SIGNAGE GOBBLEDEGOOK

Over the pass into France from Andorra ? NO … A climb to the top of the pass in the snow with road signs saying something in Spanish…. GOBBLEDYGOOK .. Google translate couldn’t work it out .. We couldn’t work it out .. Chap on the top says French haven’t dug the roads out on the other side of the pass .. Sign said “No way through ”

Ok .. So we will come back down in second gear .. All the way back into Spain 🇪🇸

Red dot 🔴 From Gavà to Montserrat

Black Madonna of Montserrat

and on to Andorra and back again to France around the Pyrenees not over em 😡

We found a sleepy spot in a town called Monzon and from there set off again for France .. More up and up into the Pyrenees and weather .. Tunnels and weather

A two mile tunnel and then the Somport Tunnel 5.3 miles long at 5300 ft above sea level

The weather then took on a lot of unpleasantness ….It poured and lightened and thundered .. The rivers were full and boiling but Hetty kept on keeping on .. low gears all the way down to our next stop of Navarrenx.. We were here in September and found a smashing little restaurant …so that’s what we intend to do and tomorrow off to a place just south of Bordeaux for our journey up the French coast

We haven’t booked our return ferry as yet just looked at them ….

HETTY IS OVER THE HUMP!..23 days in and 22 to go …

We hit the middle of our travels and are now on our way home ..Tonight we head north on a ferry from Civitavecchia Italy to Barcelona Spain ..wending our way through Spain and France for the next 22 days ..

Here in Italy it’s gone from Mozies in Wellies and BIG coats to glorious sunshine and we’re having a day off from wandering ..Reading in the sun in yet another camper stop over by a beach north of Rome

BLUE SKIES NOTHING BUT BLUE SKIES

As you know I read and read and here’s my reading list so far this trip

A A Dhand A trilogy of crime in Bradford featuring Harry Virdee

These have featured the Bradford-based police detective Harry Virdee, a progressive British Sikh who struggles with his cultural identity and family loyalties. Race, violence and exploitation are on the agenda in the Virdee novels, and Dhand has not shied away from controversial issues of tension between British Asian communities and the controversy over such issues as the ‘grooming‘ of vulnerable females by organised gangs of men. Dhand is fairly unique as he sets his protagonists (who are shaped by Asian culture) in a British setting.

A A Dhand book in order ..

Excellent reads

VOX by Christina Dalcher

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard. But this is not the end. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.Thought provoking

On a lighter note

Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell

Vince and Joy is the fifth novel written by Lisa Jewell and published in 2005.[1] Like, her previous books, it focuses on the trials and tribulations of relationships.

NO WAY OUT by Cara Hunter

Book 3 in the DI Fowler collection ..all very good reads

THE SECOND CHILD by Caraline Bond….read the reviews .. Just suppose someone swapped your new born for another child

THE MAKING OF US By Lisa Jewel … as you can gather I love this authorRead review

Last but not least

YOU LET ME IN by Lucy Clarke

Elle Fielding has taken the literary world by storm, with her first book hitting the bestsellers lists and making big money. But now she’s under pressure from her publisher to produce a follow-up that’s just as compelling.

I couldn’t put it down .. many a twist

I read a book by FERN BRITTON so poor I can’t remember the title ..but cannot recommend it as it bored me I don’t do Chic Lit

So what next perhaps MAD BLOOD STIRRING by Simon Mayo … the DJ from BBC radio 2 now gone to Scala Radio

BEST BITS AND STATISTICS

MOST IMPRESSIVE SKY 

Hetty’s Crew have been back home now for 10 days .. Hetty is emptied .. back in storage with instructions to Ashley at http://pendlecaravanservices.yolasite.com/ ..Our do it all camper van mender to seal the leak in the main skylight ..

The washing is done but not the ironing .. but hey ho it will keep as its all summer stuff ..

The only problem in coming home was a knackered Central heating boiler .. Only 5 years old and it looks like of the thing had gone kaput..Called out our plumber ..A lots of oohing and scratching of heads and it was decided its the PCB ..The brains of the boiler ..The plumber will order one as it’s not in stock ..We are still waiting ..None in UK ..None in Germany where they are made ..Now in production so it may be here this week ..We are fortunate to have a wood burning stove in the kitchen and a gas burning log stove in the sitting room and a fan heater in the bathroom but zero hot water other than an electric shower so all in all we can cope ..I just think back to my days as a child with one fire in the living room and surprisingly we survived ..

                 

  • THE COST

  • 4858 Miles
  • 1 Gas fill
  • 54 Different sleepy spots
  • 2 Campsites
  • 3 payed for Aires
  • BEST FOOD
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
  • BEST BEACH
LAGOA PORTUGAL 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
  • BEST SIGHTING
Portuguese Romanies ..
  • BEST VILLAGE
MONSANTO PORTUGAL The boulder village .. The houses just slotted into the crack between boulders
  • WEIRDEST Bone Chapel in Campo Major
  • MOST UNUSUAL
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 😇😴
  • BEST PHOTO
  • WORST PLACES
Didn’t like Pamplona or Vigo…
  • BEST PLACES
PORTUGAL Monsaraz and Monsanto SPAIN Cereres Olivera and El Ricio

HETTY HEADS HOME

ORIO 43.28655, -2.12725

Another find… free to park ..out of Season Winter only ..A do not park in summer

Surfs up in this just gorgeous tiny bay a good walk to the end of the jetty and back round the marina ..

We’re just biding time till we head for the booze shopping and the ferry for home so to stay in this spot is an added bonus

Not a lot to say about it really just nice 👍

Another good nights sleep and off to Carrefour Hypermarket to collect our Christmas booze.. Again not so impressed all a bit expensive so where to ..? LIDL so much better and now Hetty is loaded .. lots of Rioja …Spanish sparkle as not a bottle of Prosecco to be found but as long as it sparkles and it’s dry it’s fine for my Christmas Day breakfast for the kids

Bilbao port allows camper vans to sleep over on the night before boarding the ferry.. very civilised.. lots of folk sitting out in the sun some have tables chairs and drinks out .. we just laugh 😂 Not for us public drinking .. it’s not a beach 🏖

What a windy night Hetty being rocked with rain lashing down .. Ferry is late 1-30min so far but we don’t worry ..Not keen to get back to bad English weather ..We love this big Ferry as it’s got a French restaurant but as we get on board at 10am find our cabin isn’t ready so off to a full and I mean a full English Breakfast .. Cereal .. Bacon 🥓 🍳 eggs mushrooms🍄 sausage and Toms Toast and hash browns Then croissants🥐 jam and non stop coffee

☕️

Still sunny as we sat out watching Spain disappearing into the haze of a lovely morning ..

An announcement on the tannoy regarding safety ITS GONNA BE ROUGH

So be careful I am a good sailor but J had to get me sea sick 🤢 armbands and pills IT WAS ROUGH I’m walking like a drunk 😵 without alcohol 🍺

Best place is laying down 🤮

Pills work and the French restaurant is our aim .. stagger on the corridors

The food is very special but did I enjoy .. sort of but still a yukky tummy

Bed and a very bumpy night ..

Another big breakfast and off the ferry only to be hauled into the search area of the Border security.. Probably because we look so normal .. questions asked Where have we been .. name the places .. Do you have PORN on board . What !!!😵..The Driver says why import when it’s free on line 😷🙄😂

We were well and truly searched I was waiting for the full body and orifice search next but we were allowed back into our country without any more indignity..

A lovely drive up through the Cotswolds …Autumn colours and showers …Now we are pulled off the road as The Drivers had enough of the M6

A car park in the village of Penkridge south Staffordshire

Wine out supper yet to be defined

Tomorrow home and the next post will be Statistics but we think we’ve done around 5000 miles

PINTXO PARADISE !

SAN Sebastian aire is full

GPS 43.307914 -2.014429

OK The Drivers said if we’re very sneaky we can reverse behind the BIG French van which was probably 9 meters or more in length with a motorbike hitch to his rear taking up three pitches .. This we do with care ..hoping it’s ok .. we pay our €6-60 for two nights knowing full well someone will move out .. we were very late and as the recommended time for grabbing a pitch is 10am and because we are only under 6m long .side ways in two spaces was our only option.. Then the fun starts as more vans pile in .. parking on the pavement and on the loo dump ..

Parked next to us a couple from Manchester with their 5 weeks old baby boy called Oliver .. The mummy asked were they Mad or Brave to take a little tot on a winter warmer to southern Spain We thought Brave wishing them Bon voyage and passing on info of parking spots

It was Spanish holiday on Thursday and we assume schools out and holidays taken ..We were told by a French guy at weekend Friday /Sunday down by the university is free and available

GPS UNIVERSITY PARKING 43.307006 -2.011194

It’s raining BUT we are off to eat in our favourite Pintxo bar NAGUSIA LAU .. Umbrella up and a walk to the bus stop… No 5 takes you to the prom and or into town ..A walk round the headland said The Driver He’s seen boats out there ..It’s the Spanish 420 National Championship.. but so far off shore we couldn’t make moss n sand of what was going on .. looked like two fleets

Back to the old town .. it’s packed with locals and tourists .. we hit our Pintxo bar (We were there 3 years back) at 1-30 and found a table by 2pm the place was rammed .. no tables.. major bar standing .. it’s the best in town or so we say others are available:)

Pintxo are Basque Tapas ..The format for service is

1. Grab a table

2.Wait at the food bar for a server to give you a plate… Never pick food till you have a plate

3. Order your drink

4. Choose your food and put it on your plate

5. The server will have been totting up ..and serving others .. even in the chaos of service your plateful will have been watched .. it’s truly amazing .. I had piled crab with smoked salmon with a prawn top for one ..The Driver who can eat bread had ham black pudding and a tiny fried egg on one of his ..We had 5 pieces each He had two glasses of Cidre I had a glass of white wine and a total bill of less than €40 ..

Back to Hetty ..a game of Rummikub and a Cheesy cracker for supper and so to bed but not to sleep as the racket around us with engines running for warmth and just general noise we decided not to stay another night ..

Where now

Back towards the French border to a place called Hondarribia

France just across the estuary

We’ve been before to this marvellous parking spot on the beach BUT no more as the police asked us to move on .. Too many big vans had parked and council said NO MORE .. The kindly copper told us to go up to the light house as it was allowed and so we did ….

GPS 43.391342 -1.791892 LIGHTHOUSE

HETTY IS S.A.D

S.A.D. Sun absent day

Blog by The Driver

After parking on Santander seafront and as the sun was shining (hooray)we decided to go for a walk around the headland as it looks interesting. Passing two Muppet expresses we walked along the suggested anti-clockwise route . One or two unfit(in many ways ) joggers wobbled past but we managed to suppress our giggles until they were out of hearing(we hoped) . It’s a pleasant stroll with a section of steep up n up needing a bit of a push . On rounding a bend a ginormous stone building appeared it turns out to be the late kings 1913 summer palace which has been refurbished by the local council. Strange they don’t seem to have a lack of funds like ours. Looking out to sea from here we saw two Olympic class dinghies ⛵️practicing. I couldn’t help pretending that I had a transmitter in my hands (radio controlled yachting )but they didn’t tack when I twisted my knobs😊

A little further on there was a display of old boats one like kontiki and 3 similar to the first transatlantic crossing type. Then shortly onward to a fence around some boating lakes ..but no ..one for seals one for sea lions and one for penguins but unfortunately an empty compound for polar bears.

By this time The Cook had had enough and we returned to Hetty for beer and wine and an excellent French bread pizza she made for me.

This morning we woke to the sounds of breaking waves ((no rain) but on checking the forecast rain would come so we decided to put in a long haul and head for Pamplona as we missed it previously. The drive was mainly main road and motorway but in the rain the views are poor so no problem plus we are warmed by Hettys heater for free. The only problem was Spanish drivers either not indicating or right up your arse trying to push you into speeding . One lorry driver ran so close that his headlights dried Hettys back windows then on overtaking us he tried to knock Hetty’s bumper off when swinging back in(squeals from Cook not brakes). One small hiccup when satnave took us to a turning at a roundabout not there but good bit was we managed to turn round and stock up in a Lidl.

At the Pamplona Aire the coords didn’t take us to the entrance involving a 3 roundabout circumnavigation to get to the entrance . We drove straight to the service to fill with water, driver in neat gear due to continuing weather then picked a spot plugged in and spent 10 minutes to suss the payment machine. €10 for all servicesThe Cook has many meals planned with slow cooker etc and possibly toast for the Driver

Asparagus risotto

SNOWY MOUNTAINS AND SUN

SANTILLANA DEL MAR

Last nights sleepy spot GPS43.3889272 -4.1070477

The sun shines on the righteous or so they say

Today it’s sunny after three days of ice rain ..hail and lots of wetness it’s sunny .. Let’s go out before It rains again says The Driver

The car park was filling up with tourists as we went to The tourist board to ask for a map and where to pay for our carpark It’s free she says ..

The village is medieval with bright cobbled streets ..

Wash house

theres a very historical wash house in the street by the church and it’s on the Pilgrim route to Santiago with flags set with the shell the symbol of The Camino route

A Link to The Camiño

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..

MOTORHOME TACTICS WHEN ITS COLD AND RAINY ..

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

ARE THE SOGGY PILGRIMS CLEANSED NOW ?

HOUSEKEEPING NOTES :

All the photos are taken with IPhone camera .. The BIG camera contents can’t be downloaded till Hetty’s Crew gets home as not enough data ..

From The Drivers perspective …

We woke up this morning and checked the weather forecast and it confirmed 3 days of rain and no sun . We had breakfast of croissants watching the surfers in Playa de Doninos ..after the second hail storm we decided to head east hoping to find less days of rain.

On the journey we decided to take the fast route seeing lots of very wet Camino de Santiago walkers on the back roads

Camino routes .. our walkers were on the north coast road

We took the main road and Motorway(non toll) to Tapia de Casareigo

What the town looks like in the sunshine

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 ..

Hetty’s view

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 ..

Low hills with snow in Spain

A TALE OF TWO HALVES YET AGAIN

Parish Notice

“Bertie the Boating Bus”

I mentioned in last nights blog our stolen camper van named Bertie the Boating Bus .. Yes ..we had a campervan before Hetty Hymer… A Camelot on a Talbert chassis ..Used mainly for towing the GP14 dinghy to events all over the country. The Driver had Bertie prepped for an Easter off .. Fully laden ..John always unattached the battery when Bertie was laid up outside our house .. Morning came and he went out to his car .. even ducked as usually so as not to bump his head on the bike rack ..realised NO VAN

Police called and we can only assume a low loader was used because who ever stole it wouldn’t have been able to start it as we had to use jump wires most of the time.. We had our suspicions but no proof but we think someone only wanted the interior not the body .. The insurance people were very difficult but We pushed and pushed for the total loss Even had a retired copper visit from the insurance company .. we must have seemed innocent of any crime and eventually payed up .. and that’s how we got Hetty .. took out a small mortgage and went to Edinburgh to pick her up .. She was just a baby then only 2 years old and we’ve had her ever since 22 years of adventures

WHAT A JOURNEY!

We’ve stayed in two spots since our last post ..One was Praia de Razo

We saw this wonderful beach from a hilly road up and up and thought give it a whirl looks good .. see Hetty’s map for GPS ..big carpark on sea front .. NOT level Chokes required ..nice enough ..Met a guy called Carlos A film maker Galician by birth with a Camden accent doing a film about Gypsies ..A very interesting chap .. A good over night and off again to Praia De Doninos A Surfers paradise . Very good parking with views to die for yet again .. Free with bins and water .. A surfers bar on the beach which of course we patronised to keep the Spanish economy ticking over spent all of €4 on 2 small beers Its on the right hand corner of the beach ..which is called the Children’s corner as the back eddie by the rocks takes the surfers out again without too much effort ..

See Hetty

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

View from Hetty

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 ..

HETTY STAYS ON THE COAST

O Grove harbour carpark

42.4969 -8.86383

Sleepy spot last night was O Grove not much to say about it really ..A Muppet train .. home tourist and a parking spot in a carpark near the mussel boats but suited our purpose..

The Cook woke up this morning with what she called Tennis elbow but as she hasn’t played tennis since she was 13 we think perhaps she slept funny !

Today Hetty and Crew are heading to FINISTERRE

A most mentioned area from the shipping forecast which we think was Finisterre Lundy Irish Sea Now this shipping area is called FITZROY ! Name so it seems after Robert FitzRoy the founder of shipping forecasting .. he killed himself because he couldn’t stop ships sinking !

The change was made after the Spanish kicked off and INSISTED UK changed it ..

The road wanders around the peninsula with inaccessible golden beaches to look at.. every bay a small harbour.. lots of up n up again Viaducts 100’s of meters in length All very new which made us wonder how they got around in the days of yore .. Boat probably..

A note from The Driver

Do the Spanish drivers play guess where they are going at roundabouts The answer is yes ! If they bothered to indicate at all .. it’s not actually what they do

We in Hetty have been extremely cautious but we have seen quite a few near misses not helped by the speed the Spanish seem to enjoy ..Hetty was overtaken on one roundabout then abused for going where she indicated

DRIVERS RANT OVER

MUROS harbour beckoned is and here we are parked up nicely on their harbour .. Windy and sunny ..5pm walk to look at the boats prior to cooking a potato n carrot curry

On the end of the harbour wall is a massive and I mean massive yacht called WHYLD SWAN flying the Dutch colours .. We think it’s an Ocean youth vessel as all the crew look teens .. The Guarda Civila went on board as we stood there ogling ..They asking for the Captain and he looked like a teenager as well .. but must have been in his late 20’s ..There where kids up the rigging mending stuff and a general clean up was on .. looks like they had been in a bit of a blow

Now back in Hetty Curry on the go a G&T in hand and all’s well with the world here in Hetty Hymer Land

SPOT HETTY

A FERRY TRIP TO VIGO

GPS FOR SLEEPY SPOT

42.274820 -8.734912

Moana fish quay

The best way to get there !

We are trying to book a ferry back to UK from Bilbao .. The search came up with available sailings at the end of the Month.. November not October .. not good as we are running low on insurance cover

.. I said leave it till morning as sometimes they release another batch of sailings ..

Fish Finger and wedges aka Lidl’s finest frozen selection.. First blow out of this trip as we don’t eat out ..Lunch time is usually on the road and supper

Spanish style is usually after we are in bed as the restaurants don’t open till around 10pm so I COOK that’s my roll in this road trip eg; The Cook… I do curries from scratch and my pasta sauce has been written about in despatches.. and Frittatas to die for .. even potato and carrot curry is a favourite with The Driver so why would he take me out .. He drives and I cook .. We have had one supper in a restaurant in France and one lunch in Spain All very nice but HE likes home cooking ..

Morning arrives .. Best going out outfits on Mine a Masai tunic in blue with white Bermuda shorts ..Him clean navy shorts n NEW white polo .. Fit to trot BUT let’s get back to booking a ferry .. I had another go and one came up from Bilbao on 6th November.. book it says The Driver I did till it came to pay and could I find my Barclay Card .. NO .. searches high and low.. it was supposed to be in the safe Yes we have a safe … it was but hiding inside my passport ..I paid for the ferry only to get a confirmation for a car not a Motorhome.. Thought it too cheap ..The Driver sorted it at an extra cost of £25 for a mistake .. grrrrrr I think it was the delay in payment and it went back to the original quote.. All booked now so will plan our days accordingly ..We must have two in St Sebastião for a feast of Pintxo .. Yummy Basque food and a day to shop in the booze super stores .. not on a Sunday as we have been caught out before trying to shop on a Sunday as it’s closed

VIGO

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 ..

VERY STRANGE STATUE

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 ..

The Driver looks on longingly ..

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 ROAD TRIP CONTINUES WITH A GARDEN ..A BRIDGE AND A CLIMB!

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 .

HETTY GOES TO “EL RICIO“

The Drivers blog

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 ..

EL RICIO

Please use the link above .it’s a better explanation of this pilgrim town than I can give ..

Sand streets …..Sand every where but we loved it

Main Street

Flamingo Dresses

Cathedral

The Madonna of the Pilgrimage

NO PHOTOS whoops

and horses

Tomorrow Portugal

HETTY GOES TO CÁDIZ

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

HETTY VISITS ROMAN RUINS !!

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

GPS WILDCAMPING 36.325847 .6.158376

Now in CÁDIZ

A DAY ON THE ROCK

GPS 36.1580758 -5.3390893

Our long winding road yesterday

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

The Driver with cheese n red wine
The Cook getting the giggles

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

FULL ENGLISH WITH MUG OF BLACK COFFEE

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

Very well behaved 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

HETTY VISITS THE LAKES THEN ON TO OLVERA

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 🇬🇮 .

WOW ! GRANADA

VELEZ-RUBIO

GPS 37.65229 -2.073393

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

Abbey Courtyard

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

BLOGLESS SAILING

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

Hetty looking like a Chinese laundry .. towels out to dry

GPS LIGHTHOUSE CARPARK

37.6347 -0.69029

(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

Muppet train

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

Next stop an aire in between Lorca and Granada

WASHING DAY

CAMPINGPARK LA RIBERA

GPS 37.80444 -0.81611

Today’s blog by The Driver

It’s Hot

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.

It’s a hard life

FREE TO STAY ..HOORAH!

GPS 37.81535, -0.784392

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

LO PAGAN AT LAST

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 ⛵️

A DAY OF THREE HALVES !

Distance travelled 346 miles

Sleepyspot Ayora GPS 39.05582 -1.052146

No 1 by The Driver

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

WHAT LOOKS LIKE BANDIT COUNTRY

Blog by The Driver

House keeping notes

Miles so far 1447

GPS 40.331670 -1.092206 tonight’s sleepy spot

No pay for sites visited ..all free sleepy spots

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 THAT !!

Sleepy spot GPS HUESCA 42.1353 -0.420027

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 ..

View as the sunsets in Huesca

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

TRAVEL STATISTICS

Appendix/Statistics

Best places


Albarracin


Portlligat

Spot light

image
Meeting ourtour.co.uk ….Jason Julie and the lovely Charlie the pooch

Biggest laugh


J being Marco Pierre

Disappontment

Not getting to Andorra

Scariest


The storm force gale above Portlligat

Place to stay longest


 Capbreton

Best food


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!!

Diesel

€371

Shopping mostly Lidl

€285-42

Campsites and Aires

€85-90

Outings including eating out and entrance fees

€111-50

On ferry costs

€110


Happy Camping

Map of travel

HOMETIME


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

PENULTIMATE DAY

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

NIGHT OUT !!!

Charmed again by lovely San Sebastián .. IMG_0751An 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 .. IMG_0798What 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 ..

CROSSING BACK INTO SPAIN

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.?

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POST BY JOHN D SHARMAN

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……

I LOVE DALI


  
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.

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THREE DAYS AGO!!

 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

OHHH!!! WEATHER!

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
N41.78028 E3.02286

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

 

 

 

A CORNUCOPIA OF STUFF

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 ..

Next topic

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

TODAYS CHALLENGE 

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

 

“THE COSTA’S AND HEAT CALLS US

Puebla de Arenoso to The sea
@ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Camping-Cala-Doques/226707437425769
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 image

HE DIDNT FALL OFF THIS TIME …

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 THE LOVELY

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 ..

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Back to Hetty for a bit of heat ..brrr ..cold nights around 2c.

MUSIC TILL 7AM????

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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

Spot Hetty

Spot Hetty

ON OUR WAY 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

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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

RELIEVED OF €299

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
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The most magnificent La Seo and Basilica de Señora del Pilar

NO ANDORRA ..SATNAV INCIDENT

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

http://www.parador.es/es/paradores/parador-de-olite

OH YES ..SAN SEBASTIAN

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

A POST BY TRAVEL ANGELS ..OURTOUR

Pamplona (Iruña in Basque)

Yes fame at last ..we got a photo and a mention

“GOT TO PORTMOUTH WITH TIME TO SPARE”

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 ..
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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

Barcelona is full !!!

Barcelona is full !!!!
Bl***y parking nightmare …. We had 2 overnight over priced parking spots in Barcelona in our itinerary … Sorry sir NO space … So we headed for the docks .. No hookers this time but a parking space … Lorrys and us but beggers can’t be choosers if you wanna see the Gaudi church … Sighs .. had to get a cab who took us to the Gaudi museum .. Which have us 30 minutes walk to where we wanted to be. …sighs again … On arrival totally awe struck

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Left Barcelona After the “NO spaces left in my carpark Madam” and headed for the beach south of the airport used only by local families who set up picnic tables at breakfast ,ate,laughed a lot , played cards as we left at 7 pm were just packing up after what looked like the perfect day out Spanish style … Free and quiet stayed overnight . Back to the ferry now for a 11pm sailing to find itinerant workers were off home to Tunisia …same ferry but next stop J guesses there must be 100 Vans,cars pack to the gunnels and then some … So top heavy with chairs .fridges . Bikes . You name it. . It’s on top of these vehicle ..and we have just see one with a kitchen sink on top I have seen vans piled like this in the Sub Continent but never in Europe .

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We are now through one part of the security only to fall about with laughter as the piled high vans are being gone through with a fine tooth comb by the Civil Guard … Fridges are being removed from the middle of the heap and opened very entertaining …

Embarked and departed on time much to J surprise due to the seen chaos The people parked next to us in their lovingly self built horse box style wagon/campervan (later to find out it was an old TV outside broadcast van)had last week been left behind because they had been put in the wrong queue for Tangiers in stead of Genoa and watched their ferry sail off with out them …The boat is not so much of a ferry more a very aged cruise line ..very empty swimming pools but facilities such as cafe bar .. Dog deck .. All ok but one wouldn’t want to cruise on her .. Cabins is good after the room boy was called to clean bog .. As with all things J is an organised person bringing with him supplies … Water , instant cuppa mushroom soup and the kettle .. And a two day supply of ham mustard and tomato sandwiches.. So soup and one round of sarnies.. book and bed …with the force 5 westerly wind pushing up the Med we spent a very comfy night at sea arriving an hour early into Italy
We would like to thank Vee Eastham who emailed us with all the info to get us past France in a day instead of the long thrash on toll roads expensive and let’s not speak of the diesel we would have had to feed Hetty .. All in all it’s a win win situation .. Rested .. Read books .. Met interesting people .. And slept like logs ..

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Goodbye Spain it been fabulous
And hello Italy

It’s not campervan envy !!!! It’s NOT ..

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Off to sunny Spain … Not …
It’s cloudy and 21.2c … Quite chilly and he says it won’t rain on us but a bit murky … It rained..
J thought the very lovely ladies were orange sellers because an orange stall was in the vicinity…. As we drove further down the road selling stopped but the ladies were still there … Hookers … Well I never ….
There was one every kl each side of the road and kept J amused ..Ok so he have driven 340kl and needed jollying along … We are now just outside Tarragona on a free beach but with 20 other campervans … Bit crowded but we bullied our way to the beach front unlike lace curtained Brit with massive motorhome who snubbed us at Carrfours supermarket .. Park right next to is and totally ignored us … bloody cheek . Any way they were to big to get in .. Lol .. It’s burgers tonight and J’s garlic tomatoes and €1.10 per lt red wine .
It’s not campervan envy … I wouldn’t want one any bigger than ours but take a look at this . It’s even got a garage for a small car in the rear … FFS ..

St George’s Day

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ST GEORGE’S DAY
We are here
N39.05329 W0.19786
After a very trying day on the road what with having to pay tolls ( makes my Yorkshireman break out in a cold sweat) and trying to find free parking spots ..all disappeared ..but lots of town driving which means speed bumps ,roundabouts and pedestrian with priority and stepping out on to the many zebra crossings in front of us ..our nerves are shattered .. Well mine are .. I do think J is a very patient driver under the circumstances and that’s aimed at me .. I squeal and jump .. A very nervous passenger …
We are on our way to Barcelona as The Sagrada Familia is our next must see.. This is the church designed by Anton Gaudi http://architecture.about.com/od/architectsaz/p/gaudi.htm
We have found a parking spot (if it still exists ) off the blog I follow http://www.ourtour.com all about two people from Nottingham and their dog Charlie and motorhome Dave (same make and style as Hetty but a few years older)who did their gap year but it was two years duration and they are not just post grad .. Late thirties perhaps ..The info on their site has come In very useful .. Or as I say if in doubt “let’s have a look at ourtour”
So here we are in Xerico at an expensive camping spot called Camping San Vincente ..on the beach with a so called resturant but as no one seems to be eating there we will give it a miss .. The beach is glorious .. No one here .. Just a very few Spanish people … Just perfect ..
Sadly we will move on tomorrow. But I could stay here for a week it’s so relaxing … Continental cuisine al a Hettys galley for us …

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Breakfast of French baguette choc spread curtesy of Lidl coffee and very sour apricot jam

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Very late lunch after a few hours on the beach .. Again baguette .. Some odd Slimey looking pate but very tasty .. Philli cheese salami and garlic tomatoes with white wine at 75c per box … Chilled it’s quite acceptable ..
Another of our gastronomic creations is old baguette (waste not want not) turned into lunch time pizza ..

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That’s all for now but we don’t think we will make it to Venice by my birthday .. To far in 10 days … Sighs

Granada

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Granada ….not to be …
After having a lovely evening with Christine and David Sunderland …and try as we might to get tickets on line for the Alhambra palace in Granada ….we failed …I suppose Easter Sunday was just a little adventurous …so what does one do ..queue ? …I believe it can be a long wait …and guess what ..the heavens opened ..it rained so hard there wasn’t any way I was queueing .John made an executive decision …and we drove past ….well it’s the kind of place one can fly in and out in a weekend if one chooses …actually I was pleased really ..my poor hooves were very badly blistered from the previous couple of route marches he takes me on…blisters the size of saucers …
What to do next …a drive through tomato sheds ..miles and miles of em …ending up in a German woman’s parking lot for € 7 out in the middle of nowhere ..John excelled himself with a made up pasta dish ..very yummy ..
In the morning after a good quiet night off we went down the road no more than a mile to find free parking on a lovely backwoods beach …sighs …note to self …go a little further and look see …..

We then had a day away from our chosen route ..veering off to have a look at The Mar Menors …well I have heard its high rise and very Benidorm ….NO …it’s wonderful ..300 m across so the water is at each side ..lovely beaches ..37.775578,-0.742294 I like it …so we stayed ..parked Hetty on the beach at the north end ..watched the sun set with a couple of beers and a Spanish omelette and salad made by yours truly …

Johns bit ….
The next day ..Tuesday ..we had a couple of mozy bites (scratch itch etc) so we where up early ..Lovely sun rise over sea and off by 07:00 to beat the traffic ….,Raced a few school buses down the road ,then headed north onto the toll motorway …Bit expensive but gave us nice steady drive no real issues until we arrived at our chosen free Aire (over night carpark with facilities such as water fill UK and loo emptying) …only to find 2 houses built on it. So choose to go shopping for lunch and parked near beach… but couldn’t actually see it to eat but no overnight opportunity unfortunately sighs …another possible stop found but chose shortest route on satnav only to find road cut off by part finished new road so double back along narrow track lorries (oh shit) to find 2nd choice a full car park in town surrounded by multy story offices grrrrr. 3rd choice programmed in only to find a grubby looking camp site entered through a building site . So carried on to find a parking spot and a look at possibilities (Susan not happy as we had run on same roads a couple of times confused by directions and she had bollocked satnav a couple of times by now as well). I searched satnav downloads for a nearby camp site nearly going back to dump recently rejected then chose a location further north at Xeraco Playa.. it promised beach and delivered . Seems fairly quiet but nice I’m doing this post on bar veranda overlooking clean beach ..lovely sea with a cold beer. We are both knackered but now relaxed and chilling …Awning up …solar screens on Hetty to keep her cool with a nice breeze blowing. Nice start to the day ….shitty middle bit….but now ok what’s for tea /supper etc.

Sent from my iPad

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Ronda and the Inquisition

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Ronda and the Inquisition
By john
Leaving Sevilla our next destination was Ronda where there is a magnificent bridge and lower key processions than Sevilla.
We are now ready for a big wash so the campsite at Ronda seemed ideal . So off we go but on arriving in town we where cought up in the procession …road closures and a satnav not helping. We managed to get out of town and found the camp site BUT at check in we found it was €23 a night plus wifi electric and washing machines so no electric was the decision.
Washing done and pegged out for overnight drying on our line . We then headed for the bar for a 5 tapas combo and beer each ..very nice it was too . Then bed and slept like logs.
Friday dawned bright and sunny ,washing nearly dry and a relaxing morning I thought so out with the awning which then broke. So out with the tools and a couple of hours later it was fixed but I don’t know what did the trick but gears reassembled …all was ok.
At 18:00 we walked down into town to look at the bridge bloody fantastic..This town of Ronda is where the Spanish Inquisition was founded .. The bridge being use as a bit of a torture point .. Conform or we chuck you off .. Lots were throw down the 100m to their deaths .. Same in the Spanish Civil war if you were on the wrong side over you went ..

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We waited near the bridge for the procession (the best of all we have seen)

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Me now …still Friday ..messing around with a very bad wifi connection and who popped in but my long time school friend Christine Sunderland nee Quantrill to say she and her husband David (my cousin once or twice removed and I was the guilty party who introduced them 54 years ago .. Three sons 7 grandchildren later they are still going strong )
I know they have a hill side retreat in Spain and had been invited to go to stay in the past but time and tide . I never got there ..
As we were driving the same day I said to J those villages are what I think C&D will be like perched high in the hills and with in a couple of hours her massages came in .. Now how weird is that as we Havnt spoken for about 3 years
We arranged to meet on saturday on our way to Granada and go for supper
The village road is far to steep to get an over weight Hetty up and they kindly came down and off we went up and up and up

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And this is a google earth of the farm house ….can you see the track in the hills … Eeeeek!!! As I said up and up…..

Ladies of Spain

We bused it into Sevilla at pensioner rate with our Lancs CC bus ID .. And chuckled ..then queued with all the holiday crowds for The Real Alcazar .. Not a chore ..lots going on and a classical guitarist played as we waited to show bus pass again to get pensioners rate.. €2 each instead of €9.50 each . It pays to be a pensioner here in Spain .. And we chuckled again..
Hot hot hot and so many people… All here for the Easter processions .. Lovely ladies in their Mantia and lace veil looked amazing .. Ladies of Spain the song kept buzzing around my head when I saw one all dressed in her finery..

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Outside in the square there must have been thousands of chairs for the guests to view the procession ..

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A bit worring with all those people ..but off we went to look around the Alcazar .. Interestingly reminiscent of Mogul India .. I think the gardens were the top of the to see list .. Cool .. Water … Fountains .. And the smell .. As in all of Sevilla at this time of year the Orange and Jasmin blossoms are in abundance. .

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Having “done” The Alcazar we headed into the Jewish quarter of narrow alleys for lunch of our first but not our last (hopefully) Paella .. see photo

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Another little walk and a taxi back to Hetty and off we went again on another adventure which was Ronda

Hetty’s maintenance …john’s post

Hetty’s maintenance schedule etc
Today Hetty was washed which was part of the storage/camping package. Now this is a big job and takes me at least 3 hours at home and I only do it a couple of times a year, but as the package could include a wash we took advantage as the wash bay was undercover leaving no streaks pretty essential in this heat and sun.
After the wash I did a few routine checks tyre pressures ..a bit low at the back and as we are always traveling heavy now as packed for the duration of our trip I boosted the pressures a bit with our power pack ,which then went on mains for a big charge we also mains charged all our other kit, I also checked for stones tyre condition etc.
Engine oil checked.. water and window wash checked. These are checked more frequently now as we are travelling greater distances plus recovery though covered by our insurance would probably be slow.
I then did all the windows including the roof lights Hetty is now better than when we left over 1,000 miles ago!
We averaged 29 mpg on the way to the ferry on UK motorways, the check for our Spanish drive so far is 31mpg pretty ..good for a 3.5ton Motorhome fully laden ..plus the diesel is much cheaper but we have not yet filled up at our target cost of €1.31 due to seeing these prices after we had already filled up at €1.35
The main reason for the full maintenance schedule today was to allow Susan to recover from our trip yesterday evening to see the religious parades . Over 4 hours of walking and strolling to and around Seville and back. We walked miles and Susan was absolutely knackered on our return after midnight and needs a days maintenance herself( oil the joints ,sand callouses off her feet etc) S here …cheeky bugger…
Our Hetty has reached her 70,000 miles today …a couple of week before Susan reaches her own 70 miles on the clock ….

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Easter in Sevilla

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It was said in the blurb for motorhome parking lot that the walk into the centre of Seville was 15 mins They lied … It’s half an hour at a yomping speed .. But lots of stuff going on … People rushing to the first square .. So off we go .. The first parade was lining up .
Confadías (brotherhoods )these religious groups are called …Very sinister in the conical hats and faces covered with slits for eyeholes reminiscent of Klu klux klan outfits in USA ..
The group carried lit four foot long candles walking in twos with the altar bearers ..incense wafters and silver and gold crosses held high .. Then came the float The Virgin Mary .. Flowers ..Silver and more candles .. Carried as I thought by four chaps .. John says they couldn’t have carried it and it was an illusion and it was on wheels … Now that was the parade … Off the crowds of Sevillanos (Residents of Sevilla) went and we followed .. Up to Parque Marie Louis and again we had front row viewing … Police controlling but gently .. Ours was a bit of all right ( see photo)..

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The show went on for an hour .. And finished at the Cathedral ..crowds dispersing as we made our way to a street side cafe for beer and food .. Ordering was very difficult as we had no idea what was what … So one dish looked bacony one cheesy … Yup bacon and Langustine and the other Camembert on crustini topped with walnuts and marmalade … A couple of beers and a walk through the Barrio de Santa Cruz ( judería ) the medieval Jewish quarter .. And we walked and walked .. Because of the excitement of the evening and being carried on the the crowds we had gone beyond our walking back limits .. Thank goodness for the map on IPhone I downloaded prior to leaving home ,,it took us a good hour at a good pace to get back to find the main gate locked … Telephone number to ring security .. He came in a large 4×4 .. Opened up and offered us a ride as it’s about another half mile … Well if you had seen me … Laugh … I had seized up and couldn’t climb into the back of this truck .. J pulled and pushed to no avail then offered the front seat which with a little more grace I managed to crawl into ..phew .. So glad to be back in Hetty .. We had underestimated the walk and in my view this camper park is too far out of town

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Story so far…A grumpy blog

Foggy SevillaI have been berated for not replying to comments …I would if I could and will when I can …if I don’t then it’s because I haven’t seen them or I haven’t any WiFi to my IPad ….Now I feel as I cannot reply at the drop of a hat annoyed at your criticism …. so I have turned comments off for the time being..
My phone sim which is now a Spanish orange won’t let me do dicky shit not even txt UK until I go on line to upgrade….Trouble is we speak/ read zilch Spanish …OR ..go to the Orange shop …yup OK …Find me one in the outback of Spain …so now we are just arrived in a city look out Orange here we come …and I have a translating app on the phone which speaks in Spanish the sentence you have written in English …This could take some time ..

Another long drive to Seville ..In the clouds at one time the road was so high ..
Hetty is parked up for a few days whilst we do our Tour of Two around Seville
We are here for the Easter celebration of Semana Santa to join Seville’s masses for this dramatic event culminating in the Madrugada on Friday ..very early morning ..
The parking ground seems to be a car transfer depot and Motorhome storage area on the banks of the river …it’s €15 with Leccy ,Car wash, Showers and a Wyfy room …Not the most lovely of places to be honest but parking for camper vans is very limited ..This place seems to be full now ..it’s a 15 minute walk to the centre of the city and a bus outside will take you in as well

A bit of a moan
I have packed all the wrong clothes …What’s the hell do I need Docs ,Jegging ..jeans.. wooly hat ,gloves and fleeces for …it’s HOT
It’s probably because of our visit to Gozo in the Maltese Islands late last March and I took the wrong clothes again and was frozen …arriving back home at Leeds international airport soon to be closed due to snow drifts …
So I have three soft pants ,5 white shirts and two pairs of flip flops and my boots for city walking …note to self “empty wardrobe into bin bag and store else where ”

Costs

We are running on a € 40 per day budget …that’s for everything including fuel …a bit tight but I calculated we could do the trip on this amount …now that excluded the ferry which came in at £319 …
I have financed my travels with a limited budget when India called ..See how much is in the pot, Divide by days away ..Some days we run on a lot less ..don’t spend for the sake of it as the residue will come in later for a splash out ..Like the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay on one of the South India trips ..On that one we spent more money in 5 days in the hotel than the 5.5 weeks wandering India …but it was in budget so what the ….!

Parador in Zafra

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Zafra…. An overnight stop on the way to Seville
By John
After an uneventful journey from Cereras on dual carriageway Susan happy . We arrived in a strange car park , around a very unusual building pear shaped in plan ,which allowed parking and a Motorhome service point . We parked up had lunch and went for a stroll using the satnav for directions. Not very welcoming as many fairly run down apartment blocks everywhere . However we persisted and found the Town square which was lovely with some palm trees and a fountain . This was surrounded by streets of old white painted houses with large doors and hanging geraniums from balconies . We could see through some entrance lobbies to internal flower filled courtyards.
We returned to the town square sat and had a beer with tapas salad and watched the town come to life at 5o’clock.
Susan was determined to find the Parador ,which was in a converted palace ..very nice ,we went in for tea and coffee in its courtyard, then strolled back to Hetty through a much more salubrious part of town. See photos

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The courtyard in the Parador for tea …
http://www.parador.es/en/paradores/parador-de-zafra

A long road south..

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OMG ……Cereras Aire ..more a car park but full of motor homes travelling back to where ever ..one couple from Staffs were on their way back from Morocco after a 10week tour in a van around 7.5 m long ..6 berth ..with swimming pool ..no just kidding ..but big .

Post from John
I am writing this as Susan is a little stressed.
The journey from La Alberca was via some very narrow and steep roads to about 4000 feet with precipitous drop offs occasionally at Susan’s side!. I knew she was not happy due to the squeals and gasps …however we had to do 17 km due to the fact there was nowhere to turn around, then we reprogrammed the satnav for the fastest route, when we arrived at the next village and it took us on another 10km of mountain roads.
This said the views where magnificent and the fact that the road was not much wider than Hetty meant we where only travelling at about 20kph to allow chance to stop at each blind hairpin bend if required .
We did meet one artic with very large trailer coming the other way but I saw him a little in advance and managed to duck into a field entrance to let him past. We dropped to a river at one point and thought that the road would be down the valley from here but no back up the other mountain.
The last section off the mountain was via very steep hairpin bends with words painted on them presumably from a Tour du Espagne mountain section , Poor bastards.
Then onto normal roads for the rest of the journey.
The Spanish are very courteous drivers and considering that pedestrians have right of way on Zebra crossings, stepping out without even looking you have to keep your wits about you, especially as crossings are always on the exit from roundabouts. In town the lights controlling crossings and junctions have countdown for how much time left at green and then at red for drivers and pedestrians as these are the only crossings pedestrians do not have automatic right of way. …and we haven’t hit one yet ..

LIDL

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LIDL
It’s payed off doing trial runs at Nelson Lidl  …Now we have done our first big shop here in Lidl Zafra.. Would you believe all the produce are in the same spot as in the UK branches … Yippee .. No messing around … So now we have all the goodies LIDL Spain has to offer including bricks of wine at 75cents each… a Lt. .. Holy moly my prayers are answered … Cheap reasonably tasting … But who would dare to complain at that price so now we have coffee , cooked chicken of some variety ..Palma ham … Olive oil bread and so on …tomatoes to die for .. Cucumber which taste like heaven …I am a lucky girl shopping at Lidl …..lol now who will cook ..?HE will..

And up and up …..

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Miranda del Castañar was our next port of call ..dominated by the castle in front of which the town square doubles as the bull fighting ring …pleasant village ..

LaAlberca
We are here in a fully serviced car park or Aire N40.48841 W6.11670 at 3600 feet above sea level and staying over night
A very well preserved 18th C village typical regional style ..best maintained in the area but all the villages have some dereliction …see photos

Beer o’clock a few olives sundries toms and supper of tinned ham layonnaise potatoes salad de jour with a lump of cheddar and a glass of France red to finish the day …

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Campervan hair …a knot on top works …beer o’clock in the main square of La Alberca

Magical Mogarraz

Saturday …We thought San Martin del Castañar was magical but nothing compared to little Mogarraz …another windy narrow nail biting road in the mountains …I am not good as a passenger never mind dare devil roads with a gorge on one side and no passing areas on the other …
Mogarraz…
Tiny winding higgledy pigglety streets ..over hanging eves ..cool in the sun …stairs leading to covered doorways …but ..what the guide books don’t tell you is the paintings above each house of the people who lived there in 1967 ..The whole population ,370 people are recorded ..The artist was Swiss and from what we could gather from one of the residents who was painted This man took photos of all the people …went off and returned with all the paintings which are mounted on the front of the each persons residence ….absolutely fascinating as one could pick out the people still alive and going about their business
In our estimation this is the best of the villages in this area ..see photos

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This is the same chap 46 years later …his mother and sister are the other two paintings above his house

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The chap with the hat is the artist who took on this mammoth task

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Scholarly Salamanca

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n.b. photos are just snaps ..not edited so accept as they are ..

The drive from Avila wasn’t anything to write home about ..good duel carriageway but very flat and we now understand why Don Quijote lost his marble and tilted at windmills ..
On first appearances Salamanca looked like a large urban sprawl on the drive to the site but on arrival at the Don Quijote campsite ..N40.5830 W5.3611 by GPS ..sunny ..by the river …under trees…about 6km walk or by bus from the centre of Salamanca..looks like this will suit us for our first site stop off since leaving home ..and ..they have Wyfy ..
Cooking supper and the rumble started my our tummies but thunder …then lightning …and the down pour came with the most ferocious of storms …drink more wine and sing ..my remedy ..

After toast as we were on mains hook up ..to the uninitiated that means we have Leccy and a toaster …we miss toast when wild camping …..we set off for the walk to the bus stop 10 mins at the most ….and got off with everyone else ..we had no idea where we were until an American pointed us in the right direction to the main shopping area with all the usual suspects Zara , McDonald’s and the others past this lot there was a gate leading to the old part …it was bathed in sunlight ..golden Salamanca ..Plaza Mayor hit us head on with the noise of very lively kids on school outing , a pipe and drum band leading what looked like a protest march …a porticoed square with outdoor seating for the cafe scene ..

A massive student population study at the University which is a visual feast, founded in 1218 and is said to be equal to Oxford or Cambridge …traffic free streets await to take you on to the Cathedral begun in 1120.. See photos…

Lots of Convents , Monasteries and church as we wandered around …lovely looking eating places ,we tend not to eat out …BUT we will ….

Managed to find the bus back after a small shop for the most expensive wine so far € 1-19 less than £1 …

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Hidden Spain

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Sierra de Franca all above 2500 feet
Until the 20th C this region was one of Spain’s poorest malaria ridden areas ..when King Alfonso 13th visited in June 1922 only human milk was available for his coffee ..he is reputed to have donated the first cows into this area

Friday ….Leaving the camp site fully fuelled ,watered and an empty loo and after more toast ….our daily bread baguette bought and Asparagus for our risotto tonight and off we buzz into the hinterland …Lovely snow covered peaks in the distance …our aim today is just one of the five villages recommended by Lonely Planet ..Tomorrow we will tick the rest so here we are in San Martin del Castañar 40.52310 6.06241 the GPS A small but intimate car park over looking the half timbered stone houses ,flowers cascade from balconies and a small village bull ring which is being used as storage for a renovation project on one of the falling down houses ..we walked to the castle on the top of the hill and back ..30 minutes at the most so a very small village .we think it’s used mostly for summer tourists holiday homes as all is locked up …one restaurant open but that’s it … It’s just rained so J is cleaning Hetty’s windows and there’s thunder in them there hills ..

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IT and electrical interlude ..A post by John

We had by Tuesday nearly used up our UK roaming abroad kindly provided for £3 per day by Vodafone from our normal UK package. We decided to buy a local sim for Susan’s phone , upon investigation the hypermarket where we bought the water had a phone shop, BUT it only re-opened after lunch , in Spain this meant 17.00.
So off to McDonalds for a coke and free wifi and an update with family.
Then back to the shop to buy a sim, this took 2 1/2 hrs due to Spanish identity rules including passport and 4 signatures. They then had to port the number to a micro sim for Susan’s iPhone .15€ later we where back online but no out of country texts allowed unless we paid for a further package which we decided not to take.
During this period the alarm and anti theft device on Hetty Hymer decided to pack up and had to be overridden before we could move. On the following morning as we where about to leave the alarm system came back on line but the sat nav would not take us to a sensible location using co-ordinates and we had to look up addresses . Then the indicators acted up with a bulb failure so we pulled into a garage to change the bulb but on removal it was ok so reinserted and all was fine . As we needed fuel sometime in the next 100 km Susan decided now was the time to fill up even if the price was expensive . So 50€ later nearly full and I checked the tyre pressures and off to Salamanca and a camp site.
TOAST the joy of mains electric :-))

Stunning Segovia

A name I had heard of as a place en route to the Costa’s ..sounded exotic ..so off we went ..seemingly Walt Disney thought so too as he made his Sleeping Beauty castle a carbon copy of Segovia’s Alcazar ..A castle which perches on a rocky out crop ..magic views as we came down the hill off the high plains it hits one with a whiff of legend ….
Next was the Aquaduct ….a stunning monument to Roman engineering ..894 m long it was raised in the 1st century AD

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Here we had our usual whistle stop tour as parking was just two hours and even though the sun was scorchio I made it round the very hilly city without to many moans …

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Off to Salamanca next where we have a camping site …yaaaa ….

Awesome Avilla and Camping book GPS failure

We have been wild camping now since Friday ( wild camping for the uninitiated is setting up camp any where other than a campsite ..with no facilities such as water ,showers ,Loo emptying )
We can usually do about 4 days …and this is the 5th…so off to a GPS location with serviced parking ..we hadn’t any intensions of staying just get water on board and empty Loo ….how ever the location had been upgraded to a building site ..ok what to do now …go to a supermarket for big bottles of water and use cafe toilets ….or pee in the shower …HE found a few trees …and on to Aviila …
Avila’s old city with walls and eight monumental gates eighty eight watch towers ..two thousand five hundred turrets is one of the best preserved medieval bastion in all Spain but only has a coach park for us without facilities …but what we did get was the local marching band practice from 19-00 hrs till 23-30 ….as it’s coming up to Easter a Durge /slow march was practiced again and again by the youth side of the band …no one seemed to be able to hold a tune ..it got better later when the Dads took over ..but very amusing and I thought enchanting with our pasta supper and samples of white wine at 75 cents per Lt. carton now to named a brick of wine ..needs to be very cold or with soda to be palatable but whose complaining at that price …We open a decent red from home and the band played on…and on and on ….

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HE got bitten to death …..

Parked Hetty just off the square in Lerma where we bedded down for the night …42° 1’31.82″N 3°45’15.77″W  Quiet on road parking but for a rogue Mozi …John woke with 10 bites and I managed one ….on mi forehead ….ouchy and itchy …J managed to get his revenge slapping the trapped bastard Mozi between the palms of his hands with a vengeance seldom seen so early and before coffee …
Leaving Lerma had a little shop for veg and such and then off to Penaranda de Deuro …one of my off route villages
Originally a Celtic fortress village of the 15th c .. On arrival we did as the guide books say and had a view from the castle …the car park there would make a great wild camping site…here are the co-ords 41°41′24″N 3°28′53″W / 41.69000°N 3.48139°W but we had other fish to fry and onwards to Segovia

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Lovely Lerma..

Perched on top of a cliff ..standing out in the brilliant blue of the sky Lerma is full of cobbles and plazas …tiny in size but not in beauty …churches and and a Parador ..The Paradors are state funded chain of hotels in many stunning locations ,Castles ,Convents and old city mansions …filled with the states antiques and art work …but not 5* prices in all ??? We’ve been for hot chocolate in the one in Santiago one Christmas Day many years ago …

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Briefly Burgos

The roads are so much better than UK J says ..The Spaniards seem to be spending their way out of recession as we head for Burgos . It’s a Sunday and the roads are clear of traffic …Wonderful mountain vistas every where
The north of Spain is hilly to say the least ,green with off road villages temping one off the planned route ..just a lovey drive
Satnav took us into Burgos …The staging post for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage …and a trading centre between the Interior and the ports of the north and as it was Sunday not much traffic to worry me …we found the central car parks but underground and Hetty is a tall girl ..not to worry J had seen a parking spot about 2 k out near the castle park..Walked into Burgos ..another wonderful centre as the town planners left it alone to its medieval history ..no pulling stuff down and building monstrosities..it’s still the medieval ancient city with the cathedral soaring above the square ..see photo …4 mile walk there and back and off to the hidden Spain as it’s called …Personally I think the whole of Northern Spain is better by far than the Costa of choice …off to Lerma

First post by John

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6th April 2014 written by John
Slept like a log till morning when another or shall we call it the Last Breakfast of the English variety was consumed
Docked at 12noon in Santander
We sneaked past the large stink boat to get off the ferry and were routed around the docks by several yellow jacketed guys to the passport control. This was a very brief perusal then we where on our way .The dock area was much bigger than expected and it took ages to get to the road. Susan slightly discomforted when I overtook a lorry slightly more so when the lorry soon re-passed us on the dual carriageway.
This dual carriageway was exited after a short while and we where on a decent N Road climbing and weaving through lovely villages. We passed several good opportunities to wild camp at points where road improvements had left decent lay-bys we stopped at one only to discover we where now at 2500ft and still climbing. We drove for quite a while at this level then dropped to 2000ft and stopped at a hamlet at a gorge/bridge. We strolled around what was a lovely place(photos). We continued on our way still climbing achieving over 3000 ft the road then dropped sharply and we saw our potential first night stop at a camp site on the opposite side of a large lake (would eat 4 Windermere’s but progress was so good over the high Sierra that we decided to carry on to look at Burgos.

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Floor picnic and soporific swell

5th April 2014
Slept soundly in ferry terminal car park to be wakened at 5am and crawl out of bed for the loading at 7am …with the thought of a lovely breakfast on board that was easily done ??? Interesting loading ..Drive on and turn in a circle to reverse park …watched in amazement as behind us a 50ft power boat on a lorry was loaded …and a 29 ft yacht …What !
Cabin very acceptable as we are on an economy sailing ..and down for breakfast ..yum yum ..full English …magnificent …
Seasick pill consumed and a snooze was called for ..The swell was soporific …
Supper time ..Scooby snacks had been bought …pork pies ,caul slaw ,dips ,breadsticks and tomatoes were layed out as a floor picnic in the cabin by J …