty Disco night with a collection of grand tunes from Spotify not having any or much in the way of Media .. Tunes downloaded to IPhone and the use of a blue tooth speaker is all we need .. mostly The Cooks many playlists is our supper entertainment.. The Driver hates her singing but undeterred a tune even if unrecognisable is rendered
Another form of entertainment is RUMIKUB A game of numbers on tiles ..the object is to use all your tiles and chip first The Cook is very competitive and some times wins …not often just sometimes…
I have added a photo to explain the sausage installation for readers who don’t know the context of “Like San Gimigimano”..well it amuses me
What shall we do today ..After leaving Orbetello and crossing the causeway to .. We think it’s still Orbetello and has three ways to cross ..very much a holiday destination but as of now all shut up waiting for the season except Porto Santo Stefano which was again rammed with cars .. not a parking place to be seen so we kept on driving ..off the island down the coast to another free to park place 1 min walk from a beach town …
GPS 42.321633 11.589109
All again shut .. The volcanic black sand being cleaned by tractors of the flotsam washed up by the last storm ⛈ That’s about it really for today ..Tomorrow on our way south nearer to Civitavecchia for our ferry to Barcelona on 1st May
Weather warm n windy
GPS Albinia carpark
What another night in a carpark.. Yes !! This one has a “Thou shalt Not “but we ignored it and moved to a place out of the way ..It seemed to be the Coop carpark in Albinia and the Carabinieri (Police) haven’t moved us on ..A magnificent bowl of Pasta and asparagus has been cook by The Driver on strict instructions from the Cook ..Better watch him or The Cook will be redundant ( She’s blogging )Job share…￼
Where the hell are we you ask ? We’re within a cats spit of the coast on a bank holiday and like Blackpool it’s packed ….The idea of holing up here is to wait for the Italians to GO HOME and hopefully have this bit of the Mediterranean coast to our selves
I don’t think there are enough superlative to give the Tuscan hills in glorious sunshine .Just come and have a look for your selves and here is our reconstruction of The Towers of San Gimignano in sausage n mash
Day 20 ish
Blog by The Driver
Tonight’s sleepy spot at over 2000ft
GPS 42.8516 11.687295
What a find as we trundled down the road to the west.. Spied 3 campervans in a carpark ..FREE with leccy water and dump for the loo We parked here knowing it was market day tomorrow. The Cook thought we could still get out in the morning but The Driver reckoned we wouldn’t get out till about 3 he was right. No problem as we had a lay in with leisurely breakfast …a stroll around the market which was quite small but the stalls where like tardis’s folding out like giant umbrellas from their roofs.
A leisurely lunch was then taken and a decision to try a visit to Saturnia.
We took the direct route up hill lots of up then across the valley bottom and up again very up it was indeed then we ran out of tarmac lots of sections of the road where missing then back to nice tarmac then more missing roads this was mainly at bends interesting but Hetty coped admirably her off road skill no problem with lots of hilltop villages to ooooh and ahhh at.. Tuscany at her best .. On arrival at Saturni the attempted car park had a height barrier so an interesting 3 point turn with unclad mineral water bathers everywhere …Some in trunks …some with dressing gowns and some in powered wheelchairs.
Safely negotiating an exit we then drove for miles with abandoned Italian cars on the roadside and decided to head towards the coast and find a car park by a coop store for the night .. we don’t know whether we’ll get thrown off but we’ll wait for the Italian Holiday weekend to end then locate a beach spot on Sunday night.
GPS for Fattoria la Vialla (43.5289512, 11.7801235)
GPS for farm @ Anghiria camp site
A two day blog
Days 18 and 19
Weather mixed .. lots of rain and sun 🌞
After our indulgence at La Vialla it was a quiet day for The Cook who was surprisingly well after the over imbibing the previous afternoon ..The journey was more up n up which Hetty took in her stride 3000ft and not a complaint.. over the mountain to Anghiari
We haven’t as yet learned how to pronounce this towns name but it’s lovely (see photo)
We managed to get the last place on a farm site ..not on the main camp site but in the farm yard with perfectly new modern showers .. leccy . Water and cats to play with..
A walk up the hill to the town to find it’s rammed with Italians ..It’s a bank holiday commemorating the liberation after WW2 and the people will take a long weekend making our journey onwards a little less than easy … all the campsites Sosta’s and carpark are full … We tried for the hot spring baths in Cortona a hill town .. it’s full then on to San Quirico d’Orcia ..That’s full so we wandered looking for some where to stay up n up on back road over 90 miles of up .. on mountain roads all very lovely as is the Tuscan country side
Down a hill on a road that’s says it closed we found a gem of a carpark .. free parking free leccy free water and a dump for the loo The town is called PIANCASTAGNAIO
GPS 42.851809 11.687551
Tomorrow is the market so we’ll have a look and report back
Last nights carpark sleepy spot
GPS 43.531324, 11.761818
After breakfast of croissant 🥐 bought at the local bakery in a different car park in Castiglion Fibocchi we drove to Fattoria La Viella. Only 5 minutes away and the sun is shining 😎
A stroll around the vineyard.. wine cellars ..olive oil press and store with Francesca our English speaking tour guide dressed in her white apron
. After the tour and a small sampling of new wines we wandered up the hill and sat in front of the farmhouse in the sun taking in the view.
The Cook realised they she had left her camera ..fan and insect repellent behind
The driver was dispatched down the hill to retrieve the forgotten items(The canny bugger flagged down a golf buggy used for deliveries to the carpark to save his legs) and was awarded with a kiss of approval for his fast return.
Vialla then displayed lots of lovely starters and six or seven wines to sample with them . HIC ..Approximately half an hour later we where called to the dinner table and served a four course lunch with a different wine for each course…The Vialla team replaced any empty bottles with new ..After deserts Grappa was served.HIC A small group remained to chat and finish any wine bottles remaining ..eventually only six people where left chattering away until we where asked to clear the table as the Vialla team wanted to set up for the evening meal.
We all meandered down the hill calling at the shop to purchase wines we enjoyed then back to Hetty where The Cook had to be helped to an early bed definitely worse for wear.😱😫🤢
Weather over cast
Last nights sleepy spot
GPS (44.1844438, 11.2737516)
Last night sleep was sporadic..I suppose when bedding down at a bus terminal and the village recycling centre disturbed sleep would be the norm but the bin men came at 1-25 am ..even in Italy that’s a tad early or late .. which ever suits you .. The Cook was in bed my 9pm and wide awake again at 1am till 4-30am .. 🦉 Owls cracking off all night and The Driver snoring 💤 but a book read .. Need to do a post on books read
Morning didn’t come too early as HE let The Cook sleep in .. Skipped breakfast and off over the mountains .. Narrow roads badly maintained up n up to 3000 ft ..Ahhh Tuscan hills ..Flower meadows.. Wisteria growing wild .. Banks of blue Iris .. Purple Jacaranda trees all as nature intended uncultivated .. 75 mile of these roads with motor cyclists trying to kill them selves .. cyclists puffing and panting up the hills practicing for The Giro Italia
Now day 16
St George’s Day
Last nights sleepy spot and another carpark
Castiglion Fibocchi We find a carpark by chance near the old town .. searched the car park for a “Thou shalt not park here “ sign .. nothing .. no cash cows with parking tickets all ok till this woman with a face like a slapped arse stomp across the carpark muttering in Italian .. Got into her car parked next to us and drives it 10 yards away .. WHAT !!!! Did she think we were vagabonds or tinkers (I’ve met some very nice tinkers when I lived on the Surrey border )What a way to treat visitors to your village ..The Cook has taken offence and she know where the woman lives ..Cackles wickedly
Poured down all night and after a quick stroll to the bread shop .. Taking a couple of snaps of the village (see photo ) we are off to a countryside beauty (in the rain) spot by the River Arno
Altitude 2100 ft above sea level
We managed a decent nights sleep after moving to the carpark nearer to the town of Calpi .. The Cook was bitten by a bug ..one antihistamine and a glass of wine with the curry..Slow cooked the day previously put her to sleep without too much fuss
The Weather is warm but overcast
Castell Dell’Alpi is our next port of call..
GPS 44.183951 11.274027
A car park with bins as the one we wanted was closed due to building work
Up in the Tuscan hills .. Up is the under statement as we climbed up n up n up giving Hetty a work out .. Alpine is the consensus of opinion as we look for the ski lift .. Yes so far up .. All flora and fauna .. primroses .. wild orchids .. wild anemone are in banks on the road side
My reasoning behind putting all photos in a collage is the data use .. one photo not much data 9 photos could wipe out any future blogging ..
Villages with farm conversions tastefully done .. Some ones summer residence
As per normal the Italian drivers are trying to kill them selves ..Horns R US.. Overtaking on blind bends seem to be ok ..we survived our 70mile drive into the country side north of Florence to a place on a lake ..a tiny village and a motorbike stopping off spot for the riders .. A boom box is thudding sounds out down by the river with more young ens arriving all the time ..possibility of a rave.. after all its Easter Sunday
Do we stay or move on to a quieter sleepy spot
Day 14 we think
Today town is CARPI
GPS for new sleepy spot
A pretty town but the motor homing stop over leaves a lot to be desired ..It stinks ..Pooh…yuck ..I said let’s move on he said “where too” So instead of making a move we went for a walk to think about it .. Into town 2.50 miles there and back only to find there had been an attempted burglary and Hetty has repelled boarders .. The window has been Jemmied (Jemmy is a great word for a crooks activities ) The burglar alarm scuppered the scrotes chances of getting any plunder.. We knew they hadn’t got in because my very expensive big camera wasn’t in the safe and it was still under my seat ..It’s the broken window catch The Drivers cussing about as replacements are few and far between because Hetty is a Classic Hymer and 25 years old (we’ve owned her since she was a baby … only 3 years old !
We’ve moved now to a spot nearer town ..Lots of vans here and we feel less insecure
By the way
Square interesting see photo
Day 12 ..We think .. Seems we’ve been away for a long time
GPS for sleepyspot
Where’s that you ask .. put a pin in a map and this very pretty Medieval walled town came up with free parking and an added bonus of FREE leccy ..For tomorrow’s supper it’s slow cooker on and a home made chicken curry
Montagnana is south ..It’s 60km from San Guiliano our chosen Venetian camp site and there is a Lidl within spitting distance for fresh croissants in the morning
The Cooks thinks her feet have had it .. turned up their toes .. Death in Venice .. poor feet 🦶 but The Driver still insisted putting a good foot forward and dragging The Cook out for her evening constitutional .. A walk says he .. A very short one says She…Only two miles with lots of moaning and groaning ..The Cook says she’s been broken..it’s a lovely warm evening with pasta for supper
Conti is our next stop on our way south to Tuscany
Miles walked in 3 days 16.5 miles
GPS same as before
Venice seems one of the safest cities we have been to .. no hassle .. calm .. not a hint of bother but wandering into Cannaregio area and in particular Ghetto Nuove The Jewish enclave of Venice we came upon armed soldiers with a bullet proof shelter ..Why we don’t know We’re they expecting trouble or is it to keep the peace .. Seemingly this area’s bridges are closed at night keeping the area closed off .. We moved on with a feeling of unease.. The word Ghetto History of the Jews in Venice originated from Venice as it was Giti the word for metal working in this area of Cannaregio where the powers that be insisted the Jews live .. so making it the oldest Ghetto in the world
Today mission was to see the Doge’s Palace ..
Prebooked tickets purchased ..A walk to the bus ..a ferry ride to St Marks and straight in to the Palace bypassing all the queues .. spot on .. Another entrance fee to see the Canaletto Collection but worth every penny ..we were both fascinated by the detail of His Venice back in 1700’s and not a lot has changed .. Magical to see without the masses as we were there so early the crowds were still having breakfast in their hotels
On to the State rooms .. just gold on gold on more gold .. Next off to the dungeons and across the Bridge of Sighs ..
Down 3 flights of stairs with dungeons on every level top level had full height doors the lower ones had doors more suited to large dogs.
No sign of any toilet facilities , and what seemed like an exercise yard. Then back up the stairs through the bridge of Sighs which seems to have been constructed two way to prevent the mingling of prisoners.
Thanx go to Pete Turpie for his addendum to My Venice
Time for a bit if Byron….
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs,
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying Glory smiles
O’er the far times, when many a subject land
Looked to the wingéd Lion’s marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers:
And such she was–her daughters had their dowers
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers:
In purple was she robed, and of her feast
Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased.
In Venice Tasso’s echoes are no more,
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear:
Those days are gone–but Beauty still is here;
States fall, arts fade–but Nature doth not die,
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!
We then passed through the judgment and appeal rooms which then led to the ubiquitous bookshop and very expensive tat shop. We nearly escaped to the great outdoors but the driver had to dash back to retrieve his rucksack.
We then wandered around St Marks listening to the orchestra playing Tango music and watching shocked faces of punters paying their bills.The Cook remembers her parents telling the story of them dancing in the square back in the 70’s to a Tango
Then off in search of a reasonable restaurant for a menu della giornata . “Al Graspo de ua ” opened in 1840 on a quiet back alley, 2 courses for €18. The food was excellent, Wine was extra but a very nice effervescent white… tasting a little like Pinot .
For going the dessert and caffe we were given a generous glass of lemoncelo. and off in search of the Grom Gelato shop which is just fabulous and not to be missed . Then a stroll (longer than expected) back to the bus station and home to Hetty. All in all a lovely day and 6.5 miles strolled.
Day 12 ?
Sleepy spot as before
Last nights blog finished rather sharply I couldn’t up load photos .. Decided to collage just the one photo to show my impressions of my favourite city in the world
A trip to the Venice Opera House was a success .. found quite easily just wandering the narrow lanes
€7 for aged folk special rate .. best thing about getting old
A tour was taken ..gloriously ornate having burned down three times
More aimless wandering because we’ve been so many times there’s no urgency to see stuff .. just a leisurely stroll .. feet getting a touch worn out we climbed on board a vaporetto (water bus) and sat down .. off to Lido and back again .. down the Grand Canal and another walk to the stop for our water bus at Tre Arch… 6 miles walked yesterday
Now to today .. so tired we didn’t get going early as planned to visit Doge’s Palace with pre booked tickets .. we’ll go tomorrow was the cry ..The Driver has the idea he would like to see Giudecca the island which looks out over to St Marks The Cook wasn’t fussed thinking it would be industrial but No as she literally tripped over The Hotel Cipriani one of the most famous of the worlds hotel The Cook likes a posh hotel but with the price of a bowl of pasta being €47 even she though it to rich for her taste .. wandered along to a cheaper eatery and spent €37 for lunch with a carafe of house white with a view very similar to The Cipriani guests
Tomorrow is the Doge’s Palace with an early start .. nite nite ♥️
Weather hot n sunny
GPS San Giuliano
The subject to start this blog is TOLLS ..The Cook has been had by a Venetian toll .. Too high to lean out and too low to pay from the window ..Screams and curses come for TheCook as she open the door to pay .. “ It’s blown away” The ten Euros she had offered up to the machine was spit back out but The Cook wasn’t quick enough to grab the note .. nor could she get out as The Driver yelled her to do …he’d parked to close ..The €10 note was floating under Hetty .. The Driver used his brains and got out his side crawling under Hetty to retrieve said note .. The cars behind just smiled at him .. obviously they have A Cook in their lives too…
San Guiliano Sosta is our destination ..A Campervan carpark on the mainland with both bus ..a 10 minute walk and ferry a two minute walk ..to get one to the city of Venice
We walk to the bus stop ..thinking about tired feet walking back after a day in the city and decide we would pay for the ferry ..It’s not the main water bus but a private operation which means we also have to pay the main water bus as well but hey no you’re only on this earth once .. No pockets in shrouds
Once in the city we wander … nothing in mind as we have been to Venice before ..so just wander.. get the feel of this amazing city ..back alleys are us .. The Cook think someone has told her about the renovation of The Opera Theatre … Emma perhaps… look on google and yes The Felice and a tour can be organised ….off we go …more tomorrow WiFi’s crap again 😱😩😡
Weekend 12th/14th April
Weather”Not good” Big coat
At this time of year the sailing ⛵️ chums and us .. be it with or without Hetty are in Malta for sun n sailing but this years event didn’t happen😩 .. but amongst the fleet we have people in the know and they knew where we could go 😎 Lake Garda .. The Priestly’s of Fleetwood.. A well known family in the RC sailing fraternity organised a European Regatta at The Andrew Simpson Foundation sailing centre which was set up in memory of Andrew (Bart) who was tragically killed whilst competing in The America’s Cup A charity was set up in his name is a school of sailing for deprived young people and here we are at Campione Italy
Skippers have come from all over Europe and Scandinavia and pay a sailing fee ..
Only expenses are take and the rest goes to the Foundation to help fund water sports This weekend teens from Europe and UK are here sailing WAZPS a foil dingy but they are struggling for wind as are the radio controlled sailors ..
The WAGs (wives and girlfriends)get together and have lots of coffees A scoop or two of Prosecco and laugh a lot
Yesterday it was mooted amongst this growing ( growing as it there are more and more joining us )crowd of ladies that lunch out was the name of the game .. where to go ? Firstly it was a quick bus trip to Limone.. and find a restaurant on the waterfront.. but no we have another much more organised member of the group who lives here in Campione some of the year who took charge of the outing .. Sorting out our bus and even a taxi back ..Well done Diana The plan was to go to Malcesine on a ferry €13 return to the markets ..Up the cable car to the top of the mountain and a bite of lunch ..Sadly the cloud didn’t lift and only three went up the mountain ..The Cook couldn’t see the point as there wasn’t any view.. Shopping was done ..One of our buddies couldn’t resist a leather jacket and a handbag..and on to lunch at a quant rustic looking little Osterea RE LEAR was it’s name and we can recommend it ￼
The sailing event was won by our own John Tushingham from Yorkshire UK
Ps Diana’s note for the WAGS
HI to all you gals who came to the DF 95 event
I’d like to thank you all for
A) The good company
B)The opportunity to speak English .. a rare treat as I live in the Black Forest and have to speak German
C) For all turning up for our outing.. despite the weather .. when I’d feared half of you would “cry off”
If we are back when you come next year I’ll look forward to meeting you again or maybe at an IOM event Have a good trip home
Best wishes Diana
Weather is awful .. it hasn’t stopped raining .. pouring all night and all day .. Fortunately chums have arrived by road and air and no doubt alcohol will be imbibed and fun had and the weather will be forgotten
Blue spot is where we are.. Campioni on Lake Garda
A walk was taken this morning in the rain to see the sailing area .. Ok if it stops raining..benches to sit and watch But I don’t think the supporting ladies will be down in this weather
A meet and greet party held in the local bar was a great success even a USA team arrived and much merriment ensued.. and the rain stopped
Race day 1
The wind did blow eventually by mid afternoon
Moving boats around by tractor fully rigged down the main road tickled me
The Driver now called The Skipper did quite well until something broken… all mended now ..
The rain has stopped still chilly and a need for a big coat
Kite surfing to watch as well
An outing to a local hostelry is on tonight’s plan after sailing
Tomorrow the WAGS (wives and girlfriends ) are off to Malcesine on the ferry for a bite of lunch …some are braving the cable car ride up to 6000 ft .. sadly with the cloud on the mountain The Cook thinks it a waste of money and isn’t going but is going out for lunch with the other like minded gals ..
Wednesday 10th April
Miles done so far 1194
Tolls are the only way to go said The Driver wiping the tears from his face ..weeping at the prospect of spending on TOLLS .. The start of the day from The Brenner Pass Sosta (carpark for camper vans €15 with Leccy ) was a toll free road .. The Cook wasn’t to sure as this road was one of the up and up and up type ..6000ft plus .. narrow and windy with lots of drops into the valleys below .. A work van came before we had got too far up the mountain and said in Italian that the road ahead was closed ..The Cook sighs with relief ..jumping out of Hetty to help The Driver reverse .. she not staying in the van and ending up off the edge .. so her job is the backing manoeuvre..works perfectly and side lines the panic of height …
Toll road now for 145 klm OMG how much will this cost ? The Cook got her cash box out saying we may need more.. There was €50 in the pot.. WOWSER only € 8-50
Lake Garda comes into view
A quick Lidl shop and off down the west side of Lake Garda .. through tunnel after tunnel all dug out of the mountain on the edge of the lake .. even a round about under the mountain..
Arrived at our destination to find Hetty hadn’t been booked in to the Motorhome parking area 😫 All was well a parking area with leccy was found at a price .. As our followers know Hettys Crew don’t like spending on parking .. only using camp sites to do the washing .. We have been relieved of € 190 … last years 60 day adventures only came to € 63 in total The Drive bit the bullet and payed up .. and it’s pouring down ..
Today view from Hetty’s front window.. raining ☔️
One of the other sailing team arrived after a non stop drive of 17 hours 🤪
Last nights sleepy spot
On the Rhine (60.4714620 8.305374)
Hours and hours of mind numbing Auto routes in France.. Belgium (The Cook hates Belgium ) and Germany although it has to be said the German Juggernauts did behave impeccable and kept to the right hand lane ..The Cook amuses herself with her childish lavatorial humour being satisfied at most Motor way exits with a cheery Ausfahrt.. German for exit ..sniggers ..
We roll into Austria ..Grab a vignette €9.40 (tax for use of Austrian roads) at the services and there is the Tyrol ..Mountains ..Snow.. and Heidi houses .. The rain stopped and a hint of sun warmed us up .. It’s was a beautiful sight
Tolls came next .. €9-40 followed by a tantrum from The Cook as she tried to pay ..find cash .. open door ..too close to machine to climb out forwards ..reverse and squeeze out backwards .. Put the arm up said He ..Will give you more room .. Cant .. says She .. Have to hang on TT the arm as it’s as high as a lorry and no step to speak of ..The Cook has made up a new swear word for the indignity of being squashed between a toll machine and Hetty Hymer .. Never to be repeated ..Pride and bottom bruised on a non alcohol day ..Naw.. That’s tomorrow 😂😎♥️
Last nights free sleepy spot
(50.4714620, 4.0895460) on the Canal du Centre Belgium 🇧🇪
Miles traveled today 276
Total miles 775
Fuel fill in Luxembourg 1.09 per Litre
The Driver has a big smile on his face
Today’s weather mixed
Not much for The Cook to blog about so here’s one he prepared earlier from The Driver
Hettys winter maintenance and improvements.
She is getting an old girl now with a few wrinkles creaks and groans (No not The Cook).
I have spent a little time getting her back up to standard
1. A sliding catch on the large drawer which occasionally bounced open…best brass of course.
2 The original plastic knife and fork drawer has been gaffered back together too many times ….. I decided to make a new plywood drawer with new runners and surprisingly with the original utensil tray fitted its was no heavier than the original and now bomb proof.
3. The light over the kitchen sink has always been a bit dim even more so since one of the mini fluorescent tubes gave up the ghost . A trawl through EBay located a suitable LED lamp A surprise from Poland and postage free.
4 The clock over the sink had a loud tick ✅ tock and as it needed a new battery I located one on eBay with no tick and 2 batteries which can be hard to find anyway …Result.
4 The Cook has always commented about toilet smells . I have purchased a toilet duck and fixed it just by the flush spout . Now a lovely odour permeates the bathroom.
5 We are heading into the Alps this trip.. New snow tyres have been fitted.
6 Last but not least a window vacuum was purchased so no soggy cloths or damp chamois any more…Just a light buzzing and tip the water down the sink …It’s fabulous.
Plus it’s got a fitting just the right size for our Georgian window panes at home …The window cleaner sacked us as it was too much work for him. So it’s paid for itself due to 20 years of his fees not spent.
Hettys annual service and MOT included a Track Rod end …Breaks and a new bearing
More tomorrow as The Driver has plumbed The Hymer factory into Miss Sat Nav .. Off our route but Hey Ho …🤪
Last nights sleepy spot
N51.2614 E1.10016 Park n Ride Canterbury
Just like an Autumn day .. but the mistiness is fog visibility 50 yards
Not a euphemism but a reality “Fog in the Channel Vicar ”
Hetty decided she didn’t want to stay in Dover for 24 hours for her Pre booked ferry on Monday at 8am
The reason we got here early was a BREXIT problem ..we booked last month and assumed we would be Out ..deal or no deal ..with lorries queueing for miles and causing chaos. ..False News ..Not a lorry to be seen on the M2 going into Dover ..in fact all was very very quiet giving the Driver a hint as to availability on an early ferry .. After having a chat with the boarding guy we would have to pay an extra £65 to go on today sailing ..going in 30 minutes …The Driver had a fit .. we’ll go tomorrow said He .. Look here said The Cook ..If we eat out tonight that’s £50 plus Breakfast on the ferry £30 …now to pay the £65 is a saving of £25….The cooks glass is always half full
Driving through Belgium is The Cook’s black hole ..She hates the country ..She says it’s wet n boring .. The Driver thinks he can get to Luxembourg for cheap fuel .. It’s too far ..even thought the sun is out at last .
Found a stop on the Canal du Centre near a barge lift which fascinates TheDriver ..Unfortunately He can’t be allowed out as it’s a thunder storm ..Massive lightening ..Pouring down .. Big Bangs ..The Cook hides in the bathroom
Supper of home made Spaghetti Bol ..Lovingly cooked at home and transported to Europe
Tomorrow a push south to Karlsruhe On the Rhein ….
Saturday 6th April
Weather sunny 🌞
10-51am second off
101800 on the clock
Sun spec are GO …
We do it every time … get to the J15 on the M65 and remember stuff that’s been left at home .. A quick return to J13 ..stop on double yellows ..Traffic warden has a word and sends us off on our way with a cheery ” Happy Travels ”
The sun is splitting the flags up Nowf …lovely day to start an adventure
Get down sowf to the Garden of England ..Kent is wet windy and foggy ..
Hetty managed to avoid that there London by going over the Queens bridge at a toll of £2-50.. We don’t like tolls but better a bridge toll than a fine for entering the London environmental zone ..Sat nav insisted we did it her way but we said NO SAT NAV …no fines for Hetty
Miles travelled around 350 .. and now happily parked up in the Canterbury park n ride for a small fee of £ 7
Pre made curry scoffed and now we will be putting The Driver to bed as he’s very tired after getting up at 3am ..probably worrying about a new adventure
Sail to Calais
Bomb down to Lake Garda via the Brenner Pass
Sail in European Regatta
Go to Venice for four days ..Camp site booked and tickets for Doge’s palace
Wander down into Tuscany for lunch at La Vialla on 24th May ..more about this place later
Get to Civitavechia for the ferry to Barcelona on the 1st May
Campsite booked in Barcelona with bus into city with May 4th being next as its our Silver wedding anniversary and The Cooks Birthday ..She wants a quiet day on the beach in the sun
Then …. off to Andorra on the 5th May
French Atlantic coast next
And home by the 22nd May
Hetty is ready too go but not yet …. It’s that time in between booking her ferry and The Off .. all a bit twixed and tween .. Too soon to throw ..sorry.. neatly pack all the detritus needed or not for an adventure … Boat.. sails.. tool box or boxes in the case of the Driver and Skipper ..The Cook is still pondering whether or not to pack the kitchen sink and how many items of clothing she can get past the Drivers eagle eye.. “You don’t need 20 pairs of knickers “says He .. Fortunately The Cook has found some light weight attire for warmth but how many Fleeces ..Gilets and Big Coats can she sneak in before being told she doesn’t need em .. The Cook can’t stand being cold and after all it’s still winter till the end of May remembering her mother’s saying ” Never cast a clout before May is out ”
To return to the point of this post bloggers on Motoroaming Italy added a post of interest which may be of interest to the interested
Travel blog from BIG BOB
Had me chuckling.. perhaps we will see him on the road as we’re off on 7th April #FollowBigBob
Pete n Gill on The Costa Blanca
Hetty’s Crew have been back home now for 10 days .. Hetty is emptied .. back in storage with instructions to Ashley at http://pendlecaravanservices.yolasite.com/ ..Our do it all camper van mender to seal the leak in the main skylight ..
The washing is done but not the ironing .. but hey ho it will keep as its all summer stuff ..
The only problem in coming home was a knackered Central heating boiler .. Only 5 years old and it looks like of the thing had gone kaput..Called out our plumber ..A lots of oohing and scratching of heads and it was decided its the PCB ..The brains of the boiler ..The plumber will order one as it’s not in stock ..We are still waiting ..None in UK ..None in Germany where they are made ..Now in production so it may be here this week ..We are fortunate to have a wood burning stove in the kitchen and a gas burning log stove in the sitting room and a fan heater in the bathroom but zero hot water other than an electric shower so all in all we can cope ..I just think back to my days as a child with one fire in the living room and surprisingly we survived ..
- THE COST
- 4858 Miles
- 1 Gas fill
- 54 Different sleepy spots
- 2 Campsites
- 3 payed for Aires
- BEST FOOD
- BEST BEACH
- BEST SIGHTING
- BEST VILLAGE
- WEIRDEST Bone Chapel in Campo Major
- MOST UNUSUAL
- BEST SUNSET AND DAWN
- BEST PHOTO
- WORST PLACES
- BEST PLACES
ORIO 43.28655, -2.12725
Another find… free to park ..out of Season Winter only ..A do not park in summer
Surfs up in this just gorgeous tiny bay a good walk to the end of the jetty and back round the marina ..
We’re just biding time till we head for the booze shopping and the ferry for home so to stay in this spot is an added bonus
Not a lot to say about it really just nice 👍
Another good nights sleep and off to Carrefour Hypermarket to collect our Christmas booze.. Again not so impressed all a bit expensive so where to ..? LIDL so much better and now Hetty is loaded .. lots of Rioja …Spanish sparkle as not a bottle of Prosecco to be found but as long as it sparkles and it’s dry it’s fine for my Christmas Day breakfast for the kids
Bilbao port allows camper vans to sleep over on the night before boarding the ferry.. very civilised.. lots of folk sitting out in the sun some have tables chairs and drinks out .. we just laugh 😂 Not for us public drinking .. it’s not a beach 🏖
What a windy night Hetty being rocked with rain lashing down .. Ferry is late 1-30min so far but we don’t worry ..Not keen to get back to bad English weather ..We love this big Ferry as it’s got a French restaurant but as we get on board at 10am find our cabin isn’t ready so off to a full and I mean a full English Breakfast .. Cereal .. Bacon 🥓 🍳 eggs mushrooms🍄 sausage and Toms Toast and hash browns Then croissants🥐 jam and non stop coffee
Still sunny as we sat out watching Spain disappearing into the haze of a lovely morning ..
An announcement on the tannoy regarding safety ITS GONNA BE ROUGH
So be careful I am a good sailor but J had to get me sea sick 🤢 armbands and pills IT WAS ROUGH I’m walking like a drunk 😵 without alcohol 🍺
Best place is laying down 🤮
Pills work and the French restaurant is our aim .. stagger on the corridors
The food is very special but did I enjoy .. sort of but still a yukky tummy
Bed and a very bumpy night ..
Another big breakfast and off the ferry only to be hauled into the search area of the Border security.. Probably because we look so normal .. questions asked Where have we been .. name the places .. Do you have PORN on board . What !!!😵..The Driver says why import when it’s free on line 😷🙄😂
We were well and truly searched I was waiting for the full body and orifice search next but we were allowed back into our country without any more indignity..
A lovely drive up through the Cotswolds …Autumn colours and showers …Now we are pulled off the road as The Drivers had enough of the M6
A car park in the village of Penkridge south Staffordshire
Wine out supper yet to be defined
Tomorrow home and the next post will be Statistics but we think we’ve done around 5000 miles
SAN Sebastian aire is full
GPS 43.307914 -2.014429
OK The Drivers said if we’re very sneaky we can reverse behind the BIG French van which was probably 9 meters or more in length with a motorbike hitch to his rear taking up three pitches .. This we do with care ..hoping it’s ok .. we pay our €6-60 for two nights knowing full well someone will move out .. we were very late and as the recommended time for grabbing a pitch is 10am and because we are only under 6m long .side ways in two spaces was our only option.. Then the fun starts as more vans pile in .. parking on the pavement and on the loo dump ..
Parked next to us a couple from Manchester with their 5 weeks old baby boy called Oliver .. The mummy asked were they Mad or Brave to take a little tot on a winter warmer to southern Spain We thought Brave wishing them Bon voyage and passing on info of parking spots
It was Spanish holiday on Thursday and we assume schools out and holidays taken ..We were told by a French guy at weekend Friday /Sunday down by the university is free and available
GPS UNIVERSITY PARKING 43.307006 -2.011194
It’s raining BUT we are off to eat in our favourite Pintxo bar NAGUSIA LAU .. Umbrella up and a walk to the bus stop… No 5 takes you to the prom and or into town ..A walk round the headland said The Driver He’s seen boats out there ..It’s the Spanish 420 National Championship.. but so far off shore we couldn’t make moss n sand of what was going on .. looked like two fleets
Back to the old town .. it’s packed with locals and tourists .. we hit our Pintxo bar (We were there 3 years back) at 1-30 and found a table by 2pm the place was rammed .. no tables.. major bar standing .. it’s the best in town or so we say others are available:)
Pintxo are Basque Tapas ..The format for service is
1. Grab a table
2.Wait at the food bar for a server to give you a plate… Never pick food till you have a plate
3. Order your drink
4. Choose your food and put it on your plate
5. The server will have been totting up ..and serving others .. even in the chaos of service your plateful will have been watched .. it’s truly amazing .. I had piled crab with smoked salmon with a prawn top for one ..The Driver who can eat bread had ham black pudding and a tiny fried egg on one of his ..We had 5 pieces each He had two glasses of Cidre I had a glass of white wine and a total bill of less than €40 ..
Back to Hetty ..a game of Rummikub and a Cheesy cracker for supper and so to bed but not to sleep as the racket around us with engines running for warmth and just general noise we decided not to stay another night ..
Back towards the French border to a place called Hondarribia
We’ve been before to this marvellous parking spot on the beach BUT no more as the police asked us to move on .. Too many big vans had parked and council said NO MORE .. The kindly copper told us to go up to the light house as it was allowed and so we did ….
GPS 43.391342 -1.791892 LIGHTHOUSE
GPS PAMPLONA 42.821038 -1.656840
Blogged by The Driver
Leaving an overcast Santander’s excellent sleepy spot. We headed out of town towards Pamplona. As we climbed up an up and ever upwards the rain and clouds became our only view. It was warm and cosy in Hetty the wipers beating a steady beat.
The coords for the aire by the fire station took us to the wrong side but a bit of a shuffle and we found our way in up to the barrier which raised like a drawbridge. I drove straight to the services to top up with water but as the rain had not abated I had to don my ghouls outfit to do the fill(quite appropriate as its hallowe’en today).
Then park up …plug in electric and go to be confused by the pay machine. Card payment €10 for all services per day. Now it’s into the gadget cupboard for slow cooker ,kettle and 🔥 fire. Pork apple and stuffing is planned for supper as we have electricity.We like to get our money’s worth.
Next morning we togged up and with brolly and a rucksack full of waterproofs off we went.
The driver promptly walked The Cook one mile in the wrong direction. We waved at Hetty as we walked back in the right direction with the bull ring
plugged into my phones google maps. Unfortunately as we came into the town the high buildings masked the gps and we discovered Pamplona doesn’t provide direction signs for tourists and of coarse we don’t have a map Eventually we located our destination Ernest Hemingway statue and Bulls
..On to the main square where Ernest regularly came to get pissed. Thankfully this was in the right direction for a return to Hetty as we were pretty bushed. We had covered 6 miles. Taking off our boots to allow our throbbing feet to relax and check the Cook for blisters. Ps it didn’t rain ☔️.on the way back
We decided that Pamplona didn’t deserve any more effort ..packed up Hetty and tried to leave but the barrier would not let us out . On phoning the help line I found that I didn’t leave a space for the registration number on signing in and the computer didn’t recognise us this interpreted by a Spaniard waiting to leave behind us .Anyway after a short delay we headed for our next destination San Sebastian.
The journey was very very downhill Hetty coasting against engine at 70+ mph and The Cook saying slower slower. The view of the hills was very nice and autumnal colours lovely but lacking sunshine between lots and lots of tunnels.BUT it’s nice to have a mainly free journey as far as fuel is concerned says The Driver.
S.A.D. Sun absent day
Blog by The Driver
After parking on Santander seafront and as the sun was shining (hooray)we decided to go for a walk around the headland as it looks interesting. Passing two Muppet expresses we walked along the suggested anti-clockwise route . One or two unfit(in many ways ) joggers wobbled past but we managed to suppress our giggles until they were out of hearing(we hoped) . It’s a pleasant stroll with a section of steep up n up needing a bit of a push . On rounding a bend a ginormous stone building appeared it turns out to be the late kings 1913 summer palace which has been refurbished by the local council. Strange they don’t seem to have a lack of funds like ours. Looking out to sea from here we saw two Olympic class dinghies ⛵️practicing. I couldn’t help pretending that I had a transmitter in my hands (radio controlled yachting )but they didn’t tack when I twisted my knobs😊
A little further on there was a display of old boats one like kontiki and 3 similar to the first transatlantic crossing type. Then shortly onward to a fence around some boating lakes ..but no ..one for seals one for sea lions and one for penguins but unfortunately an empty compound for polar bears.
By this time The Cook had had enough and we returned to Hetty for beer and wine and an excellent French bread pizza she made for me.
This morning we woke to the sounds of breaking waves ((no rain) but on checking the forecast rain would come so we decided to put in a long haul and head for Pamplona as we missed it previously. The drive was mainly main road and motorway but in the rain the views are poor so no problem plus we are warmed by Hettys heater for free. The only problem was Spanish drivers either not indicating or right up your arse trying to push you into speeding . One lorry driver ran so close that his headlights dried Hettys back windows then on overtaking us he tried to knock Hetty’s bumper off when swinging back in(squeals from Cook not brakes). One small hiccup when satnave took us to a turning at a roundabout not there but good bit was we managed to turn round and stock up in a Lidl.
At the Pamplona Aire the coords didn’t take us to the entrance involving a 3 roundabout circumnavigation to get to the entrance . We drove straight to the service to fill with water, driver in neat gear due to continuing weather then picked a spot plugged in and spent 10 minutes to suss the payment machine. €10 for all servicesThe Cook has many meals planned with slow cooker etc and possibly toast for the Driver
SANTILLANA DEL MAR
Last nights sleepy spot GPS43.3889272 -4.1070477
The sun shines on the righteous or so they say
Today it’s sunny after three days of ice rain ..hail and lots of wetness it’s sunny .. Let’s go out before It rains again says The Driver
The car park was filling up with tourists as we went to The tourist board to ask for a map and where to pay for our carpark It’s free she says ..
The village is medieval with bright cobbled streets ..
theres a very historical wash house in the street by the church and it’s on the Pilgrim route to Santiago with flags set with the shell the symbol of The Camino route
I’m assuming you came here on a Monday to do the chores and chat about stuff with your mates .. It’s like a film set but people live here passing their precious houses down the generations ..No cars aloud in the village .. if you have to get to your hotel you can drive in drop off your bags and go to park outside.. Even the Parador didn’t have any parking ..we didn’t go in but I love a Parador so posh yet gracious We’ve popped in to a few for afternoon tea or a beer even a hot chocolate .. it’s lovely and with the sunshine spot on .. So where next .. Santander.. We know of a beach front parking spot and here we are .. a walk round the headland .. lots of views of the snowy mountains and the aqua marine sea .. I think we will stay here tonight..
Unreliable weather is an understatement for this area ..It hailed ..It rained ..Not even drizzle but full on pouring down ..This has gone on for 3 days now even last nights stopover in RODILES GPS 43.5321 -5.37447 was a wash out ..We couldn’t even get out of the van for a walk to the beach ! Once you’re soaked in a camper van there’s no drying and it’s very damp ..only solution was to stay put with an occasional view of the Pico Europa mountains as the snow clouds scootered past ..
There is a place en route to Santander we called at twice without actually seeing it S.Vincente is the name of this missed town ..Once on the way to Santiago in a rush to get there for Christmas and one on the way back in a rush to get to the ferry home 25Years ago .. This time we found a parking space as before but it’s too wet to go out … sighs .. So off to our next spot .. driving keeps us warm .. which is Santillan del Mar.. public car park next to the village 43.3889272 -4.1070477 We’ve moved from the lower car park as The Driver has read it floods !
It’s still pouring down but with a little luck we will visit tomorrow morning .. Oven on ..a pie in to cook .. heater on ..and summer duvet changed for the winter one .. Snug as a bug in a rug
PS.. The Driver was overjoyed today to find fuel at €1.18 per lt
Here is the GPS for the garage for anyone down this way 43.3745510 -4.4962359
HOUSEKEEPING NOTES :
All the photos are taken with IPhone camera .. The BIG camera contents can’t be downloaded till Hetty’s Crew gets home as not enough data ..
From The Drivers perspective …
We woke up this morning and checked the weather forecast and it confirmed 3 days of rain and no sun . We had breakfast of croissants watching the surfers in Playa de Doninos ..after the second hail storm we decided to head east hoping to find less days of rain.
On the journey we decided to take the fast route seeing lots of very wet Camino de Santiago walkers on the back roads
We took the main road and Motorway(non toll) to Tapia de Casareigo
which was a pay for aire €4 including waste dump and water(it was that time again!). We set up with a view to the sea and head to a strong wind (happy bunnies).We didn’t go out ..
With a lasagna for the oven and bread for baking with garlic and butter. Everything sorted warm and full.
THEN it started lightening out at sea about 20 seconds to the bang no problem it’s miles away. But it came closer and closer and as the Cook doesn’t like this type of weather and no staircase to hide under she was like a rabbit in the headlights.
The storm passed us ..all ok ..so now to bed all snug and warm from the food some wine and left over heat from the oven.
It started hailing so hard we had to put pillows over our heads to prevent being deafened ,The wind picked up and shifted so Hetty was a bit sideways and back came the thunder and lightning which circled us for hours.
Now normally we don’t mind a bit of rain on the roof it’s therapeutic and relaxing not last night which was full on It was a slightly disturbed night plus the clocks changed so in theory an hour less kip but bugger that we slept till late… very late
What to do next ? Head for the sun ..There isn’t any ! All we can do is drive east nearer the ferry and hope for a change in weather ..
“Bertie the Boating Bus”
I mentioned in last nights blog our stolen camper van named Bertie the Boating Bus .. Yes ..we had a campervan before Hetty Hymer… A Camelot on a Talbert chassis ..Used mainly for towing the GP14 dinghy to events all over the country. The Driver had Bertie prepped for an Easter off .. Fully laden ..John always unattached the battery when Bertie was laid up outside our house .. Morning came and he went out to his car .. even ducked as usually so as not to bump his head on the bike rack ..realised NO VAN
Police called and we can only assume a low loader was used because who ever stole it wouldn’t have been able to start it as we had to use jump wires most of the time.. We had our suspicions but no proof but we think someone only wanted the interior not the body .. The insurance people were very difficult but We pushed and pushed for the total loss Even had a retired copper visit from the insurance company .. we must have seemed innocent of any crime and eventually payed up .. and that’s how we got Hetty .. took out a small mortgage and went to Edinburgh to pick her up .. She was just a baby then only 2 years old and we’ve had her ever since 22 years of adventures
WHAT A JOURNEY!
We’ve stayed in two spots since our last post ..One was Praia de Razo
We saw this wonderful beach from a hilly road up and up and thought give it a whirl looks good .. see Hetty’s map for GPS ..big carpark on sea front .. NOT level Chokes required ..nice enough ..Met a guy called Carlos A film maker Galician by birth with a Camden accent doing a film about Gypsies ..A very interesting chap .. A good over night and off again to Praia De Doninos A Surfers paradise . Very good parking with views to die for yet again .. Free with bins and water .. A surfers bar on the beach which of course we patronised to keep the Spanish economy ticking over spent all of €4 on 2 small beers Its on the right hand corner of the beach ..which is called the Children’s corner as the back eddie by the rocks takes the surfers out again without too much effort ..
The rest of the bay looks hard work as a walk of a couple of miles down the beach for the big boys ..we walked and walked in soft sand and the surf which resulted in The Cook having cramp in her legs all night and unable to sleep
The rain was expected and here it come .. not just rain but hail with it and a wind ..
Up and off again as it’s Saturday and wet so all the Spanish will be either off the roads or having a slow day .
The drive was difficult with wind and rain and hail and lots of up n up but The Driver took it all in his stride .. We are now in a place nearer to the ferry home
as The Cook says she’s travelled out and can we get an earlier ferry sadly not all booked up ..The Driver says it’s because there isn’t any sun she’s fed up .. possibly true ..
MUXIA GPS 43.106053 -9.216130
We left this morning after a colourful sunset the previous night and said goodbye to our lovely hideaway at Cabo Finisterre with The Driver saying “ We’ll have a slow day and we will hit the coast road towards Muxia on the pilgrim route
A sleep spot was found on the quayside and an aire for loo dumping on the road out . The Cook read ..sitting in the town square overlook the sea … Not much going on really .. Had a beer in a cafe Bought some bread to keep the towns economy ticking over ..Had a look at the church but it was shut ..That’s about it for Muxio A very good sleepy spot ..
This part of the Galician coast is The Costa da Morte .Rocky headlands ..very twisty roads though the forests ..even smaller fishing hamlets and remote golden beaches…. This eerily beautiful Coast of Death is a coast of legends The Virgin Mary landed here before going to see St James in Santiago da Compostela..
You may ask Why have you missed Santiago ? We have been before 25 years ago .. On Christmas Day .. and .. we went to the mass in the cathedral with the incense bong being swung through the Nave by brown garbed monks ..We saw the bones of St James as well then went for brandy and hot chocolate in the Parador next door and slept in our old stolen campervan on a street in the old town so why would we want to return as it could never be as good as that ..
Legends of Wreckers and smugglers.. Despite its numerous Lighthouses this treacherous coast has claimed a lot of lives including scores of English is the 1800’s who are buried here ..
We have survived and are now at a surfing beach Pria De Razo rolling seas a couple of surfers out .. and we hope for another sunset ..
O Grove harbour carpark
Sleepy spot last night was O Grove not much to say about it really ..A Muppet train .. home tourist and a parking spot in a carpark near the mussel boats but suited our purpose..
The Cook woke up this morning with what she called Tennis elbow but as she hasn’t played tennis since she was 13 we think perhaps she slept funny !
Today Hetty and Crew are heading to FINISTERRE
A most mentioned area from the shipping forecast which we think was Finisterre Lundy Irish Sea Now this shipping area is called FITZROY ! Name so it seems after Robert FitzRoy the founder of shipping forecasting .. he killed himself because he couldn’t stop ships sinking !
The change was made after the Spanish kicked off and INSISTED UK changed it ..
The road wanders around the peninsula with inaccessible golden beaches to look at.. every bay a small harbour.. lots of up n up again Viaducts 100’s of meters in length All very new which made us wonder how they got around in the days of yore .. Boat probably..
A note from The Driver
Do the Spanish drivers play guess where they are going at roundabouts The answer is yes ! If they bothered to indicate at all .. it’s not actually what they do
We in Hetty have been extremely cautious but we have seen quite a few near misses not helped by the speed the Spanish seem to enjoy ..Hetty was overtaken on one roundabout then abused for going where she indicated
DRIVERS RANT OVER
MUROS harbour beckoned is and here we are parked up nicely on their harbour .. Windy and sunny ..5pm walk to look at the boats prior to cooking a potato n carrot curry
On the end of the harbour wall is a massive and I mean massive yacht called WHYLD SWAN flying the Dutch colours .. We think it’s an Ocean youth vessel as all the crew look teens .. The Guarda Civila went on board as we stood there ogling ..They asking for the Captain and he looked like a teenager as well .. but must have been in his late 20’s ..There where kids up the rigging mending stuff and a general clean up was on .. looks like they had been in a bit of a blow
Now back in Hetty Curry on the go a G&T in hand and all’s well with the world here in Hetty Hymer Land
GPS FOR SLEEPY SPOT
Moana fish quay
The best way to get there !
We are trying to book a ferry back to UK from Bilbao .. The search came up with available sailings at the end of the Month.. November not October .. not good as we are running low on insurance cover
.. I said leave it till morning as sometimes they release another batch of sailings ..
Fish Finger and wedges aka Lidl’s finest frozen selection.. First blow out of this trip as we don’t eat out ..Lunch time is usually on the road and supper
Spanish style is usually after we are in bed as the restaurants don’t open till around 10pm so I COOK that’s my roll in this road trip eg; The Cook… I do curries from scratch and my pasta sauce has been written about in despatches.. and Frittatas to die for .. even potato and carrot curry is a favourite with The Driver so why would he take me out .. He drives and I cook .. We have had one supper in a restaurant in France and one lunch in Spain All very nice but HE likes home cooking ..
Morning arrives .. Best going out outfits on Mine a Masai tunic in blue with white Bermuda shorts ..Him clean navy shorts n NEW white polo .. Fit to trot BUT let’s get back to booking a ferry .. I had another go and one came up from Bilbao on 6th November.. book it says The Driver I did till it came to pay and could I find my Barclay Card .. NO .. searches high and low.. it was supposed to be in the safe Yes we have a safe … it was but hiding inside my passport ..I paid for the ferry only to get a confirmation for a car not a Motorhome.. Thought it too cheap ..The Driver sorted it at an extra cost of £25 for a mistake .. grrrrrr I think it was the delay in payment and it went back to the original quote.. All booked now so will plan our days accordingly ..We must have two in St Sebastião for a feast of Pintxo .. Yummy Basque food and a day to shop in the booze super stores .. not on a Sunday as we have been caught out before trying to shop on a Sunday as it’s closed
We left Hetty on the quay side to head to the ferry .. we miss read the timetable and had to wait for the next one ..The next ferry was at 12 noon and in the time in between one not going and the next one The Driver has his beard trimmed .. he was looking a tad shaggy
The crossing was calm ..sunny and short 15 minutes into Vigo Old town ..
Not impressed it’s derelict.. most of the building are just facades with nothing inside just rubble .. I’ve never seen this in a Spanish city as they are usually well preserved .. There was a church and an ally in the old style then just modern ..
Sighs .. Lunch time .. a well represented cafe full of locals was chosen ..just sea food or a very expensive paella .. we had the mussels and a glass of wine but the portion couldn’t feed a sparrow .. sighs again … paid and went in search of something to stimulate the senses only to find YACHTING ..
Looks like the Spanish Laser Masters with lots of others in different fleets going out of the harbour at the same time .. Two sailing zones .. the Lasers looked to have the best of the wind off towards the island
A bar was found over looking the action after a wander round the dinghy park and beer was purchased so not a bad afternoon now back at the sleep spot in Moana
Not so much housekeeping but gas hunting .. we are nearly out and use it for cooking ..heating and keeping the fridge cold ..(beer cold) We have a tank under Hetty which has to be filled at a garage BUT the garages who sell said Gas won’t put it in her “Only cars” said the jobs worth .. A fair trek of 30km back south .. I said as we passed the gas depot on the way north to Porto “Let’s fill up ” BUT we drove past ..and now we go back and it rained and rained so nothing to go and look at .. I don’t think the Portuguese are used to rain as the roads were swamped.. No drainage said The Driver..
Gas purchased and now to drive back and across the Porto Bridge .. a very different view today .. and on to our next port of call VILA DO CONDE and a lovely sleepy spot over looking a seriously rolling sea ..Fisher men out chattering with a couple of other campervans from Spain and France
A walk was called for before we left the next morning to the Castle on the shore which was used for weddings .. what a fabulous venue ..
Where next .. A headland in Baiona again over looking the sea and the islands off shore .. Next to a little church ransacked by Sir Francis Drake .. Four other vans there ..again see our map for GPS cooed .. I will add em later
Another walk into town .. It’s such a shame the ancient building are left to rot .. a lovely little town but lots of dereliction in the old quarter and the fishermen housing ..
We found a service garage Repsol on the Main Street which had all the facilities any travelling camper van needs ..
Water.. Fuel ..empty your stored dirty water and not least a loo dump .. and very needed .. we had to pay a little more for fuel and The Driver is now looking at other diesel garages with a”That’s 9c cheaper”… so off to Vigo .. well not yet .. there’s no sleepy spots there so our thought were to go across the bay and get the ferry into Vigo tomorrow morning and have a look round and a light lunch .. Found a parking place in Moana on the harbour