Windsday

(No, I’ve not become a Kiwi and it wasn’t really Wednesday, it was Monday, but that didn’t make for a catchy title …)

I decided I didn’t want to stay more than the weekend at La Manga, pretty tho’ the beach area was and great as the amenities were. The pitches were each surrounded on three sides by 7-8 ft high hedges, not good for catching the low autumn rays and rather claustrophobic. So I headed for the alternative destination first thing Monday morning – well what counts as first thing when one is retired!

Overnight a rather stiff northerly breeze had sprung up, tho’ not a cloud in a bright blue sky. The route demanded a straight westerly drive through flat countryside which I’m sure under normal circumstances offers  long distance views to the horizon; not, however when you have a stiff (I may be understating the case here) northerly breeze stirring up vast clouds of dust. Add to that the sudden appearance of whole bushes bowling along the carriageway of the autovia and R0X1’s rocking in the side swipes winds increased each time I had to swerve. My shoulders ached a bit when we arrived here and I’d only been driving (slowly) an hour and a bit.

Here is Bolnuevo, next door to  Mazarrón, a place I’ve visited, and liked, already but a new campsite. Not as pretty, pretty as the postcard place but it’s beachside, has great walks for the LWD and not a hedge in sight.

Oh, and it has these rather beautiful limestone natural “sculptures” …

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4 million windsdays for this to be created.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Would you Adam and Eve it?

It was one of those days that didn’t quite go right. I left Segovia and put the co-ordinates for Avila in the sat-nag. Garmina, bless her independent thinking, decided what I really wanted was to go back to Salamanca. Unfortunately Garmina never tells me where she’s headed, she just accepts the co-ordinates and heads for them. I became suspicious when I saw the kilometerage, and then realised by the position of the sun that we were headed north – no way José, too cold back that way. Off the autovia I came, re-entered the co-ordinates and we were finally on our way to the correct destination.

I’m sorry to report that Avila was a bit of a disappointment for me. It took forever to park, they don’t mention height restrictions until you actually get to the car park and then when you do find a car park that accepts vehicles up to 3 meters, the bloody thing’s closed. After going round and round for 20 minutes or so I was just beginning to think of going, then I found a recently vacated large spot on the street. The walls of the walled city were lovely, and there were some interesting buildings inside but there was also a lot of mediocre turn of the 19th century stuff and no real atmosphere inside those walls; I’ve been spoilt by Aigues-Mortes in the Carmargue, France which has oodles of atmosphere and is much more discreetly commercialised. Add to that, the staff at the cafe that I tried to have lunch at decided I was the invisible woman; I gave them 15 minutes to take my order and then left in disgust.

 

The walled city of Avila

 

There being no aire, thankfully I  hadn’t planned to overnight in Avila so continued on my way to the planned night stop. I was bit low on diesel and stopped at a fuel station on the side of the rather lovely road that took me over the high Castillian plains; reminded me a lot of Dartmoor tho’ at over 1,400 meters in places, somewhat higher.

 

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Dartmoor but with fences = no livestock on road!

The Spanish are very fond of having attendants at their fuel stations and this one was no exception; my tank was filled for me. I gave the chap my card and it was declined 3 times. I knew I had sufficient funds, and the card had worked earlier when I got out some cash – unfortunately not enough to cover the fuel bill. The cashier phoned his bank who informed him my card must be at fault. I said no way and phoned my bank in England. The customer service advisor was very helpful and reassured me there were sufficient funds and there was nothing wrong with my card. I remarked on her rather familiar accent and asked if she was Spanish. Would you Adam and Eve it – she was, and it turned out that her home is in the province of Castille y Leon; guess where I was? Anyway she spoke to the garage attendant for me and assured him I wasn’t attempting a con. I gave him all the cash that I had, left my phone with him and drove a few k’s to the nearest town, withdrew cash and returned to pay the balance. He returned my phone apologising profusely for the inconvenience caused to me and refused to let me pay for an ice cream. Dear of him!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Welcome to Spain.

My regular reader may remember me musing on the likelihood of a post Brexit barrier for Brits to be stopped at. Well I’ve no idea where it would be placed on the western route from France to Spain because the D810 became the GI 636 with no sign of an Au revoir from France or Bienvenido from Spain. I just spotted a Repsol garage and became suspicious (my motorhomer reader, who may or may not be my regular reader, will know what I mean) and confirmation came from roadsigns now in Spanish. The weather rapidly went from bad to English; leaden grey, miserable skies and heavy drizzle alternating with lashing rain in a cold, gusting wind. The welcome did improve however, with the turnout of 5, yes 5, extremely exceptional convoys spread over many kilometers, to greet me and slow me on my way! One load looked like a part-built train carriage, another looked as if it might have had the train carriage’s wheels; the rest I just registered as very large, lumpy and heavy looking. It made life interesting going up to 2,000ft behind one of them when we came to the roadworks. Welcome to Spain – just like home!

Overnight at Burgos was very cold 3℃ – heating was used! But the next day dawned bright and sunny. Burgos is not an exceptional city, apart from the cathedral which is amongst the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

 

Burgos cathedral.

Driving to Valladolid (Bayadolid) this morning I turned on the elevation doohdah on the sat nag and I realised why I’ve been so cold – haven’t been below 2,700ft for the past 3 days …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Time travelling

The Girls duly arrived on time and with baggage at Toulouse-Blagnac airport. Not a friendly motorhome pick up/drop off airport. All express parking height barriered, so they had to scramble in with barely a hello as I stopped illegally, and with an equally illegal stop, scramble out and bid a short goodbye – probably just as well as I don’t do goodbyes and we had time for the hellos once we got to our overnight at Autorive.

Entirely unperturbed by the cloudlike UFOs, we had a lovely few days. The weather was very kind, Argeles-sur-Mer bathed in very warm sunshine, and a couple of idiots got wet – one merely paddled the Med, the other swam – brrr, it wasn’t that warm …                        I was tempted to go on the double decker carousel just because I’ve never seen one before, but Daisy would not’ve been allowed.

We were ladies wot lunched, visited a few nice places (if you’re going to Elne, check it’s open, it wasn’t when we went) and then quick as a wink it was back to the airport for that hurried goodbye.

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Elne (closed)

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Argeles-sur-Mer and the UFOs (note the aliens on the beach)

Port-Vendres

Collioure

A couple of drives later and I’m at the border (will they have to put in border control for Brits after Brexit?) and will cross into Spain tomorrow. During yesterday’s drive I was admiring how vibrant the leaf colours were; haven’t seen colours (or leaves) like those for a while, it felt like I’d travelled back in time a month. I also saw loads of black kites – I presume that’s what they were, they looked exactly like the red kites at home, except the red bit was black.

So it’s au revoir la France and hola Espagna.

🙂 🙂 🙂

I wasn’t expecting That.

As advertised the aire was between two windmills with a third one to the east, on top of an escarpment with fantastic views of both land and sky, very quiet, on the edge of a small town downhill, that couldn’t be seen through the trees.

Clockwise from top left; grindstones Windmill 2, Windmill 2. Windmill 3, Windmill 1

After the first night’s lightening display, last night’s starlight spectacular was also much appreciated, if it hadn’t been a tad chilly I’d’ve got the chair out and sat there for hours. I had the place all to myself both nights.

On taking LWD for her usual forced march yesterday morning,  guess what I discovered …

Castelnau-Montratier

the guide book was correct; there are rather a lot of Bastide towns in this area and this was another of them!

🙂 🙂 🙂