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
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
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
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
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
The disappointment of not getting to bathe in the hot springs at Saturna and the awful roads there after !
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 !!
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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 ….
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
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.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard. But this is not the end. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.Thought provoking
On a lighter note
Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell
Vince and Joyis the fifth novel written byLisa Jewelland published in 2005.Like, her previous books, it focuses on the trials and tribulations of relationships.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.😱😫🤢
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
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
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
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
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.
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 ♥️
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 😱😩😡
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
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 ..
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 🤪
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 😂😎♥️
(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 …🤪
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 ….
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
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
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 ..
Yet again San Sebastián Pintxo wins ..but Taverne de St Jacques in Navarrenx ..even though we didn’t understand a word of the menu came in a close second ..Third but by no means last was La Bathía in Moana Portugal for their fish dish .. still don’t know what is was but was delicious
Just gorgeous with its massive waves .. A little too tourist for our liking .. I think a winter visit would be good I wasn’t over amóured with The Algarve ..Far too many tourists and a little too warm at 35C
Portuguese Romanies ..
The boulder village .. The houses just slotted into the crack between boulders
WEIRDEST Bone Chapel in Campo Major
Public washing lines along with a public wash house on the quayside near Porto
BEST SUNSET AND DAWN
Cabo de St Vicente Portugal .. We watched the sunset on the west side of the peninsula and The Driver thought it an idea to waken me up to go take a photo of the dawn on the East side of the peninsula which I did 😇😴
Didn’t like Pamplona or Vigo…
PORTUGAL Monsaraz and Monsanto SPAIN Cereres Olivera and El Ricio
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
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 ….
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.
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
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
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 ..
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 ..
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 ..
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
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 .. Hit Lidl for fish fingers and wedges now we can cook in the oven again and settled down to watch yet another sunset in the Iberian peninsula.. we love it here ..
The carpark which doubles as an aire with out any facilities other than a bin is scruffy but very useable and free with 30/40 Motorhome’s parked up and a gorgeous view over the river to Porto itself
A walk says The Driver and off we go .. trainers on .. but dressed up in clean shorts and nice top .. carrying a sweater as the weather looks changeable..A board walk has been layed out on the river side of the road away from the traffic making it a pleasant 2mile walk to the bridge to take us across the Douro river and into Porto itself.. On the Gaia side of the river are all the derelict Port Houses sadly left to rot away ..The live aboard River Cruises are on the side of the river awaiting the next influx of guests
We walk across the lower bridge The Ponte Luis 1st which is the traffic bridge and wander the quayside in Porto.. Lovely restaurants and cafes with the lunch trade spending mega money to eat there ..We didn’t !
The Driver turned UP at the end of the wharf area ..I knew it .. nothing flat round here .. A lot of renovation going on and the town needs it .. The old historical buildings are dilapidated to say the least and work is going on without much awareness of H&S as we walk down the lovely old streets with building work going on everywhere., even the Cathedral is being done up and is a no go area just popped my camera in to take a pic More up HE said on to the top of the bridge.. Very high .. Don’t look down ..
The Drivers observations..
The bridges top level combines pedestrians and the Metro which made The Cook jump out of her skin when a modern double tram went past .. She scares easily ..The views are great from so far up even though the sun was not conducive to take photos.
.. Wending our way down to the river level was fine but wouldn’t have like to climb up this side
The Cook complained of a stone in her trainer and sat down to remove it .. she got up without any help from me so decided she could sit down on the river side cafe for a beer without seizing up .. The river gondolas which ferried the port barrels out to the ships for transportation around the world but mainly to the UK apparently are all moored here .. A walk of 14,118 steps in total which is the best daily average so far..
Holed up here in an Aire de camping in VISEU 1000 ft above sea level awaiting an Apocalyptic storm .. Yes it rained .. and blew .. Rocking Hetty but nothing to panic about ..The German van next to us had left the coast to come here inland and high .. They were very worried ..We’re not scared as we’ve been in much worse on our last adventure in The Outer Hebrides with Storms Ophelia and Brian which led us to park up in between shipping containers to shield us from the winds which went on for days .. This storm was all over in an hour or two but Portugal isn’t used to weather as we know it coming from T’Nowf of England
Survived the storm a few trees down as we went out for a walk to see VISEU A tad run down sadly
.. but very unusual buildings ..Sort of on a Dutch style .. Nice but empty 18th century buildings just awaiting either the bulldozer or a VERY rich benefactor to put them back to the original
Look who we found sunning her self on the Cathedral wall
Back to Hetty via a bun shop for The Drivers lunch and off again to the coast ..
En-Route Hetty had a birthday 100K on the clock .. and how we cheered ..
Another mountainous journey towards the coast finding a sleepyspot about half an hours drive away from the sea .. WHAT a find The place is called ESTARREJA.. GPS COORD are
€2 for 48 hours with Leccy Water Loo Dump .. Just go to the Cafe Piscina for a key to lower the parking space lock which is yours for the 48 hrs even if you go off to Lidl or the coast ..it’s yours ..
Please UK try harder .. Just think of the business that would be brought into villages if we did this .. At least Barrowford has caught on and put a sleepyspot in the Heritage carpark for £5 GPS55.8542 -2.21006
So that’s about it for today Frey Bentos Steak n Kid Pie.. Mash n Mushy peas for tea as it’s cool enough to cook tonight.. and a need to empty storage as well to make room for wine to bring home in the under seat storage..Ohh and a lovely sunset as the oven goes on
“Whose squirting water on Hetty” The Driver grunts as we are awakened by water being intermittently showered on Hetty .. Not Friday night yobs but the sprinkler system for watering the grass at our sleepy spot at way past midnight
Guess what … More up n up n up but this time in Hetty not Shank’s pony .. “I’m not going through the town ” says The Driver turning right and UP and not straight through the town and the lower valley .. I didn’t ask why .. sometimes I keep my mouth shut .. not very often but now seemed to be the right time ! We are off up SERRA DÀ ESTRELA
Narrow roads with drops to make your insides turn inside out
Over the top with a smart hotel awaiting us (closed out of season) The up side was green and lush but as we went over to the next valley we came across the evidence of last year’s wild fires which killed 100s of people ..
We are now in VISEU and a rest before another trek to the town …
The object of today’s journey is to get as far away from Spain as possible as its their National Day ..A holiday to commemorate Christopher Columbus finding America Its on Friday so off we go back to Portugal to what The Driver says is a Roman bridge …Romanesque Alcantana …It’s raining and The Cook has a bad back .. and NOT in the mood for yet another Roman historical walk ..Being a kind Driver we go to the bridge instead of the town (yawns) to find its not Roman but Gothic Romanesque.. the bumf said it was the tallest bridge and we would like to argue that fact as we think the Ronda Bridge is much higher ..photos were taken in the drizzle that we int nowf call a soft day..
On now to the garden .. This is JARDIM do Paço Episcopal in Castelo Branco just over the border in Portugal..The attendant turned the fountains on for us as he explained “Its late season No tourist ” We like them and wandered .. looking at the water gardens and The Driver collected a few lemons off the trees .. and off we go again to MONSANTO … A sleepy spot was recommended in the village of Relva .. A village square allowing campervan a sleep over .. The Driver thought it unsafe or possibly impossible to take Hetty up to the village on the hill and he was correct.. A walk was called for but a sleep first as The Cook had been awake all night because The Driver had cheese for supper and kept The Cook awake by kicking her when the gorilla he dreamt of was trying to escaped !!!!
Early morning and ham n eggs for breakfast .. walking trainers on .. sunscreen ..hats and cameras in The Drivers rucksack .. and off the intrepid adventurers go … UP and UP and more UP to the village on the hill build on boulders … It’s fabulous Yet another of this country’s treasures..We climb to The Citadel .. Muslim built and after the Knights Templar had finished Twatting em turned it to Christianity A church was built into the Citadela walls .. it was closed but that doesn’t stopThe Cook getting her photo.. Its a touch Troglodyte with houses built in the hole in between the bolders .. The narrowest of Streets ..
It’s was a climb of 2486ft but worth it .. what a view from the top although The Driver did take his life in his hands walking on the walls of the castle without any barriers .. and only slipped once .. ouch
Tomorrow is a mystery..as you know we don’t have any books or info for Portugal and are just playing it by ear .
What were we thinking of the last time we were here in Caceres which is over four years ago.. We didn’t go into the town … why .. I think we were touristed out ..after our trek south visiting so many glorious cities naming but a couple Leon ..Avila .. Salamanca ..Zamora ..The Villages of Mogarraz.. La Alberca and Miranda Del Castanar in as many days.. so it seems we couldn’t be bothered with a walk into Cáceres for the Aire by the park .. I’m so glad I felt guilty about leaving with out visiting and said to The Driver we must make amends and go back over the border for a visit which also coincided with a fuel fill up and as the diesel is cheaper in Spain it didn’t take any persuading on my part to get The Driver back across the border Portuguese fuel is at least 20cents per litre more expensive…
The Aire in CÁCERES was jammed .. one place left other than the one nearest to the loo dump and no one wants to park in that one…
A walk into town and yes it was up and up but not as up as previous villages .. Still a cardio workout for The Cook who has a bad back 😱
What a treat What a lovely old town .. very much on the style of Sienna in Italy.. Palaces ..Churches ..
Lovely squares and more up in the Cathedral to the bell tower ..
The Cook nearly didn’t make it this time ..But after a beer in the main square we resurrected her .. and back to Hetty ..Supper and an early bed .. 9pm .. Knackered
Today we had a plan of visiting the Bone Chapel and Castle at Campo Major then onto Marvao….After a slow start we arrived at the tourist office at 12:00 ..picked up a town map and had a walk around the outside of the Castle (not open) reading the map wrongly because we intended to do the Bone Chapel first now off to find the Bone Chapel but guess what it was closed too . The Cook rang the door bell next to the chapel a gentleman informed us it closed for two hours, the access door was further away than his door and went back to his flat above the Chapel to finish his lunch. The Cook and I put our noses against the bars on the very dirty Chapel window to look inside and the cook then put her camera against the window to take a photo successful . “Very mucky window “she said.
Here is the history
Annexed to the lovely Campo Maior Mother Church, this is the second largest bone chapel in the Country (the biggest one is located in the famous São Francisco Church, in Évora).
Dated from 1766 the Chapel was built after the huge explosion on a powder magazine back in 1732 which destroyed much of the city and caused around one thousand deaths.
The Chapel’s interior is totally covered with the victim’s bones of this tragedy. The floor pavement dates already from the 20th century.
So there you have it
Back to Hetty and off again towards Marvao…Passing through a very smart looking village we stopped for lunch in some nice shade next to a very full stream. The Driver discovered it had two weirs with a bridge across to a busy and very noisy cafe .
After lunch on the road again satnav said turn right after 5 mins The Cook said are we sure this is the way it’s more like a track in the Lake District. Onward we went the track was very smooth but narrow (so narrow that if we met anything we would be buggered) with no passing places and we wended higher and higher( I did not know that Heather grows on the Spanish/Portuguese border) then on cresting another rise at a junction the road widened(sigh of relief from The Cook) Shortly after what’s that on top of the mountain in front ..A castle and a bit of white .It’s Marvão at 2840 ft from sea level!..Very imposing and very high . Hetty climbed very well and we arrived at a Motorhome service point with a sign saying no overnight and a fine of €150. Off we trotted to a parking spot a lot nearer the top.
Marvao is a fabulous spot not as touristy as Monsaraz but better because of this. There seemed to be lots of unused houses becoming a bit bedraggled and with narrow roads with no traffic which made The Cook happy. As we walked an climbed to the top a lovely garden and fountain in a pond just before the castle entrance reminiscent of the towns Moorish origin
€1.50 each to enter(no pensioner discount) but I can thoroughly recommend an extended walk around this imposing and well preserved Castle ..its fabulous . If you have children beware the walls only have protection to the outside and it’s quite a drop on the inside but well worth the walk around. You can see for miles and miles in all directions. The Driver went up all the towers and round all the walls but The Cook went into the gift shop and said the scarves where quite reasonably priced.
We sussed out an overnight spot in carpark 0 the only level place on this hill but decided to move down to a village nearby as a sleepy spot in Castelo de Vine’s sports complex was on the map as available in 12k
On arrival we parked in the shade of the giant Aqueduct and I mean it’s bloody gynormous. After the heat of the day started to dissipate we went for a stroll into the historical centre which is a fortified town and was strategically important . Used by Spain, Portugal and the Brits as a base. Either to beat up Spaniards or all together to beat up The French.
Inside it’s all fairly dull but with a nice Cathedral, Castle and lots of fortified walls . The English cemetery was a cool quiet space and on the walk back through the town square a beer was very welcome. The town has extra fortifications (2 Star forts on two nearby hills ) these where built when it was realised that the new generation of big guns could hit the town from here so where built for strategic protection.
As the town grew the water resources where not adequate so the impressive aqueduct was built approx 7 km long from some springs it must be at least 30m high as it dog legs to the cistern built inside the city walls enough for about 4 months if a siege was to destroy the aqueduct.
We had a cool and fairly quiet night other Motorhome’s parked in the full heat of the sun to use there satellite TVs.
The Cook said she wasn’t keen on this Elvas.. It was a look at the Aqueduct and leave sort of place !
The next day we went to shop at Lidl but they haven’t finished building it yet so went to Intermarch where you can service your van free and park for up to 48 hours . I think it will suffer badly when Lidl is finished as the selection of goods was not brilliant.The Cook bought chicken and as she has all the ingredients for a curry that’s on the agenda for supper
Head for the hills was the cry .. may be cooler than the 34c .. An over night spot was located on “searchforsites” Theres another van here from Giggleswick a village in the Yorkshire dales quite near us at home .Not the chatty type of northerners we are used to .. Is it us ?? Has a sniff ..clean clothes ..so we’re ok ..The Driver decides he wanted real food and proceeded to perform his culinary chef like skills and produced sausage egg n baked beans .. very yummy
A temperature drop from 34c to 15c this morning at this sleepy spot in the hills by a reservoir …Aljustrel Baragem do Roxo is the name of the lake we think but it was a very peaceful nights sleep BUT any one considering using this spot shouldn’t bring a dog as there is a group of Wild /Feral dogs here OK with people but other dogs beware ! I can see the Res with the land around it flat and golden as the early morning sun comes up yet again warming Hetty and her Crew
Where are we off today you ask ?
MONDAREZ GPS 38.4488 -7.37972
MONSAREZ a hill town with a castle .. church and cute village or so the travel bumf said ..
They are correct .. wonderful spot .. met up with the Yorkshire couple who seem quite chatty now .. Parked up in the walls of the outer walls of the village .. perfect over night spot with lots of others .. difficult to get in if your long .. one chap bottomed out and knocked his spare wheel off .. again great spectator sport..
A walk up into the village lots of wall climbing which seems to be the The Drivers new sport .. Castle walls again .. The Cook isn’t happy with heights ..but the village is superb .. see my photos .. a beer in a bar over looking the agricultural landscape of Cork trees olive plantations and Vine groves
Drinks on the terrace Janet and Barry from Giggleswick who now have names came over and brought us a list of lovely go to places .. off piste …How very kind !
So tomorrow we are off to ELVAS to see The 7504 meters long Aqueduct Then on to Campo Major where there is a bone church built from the bone of the people blown up when lightening struck the gunpowder works ..
“Naaa!” Said The Driver as he inspected my 5 days worn white shorts “ No one will notice if the’re mucky or not “ take it from me they are mucky
We are at Cabo da St Vincente amongst dozens of campervans of all size’s and shapes and then the Portuguese arrived to see the sunset …
amongst the Tourist Tat stalls .. Jumper stalls (its said to be cold here ) Even the Muppet Train turned up(The Muppet train is the sight seeing tourist vehicle with a couple of coaches tagged on the back which usually touts around a big town sight seeing …There’s one in Gozo and this is where we got the name MUPPET TRAIN used by our daughter for tourists )
A chill wind made me shiver as the sun was setting over the Lighthouse and a fleece was put one for the first time since northern France.. Autumn approaches ..
The Driver lit our BBQ although me being ever cautious thought it a tad windy .. lots of spark in a tinder dry area .. A shield of baking trays was erected to control the wind under the flame Lidl’s finest Burger and sausages were slapped on with a Kebab of old peppers onions and tomato’s served with couscous ala Lidl A cheese board followed with Emmental Cheddar Camembert and a black skinned French one which is a favourites of The Driver A red wine was called for.. one small glass of Crianza Estola @ €3 fro Lidl but perfectly acceptable and much better than the 90c cardboard packaged bricks of red wine we gave up early in our European travels
I awoke at 7am ish with The Driver said “Go take a photo of the dawn to complete the picture “ME staggered out of Hetty and did as requested
Now we’re off to the hills and away from tourist hell !!!
Preparing to leave the Rocío camp GPS 37.1415 -6.49083 site we had to park Hetty on the grey water dump that doubled as a motor wash area and as Hetty was now a grey brown with fly smudges I decided to have a free car wash . They charge for this but as the site was so dusty and the pool closed I decided to just go for it. By the time the tank was empty her nose was clean so I flushed her tank from the drain and did her bum whilst waiting”sneaky I thought”.
We stopped after leaving the site and The Cook said I have a castle for you so off we rolled to Castillo de Niebla . On arrival we parked at the front and went for a stroll to find it was a Moorish fortified town in its previous life. The fortification gates had the Moorish arch but the original entrance was offset at 90 degrees to prevent the use of a battering ram with a murder hole above the doorway. The Portuguese had cut a big hole in the wall to allow present day traffic to pass .
Inside the walls the mosque had been converted to a Catholic Church but the washing area had been preserved as a potted plant garden.. very nice it was too. Inside the space felt much warmer than outside which seemed strange.
After a stroll across town to an original undamaged gate we wandered back to the castle ..Its internal space is used for theatre and shows etc The recently used stage and seating was being dismantled. The old Moorish castle has not been well preserved but has not been badly knocked about either . It is famed for having been the first to be involved with gunpowder but did not have structures for its use defensively so I assume the attackers used it . Access was available to some of the towers and to the dungeons which had been decorated with lots of ghoulish kit to torture and damage bodies. An area inside was described as a gunpowder store but there was nowhere on the battlements for cannon.
At €2.50 each I thought it was good value for money, but if you bring children take care as some of the areas have no barriers to big drops and the stairs are uneven and slippy but they will love the dungeons.
Back in Hetty for a big drink of water and off we toddled off to Travira and The border
A TOLL TALE
PORTUGAL has a Toll system which if we inadvertently use a Toll even for a mile we would be charged BUT if you haven’t put your credit card into the system you are tolled and a fine is added so we decided rather than risk a fine to put my credit card details in as security BUT where is the machine to do it The Driver asks as we can see the border bridge.. The Cook doesn’t know so The Driver Shouts But The Cook still doesn’t know !!! The border looms and a sign saying “Foreigners” in big writing is very obvious.. off into the foreigners area where there’s a machine to enter Barclaycard details a photo is taken of your registration plate we are relieved of 75cents admission fee .. now we will be tolled and not fined unless we go on a “Green route” but we haven’t worked that one out and The Driver has stopped shouting so all is well
Now we are in Portugal
Most Motorhome’s are on the gravel but we decided to take advantage of a bit of shade on the very large carpark GPS 37.1229 -7.64323 for the municipal market… well away from the business end as we have had issues with markets erected around us before.
After bedding down we had a few local car buffs “The Cook said hooligans” revving and burning rubber for a bit but they soon became bored and roared off into the distance so no problem really.
Next day it’s an explore ..So many tourists … it’s a very pleasant town with a river and narrow lanes leading to The Church but I The Cook hasn’t got a lot to say about it other than the veg and fish market was in full sway ..
Where now said The Driver ? The Cook has found a carpark on a cliff so off we go again
GPS 37.09025 -8.412564
A place called Praia da Marinha
A very successful wildcamping spot ever though a “THOU SHALT NOT PARK “ sign was observed and ignored along with six other camper van of all shapes and sizes
A youngish guy came by searching the ground seemingly he’d lost his key for his hire car .. he’d upgraded to a BMW and driven to Portugal from Malaga where the spare key was .. what a mess .. he’d hired another car to drive back to Spain to get the key and had a tow truck tow the BMW to a secure storage .. We didn’t find the key !
After a quiet night we decided a trip to the beach was in order. Rucksack packed with water ..towel .. and books.Off we trecked down lots of steps to the beach On arrival the waves where pounding onto the small beach and access to the main beach was passed a cliff promontory being pounded by the waves . Some intrepid souls managed to negotiate the lull in the waves and pass round ….Some did not and either where splashed or pounded on the cliff face A family returning .Mum Dad and kids made it Granny and Grandad did not and where rolled by the waves. People still tried the route and not until 2 people were treated for dislocated shoulders did the beach patrol marshall people on both sides of the promontory. Great spectator sport..After a couple of hours we packed our chairs and wended our way back up the steps to Hetty. Our space on the beach was taken in seconds.
Hetty was quite cool as we had left the screens in place so we quickly prepare for the road and headed for the lighthouse on the southwest tip of Portugal stopping at the Sagres Intermarche to service our tanks and as it was the cheapest fuel seen so far in Portugal topped up that tank too( English prices oh shit) .After a stroll around
The lighthouse compound and a look at the tat and pullover stalls back to Hetty . We intend to free camp here tonight GPS 37.023355 -8.994450
We have run out of mobile phone data and have had to buy more .. so don’t expect the same amount of posts I will write em but may have to access WiFi on a campsite soon
These blogs are our way of sending postcards home as I know my brother and sister in law like to read em but don’t know whether our kids bother to read em or not …. sighs
Spelling and grammar mistakes come free of charge .. smiles
Let’s hope this journey is worth it as we had to go to Seville before turning back towards the coast . We considered overnighting in Seville but it was just too hot plus as we passed over the bridge we could see the Aire we were in a couple of years back at Easter and it was rammed full and remembering how hot it was in the carpark Aire a decision was made ..Onwards to El Rocío. On nearing the area we passed through a small village and we must have missed a turn as we found ourselves in a maze of one way narrow streets with a brick arch narrower than Hetty so we had to pull in the wing mirrors and just scraped through with The Cook as a walking guide . Then out into the wilds with a fence both sides of the road but what’s this a series of roundabouts but all have no side roads “strange I thought”. Then speed bumps protecting pedestrian crossings but no footpaths nore pedestrians …This went on for 14 kilometres …Very wearing on The Drivers nerves bump …bump … bump it went ..plus putting a major risk on beer opening with an explosion at our destination.
At last a T junction and turn left for a little while on a normal road and then the camp site. €21 until midday tomorrow ..Shame it’s now after 6pm . I Set Hettys electric cable up …WiFi all included but too late for a washday as tumble dryer broken. I decided to go for a swim to cool down a bit only to be told it CLOSED for the winter yesterday. Oh well beer did not explode and The Driver chilled OUT ..
The Cook blog
Massive wash in the morning and all dry by lunch .. A walk to the town had to wait as the heat was intense .. 6 pm The Driver says ..Have you ever tried to change a Duvet cover in this heat ? We did without any frayed tempers …
House keeping done with a note to ration ginger biscuits 🍪 to 2 a day as supplies are going down fast .. only 1.5 Pks left ..
We even looked at ferry fares for our return to UK then went NAAAAAA …wait a bit …We’re not ready to come home yet ..Even though we miss Ruby ..
A spot or two of rain cleared the beach at Conil de la Frontera.. Crew of Hetty pack up and said where next ?? Cádiz said the Driver ..lots of history He believed we English gave the Spaniards a pasting here in the past ..Driving past Cala de Roche and Playa de la Borrosa on the Atlantic coast .. we didn’t know places like this existed .. Very up market with Mansions not villa’s Near estates … Looks like a place for the very rich n famous .. I bet Thompson’s don’t go here but I will google and let you know .. it’s lovely Playa de la Borrosa has a TUI hotel
HISTORY of CÁDIZ
According to legend, Cadiz was founded by Hercules who also supposedly created the nearby Straits of Gibraltar. However, most scholars believe that the city was started as a trading post by the Phoenicians as early as 1100 B.C. As a result, Cadiz claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe.
The Phoenicians were followed by the Carthaginians in 511 B.C. However, when the Carthaginians were defeated by the Romans in the Second Punic War, Cadiz became a Roman city. The remains of a large Roman theater were discovered in Cadiz in the 1980s.
Cadiz was captured by the Visigoths in the 5th century. The Moors occupied Cadiz from 711 A.D. To 1262 when King Alfonso X of Castile brought it under Spanish control.
The Age of Discovery led to a golden age in Cadiz. Christopher Columbus launched his second and fourth voyages to the New World from Cadiz. Subsequently, Cadiz became an important base for the Spanish treasure fleet. And when Seville ceased to be a viable port for ocean going ships in the 18th century, Cadiz became the center for trade with the Americas. The city became rich and cosmopolitan.
Cadiz’s rise attracted Spain’s enemies. The Barbary pirates launched a series of attacks. However, the attacks by Spain’s great enemy England were much more signifigant. To delay the build up of the Spanish Armada, Sir Francis Drake attacked in 1587. He occupied the city for several days and burnt ships in the harbor which delayed the Armada’s attack on England by a year. The Earl of Essex led a successful attack in 1596, again occupying and looting the city. Unsuccessful English attacks followed in 1625 and 1702.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Spain at first sided with Spain and the combined French and Spannish fleets sortied from Cadiz only to be defeated by Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. After Napoleon attempted to place his brother on the throne of Spain, Spain joined with Great Britain to fight Napoleon. Cadiz was one of the few Spanish cities to successfully resist French occupation and Cadiz became the de facto capital of unoccupied Spain.
So there you have it ..
Parked up yet again in a €3 per 24hr carpark next to the docks .. lots of police presence and the cranes stopped loading the ships at about 9pm so a very good nights sleep ..
Morning and off to see the city before the heat kicks in .. I think it is the hottest I’ve ever been .. What it was like in July/ August doesn’t bare thinking about
The guns on the sea wall
Avenues of cooling walks which reminded me of Seville
Cat hotel on the rocks
€6 to walk round the Cathedral .. I’ve seen better
Big door and arches on the Main Street
The Main Square where I bought my self a red fan … wafting breeze
The bridge out and the heat .. Again to hot to breath
Next stop El Ricio .. A campsite .. Housekeeping to do .. Need a washing machine
An off from Gibraltar for a servicing ..Grey water and cassette sorted Water in the tank ..even a few litres of diesel added to Hetty’s tank .. A good spot in Tarifa as we’d been told about ..an Aire to park up for the night …No thnx a carpark in the town was a no go and off to the beach .. another recommended sleepyspot further up the coast ..
GPS WILDCAMPING 36.0465 -5.63558
Quiet here said The Driver as he watched an Eagle or very big raptor circling over head looking for a small dog to eat ..We are now parked up on a sandy scrubland which seems to be used by the New Age Hippy types in their converted buses with home tutored kids.. Dreadlocks abound.. tattoos and ankle bangles compulsory even though a tad dated..So 70’s wish I’d kept my Kaftans and Indian jewels ..would have fitted in well
Such a quiet night ..only the waning moon and the stars.. Camp dogs quiet…and a long sleep
Kites swirled on the morning beach as we saunter up the road North towards Portugal
Where next The Cook asked …The Drivers reply sent shivers down the Cooks arms ..ROMAN RUINS he said ……..As reader of my blog know Roman Ruin are not my thing ..I have no interest what so ever ..but they fascinate The Driver so off we go to “BAELO CLAUDIA”
The Drivers blog ..
After parking Hetty in a nearly empty car park we entered a boxy Architect designed structure containing a pay kiosk,shop and museum. At the kiosk we thought we had to pay 1 1/2 euros but found that EU citizens get in free.
The site is a whole town that was created by Romans to take advantage of the migratory tuna passing in and out of the Mediterranean through the Gibraltar Straights. The salted and cured fish plus several types of paste where traded far and wide and into Morocco. The township is well situated with a harbour and between two streams which were where culverted into town for fish curing water supply and sanitation purposes.
There are no remains of the harbour but about 50% of the town has been uncovered. With lots of curing pits towards the harbour and housing .. courts ,baths,forum,markets,temples and a theatre further up the hill,obviously to get away from any smells associated with the gutting and processing.
We spent a couple of hours wandering around and by midday back at Hetty the carpark was nearly full. So our timing was again excellent.
Back to the Cook
Back down to the coast road and after a small NO Parking detour lunch on a small harbour
An array of Anchors Rusty and very big .. we wondered if it’s was like a car part breakers yard for ships anchors
A very wild camping place was found on the map after our attempt to park in Conil de la Frontera with wall to wall Spain heading for the beach ..we gave it up as a bad job wandering off up the road to a cliff top carpark in the sand and a perfect beach .. we got there at the right time and got the front row parking overlooking the sea and sunset .. perfect
It a good thing we weren’t going anywhere as the carpark filled with vans and cars
Early morning on the beach .. surfers out .. families set up … and then it RAINED
Parked up on the prom on The Spanish side of the border at La Linea de la Concepcion John got chatting with a chap who was parked in a free to park place next to the €5 to park place He thought it would suit our needs until an ENGLISH guy with a big tatty camper said we were to close to him .. invading his space .. some of these grumpy old men think they own the place as they go to “Winter” there every year .Well we don’t care Stuff him and off we toddle to the pay for site next door on the football club carpark and pay our €5 .. good site over looking the Med .. lots of rolling waves and The Cloud above the Rock rolls as well it’s called Lavante
Very interesting weather concept .. well I think so
After last night libations and face book chats with Family ..A posting of photos of the party of two went Viral
In the morning we walked to the border ..Show passports and across we went .. Driving on the UK side of the road and telephone boxes J saw a red post box as well .. pure tourism but it has been said the Gibraltans are more British than us ..
First stop was Morrison’s for a big breakfast I know we are sado’s but hey ho .. when in Morrison’s have a breakfast
Back on the bus .. Did I say The buses are London red .Again tourist Got off at the cable car stop .. small queue so not to bad or long a wait .. £28 was paid by The Driver (senior rate) a saving of £2 ..then up n up n up
To be greeted on the top by a Barbary Ape
The Rock seemed very built up looking over to the Mediterranean side Morocco could be seen in the hazy distance with ferries coming and going ..and down again to a massive queues of people waiting in line to go up .. we chose the right time .. by luck not management.A walk down Main Street ..popped into M&S for a cotton tee shirt ..Main Street was a hive of activity ..if our main shopping streets were as busy.. our towns would still be alive ..
Back to Morrison’s to get shopping to carry across the border .. Now on a wild camping spot for the night west of Tarifa
Looks like it’s been used for land yachting with a track laid out in the sandy dirt.. Lots of kite surfers out over the road on miles of golden sand .. Tomorrow off to Cádiz
After our building site over night stay and photos taken by a woman in a car ..Strange we thought ..again she probably thought us Scouts for the Tinkers to park up .. but no .. we are off never to return ..and on to The Lakes near Alora .. Turquoise blue .. Very windy today .. Parked up for lunch in a sleepyspot from searchforsites
GPS 36.9457 -4.78928
It’s a smashing place in the woods ..On the edge of the Lakes and would have been an overnighter but it’s only lunch time and road trip are an on the move feast for the eyes .. Much to early to park up .. The Driver aqueous’s and off we go to OLVERA.. A mountainside town for cycle fanatics as there’s an abandoned 37k long railway line which has been turn into a cycle track with all the tunnels with sensory lighting to ride through .. As it was full moon this was the time for the night rides .. I think The Driver fancies it as one can hire bikes from the local hotel .. He didn’t go !
Next morning The Cook said let get off early before the general public get out and about ..We will find a carpark and have a look around Olvera …A parking spot found after an amazing hill climb Well done Hetty .. and this carpark could be a new wildcamping place .. No “THOU SHALT NOT PARK” signage .. here are the Coords
GPS 36.937575 -5.267379 ..
If used remember its up hill through narrow lanes and I would say smaller campers would be better…
OLVERA IS FABULOUS
White with a castle on top plus a church still on top as well .. The Cook is very happy as all this loveliness has been achieved without any stress ..
Untill … The Satnav (spits) takes us on what I class as DAFT routes .. this one was getting out of Olvera .. Not SatNavs fault really .. A builders lorry is parked at his job .. roofing we think .. to tight a gap for Hetty so we think .. But along comes a guy and helps with the navigation with inches to spare .. We thanked him and off the now jolly Crew of Hetty went … Down and down ..Then up and up finding little white villages hewn into the mountain face one was SETENIL .. The Driver has plumbed into SatNav the Fields way as we pass the turn to Ronda we chuckled.. no need to stress out and find a parking spot as we’ve been before ..hahaha …
We say let’s go up every hill and down every ravine in The Sierra de Grazalema which we do and it’s just amazing and on to our final destination of Gibraltar 🇬🇮 .
We stayed over on the way to GRANADA in an aire found at Velez-Rubio..yet again searchforsites.. Basic with services… 5 level pitches …No leccy …Free of Charge BUT WHO let the dogs out Barking all night ..Nothing to recommend about the town just convenient as a way stop between want to visit towns of interest to Hetty’s Crew.. The Cook didn’t sleep a wink.. Sighs
Early morning off to Granada to a parking spot found a good looking level carpark on searchforsites by THE ABBEY DE SACAMONTE
high above Granada with a near perfect view of the world famous ALHAMBRA PALACE
THE Driver decided we would take a walk ..Down to the village of ALBAYZIN ..Bottom of the very steep hill The Cooks legs decided after the LORCA walk this was not a great idea ..calf muscle hadn’t got their elasticity back ..There’s a bus stop said The Driver and its going our way ….Smiles … What a way to see Granada as it was the circular bus which took us all round the city ..past ALHAMBRA
No tickets to go visit but just to view it was fine and back up to Albazin and it’s alleys and courtyards ..just gorgeous .
On our return to Hetty found stuck to her door a note from the authorities.. Perhaps the Monks thought us a Tinker camp scout for the rest of the tribe to follow ..We have warned searchforsites of the” THOU SHALT NOT”over night here ..
Off we toddled being seriously chastised by some official to find a sleepy spot else where ..Not a good idea as it was going towards dusk ..We like to find a place pre dark but this time nothing until we came across a Commercial site ..New builds and stopped there