(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 …🤪
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 ….
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 ..
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
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 .
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
“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
Been very busy for the last few days so Nil Zilch bloggin NO G
GPS FOR LO PAGAN FREE TO STAY CARPARK 37.81537 -0.78445
It’s been very hot sleeping in the down town car park No air .. Sweating cobbers
BUT in saying that it was free and next to the sailing area .. just a short walk to the sports club which housed a gym ..spinning bikes and permission to sail off the pontoon .. The group of sailor who have set up Mar Menor RC IOM Club are all expats from various countries ..Led gallantly by Bev and Stuart Lockwood and the racing was a Spanish National event ..Not much to tell as it’s a tad boring for people who don’t sail so I’ll not go on about it .. John did quite well over the two days with the wind playing silly buggers .. The club dinner on the Saturday night in the 360′ Restaurant Lo Pagan above the sailing area was great fun ..most of the sailors attended but at €40 per head a tad expensive.. many hangovers as it was all you could drink in the price .. but all good things end and we couldn’t wait to get off to find a breeze .. and this was The Light House car park
GPS LIGHTHOUSE CARPARK
(Yes another car park ) the end of La Manga looking out over the Med ..perfect ..+ a sunsetA walk to the Lighthouse next morning in the cool of the day and then off again having seen the Muppet trains arrive disgorging the holidaying people
Back into travelling mode .. Our first stop was a place The Driver fancies Lorca .. which suffered a serious earthquake in 2011 devastating the old town ..Tourism has suffered but its lovely Rebuilt .. Shored up properties.. Signs of damage .. cracks down walls but this adds to the charm
The Driver said “Let walk to the castle and Parador and I will buy you a beer “not realising the distance and height of said castle… OR the heat of the midday sun ..UP and UP and more UP and around the hill and more UP ..lovely views and with frequent stops to get our breath back and NO complaints from The Cook as she like Paradors The Spanish Gov hotel chain usually with Spanish National antiques
After a second very good nights sleep at the La Pagan marina car park we decided to take a break from wild camping and do the dirty clothes washing.
Out with the iPad and look for a spot in search for sites (a very useful resource only £5.95 for a years subscription). We decided on La Ribera only a short drive away and all the facilities for €11 euros including electricity. So bedding changed and drive along the seafront then turn inland to the camping park. It’s very new clean and well set out being pretty big about 240 places with some big enough for the tour bus brigade.We opted for electricity for an extra to allow some charging of bits and pieces plus giving The Cook the option of running her hair dryer.
On arrival we had breakfast in the site restaurant to get some change for the washing then ran 2 loads at €3 a time . The site maintenance guy had just completed a new drying rack so we did not have to rig up Hetty like a Chinese laundry or use the tumble dryer (another €3). Everything is drying extremely quickly and we are catching the breeze and a few rays on our pitch which is next to a communal picnic and sitting area which separates pitches nicely.
We are sitting by the local flying school which is in full swing with planes circling our site with engines roaring away reminiscent of World War 2 fighter planes trying to shoot each other down.
We now have to decide what to have for our evening meal and try to keep Hetty and The Cook cool this evening.
Arrived Lo Pagan .. searched car park for the “THOU SHALT NOT PARK” but no .. nothing .. just what we like ..Next to the sailing venue .. Lots going on as it is a working fishing harbour .. Nets layed out to dry .. Mending going on and lots of old chaps chatting .. perhaps this is Lunch time which seems to last till 4-30 .. sounds about right to hot to work
So hot but but still haven’t got into the routine of cold food A curry was cooked.. sighs .. from scratch .. No jars of sauce for The Crew of Hetty.. When will The Cook learn .. its 31c and 80% humidity ..
Another day after a decent nights sleep .. The tramp who lives on the stairs of the build next to our chosen parking spot didn’t show and the only noise was the fishing boats either departing or returning from fishing
Sailing started 11am with lot of people coming to say hello .. it’s a club set up by XPats from the UK with Stuart and Bev Lockwood who seem to be the driving force and Organisers of the Association Cup The competition we have driven here to enter ..A few of members live here part time with a couple of full timers and a Norwegian who commutes as his wife is still working
The venue is at sports center with our daily membership of €3-20 per person to sail and watch .. with HOT showers .. as you know camper vans who don’t use sites very often get a bit manic about posh showers even though Hetty has one the water supply is controlled .. Soap up then rinse off with a teacup of water it works but to find this bonus like this.. Well!!!
It’s hot without shade but a lovely breeze Six races in total The Driver won and off for lunch with everybody ..what a lovely treat .. Cafe on the front over looking the sea .. great food and good company
The Aire at Ayora is functional and free but as it is located on a dirt track with some idiots speeding past ..Hetty will need a wash. We will have to keep our eyes open for a suitable place with high access to get to the roof or pray for some rain😜.
After fuelling Hetty with a mind bogglingly cheap 1.177 euros a litre as against 1-57in the North and a small shop in the co-operative supermarket we weighed Hetty in ..3200kg at a cost of 2euro at a Weigh-bridge ..A bit over our legal limit but water and fuel brimmed and that won’t last long. A little off piste back roads to cheer up The Cook then onto a motorway.
Hetty seems to have gained speed and drive-ability following the new boots I am holding her back at times. Passing near lots of towns with castles on promontories keeping the cook happy. BUT on nearing our destination satnav took us to a TOLL motorway and worse still a second TOLL booth 10km later .The Cook hates toll booths as they are not designed for Hetty’s window height . The Driver hates toll roads as why should we pay 6-76Euro to drive fast when we only want to poodle along.
Following a little unpleasantness with a one way system Lo Pagan was achieved and Hetty parked . Cook and Driver went for a stroll on the promenade but did not go for a paddle although the beach and sea does look welcoming.
Time for a well earned beer and tomorrow GO SAILING ⛵️
After breakfast I plumbed in a local tyre place and found one only 2 minutes away. So off we go ..But no tyre place and off to another but they don’t have our size or seemed interested in helping. After another google we ended up at a larger tyre spot from the same group as the unhelpful place.
I girded my loins and with the help of Google translate (conversation) the tyre outlet not only had our size of tyre but 3 options of tyre choice and 2 for winter plus one special snow tyre. I opted for the best regular tyre as they where going on the back non driven axle.
The mechanic was very good and helpful swapping tyres as I required fitting 2 brand new Michelin Aglis to the rear.Plus he checked and corrected tyre pressures all round. I even managed to blow out the fridge chimney which was a bonus. Having dropped Hetty off the jacks he checked the torque on all wheels and gave me a scented thingy for the rear view mirror.
Into the reception again to pay and was liberated of 239 Euros….Nitrogen filled …HD valves and balance which I thought was not too bad. As you cannot ring 5 different franchises and beat them down as in UK. So by midday we were ready to trot.
No2 by The Cook
The Driver found a parking place 750 meters from the Historical side of town .. just in the hospital grounds .. No fee and the only open air parking in town as the rest are underground and Campervan is too high…
It’s warm .. because as usual The Driver like to walk The Cook around at midday .. Mad dogs and English men springs to mind
It’s cafe culture.. lovely cafes in the squares .. and we were so pleased to make the effort to look around Teruel .. It’s gorgeous.. Mudéjar architecture.. very much on the Moorish style .. loved it Towers ..one wonders if as in St Gimiginano it’s status
Part3 by The Cook and The Driver
More Driving …
Fighting our way out of town we eventually started on the N330 which took us into the Good Bad and Ugly country.. very scenic and interesting.The only downside it was narrow and had frequent artics going the other way. After about an hour satnav took us across a bridge(More like sky bridge ) onto the other side of the valley… A wide well tarmaced road and interestingly no more artics for miles and miles. Satnav then took us onto several back roads so narrow they did not even have passing places. Olive trees and vines abounded on both sides …We climbed and climbed and then plateaued out ..what great Vista. In the distance two plumes of steam became visible eventually the downhill arrived ..negotiated between 2nd and occasionally 3rd gear when I felt adventurous. At the bottom of the hill we discovered the steam was from a nuclear power station. The clouds started to develop on the hills and that was the end of the sun for the day. We passed or first potential overnight which looked quite nice and shady ( Jalance 39.1874 -1.0761) very close to the road on a bend but continued on to Ayora 39.0559 -1.05237 which is on a dirt track possibly to a large farm as it sees quite a bit of passing traffic. We wandered into town for a mooch and a beer and discovered a very cheap fuel source to be visited tomorrow plus a do it yourself weigh-bridge for a couple of euros (dare we check we possibly will…)
The clouds have really closed in and during dinner thunder and lightning can be seen in the distance over the castle walls of Ayora
We woke after a very disturbed sleep this morning to a growing collection of youngsters both male and female congregating to get into the nearby football academy. They had lots of different coloured strips on not sure if it’s teams or age/ability definition. I think the key keeper is late as it seems like a lot of foot tapping from the mum and dad taxi drivers.
Following complaints from The Cook I changed the satnav settings to eco route this morning. She likes back roads We programmed in TERUEL as our destination and we then proceeded for about 30km on the old road before she (The Satnav) decided that the most economical route was by Autovia. Grumbles ensued from Cook about bloody satnav. I don’t know if I took a wrong turn or if satnav wanted to go home .. but we drove right through the city centre of Zaragoza (where we bought her a few years ago when the old satnav packed in). On leaving the city and climbed onto the plateau, back on the autavia, we recognised the area where we stayed overnight on our way to ALBARRACIN hence the reference to bandit country as it looks very like a cowboy film set up here.
We where overtaken by two large groups of Spanish Hells Angels all on modified fairly new Harley’s and wearing all the gear (no bimbos though) . They where very well organised with a lead well lit vehicle and a transit following to pick up broken bikes or tired old men as they all looked fairly male menopausal 😜
On arriving at Teruel our spot for the night is a newish large gravel carpark opposite what appears to be the Guardia Civil offices. We headed for some shady ground under some small trees …Should be safe here .
When it cools down ,it’s about 28c at the moment it’s 4ish now and nearly beer o’clock , 2 large tinnies in the freezer mmmmmm and we will cook our evening meal when it’s cooler. We will check out the Town tomorrow The Cook says.
What the Driver hasn’t said is PUNCTURE yes a tyre has given up the ghost .. He fixed it but a new tyre is on the shopping list for tomorrow
We didn’t expect a 5 mile tunnel … and the border in between France and Spain in the middle of it SOMPORT TUNNEL ..I hate tunnels but this one took me by surprise so I couldn’t get wound up about it and it wasn’t so bad
We left NAVARRENX on a lovely sunny Saturday morning having been wakened by the church bells calling the faithful to prayer at 7am .. that’s fine as we go to bed at the time we were going out when younger ..a lot younger
Off to JACA in Spain ..Sounded an interesting place and we knew of a free aire de camping under the city walls .. Steps up to the Citadella nearly killed me and should have gone up the longer but less steep path ..Had to have a serious stop to regain momentum.. but all ok still alive to tell the tail .. The Driver forgets I’m years older that he …
JACA.. Narrow streets with the cafe society having Saturday lunch .. Shops .. and monuments close for lunch so the lady at the Star Fort inform us in perfect English as she closed up .. Off back to Hetty to regroup …ITS HOT .. No air .. Not used to heat .. My decision to move on to a higher elevation for a breeze .. The drive on narrow roads and I mean narrow …Thank goodness we didnt meet any other vehicle as we cross country ..Another ECO route to the sleepy spot in the hills …NO .. They’ve built a M WAY on it .. Regroup once again so now off to HUESCA All we know is it has an Aire de Campingcar with 16 place just hope one is ours ..
Tomorrow off to TERUEL and nearer the MAR MENORS
The decision to come to Spain at such short notice hasn’t as yet been explained .. Well here goes … The Driver said a couple of weeks ago “I’ve been a very naughty boy “What the hell had he been up to .. Another woman .. Nooo … Lost his shirt on a horse .. he’s not a gambler.. so Nooo … He’d bought another .. YES ..another boat to add to his collection of Radio Controlled Yachts .. That was his 5th or 6th as I’ve lost count ..I sighed deeply .. “Right” said I .. We had been invited to sail in an event out of The Mar Menors RC Yacht club weeks ago and The Driver was Humming and Arring about it ..Are we going are we not? Decision made by The Cook ..New boat ..We are going ..and now we are half way there
Free with water and black water emptying …Sleepyspot GPS 47.1108 0.61611
Again don’t try to get into this sleepyspot after 4pm it’s now packed with Camping cars from France
Another 400km under our belt on a VERY boring route ..The driver entered the realm of M WAY driving NOT tolls but long monotonous straight roads with not many towns .. or villages for me to ohhh and eerrr about .. Another dank dark day of agricultural landscapes..crops of sunflowers..ready for harvest..not yellow and sunny but brown and sad ..more white cow including plastic one .. yes you read correctly PLASTIC cows … WHY ? I don’t know but I want one
We toured the outskirts of TOURS seeing the cathedral in the mist .. It’s massive …stood out like a ship in full sail..
I have devised a new category for this blog because I was so bored with the journey.. It’s called “Interesting but useless Information”
Today’s “Interesting but useless Information” started with road works
John is a civil engineer (Retired) and knows a lot about roads
Today’s roadworks had orange fences by the works .. I ask are these Newt fences …Ecological .. to protect Newts .. I then wanted to know if there is a fermentation the Newts drink to get pissed as in “Pissed as Newt ” Google it The Driver says So here goes .. A Newt was the name gives to a young ensign aged about 12 years old who signed on Nelson’s ships who couldn’t handle the rum ration and became pissed as a NEWT.. AS PISSED AS Google’s explanation
On waking to a greeny grey day the consensus of opinion was it’s bound to get better the further south we go
The Driver doesn’t do M Ways ..why you ask ? He’s from Yorkshire and won’t pay tolls unless forced .. An Eco route was plumbed into St SatNav (She was beatified for getting us round the Rome bypass years ago)
The route planned took Hetty through the prettiest part of Normandy .. Past Agincourt where she gave a salute to the Bowmen of England .. Past herds of white cows ..Why all white we don’t know .. answers on a postcard please ..Past houses all painted in Buttermilk yellow .. perhaps the local decorators bought a job lot .. The journey isn’t fast but picturesque with geraniums filled window boxes in the villages with roads so dead straight perhaps the Romans had built them
The day improved as we arrived in Rouen parking up on an island with the Seine surrounding us …Its a free area used by camping cars as the French call Motorhomes
Lunch of French bread Pate and Camembert and a walk of 1 mile to the Cathedral
Wow oh wow it’s big .. its gynormous and free to enter seemingly Catholicism pays .. Free entry to the Cathedral …To cap it all the burial place of Richard the Lionheart..
Let’s go back to the lovely free parking spot on the beach GPS 51.053513. 2.414916 said the Cook We’ll do an over night with Moulles n chip at the cafe on the prom …Great said The Driver find GPS coordinates.. Done and off we go from the ferry terminal .. Weather lovely ..Blue sky’s and warm .. An hour later we find the free camping spot has barriers .. What a let down .. Never mind we know of others .. All full .. In the end The Driver found one on Wildcamping app and off we went back to the ferry end ..It was an ok stop over but that was all but I didn’t get my Moulles …
Hetty’s sleepy spot in Dover GPS 51.1233630 1.3168138
10 hours … Yes you read correctly 10 hrs from home to Dover at an average speed of 40mph .. Bloody Brexit .. Well I have to have something to blame
We have fun on our journeys changing accents to the area we’re in .. Northamptonshire got very posh as we ambled down country lanes after diverting off the M1 .. M25 became East end mobster just to amuse our selves
Parked up on The Marine Parade 51.1233630 1.3168138 after a tour of Dover ( The driver missed the turn) with a bought curry and glass of wine ..
The Driver says this is a Banksy on the wall of a derelict building as you enter the port …very clever ..looks so real
Blowing dogs off leads on the prom this morning as we wait in line for the ferry to Dunkirk
See you on the other side after quaffing all the French pasties in the VIP lounge .. we know how to treat ourselves
Wondering where MAC N TOSH are on their very very brave journey to find Noah’s Arc !!
Summer has come and gone ..so very busy with the Yachting lark Weekends away .. Tuesday/ Wednesday away .. Thursday a go come back .. so.. I’m hoping I will have time for lots of blogging soon to make up for Hetty’s absence..She has been with us but time didn’t allow me to write up the summer adventures …