Meeting ourtour.co.uk ….Jason Julie and the lovely Charlie the pooch
J being Marco Pierre
Not getting to Andorra
The storm force gale above Portlligat
Place to stay longest
Nagusia Lau in San Sebastián for Pintxo
Now for cost
We try to manage off £50 per day for everything including the ferry fare of £678 and we have come in just under budget at about £44.33 This does not included the stash of booze we bought back
Here’s a rundown of spending for 33 days which excluding ferry fare cost €29-22 ish per day Not bad eh!!
Shopping mostly Lidl
Campsites and Aires
Outings including eating out and entrance fees
On ferry costs
Map of travel
Last day of this trip HE said lets run away from responsibilities and head south instead we are heading north to Bilbao But no expense spared we hit the toll road.. People have no idea how utterly lovely northern Spain is and this toll road took us up through the mountains and back down to sea inlets with bobbing boats .. We have been down to Santiago la Campostilio on the Green Coast road for Christmas 20 years back to see the Big Bong (incense swinger)being hauled through the cathedral by forty monks on Christmas Day and after into The posh Parador for hot chocolate .. All wonderful memories of North Spain
BIG wine shop … €100 worth and for us that’s good going as the most expensive we buy for ourselves is no more than €1.50 and as you can pick up a lt carton of vin rouge for 55c it’s a good one .. But birthday presents and thnx for looking after our pussies it has to be a special one or two.. Some Grand cru or something like that and the eternal Cava .. Slap a bit of Aprol and soda in it and one could dream of being in Venice
Lovely sunshine for our leaving .. A little bumpy but then at about 10pm change of direction .. We are searching for a vessel who has put out a mayday
BAY OF BISCAY.
DISTRESS SIGNAL RECEIVED FROM VESSEL DAISY MAY VICINITY OF 44° 55.0’N 003° 59.7’W. AT 2155 UTC 09 DEC 2015.
VESSELS IN VICINITY REQUESTED TO KEEP A SHARP LOOKOUT, ASSIST IF POSSIBLE. REPORTS TO MRCC ETEL,
TELEX: 42950519, PHONE: 332 9755 3535,
FAX: 332 9755 4934, E-MAIL: ETEL@MRCCFR.EU.
(092238Z DEC 2015
Wow excitement if we’ed have known what was going on .. I have a f/b friend who knows everything nautical and I asked what was going on he sent this info back to me
Holed up in Portsmouth over night in a sleepyspot 5 min from the ferry at Port Solent GPS coords 50.84312 -1.095508 and it’s FREE
THAT ALL FOR NOW FOLKS .. Speak soon Hetty Hymer will be off somewhere over the Christmas / Newyear so watch this space for more TRAVELSWITHHETTY
Photos to be uploaded later wifi rubbish
Another day in San Seb .. We are the lucky ones…
Cool and over cast so what do we do today as it’s our penultimate day in Spain and of travelswithhetty for this year as the ferry leaves for UK tomorrow at 15-15pm …
Let go down town for the lunch we have been promising our selves for the last 30 or so days ..
Bus No 5.. this time getting off at the west end of the bay and headed for the old town just 3 ml away .. Even with the drop in temperature people on the beach both surfing and swimming .. Mad !!!
Now to find a restaurant with in our price range .. Not La Perla at €45 each and one where we could understand the menu as mifi gadget was left behind and it’s good for translation ..saw one but now to find it again after we’ve walked all the streets of the old town … Another 20 mins of searching and YES it’s here .. OK I say .. In we go .. By this time it’s near 3pm and didn’t want to return to Hetty unfed .. Small room .. White table clothes .. Just one table left .. That’s ours ..and breath … Menu in English .. The host has English .. Sighs … I will have Paella as my starter So does J .. I ask for the cod in green sauce ..HE for meat balls !!!?+#% … Me Profiteroles ..Him Rice pudding ..and within the plate la jour is a bottle of house white …
Paella was huge .. He said a bit bland .. My cod was poached in moulles marinare sauce with bread to mop up the gravy .. Yummy ..His meatballs were disappointing !?!?! But his rice pudding was described as warm ice cream with lumpy bits …I hate rice pud of any sort ..
All in all a perfect last day lunch costing €39 for two with wine and coffee .. Yr can’t beat that ….full to busting we stagger to our bus stop and hopped or rather crawled back onto a No 5 to the University and Hetty Hymer
Charmed again by lovely San Sebastián .. An evening in town started with a walk around the headland ..dodging rogue waves as they pounded the rocks below ..HE said it leads to the old town and yet again HE’S correct ..The Corniche road does lead to the old town Why DO I argue when HE knows every thing .. Crowds of people on a bank holiday Monday or Constitution day but defiantly a long weekend for Spain ..This must be the reason the Aire de campingcar was full to bursting… Spillage down the roads by the university .. We managed a place by waiting for people to move on or home which ever the case maybe ..
Back to the evenings outing into town .. We don’t go out .. We eat in the van with a glass or two of Spain’s finest wine from Lidl and are quite happy to do this until I decide Enough is Enough and I WANT TO GO OUT
Hopped on a No 5 bus to the prom .. Walking people .. Sunset lookers or just like us wanderers every where .. Street entertainment and such even a funfair ..
Now San Seb is famous for it Tapas or in the Basque area it called Pintxos
We wandered .. Had a glass of wine and a sample of pintox in a couple of bars but nothing to write home about until we came across in the midst of a crowd listening to a string quartet on the steps of the Casino a little bar called Nagusia Lau .. What a treat .. All the goodies set out on the bar … Even tiny bacon eggs and black pudding on a tiny bit of toast .. I had crab piled in egg with prawns as a topping J had a bacon mushroomy thing and black puds a side order of prawns and mussels washed down with a fine dry white .. Then off for the 25 bus back .. Blowing today’s budget .. Hey ho as J says it’s a great way to spend Mr Cameron’s winter fuel allowance
Photos to follow wifi shite ..
Travellers information and places to stay..Johns blog
Whilst at Cap Bretton a lone Brit motorhomer told me of two places worth staying at . St Jean de Luz 43.385198 -1.66301 and Honorribia 43.377874 -1.794418 ( just over the border into Spain ).
On the morning we left CapBreton it was raining and had been a damp night. I decided to take a detour to a village called Ainhoa which is in the foothills of the Pyrenees …it is a fairly up and up road with twisty bits S’s favourite . It looks very Swiss in building style with a lovely church which had 3 tiers around the inside. The village is very old with most houses built around 1660. We where tempted by some local produce which was a very dense rich Ginger bread and is sold by weight and expensive. It’s delicious and very filling we only had a little so it may last a few days.
Then onward to St Jean de Luz it was difficult to get access to the Aire due to a strange road system S became a little agitated as we needed 3 attempts to get to it. This town is lovely and we had a nice walk in the cloudy gloomy afternoon but would probably not suit us in summer as it’s very very touristy.
The overnight was a bit noisy as the Aire was next to the railway station on a very busy line between Madrid and Paris. BUT the following morning the sun was out and we had another lovely walk round the harbour and a visit to the church which was also 3 tiered inside and very grand.
Then Hetty was fired up and we headed along the coast to Spain and Honorribia. The views to seaward on the journey where superb with surfers sailboats etc in most views . Access to the carpark was also an issue here as the satnav tried to take us into the marina . We doubled back to the main road slightly past the indicated route then bugger some roadworks in our way…
Uncharted diversion required we saw our next stop with possibly 50 other motor homes but the carpark is enormous and on a peninsular with a marina on one side and the beach and sea on the other side. Sun was out …lunch and sun bathing ensued life’s bitch EH.?
Leaving Capbreton This Aire de Campingcar ( car park specially for Motorhomes )is set out for 274 vehicles.
Drone photo of the car park for MH
Today just four .. A tiny VW with lifting roof and two pre school age children The parents look sane! .. A very old in fact ancient van with three very young surfers and a dog .. And a lone English male with two dogs .. and a baby gate to secure dogs .. I always think these lone men going off for the winter sun seem very sad .. Very alone and there are plenty of em !!
John is raiding the water tape on the beach 43.641611 -1.444313 as the Aire is closed up for winter and hasn’t any facilities
We have driven to the lower foot hills of the Pyrenees to a uniquely Swiss looking village called Ainhoa..
Three story structures dating back to 1600 …. Like the Pied piper we were loured into a cake shop .. The only open shop… A piece of your ginger cake Si vous plais Monsour ..He said in his best franglais .. 8 euros …it’s had better be the best ginger cake in the world at that price
Moving on to an Aire in St-Jean-de-Luc.. A pretty seaside town with shops to die for ..
We are window shoppers fortunately.. But in my head I spent about €1k .. Back at the Aire to find out it’s not free as we thought €4 for 24hrs .see camping car parking in the bottom right of the picture 43.385182 -1.662859
. Not bad as we have just had 3 hr free .. The ticket man came to check and has ticketed some others .. Oooh fines .. He knocked on our door to ask us to pay .. How kind
Tomorrow off to Honorribia which is over the border just into Spain .
Sunsets and accidental paddling We’ve been here in Capbreton for .. We think its 4 days .. Empty campervan Aire .. A few in and out going off south for the winter .. Massive German wagons towing lil cars .. Not envious .. We couldn’t do with camp sites .. Bore us to death as I think there’s a bit of gypsy in our soul .. Keep rambling on .. Lots of surfing .. Sunshine .. Book reading sitting in the sun .. We Brits love the sun … Long walks on the beach a bit of paddling .. Caught by a wave
.. Wet jeans .. and sunsets … Sleeping like logs 12 hrs some nights .. Tonight’s supper before we move on to Biarritz tomorrow leaving the glorious Cap Breton behind is cooked by Marco J Sharman .. It’s silly hour .. He’s got the bandana on for effect .. Lots of laughter …Is it the wine ???
A bit of a sea fret made the morning chill .. But a long walk is in order
Tractor on the beach clearing washed up trees !Why we don’t know ! Surfs up today .. and there must be a hundred surfers taking advantage of the massive Atlantic waves ..
Some strange rocks from a distance but as we got nearer J said it was part of the German inplacements for Hitlers Atlantic wall now beautifully enhanced with graffiti
On past the yacht harbour and back along the sand dunes ..
Susan’s Smell Incident,By J
Yesterday afternoon S started to complain about a strange smell.
Was it the cauliflower now a couple of days old and the last 1/4 remains No
Was it a dirty tea towel all checked and No
Was it my feet checked and to my relief No ( I do shower regularly).
She put cleaner down the drain . Still a strange smell
She cleaned the toilet within an inch of its life. Still the smell.
This morning after again cleaning we went for a long walk had lunch outdoors and came in as the day cooled still the strange smell .
Out with everything in the cupboards
Check the drains again
Trimmed all surplus of our home grown garlic. Still the smell.
Then S found it it was her favourite Camembert which she does not like to be stored in the fridge.
So the strange smell is identified S is happy but we still have a strange smell!
CHASING THE SUN
BY the left it’s chilly .. Jumper and socks for me in bed… jimjams as well for you lot with vivid imaginations .. Not quite bobble cap and gloves but J did squeek when I warmed my hands on him in the night .. Leccy fire on pre uptime to warm every thing up .. Free wifi used to find the warmer weather and off North was the cry .. Looks sunny on the Atlantic Coast
We’d heard good reports of Capbreton 43.636361 -1.447044 Leccy wifi water and sand dunes all for €8 sounds like a place to stop for a while .. Looks like it will be sunny till Friday
On arrival SUNNY AND WARM but No Leccy No water No Wifi NO charge ..FREE …ALL FOR NOWT ..The Aire de camping is closed for these amenities but we are fully serviced with our own water ..Wifi ..and power .. So we’ll stay as its gonna get warmer ..
Last night on our way north westish an over night stop at an Aire in Dax
43.714171 -1.049796 not much to visit so we didn’t .. But John managed to pick up free wifi from the KFC across the road .. What a bargain as its a free parking aire as well
Lourdes has been likened to Las Vagas with religion or a Rosary bedecked south shore Blackpool with its tat stalls and flashing Virgin Mary statuettes .. Let me tell you it’s none of the fore mentioned but we are seeing the place in winter ..
There ar’nt many pilgrims today and it’s a Saturday ..Small groups of people from the Sub continent in there colourful saris .. Sitting on the steps with a tiffin tinned lunch .. A group of what I assumed were Ugandans as the priest at the Grotto did say a prayer for Uganda ..an elderly couple who spoke English in cycle cloaks .. He at the top of the steps leading to the Basilica .. She down where the crowds should have been .. Looking up .. He directing her “a bit right .. No a bit to your left ” for the perfect photo probably for the Church slide show of their pilgrimage ..
Walking down from our empty campingcar site … Le Vieux Berger coords N43.10451 W000.03320 Payed for by a ticket machine which only takes credit cards €14 for power water and wifi .. Showers closed .. take out food closed .. Mini bus to travel into town not running .. As I said Lourdes is closed but for the hardened few..
A long walk into Lourdes but mostly down hill .. Buses are from a stop called Mozart but I didn’t see one .. Past the tat emporiums selling candles of all sizes ..gallon water container for your Holy water.. Taps found near the Grotto des Apparitions .. Even Yobs in Lourdes sound and behave as yobs do everywhere..
It’s damp and cold .. Nose runningly cold .. Leaves near gone from the trees but the Golden top crowns of the Basilique du Rosaire and the Basilique Supériere shone in the winter sun shine .. The tiled fresco …again gold plated are depicting Bernadette Soubirous visions ..18 in all ..seen in the years1844/79
Unlike religious establishments such as York Minster and The Basilica in Syacus Sicily to name a couple ..these churches are FREE .. Zilch € .. Magic .. We love free places to visit
All in all a very enjoyable place and memories of my early teens at Colne Convent collection money to send prayers for poorly people in Colne
Our one thought on seeing gigantic candle and tiny €2 ones ..”Does a big candle prayer get heard before the small ones ?” Any theologians out there to answer our query ?
After very rainy day in Foix the sun cast his rays on us for our drive to St Lizeir .. After a bite of lunch in a perfect parking spot 48hr allowed GPS 43.00038 1.137357
Again no one at home .. It’s dead .. All holiday homes in the ancient street
A chateau on top of the hill said restaurant .. Closed …
And on we go a bit further into the Midi Pyrenees to a Free Aire de camp gps 43.08437 0.571861 in a small town Montrejeane nearer to Lourdes for an early morning off
Its stopped raining .. Hurray ..
42.961132 1.611096 Parking for camper vans
Just returned from a lovely walk to the centre Ville and its market day .. Could be Skipton .. Stalls selling every thing from Tibetain hats to junk .. There’s snow on them thar hills .. Just a dusting looking towards Andorra and the river’s up .. Not surprised after yesterday’s rain
Impressive Chateaux above the town
John lost the will to live trying to add euros to his euro card via wifi ….no success… I always find in these situation it’s best to say nowt and clean the bathroom ..The market going public don’t give a monkies about blocking us in but it ok he says we have all day
On to Saint Lizeir now
Oh FOIX… it’s rainingBy J
As we are now on the northward bound phase of our trip we decided to go a little off piste and go along the edge of the French side of the Pyrenees. Leaving Carcassonne fairly early for us (the ticket machine was broken so we had to call the attendant to let us out €10.50 ouch) and heading along roads surrounded by vines… Foix was the destination today . After a few miles we left the vineyards with very wet workers pruning and then saw wet arable fields instead . Having picked up croissants both butter and chocolate we parked in a roadside picnic area for a Chez Hetty breakfast with plentiful coffee. The rain continued unabated all day so having seen the Foix Chateau briefly at a distance…. We have parked in the local free un-serviced Aire and hope for a drier day tomorrow to venture around town. S has cooked a Bolognese sauce for our evening meal. We will chill for the rest of the day with the central heating on reading and updating blogs.
(Or trying never to pay for a campsite)
For the uninitiated
How to deal with laundry
Wash underwear nightly or have 20 pairs of pants with you or go commando..
Wear black as it doesn’t look to stain when food is dropped down yr front.. Let said dropped food dry and pick it off “Look no stain
If eating or cooking wear sweater inside out “look no stain” then to go out wear sweater the right side out
Have a bottle of Fabreeze with you .. To spray the clothes you have just picked dropped dinner off ..
Shower or strip wash daily and use deodorant ..Febreeze clothes !!
Laundry Liq instead of loo blue
Use biological concentrated washing liquid from Lidl (FORMIL).. Two caps full is the equivalent to the loo blue but is €2.50 per Lt ….This bio liq also works in your grey water tank or even throw in a dishwasher tab .. Works fine in hot weather
Black towels dry faster !!
Loo cassette empty ?
We only need to empty the loo every 8/9 days as we have two .. One in and one one the bike rack
Looking after water..Get a jug to let cold water out before hot appears.. Put cold in kettle ..a splash and turn off .. Then soap and rince .. Uses less water than washing up
Water can be “borrowed” from church yards or cemeteries as there’s usually a tap for the flower water .. Happy days l
CARCASSONNE ON A WET DAY
Driving into Carcassonne we glimpsed the towers of the Citè briefly through the rain…parking in the expensive car park (potentially €20 a day) free from 18:00 till 08:00.
Turned on the heating and cooked our supper. This was a McSharman burger fries and salad all home made….It rained
The following morning we paid and left in search of a free space by the river discovered by “The Bumbles”. Our satnav “Carson” took us over the river then through very narrow one way streets …this did not seem right as I am sure the Bumbles van is bigger than ours and we where struggling to manoeuvre at the sharp 90 degree bends and overhanging balconies. The last bend in sight we breathed a sigh of relief as the river appeared …but all spaces where FULL and our way forward under the bridge too low for Hetty …Oops I tried with only a minor scuff to the awning and the back corner and pulled back. A car came through the bridge with very little space to go past us…. He said to S don’t worry the French always drive the wrong way on one way streets shrugged his shoulders and proceeded to do so!
A 10 point turn was carried out with S watching our back with almost touch parking precision and then she walked in front of Hetty as we had to drive back along our route the wrong way up one way streets to the main road.
We decided to give up on the free river parking and we drove to a verge space we had noticed near the expensive car park for lunch and a check on weather forecasts.
A dry window of opportunity was due at 14:00 so we went into the pay parking and set up for the night then walked into Carcassonne Citè….Its very nice very quiet and very closed.
The church was wonderful but the stained glass cannot be appreciated without sun. The structure of the Citadel and walls is in very good condition but anyone paying for access to the citadel central courtyard should have been issued with safety boots and helmets as it was being dug up. We did not go into the Ghost house or The House of Torture the only things we found open ….90 percent of the Tat shops where closed and All of the restaurants and bars where closed …We walked back to Hetty then the rain restarted as predicted…consoling ourselves with pie ,roast potatoes ,cauliflower ,carrots and peas all washed down with a Spanish red and It rained all night.
Leaving our overnight stop on the French coast next to a town twinned with Settle in Yorkshire which made us chuckle It’s called Banyals-sur-Mer ..see photo
J had picked one of the premier and best preserved Cathar Castles .. This route took us through the wine district of Aude .. Vines as far as the eye could see .. Reaching the village we turned off the main road and up and up and up.. Single track into the forest only to find the castles closed .. Then down and down hoping no other idiot in a campervan would try to find this castle as there are no passing passes
The castle ruins are high on a rocky spur and in quite good condition so much of the original castle structure can still be seen, including the substantial ring of crenellated defensive walls The ring of castle walls is still largely intact. You can also see the towers and posterns that formed part of the defences as well as the main courtyard, the water tank and castle keep as well as the little things that help bring ancient castles to life such as medieval toilets and arrow slits. So the guide book say There are also many places in the castle with very impressive views across the surrounding hills . We pointed Hetty to Carcassonne driving down a gorge with whitewater rafting opportunities which we DIDNT take up
As we neared Carcassonne the mad French commuters were upon us and narrowly avoided several collisions ..pulling into the carpark for camper-vans.. lucky to still be alive we broke out the beers as it start pouring with rain … Dinner was McSharmans burger n chips .. And very delish
A windy and uncomfortable night
We drove into Cadaques and payed for parking and strolled around the town breezy and sunny then moved on to overnighted in a large parking area at the other end of the village near Portlligat..42.291417 3.283983 marked as no overnighting but on questioning a Brit who had been there two weeks we felt happy to stay. No not an excess of peas or baked beans disturbed our sleep just Wind…It blew dogs off the piers from midnight onwards .. We slept very poorly with Hetty rocking about like a Sonata on a swinging mooring till dawn.
After breakfast and double coffee we took our morning stroll fully wrapped and looking like locals, except we unbuttoned a bit on the uphill section,around the area of Dali’s coastal retreat is superb and very quiet at this time of year. Closed would be a good description. We decided to move on…
The drive onward was tortuous and windy as we pointed Hetty towards France and stopped at each village for a brief look but did not settle on an overnight stop until we reached France passing the near derelict border post at the top of a very step climb ..The downhill section revealed a parking spot with other motor homes we parked at the lower end with a wonderful sea view 42.439543 3.171184 . It was still very windy at sea but we where sheltered Hetty’s central heating was fired up and we were lovely and cosy. We had a chuckle when one of the motor homes was moved on by a loud honking of horns as he had apparently parked in the bus turning bay and two rolled up at the same time .He was not happy having to move and had two cigs before re-parking well out of the way.
I attempted to cook S’s corned beef hash recipe for our evening meal. We tend to eat basic in cold and windy weather. The decision was tasty but a bit wet I should have gone the extra mile and done dumplings as well she said……
Parking in Figueres is difficult but J is so good at city parking we were only 800m away from the museum / gallery de Salvador Dali 42.274169 2.953803 Parking co-ords
All I can say of the exhibits is they make me smile as I was so interested I found it a doddle but poor J found it hard going..and had to pay full price as he’s not old enough for concessions ..crying into his beer again …I’m old enough .. Smirks ..after our three hour tour seeing some of Dali’s weird and wonderful art we made our way to the coast ..to Cadaques and Portlligat where Dali lived most of his life .. I have known of this village Portlligat since the 70’s as my tutor at Farnham college of art had a holiday home there and used to watch Dali coming to the beach area with junk for one of his installations .. Leave his art for a day then come down and destroy it …since hearing this story I have wanted to come here and it’s as fabulous as expected…phew
I don’t seem to be able to upload my photo of this lovely village here’s more info
Lligat village is located in a small bay on Cap de Creus peninsula, on the Costa Brava of the Mediterranean Sea, in the municipality of Cadaqués in the Alt Empordà comarca, in Girona province, Catalonia, Spain. The Island of Port Lligat (or Island of Portlligat) is located at the entrance of the bay, separated from the mainland by a narrow 30-metre-wide canal. Salvador Dalí lived in the village and his house has been converted into the Casa-Museo Salvador Dalí. Both the bay and the island have been represented in several of Dalí’s paintings, such as The Madonna of Port Lligat, Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus), and The Sacrament of the Last Supper.
We are in Sant Felui de Guixols ..a pretty Costa but there’s a closed sign on it .. Nothing open .. No one about ..it’s cold .. We are walking round in thermals with our Hoxton Bonnets(sans bobble) on … Brrrrrrrrr caught the storm leaving with a glorious sky on our walk back from our daily 5k walk for supper
Supper in Hetty tonight is our plunder from Lidl of Spinach pasties to be oven heated having cut out lunches due to driving .. J is very good organiser in the cooking department but I did smell something strange but not wanting to be berated for stupidly I said nowt!!!! He looked in the the oven and low and behold he’s done it again… Last time when away alone sailing he cooked the oven glove .. This time a tea towel .. 5 eggs .. A pk of tomatoes …chuckles .. Nothing damaged but his pride and we will be on egg mayo for a couple of days ..just dusted the scorch marks off the tea towel ..
A very windy night in the free Aire and off to Figueres to the Salvadore Dali gallery tomorrow
Beach parking south of Barcelona on The Costa de Duerano
Still here and so is the Perv only he has moved his attention to the Motorhome next to us.. The two ladies aboard are getting his full attention see photo
The size of some of these vehicles heading for southern Spain and the one in the photo heading from Germany to Portugal is past my comprehension. These who have been overnighting on this beach carpark are as big as a bungalow and all of em towing the family car Why not just rent a house and fly there ?????
It’s very windy today I mean VERY windy even the kite surfers came to look and went home again
Off on the toll roads around Barcelona saving 84 Km of driving
I have got the hang of the toll payment machine now .. Much more so that our last trip .. It’s easier to open the door to get the ticket than try to squeeze out though the window .. One ticket is to low ( for cars) and one to high( for lorries) now I open my door and balance up to the lorry payment and today I’ve had two successful sorties with the Spanish toll road system costing us € 12-25 in total for 185km
S.Feliu De Guixols
Very windy drive up the coast to this new carpark .. We live in car parks on our road trip adventures
This very pretty spot is on the Costa Brava just north of Loret de Mar a name that conjures up shades of a past life and asking my ladies who were having a last hair do before heading off to such exotic places as Blanes Tossa de Mar and Calella at Nelson hols ..
Tomorrow we head for Figueres to visit the Dali Museum
Firstly I am struggling to upload/download photos for my Travelswithhetty blog 3mobile our mifi of choice allows general emails texties but photos seem to be beyond its ability which looks like an outing to either McDonalds or a Parador hotel for top DB (doggies dooda) wifi As soon as I find this illusive haven I will edit my blogs and add my photos ..watch for an announcement ..
I have been PERVED at …
A car parked and this guy must have had a granny fetish … He didn’t take his eyes off me .. I’m in the van and if I moved to avoid his stare he moved as well to keep an eye on me .. I told J who then look at him as he hide under his dash board but thankfully moved off shortly after ..
Varda no a Campervan
A woman with an Austrian reg plate van was behind us for the night in this carpark on the beach just south of Barcelona invited me to look inside her van .. It’s like a Gypsy Varda..fairy light on a solar battery .. Prayer flags ..Budha’s of every description .. Indian Gods by the dozen .. Postcard from everywhere stuck to the wall and where a space needed filing plastic flowers …and colour everywhere .. Her bedding .. Cushions ..Curtains ..multi colours She has been on the road for six years and made the van her home .. I don’t think I am as singular to do solo travel needing to bounce experiences off another person
The beach carpark is filling up with Germans going south with their MASSIVE motor homes towing cars but we are heading north to see Salvador Dali’s house and gallery just south of the French border
Onwards ever onwards today it free beach camping but first a challengeHow to fill up the fuel tank using an Auto Serve machine ( do it your self )
1. Stare quizzically at the pump
2.Try to find a way to slot money into it
3. Scratch head whilst walking round said pump
4. Notice English instructions press UK flag sign
5. Look across parking area to see payment machine
6. Fight with the cash entry hole
7. Gets a ticket
8. Come back to the pump still head scratching
9. Puts ticket in pump .. Nozzle in Hetty and Voila we have €40 worth @98c per lt
Here endeth the lesson
Puebla de Arenoso to The sea
Goods roads narrow but well maintained for our journey to the Costa .. Wandering round a tight bend only to surprise a young stag who bounded off into the forest
The lake/ reservoir is very low and later down the Gorge found men working on the dam wall.. Then came the overhanging rock face .. Duck Hetty we yelled and entered a tiny tunnel which looked to be hand hued through the cliff face .. Spectacular to say the least… On and on and on we rolled down through lovely rock clinging villages to find a Lidl to restock with beer and wine
It’s always a problem in the coast to find a free camping spot as all the ones which look ok are “THOU SHALT NOT PARK THY CAMPERVAN HERE”So with a heavy heart HE said we will pay .. Sighs …
I’d been following Blog “penned” by a dog ( jack Russel) called Skippers European Tour .. Very funny and him and his dad had stayed on a beach front campsite and this is where we are now €17 per night € 6 for leccy… €46 for 2 night and a Yorkshireman weeps into his beer …..it a lovely stop over and our first site stay
ALBARRACIN TO PUEBLO DE ARENOSO Johns blog
Car park GPS for Albarracin 40.407436 -1.441773
After our early morning coffee in bed with the heating started on low as it was cool but no frost ..I was determined to get to the highest spot on the walls around ALBARRACIN for some photographs.
So after breakfast and an emergency loo cassette change ( we have started to carry a spare) It was getting close to find a tree time 😟I set off dressed as a local with fleece and woolly hat to climb to the top of the walls. This is 5 to 6 hundred feet higher than the town and quite a slog . On arriving at the highest point I climbed onto the walls with the outer wall intact but no protection on the town side . I walked gingerly to the tower and took several excellent photos and decided to walk the walls down to the lower levels.. This section had no outer protection a potential fall of 10 m outside and inside. At the lower tower a very narrow section of stone steps no more than 300mm wide was the only way forward so the intrepid adventurer tucked camera into pocket and climbed down one level in the tower and onward. At the next tower which had a floor (phew) with a ladder to the lower level . This section of wall was slightly better as you could only fall off on the town side. At the next tower I found no way forward or down so a return backward the only recourse but this was much more dangerous at the tower with narrow stone steps so I had to use my 30 year old bouldering skills to get back to the higher level. By this time I was not appropriately dressed and had to remove my wooly hat and undo my fleece. A gentle stroll downhill the 45 deg slope to Hetty seemed easy. Be warned the walls are not for the faint hearted and if the town charged access you could successfully sue them.
We then decided to head for a motorway service point to empty both cassettes and brown water and refill the drinking water. Emptying was free but potable water was 2 euro for 200 litres.
After the dirty work was done . The motorway shop was a Carrefour so I took the opportunity to buy bread and beer ..a staple of motor homers fare.
Lunch was taken and I suggested taking a route down a gorge to a reservoir rather than more motorway . So after 7km more of motorway we headed off down a narrow sometimes very narrow windy cart rack of a road but miraculously at the border change into Valencia the roads improved to ones with white lines down the middle. At Pueblo de Arenoso we stopped to walk around a village which appears to be 80 percent holiday homes very nice and quiet for our overnight stop..GPS 40.104894 -0.592775
After a few beers S cooked a fabulous risotto with rustic salad and we tried an expensive LIDL’s own bottle of white wine €1-79 instead of the wine bricks at 88c..splash out we said ..not a glugging wine but very pleasant with our supper
ALBARRACIN GPS for car park overnight stop 40.407436 -1.441773
This village is said to be the most beautiful in Spain We say ONE of em as we came across some crackers on the Spanish / Portuguese border last year
Set in bandit country No injuns on them there hills but defiantly a cowboy film location
As we turned a corner… round yet another hill we gasped as ALBARRACIN came into view crawling its way up the hillside ..Stone and timber houses clambering what look to be on top of each other to be topped by the church which again is topped by the castellated fortifications another 500ft higher “I’m going up there “HE said
Parking is a little difficult as we waited in the coach parking area for a space to become available in the small car park across the road… didn’t wait to long as the tourist are off somewhere else and we slipped in ..”This should be ok ” was the cry from the driver and off we trekked up and up and up ..gasp ..cough …wheeze with a few “let’s look at the view stops to get my heart rate back to normal ..an old Tibetan lady said to me when I was up in the high Mountains of India “Go slow and will get there first” good advise taken on board ..and practised and I do get there in the end ..
Back to Hetty for a bit of heat ..brrr ..cold nights around 2c.
Hettys sleepyspot ..A bit of stealth parking
After leaving Zaragoza and heading off south through what can only be described as bandit country .. Sort of “A few dollars more” country side barren and bare as we waited for th’injuns to come galloping over the hill .. Sun setting as we pulled off the main untolled motorway to find a parking place I had identified on my digital map “Map Me” which is free and gives GPS coords .. Wandered into town .. Couldn’t see the sherif .. What a one eyed hole it was .. “Ride on outta here” was the cry from the driver .. Next turn off had a small area off the road .. We parked up 40.782674 -1.347896 and dined .. Tried to stay up late so sleep would be long and luxurious BUT no .. There was a village about 1 mile away and Karaoke ensued until after 7am ..it was a bit disturbing as I always think we are gonna be murdered in our bed .. But no we survived another night of wilding
Gorgeous sunshine to start our chilly morning J thought perhaps 2c .. We were at about 2000ft
Joy of joys J found diesel at 88c per lt .. As most of our friends know he will travel to the other end of the earth for the best bargain…… Oh Yes a fill her up moment €40 worth .. He like a dog with two tails …
And off down the trail to Albarracin
A foggy haul up the hills on to the plateau where the mist lifted leaving us with a fabulous day of 22c ..now parked up in the middle of nowhere ..very down at heel villages we didn’t feel comfy parked up in..so found a what looks like the back of a small park area ..literally in the middle of nowhere ..lovely Spanish omelette for supper with a couple of very large glasses of vino ..expensive vino at € 1-70 a bottle …in need of a good nights rest as we are awakening at 4am ..why we don’t know …he worrying about his SatNav ..me just insomnia …sighs
gps for a sneaky over nighter 40.823666 -1.329099
We are intransit to supposedly the most lovely village in Spain Albarricin…just west of Teruel I had it planned on my last years Spanish adventure but having spent so much time in what I would call the loveliest villages in the West of Spain we ran out of time to get to Venice for my 70th birthday party and caught the ferry in Barcalona to Genoa ..making it for May 4th
Left lovely Olini travelled south under the power of Waze app As I reluctantly turned my phones wifi on at a cost of £3 for the day ( secretly yelling with delight )…back to being sensible .. Waze got is all the way to Media Markt on the outskirts of Zaragoza .. Off we went charge card attached to my grubby little mit telling CH “It’s your Christmas present ”
€299 was squeezed from me for the latest all singing all dancing brand new TOM TOM
After spend an hour fiddling with it we set off to see the delights of Zaragoza .. Not easy .. First parking spot was deemed unsafe .. Next was in town .. Daren’t park to long as it’s a tourist coach park next to the river .. Couldn’t believe our luck on seeing most of the to see sights without any stress
The most magnificent La Seo and Basilica de Señora del Pilar
We had a TomTom update of maps for Spain France and Andorra ..not any more ..the bleep bleep SatNav has fried it’s self ..now in a lovely Parador in ???? God only knows where we are ..had to stop to regroup and reroute ..Couldn’t have found a prettier place …This is where we are Olite ..the concierge of the Parador has printed a map for us to head for Zaragoza to buy a new satnav ..
Found this lovely place after a no go rough dirt track road to nowhere ..J was man enough to turn around but this action has cut him to the quick ..Found a carpark to overnight just by the fortification GPS 42.481226 -1.647814
43.18’28″N 02.5’50.0″W Is the GPS for parking auto caravanas
Bus 33…5 and 25 found across the road take you to the beach
Took a stroll to the beach it being such a gorgeous day ..sunshine by the bucket full ..bus 33 just out side the Aire de camping ..dropped us off at the promenade ..Wow don’t expect this
Sophisticate to say the least as we promenaded with the resident of this pretty town ..
Tomorrow we are off to Andorra all being well as it is Friday 13th
Yes fame at last ..we got a photo and a mention
The mechanic said Hetty was good to go ..4pm ..let’s see if there’s a place for us on the next ferry …yup …at 8-45 am next morning ..so we threw in what clothes we thought we would need ..chuck in a medicine bag ..raided the larder for food to take ..and by 6-30 pm we were off to Portsmouth 300+ miles The roads were empty and made good time having stopped at burger king for a snack ..
A34 had the daftest road works and diversions ..then same with M3 ..had another 20 mile diversion to get onto the M27..arrived in a fair old lather at 2am ..bedded down in the queue of other motor homes of various poshness ..We said these people must have spent the kid inheritance to afford such vans ..we are fine with our lovely Hetty now a Classic Hymer at 21 years old ..we have owned her for 18 fun years ..
Loaded onto the ferry at 6-30am
We bought Scooby snacks to eat in our cabin if to lumpy for the restaurant ..
And so it was at 6pm just off Brest no one could stand up..even the drunk lorry driver crawled to the bar for his next pint ..
Blow this for a game of soldiers we said …Bed for us and our snacks ..clinging to any thing Immoveable we managed to get to our cabin as a tannoy announcement warned of a very rough night and everybody who had a berth to go below ..
We hear of bumps in the night but this crossing was probably the worst I’ve been on ..thought I was gonna get thrown out of bed at one point ..
Woke to a calm sea and a full English breakfast yum yum ..docked at 1-30 pm Wednesday to head for San Sebastián to an Area de camping in the city kindly added by Ourtour.co.uk to there blog a day prior ..not ever thinking they would still be there ..but yes their Hymer is in the carpark ..
These two are only in their late thirties or very early forties and have pack in work ..magic ..we followed their adventure over the last few years and their blog help us enormously when doing our Italian trip last year as they put on GPS coordinates for places to park up for the night ..not just car parks but beaches ..a great help ..
JULIE JASON AND CHARLIE OF OUR TOUR turned up at around 6pm and came to visit ..We hadn’t met before but it was like meeting up with old friends ..a few glasses later we had put the world to rights
1-30 ..TomTom satnav needs an upgrade ..She was beatified from “You bleep bleep satnav” to Sainthood on our last trip for getting us into Rome in rush hour… navigating the ring road with such ease her St Satnav status has been with her since ..but now she is to retire to a convent somewhere warm .John bought new map uploads for Europe but things didn’t go well and had to call in the troops to help Dan my son who is a tec wiz turned up ..lots of effing and jeffing went on ..I kept my head down
3pm ..Still no joy ..so I fed em tea
Let’s swap laptops to see if it works then ..NO ..feed em more tea and cheesy toast
Then I hear “Let use yr mother’s laptop”
4pm Yeeeees!! Now I hear laughter ..I think it’s worked ..more tea vicar ..
Still awaiting the download but looking much more promising ..it’s a male voice this time so we have called him Carson after the butler in Downton ..
UK GOV SAY NO ..ANYWHERE BUT SHARM EL SHEIKH !
SO IF YOU ARE SITTING COMFORTABLY I WILL BEGIN
Grrrrrr ! We didn’t anticipate a bomb ..never had any problems flying to Sharm or staying in Sharm ..it’s a perfect TRAVELS WITHOUT HETTY venue for winter sun ..a lot of book reading and some diving for CH ( current husband )
We were booked into Ghazala Beach Hotel for three weeks starting 8th November ..normally we go earlier but this November 3rd our Daughter in Law turned 40 ..we were obliged to be on call for partying and a bit of child minding ..job done ..now to pack ..then came the news a plane going back to Russia had come down in the Sinai desert ..showing our concern we listened to all the media reports ..A BOMB ..and UK GOV say NO you can’t fly out to Sharm ..A big rethink ..shall we rebook Haghada another Egyption resort but by the time we had decided most hotel rooms had been fully reserved only left were the multi complex child friendly resorts and we don’t do them ..
Lets get our money back was the cry before RedSeaHolidays the company we were travelling through go bust ..likely as they only do Egypt
Shall we go to the Canaries …Nooo ..What about The Ghambia ..Nooo ..Even Cuba was mooted ..Why don’t we get Hetty a service and up grade St Sat Nav ..What a good idea ..Garage can do the service on Monday and if she is fit to travel we book a ferry to Bilbao and do part of the trip we had pre planned for our next “Runaway” in 2016..more to follow…
1 Does it look ok ,nice to have it to yourself but reassuring if other camper vans are near( not too near)always leave time to move on to your fall back location.
2 Is it free
3 Is it by the sea or mountains with a view
4 Do we need to empty the loo or fill with water ( this usually necessitates some cost) at a camp site or Sosta(sometimes we find this can be free at a sosta or some car parks)we do not need a mains hook up but if it’s included it saves on gas for fridge and hot water.
5 HOW MUCH !!!
6 Does it have wifi and occasionally we need a washing machine (it’s surprising how infrequent this is required , but when it is it can be a big job)
7 If it has a pool it’s a bonus
8 If it has a bar and restaurant this can be a negative point as it attracts holiday makers!
9 When you have permutated all of the above you then park ,level up the camper sort the fridge and get out a beer (if it has power rig the cables if it’s hot and sunny extend the awning)(this can also apply if rain is expected) get out a beer
10 Decide how long you want or need to stay and start planning for the next few days if you have not already done so.
11 If you are on your own by 19:00/dusk re-assess security or the feel of the place
12 Have a fall back location in case you don’t feel happy at your chosen location( this has only happened to us once )when our lovely beach location seemed to become a gay pickup spot.