Part Seize (Lake Garda to Dun Sue Meuse (France))

Thursday 11th July

After two great. Days in Lake Garda we decided to try Lake Iseo . It is the fourth largest lake in Italy and about a 2.5 hour drive from where we were in Torbole.

Our drive takes us along the full length of Lake Garda . It took nearly an hour . It is a very big lake.

Before we knew it we were heading into Iseo

Much smaller than Lake Garda but just as beautiful . I found a place on search for sites right on the bank of the lake within a few minutes walk of Iseo Town.

Perfect position and a very nice site. Now we are in July cannot use the AICT card anymore as now in peak season . This site was 43 euros a night . would have been 18 euros in June with the card.

The guy next door was towing a yellow sports car on a trailer, makes a change from a scooter . Very light copy of Lotus . Only weighs 600 Kg so easy to tow. Not a bad idea.

Lake Iseo is less touristy than Garda and Como and is very nice. The town of Iseo is a few minutes walk .

Luke found a great restaurant down a side street ranked 1 on trip advisor . The speciality is risotto which they finish at the table with some melted cheese. Gorgeous.

Friday 12th July

Got up early and went for a run. We wanted to stay on site until 3.30pm to take Luke to airport, but site was fully booked and check out was 10.30am . so we had to pack up quickly and head out. We found a free car park at the other end of town and a public beach with a Bar.

Was a perfect way to spend last day with Luke before he flew home from Milan Airport. Was really good to spend five days with Luke.

After dropping Luke of at airport we head for Lake Como .After trying a few free places that were not possible i find a rural site . Place was perfect but fully booked. We head up the road a few hundred yards and find a small unmade road with space to park. The place was called Colico.

Saturday 13th July

Went for a run and early morning swim in Lake Como.

We are now very close to Switzerland and decide to drive across the border and over the alps on the Furka Pass.

Unfortunately the pass was closed and we had to go through the Gothenburg Tunnel .

Thirteen kilometres of this was not what i had in mind. We finally get through and look for a place to stay . After a few try’s we eventually settle on a car park in Brunnen. We walk into town and have a look around.

The scenery is powerful but the town felt like an operating theatre . Everything is correct and just so. Felt like everyone had OCD. We looked for somewhere to eat. a burger and chips was 26 euros. we looked at an Italian slightly out of town a soup was 10 euros. Prices were about double what they were in Italy. could not bring ourselves to pay that much and decided to go home and cook.

Helen dished up a beautiful Chicken Curry . After a long and disappointing day it was the perfect tonic. After a great dinner we got talking to our neighbours Jonah & Lisa from Belgium.

We had a great evening with them and polished off a few very nice bottles of Italian Wine.

Sunday 14th July

We decided to give Switzerland the elbow and head straight for France. I looked on my app and found a lake in the mountains in Alsace not far over the border. On our way we stopped in the town off Munster in Alsace for Lunch.

It felt good to be back in France.

French food is good.

After a very agreeable lunch we set off again to Gérardmer in the Alsace Mountains (did not know they existed)

The site is a few hundred yards from the lake . We set up and decide to explore.

We find a bar in town by the lake and Bruce works his magic .

There is some sort of Party going on in the town with a band and fireworks. Was a great evening.

Monday 15th July

Water in the lake is very clear

Bruce had to swim.

Really like this place. Has a really nice feel and the food is amazing. Some of the best food we have eaten on the whole trip. Cannot odds it french food is the best.

Tuesday 16th July

After two days in Gérardmer it was time to move on . Will miss this place.

We found another lake in the middle of a big park about 2 hours drive.

The place was big with a golf course , big lake and site for motorhomes as well as several large car parks. But no town near by , i felt it lacked any soul . Could have been anywhere. so we stayed one night and moved on .

Wednesday 17th July

Found a place on a river in a small town called Dun Sur Meuse. In the middle of rural France near Verdun. Such a lovely place , fell in love with it immediately. Tractors outnumber cars . Friendly people , just perfect.

Thursday 18th July

This was the perfect place to spend my 58th Birthday. Started with a run and then a swim in the river.

Helen bought me a present in a local shop . The man was very nice and wrapped it up beautifully.

After opening the cards and pressies went off for a long lunch .

The adventure continues .

Part Quindici (Ancona to Venice to Lake Garda)

Wednesday 3rd July

After 2 days in Portonovo near Ancona we head north towards Pesaro.

As we drive along the fields are full of Sunflowers.

On the way we decide to stop in the town of Fano. Beautiful walled town. Apparently it was the largest roman encampment on the Adriatic Coast.

Helen is inspecting the historical value of a leather bag .

After a mooch around and a coffee at a shady cafe we head on our journey.

Just passed Pesaro there is a park area on the coast with a small Marina. I found a Motorhome parking area on Google

We were not sure what it would be like . It was very hilly round this area and i took a wrong turn and we found ourselves down a steep hill which was a dead end.

Got stuck with the back end grounding on the road and front wheels slipping. With the help of a rubber mat under the wheels and a bit of manoeuvring we got out. Was worrying as it was quite remote and steep.

We eventually found the site and it was as nice surprise. Reminded us of were we live in Riseley.

With a great beach down the road

And a nice restaurant by the marina. It was perfect we ended up staying for three days.

Thursday 4th July

While on the way out of the site to go to the beach, Helen takes a photo. She says “hold your tummy in”. I was holding my tummy in . Ahh time to watch my portion control .

Saturday 6th July

After three wonderful days in Shangri-Lah it is time to say good bye to our hosts and carry on North towards Venice. We are meeting Luke there on Monday Morning. we decide to head for a town called Ravenna which is about half way.

As we are close we decide a short detour to explore The Republic of San Marino. It. Lies about 15 miles inland from the city of Rimini . Did not know much about the place but i suspected it was hilly and i was not wrong.

A beautiful and very hilly town. Felt like something out of Lord of the rings.

I think the place is tax free as there is lots of shops selling perfume and cigarettes and strangely

Quite a few shops selling guns and knives !!

As usual Bruce was making friends.This lady and her husband own a local bar and after saying hello invited us for drinks. Had just have one lemoncello as i am driving.

We eventually arrive at a car park near the beach in Marina de Ravenna. The place is busy but we find a place .

Took Bruce for a swim on the Beach. He ended up playing with an Italian boy for quite sometime. Tired them both out.

We find out later the reason it is so busy is there is a street festival on and the streets are full of food and stalls

Had an Argentinian mixed grill very nice.

Sunday 7th July

Woke up early and went for a run . Was first time for a while we had a flat area to run, it felt good. After the run and swim in the sea we drive to Venice about two hours up the coast.

We were reccomended to stay in Punta Sabbioni which is on a headland close to Venice by boat. I found a farm we could stay on half way between ferry port and beach on the headland.

Monday 8th July

Luke is flying into Marco Polo airport this morning. After discussions with lady who runs campsite we agree best way to meet Luke is in Venice. We catch ferry from Punta Sabbioni and he catches ferry from Airport .

It is quite surreal, the first time we have seen our son in two and half months is getting of a ferry in Venice. Was great to see him.

Venice is everything you expect and more.

Lots of canals and small alleys. so much history.

After St Marks square we decided to find a quieter part of Venice for some lunch.

and Bruce found a flower pot to doze.

After a busy day site seeing , nothing better than to relax and cool off at the beach.

Tuesday 9th July

After a run in the morning and a swim back to Molly to pack up and head for Lake Garda.

We have a passenger for the first time sitting in the back seat.

After a bit of homework i find a site on search for sites with good reviews very close to a beach on Lake Garda in a town called Torbole.

Three hours drive up the motorway and we are there. Very different to the flat lands around Venice and very picturesque.

Wednesday 10th July

The three of us get up early and go for a run around the lake. Perfect place for a jog.

Good to run with Luke.

Water is a fair bit cooler than the sea.

Have not seen any Swans for a while.

Perfect place to chill for a few days.

Part Quattordici (Matera to La Marche)

Tuesday 25th June

We left Marina del Cantone on the tip of the Amalfi coast near Capri and headed for Matera. I am getting used to windy hairpin roads and Molly copes admirably with the steep hills as we climb out of the Amalfi Coast.

We stop in a place called Scafati near Pompei and pick up a cooked chicken with potatoes to eat later. We end up eating it in a Lidl Carpark after doing some shopping .(5 star travelling)

We eventually reach Matera around 7pm after a long days driving. We find a motorhome site in a quarry with good shade, but when we enquire about shuttle to Matera mentioned in reviews they say they are not running one this yeast. They recommend a park about a mile away who does run one and so we head there.

A bit shattered after a day in the saddle

Wednesday 26th June

The motorhome site is on a Kart Track owned and run by Gian Franco and his family. He invites us in to his office and then gets a map of Matera and goes though all the places we should visit and where to stop for ice cream and special cakes (called Tetas) local to the area that look like tits.

As Gian says “normally you can look at and sometime feels tits but you can only eat them in Matera”

We board his shuttle bus and head into the centre to start our tour with all the information from Gian .

We have been to Matera before, but we forgot how beautiful this place is.It is quite unique.

People have lived here for over 10,000 years in caves. As people started to keep animals as opposed to hunting them they stayed here and started building facades over the front of the caves. So the town is full of buildings which when you go inside they lead to caves.

There are some stunning sites especially at sunset.

Being inland the heat is harder to deal with than on the coast. Having been here before and seen the sites again we decide to head for the coast about 1.5 hours away. We stop in a place called Bisceglie not far from Bari in Puglia.

Thursday 27th June

We get up early and go for a run along the promenade / road along the coast.

After the run we go for a swim

Which is becoming a very enjoyable habit.

In the evening we walk into the old town of Bisceglie , another beautiful place.

We turn a corner and find a London bus selling London streetfood. Possibly cockles and Welks ? Or maybe steak and kidney pie ? .Just Italian food run by Italians but looks great.

We end up eating Pizza in a nice place frequented by locals. Very cheap and very good. First Pizza we have had in Italy.

Friday 28th June

We carry on up the coast to a headland that sticks out. If you look at a map of Italy , Puglia is the heal of the shoe.

This area is the lump on the back of the Ankle.

We have visited a lot of places in our 2 months on the road. This place is one of the best. The beach is amazing , it could be in Barbados. We are camped just behind in a Forrest with lots of shade and Bruce is allowed on the beach . It is as near perfect as you can get.

Spoke to quite a few people who come back here year after year. It is not difficult to see why.

Helen picks up a passenger on the beach.

Saturday 29th June

After a very relaxing day reading and swimming we catch a bus into the nearby town of Vieste .

It is a very pretty town. Lots of alleyways and nice little restaurants.

Had another Pizza

Then headed home on the bus with Bruce.

Sunday 30th June

Road trip in Molly means just that, so as much as we want to stay we need to move on and see what else Italy has to offer.

As we drive away from campsite we pass another idyllic bay. This place reminds me of the Amalfi coast without the people or the houses.

After about 3 hours driving along the coast we pull into a motorhome park on the side of the road. The site is fairly plain with not much shade, but it is near the beach. After parking up we walk through a gate

Into a wood which is a lot cooler.

Which leads to a beautiful beach with sand dunes which reminds me a bit of Comporta in Portugal . It is amazing what you find on a road trip.

We had a nice swim and relaxed under our new beach umbrella we bought in Vieste. It was all going so well until we saw two fairly angry Italians coming towards us. Bruce had gone for a wander and pissed on their towel. Not a way to win friends and influence people. we bid a hasty retreat back to Molly.

But Molly was to hot with no shade

So we brought table and chairs into the wood . Had a nice meal followed by some backgammon.

Monday 1st July

I decided to google information on were we are. We were close to an area called La Marche and i read an article with lots of information and tips on places to visit. There were two places in particular that stood out. A town inland called Ascoli Piceno and a coastal place called Portonovo near Ancona.

We start the drive to Ascoli Piceno which is about 3 hours away . After a few hours we stop for a coffee at a bar by the side of the road. Fairly plain outside but inside it is decorated so well with lots of books and comfy seating.

We order a wine and a coffee and also receive a fairly large plate of tapas.

And as usual the lady behind the bar falls in love with Brucie

Much refreshed we continue our journey and finally arrive at Ascoli Piceno. The town is mostly built from Travertine.

We walk around the little alley ways and streets , it is a stunning place.

But as much as we like it , inland towns this time of year are hot. No place to park with shade so decide to carry on to our beach destination.

It is a small headland near Ancona. Lots of hills and beautiful beaches. The site is basic and a bit tired but the area more than makes up for it.

As the sun was setting we had to go for a swim.

Part Tredici

Wednesday 19th June

We had booked a pet friendly cabin on the ferry and had a decent nights sleep. The ferry was due to dock in Civitavecchia in Italy near Rome at about 10pm. The weather was beautiful , there was a swimming pool on board . We found a table near the pool and settled down to enjoy our mini cruise.

I was surprised how nice the boat was considering it was mainly a ferry full of lorries with a few motorhomes and cars. We had a very nice lunch on board and we also docked at Sardinia on the way.

We docked at just gone 10pm. I had found a campsite on search for sites about 5 miles away and decided to head for there as it was so late. The campsite was near the sea and down a small lane. We arrived at around 11.30pm only to find the place was closed. We drove a bit further on to find a clearing by the sea. I got a torch and had a look around as it was pitch dark. Due to the time we decided to park up where we were. We had no idea if we should park here or what was around. We went to bed with some trepidation. I set the alarms on the windows and locked the door. It was not what we expected for our first night in Italy.

Thursday 20th June

We woke up and looked out of the window. It was a beautiful area a bit of the beaten track with a few wooden shacks. Not much of a beach just rocks.

We went for a run along the coast to the nearest village and back . There were a few People living by the Coast in Motorhomes between us and the village of Montalto di Castro.

We went for a swim with Bruce when we got back to Molly. It definitely felt like wild camping, and a great start to our Italian Adventure.

Had lunch at the bar by the beach and my favourite pasta , Spaghetti Vongole .

After lunch we headed for Rome and a site at Ostia near the coast.

It was a beautiful place with plenty of shade.

Friday 21st June (Bruce’s 1st Birthday)

We got up early and took Bruce into a beautiful poppy field very close to where we were camped. We decided to go for a run to the beach about 1.5 miles away. we set of and i decided to cut across country. we ran through woods and then fields.

We got a bit lost, and after over 6 miles we got back to the road we started on and decided to walk to the beach.

When we got there you could not access the beach other than through the Hotels, bars and restaurants on the front and pay an admission fee. We had no money so headed back rather dejected and tired.

We ended up running and walking over 9 miles.

We have been to Rome before and seen most of the sites, it would have been difficult to take Bruce and did not want to leave him behind so we decided to head on towards Napoli. I found a town on the coast about about 1.5 hours away called Latina.

The site was just across the road from a public beach which allowed dogs. Perfect.

Latina is very Italian and quite basic. We walked along the road and found a great restaurant in a side street.

The chef and his family took a liking to Bruce.

Saturday 22nd June

After a walk along the beach and a swim with Bruce we drive about 4 hours to the Amalfi Coast . A site called Camping Santa Fortunata overlooking Sorrento Bay . There is a shuttle bus into town.

Sorrento is a beautiful town with lots of little alleys .

We reach the harbour which has many fish restaurants.

We bumped into some Thames Valley Windows Customers Chris and Janet Chowney from West End who are on holiday here.

Small world . Was good to see them.

Sunday 23rd June

Although we love Sorrento and the site is amazing with beautiful views, the beach is difficult to get to and does not allow dogs. I find a site close by in a village called Nettuno. we drive for about 25 mins from Sorrento.

The views are stunning

Island of Capri in the distance.

Roads are not for the faint hearted.

We eventually arrive at this small bay with the campsite on the edge overlooking the village.

We get the perfect spot with an amazing view.

It is so nice we decide to stay for a couple of days.

We met Tony and Theresa from Gloucester who were our neighbours for a couple of days.

We are loving Italy. The roads are terrible , the food is amazing and the people have a relaxed love of life and food .

Part Doce (Skinny Dipping)

Wednesday 12th June

Arriving in Javea the first thing you notice is the Mongo dominates the skyline. It is a great backdrop with positive energy. After the 3 hour drive from Torrevieja i am feeling tired , need a place to relax. We find a campsite on my ASCI app near the beach in a central location Camping Javea.

Very nice place with nice pool and plenty of shade.

Thursday 13th June

Went for a run along the seafront . Towards the end of the run i saw a Motorhome parked next to the beach, i thought that’s a good position, then I realised it had a british plate. I thought that motorhome is familiar. It was my brothers motorhome. Small world .

Went for a swim in the sea with Bruce of course and headed back to molly. We had arranged to meet up with Stella Schofield who was staying in Javea for the summer.

Had a great lunch at Acqua on the Arenal . Was great to spend sometime with Stella and catch up.

An old friend Graham Stimpson lives in Javea. He invited us to stay at his place, so we drove up into the hills overlooking the town to his house.

Graham has lived here for over 20 years and has a lovely place. He has a pool which Bruce took full advantage of.

Graham took us back to the Arenal for a nice meal at Fuego’s and we ended up in The Octopus Bar . Great night

Friday 14th June

We may be on holiday and trying to retire but sometimes life gets in the way. Graham wants a glass roof for a part of his house ,

All measured up, and will draw up when back in UK

Time to say goodbye to Graham and Javea and move on down the coast. I can understand the attraction of this place ,

Had a whale of a time in Javea

Travelled further down the coast to Valencia. We stopped by the beach and had a walk along the promenade. No dogs allowed on the beach so we decided to carry on a bit further. . I found a motorhome stop on search for sites that was behind a restaurant

In a small town by the sea called Nules.

It was free to stay if you spent some money in the restaurant. We obliged and had the menu del dia. For 13 euros not including wine. It was fairly appalling. Helen had pigs feet for the main course which had no meat at all just skin and grizzle. It was inedible.

The bar had quite a few Spanish people and had a good atmosphere although we did notice none were eating. Bruce mingled and made a few friends.

Saturday 15th June

Went for a run along the seafront and a swim afterwards with Bruce followed by a shower on the beach. Becoming a routine we quite like. We pack up and head off for a bit of wild camping by a beach near Tarragon described by a few reviews as paradise.

As we head out of Nules we notice a small walled village no more than 250metres by 150metres square called Mascarell.

You would think it would be a bit touristy .

Not at all, inside was just a normal Spanish village . Bit of an enigma but quite wonderful.

We head off again in search of paradise.

It turned out to be a car park next to a castle between two beautiful beaches. It was perfect. Managed to find a space and parked up.

Yes i think this will do .

Sunday 16th June

The three of us get up early for a swim and watch the sun rise. Not a bad way to start the day.

We are now about 3 hours drive from Barcelona and decide to get going early. On the way the scenery is changing. More hills and more greenery. We come into a wine growing area and decide to stop in a town called Villafranca del Penedes.

I think the town is famous for human pyramids in a annual fiesta.

We stopped in a beautiful square for some Tapas. Has to be done.

The menu was in Catalan so google translate was needed .

Had some fried nose , never eaten that before or again i suspect.

Bruce makes more friends.

Villafranca is a beautiful Spanish town with lots of history and very nice people. Would love to spend more time hear . Maybe next time.

Helen decides to have a go at driving

Within a short space of time a lorry turns over . Coincidence ?

We are now only 30 mins from Barcelona and about 1 hour and 30 mins from Callela a town on the way to Girona that i have visited many times to attend a golf tournament in memory of a bar owner here called Eddie Knighton.

The golf tournament is organised by a guy called John Evans (Madrid to his friends) who owns the Alcatraz bar in Callela which he has had for 36 years.

I have got to know this wonderful unique person over the years and his equally amazing sister Yvonne who we affectionately call Y Vonne .

We have booked a ferry from Barcelona to Rome leaving on Tuesday evening so decide to spend a few days in Callela .

We find a car park with some shade near the Alacatraz bar and the sea which will be our home for the next few days.

Monday 17th June (skinny dipping day !)

Wake up early and go for a run along the promenade . we finish the run at the end of the beach . We were told there is a nudist beach just around the headland and think it would be a good place to swim with Bruce as dogs not allowed on main beach. when we get there at around 8.30am there are a few nudists already there. As the saying goes when in Spain do as they do !!

So we decided to strip off as well and the three of us went swimming naked. I have to say it was just perfect. The small beach was beautiful and the sea was clear and calm.

Could not take any photos as no pockets to hold the camera .

We heard an old friend Gary Conroy had moved from Bracknell to this area we contacted him and another friend who has lived hear for many years called Phil Love who we know as (Scouse) and aranged to meet them at the “Alc” later tonight.

I have only been here before in October in the last week of the season, it is a very different place now with all the bars, cafes and shops open and the beach is useable. It is a wonderful place.

But this is Callela and that normally means some time is spent drinking in bars.

and we partake with Gary Conroy

Scouse

and last but no means least Johnny Madrid .

Helen got in on the act and even gets an Alcatraz T shirt.

Tuesday 18th June.

After a special few days in Callela with many old friends and a few new ones we head for Barcelona and the ferry to Italy. We have both spent time in this amazing city before so decide not do do any site seeing. We take the coast road and arrive at the ferry terminal early and pick up our tickets .

Find a place by the sea to kill a few hours before we sail.

We cue up at the ferry port waiting to board and are soon surrounded by motorbikes, mainly Harley Davidsons . I think a lot of them are Hells Angels from the Napoli Chapter.

We board and eventually set of about 11.30pm.

Italy here we come .

Part Once (more mountains)

Tuesday 4th June

Bruce is now jumping in and getting out by himself.

Wednesday 5th June

Today is Helen’s fathers Birthday . John is 82 today. It is good to be here to celebrate with them. Had a great day eating tapas in Benalmádena Pueblo in the square and then at a nice restaurant Sopranos in the evening.

Thursday 6th June

After 3 very enjoyable days with April & John it is time to get on the road again.

Drove down the coast to Salobreña near Motril. We had a holiday hear about 25 years ago. There is a castle on top of hill with a village below . Apparently it was the last place the Moors inhabited before they were kicked out of Spain.

Very nice beach but no where to park so drive a short distance to Motril and a campsite near the the port. We had fond memories of a tapas pub crawl in Motril and catch a bus into town to try and recreate that memory.

We wander around but cannot find anything like we remember. Motril has a small old part of town but very close to the shadier part of town. We very soon find ourselves in an area we feel quite uncomfortable. We get back to the main town luckily still with wallets in tact.

If you want a good night out then choose a town other than Motril.

Friday 7th June

We go for a run along the beach and swim in the sea. After breakfast and some very nice fresh orange juice we head into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The views are spectacular as we quickly rise in to the Mountains. We drive through a very picturesque town or Órgiva.

We pass an interesting road sign on the side of the road for the village of Soportujar. we decide to investigate and drive 2 km to the village.

We park near this very unusual sculpture and walk into the village.

Amazing views and Witches . Most of the shops and bars have witches.

A bit further and we find the beautiful village of Bubión.

One of the most beautiful places we have visited.

In a very special area. The views and streets and small houses make a near perfect place.

We drive higher and eventually reach our destination.

The highest town in Spain , Trevelez. Famous for their Ham. We find a place to stay in a bus park above the town.

Had a very nice lunch.

I think Bruce is hungry.

Saturday 8th June

We leave this special place and drive in the direction of Almeria.

We gradually wind our way through the mountain roads . Still in the low part of the hills we stop for a coffee in the town of Berja.

Very Spanish town and very nice squares

Bruce makes some friends

We eventually get near the coast. We go over a hill

and hit a sea of plastic as far as the eye can see. Such a transformation from the beautiful mountain views. Costa del Plastico (Almeria ). Luckily not all Almeria is like this. There is a nature park near the coast called Cabo de Gata.

We find a campsite with a pool and private beach.

Sunday 9th June

Found a water leak on the fresh water tank. time to get the tools out . The outlet / drain pipe from the tank had come loose. Managed to push the pipe back in and secure with gaffa tape.

We leave La Caleta and drive in the direction of Mojácar.

The coast road is beautiful . No plastic here

We reach Mojácar an old town on a hill near the coast. Very typical narrow streets rising up around the hill. We stayed near here many years ago in a beautiful place called El Cortijo Grande. I look on tripadvisor and find that a beautiful restaurant / boutique hotel called Finca Listonero is still there and ranked number 1 in the area. we had many meals there in the past.

Being Sunday we thought a great place for Sunday Lunch

They serve Iberian pork here pink. I have to say best pork i have ever tasted. Helen had kid goat also off the chart yummy.

The view from Finca Listonero is amazing and they very kindly let us swim in their pool.

Time to say goodbye to Sandra and leave Finca Listonero

We now are not far from my parents who live near Torrevieja. I look on search for sites app and find a wildcamping place next to a beach near a town called Águilas .

Playa La Carolina , it is perfect . Bruce is in his element, he loves sand and sea .

Monday 10th June

Woke up early and watched the sun rise. Went for a swim with Bruce.

Spent the morning on the beach and then headed for my Parents Villa.

Good to see my parents . Last time was nearly a year ago. Paul my brother also pitched up in his campervan. The family back to together , it feels good.

Tuesday 11th June

Paul and i had bought a hot tub for our parents to use at their villa. Somewhere cool to use in the summer and hot in the winter. Timing worked out well as we were all here when it was delivered and installed.

Not surprisingly Bruce jumped in as well.

Wednesday 11th June

Has been great spending a few days with the family. We plan to move on later today so my father Barry wanted to cook us a meal before we leave.

The journey continues .

Where to next ?

Part Diez

Friday 31st May

We leave El Puerto De Santa Maria Near Cadiz and head south towards a place called Bolonia recommended by our good friends Celia and Nigel hoping for less windy conditions. Winds had been around 40 MPH previous day. Initially winds seemed lower .

The winds got stronger and then we hit a dust storm. Molly was getting a battering and i was finding driving very tiring so we decided to pull off road at nearest town.

We drive in to Conil de Fontera and head for the seafront. The wind is blowing a Hooley. as we park up someone drives up and asked us to move , no motorhomes allowed. We drive up the hill and park nearer the main town.

The town is really nice and full of character. Lots of little streets and alleyways. We find a cafe with a very reasonable 9 euro menu del Dias. Not one of the best we have had. Need to read the menu more carefully next time.

We drive on to Bologna which initially looks perfect. Beautiful beach and small village. But it is blowing well over 40 MPH and no where to stay with any shelter. Battered and sand blasted we decide to try a campsite we have found on search for sites near the next beach .

It turned out to be really nice. Just the right size and well looked after with a pool that was actually open and good shelter from the wind. We set up and decide to check out the beach which was about 5 minutes walk.

We found another paradise , very similar feel to Comporta in Portugal. It is a real shame the wind is making it painful to walk along the beach.

Saturday 1st June

To Hilly to run so we decide to go for a walk up the hill behind the campsite

View is amazing but incredibly windy. After the walk we go for a swim.

The back drop is amazing and fairly sheltered.

We love the site and the beach and would stay longer but the wind is just to much. We look on the weather app and see Gibraltar is much less windy and decide to head there.

As soon as we drive past Tarifa and over the next hill the wind dies down.

The rock of Gibraltar is iconic and dominates the scenery of the surrounding area. We have found a site on a marina in Spain very close to the border with Gibraltar. It is the perfect location for exploring the rock.

We love sites on Marinas. It is a very nice place to be. Having parked up we walk a short distance to the border.

We are worried there would be a problem with Bruce but we need not have worried. We get through the other side and board a bus to the centre. Bruce is allowed on the bus ,first time on this trip.

The bus stop is outside Gauchos Restaurant in the city wall. My good friend Simon Hawley and i dined there while on a sailing course about 10 years ago. It is memorable as we had a power cut half way through dinner and spent the rest of the evening under candle light . Very romantic.

Sunday 2nd June

We go for an early morning run and swim in the sea. The next destination planned is Ronda. It is not far away and we head towards Estapona. We then turn left and head into the hills.

We head higher

And higher

And higher. The road and sights are amazing. One of the best driving roads yet.

Finally we see Ronda in the distance. There is a site not to far from the old town with all amenities.

We walk into old town and are not disappointed. It is an amazing site.

This city is high up in the mountains surrounded by beautiful hills, unlike any place i have been to before.

we decide to have a coffee on the balcony of the parador hotel with a perfect position overlooking the bridge. We sit down at a table and wait and wait. We decide to get the backgammon board out to pass the time as the view is so nice. We finish the game and still no service. Must be over 30 minutes.

We leave and find a beautiful view on the other side of the bridge at a hotel called Don Carlos.

Just love Ronda . A truly amazing place.

Monday 3rd June

It is Helens fathers Birthday on 5th June. They live in Benalmádena near Malaga and we head there to spend a few days with them.

On the way we decide to stop at a town in the hills between Ronda and Malaga called Ardales

For a coffee and brandy (for Helen) .

It is set on a hill with the church at the top. Dates back to pre historic times.

It is a typical Spanish town very pretty and the people and very friendly.

Bruce makes a few more friends. Love this place. If i did live in Spain i think it would be in a place like this.

Finally we reach Benalmadena and Helens Parents.

Time for a few days of the road and give Molly a well earned rest.

Part Nueve

Sunday 26th May

We left Ferragudo and headed for the Border

There is a large bridge over the River Guadiana which is the border between Portugal and Spain.

Just over the border is a town called Ayamonte with a beautiful marina in the middle. We found an Airs site right by the marina. Perfect position.

Narrow streets and a square in the town with cafes all around. This place has a very friendly atmosphere, would like to come back.

Monday 27th May

We go for a run around the harbour

and chill out over looking the Marina.

About 4pm we decide to drive to Seville about 1.5 hours drive. I had found a site near the old town, but when we got there it was closed ready for redevelopment. Helen thinks she saw a sign for a Motorhome park as we were driving in. We find this place not far away .

It is a basic site at the back of a car storage area near the port. It is only 15 mins walk to the centre of town so we decide to stay. As soon as we get out of Molly the heat hits us. It is about 38 degrees C . Much hotter than were we had been on the coast. We get out the awning to give us some shade.

It starts to cool down so we head in to town to see the sites.

We walk through a park full of oranges. Anyone need a one for their Marmalade ?

Find this amazing building called Plaza de Espana .

Has a very cooling fountain which is needed.

We go in search of a place called Casa Matias in the middle of the old town. Rick Stein had been there and it looked good. But when we arrived the place was empty he said come back tomorrow . We head along the narrow streets and find one of the oldest tapas bars in Seville called Casa Morales. The place is packed and we have to wait some time before a table becomes available.

Try some local sherry and a few tapas. Very nice.

We catch a catch a taxi home . Turns out to be the only Maserati Taxi in Spain . There is a video on YouTube about Taxirati .

Tuesday 28th May

It has been a very hot night in Molly. The heat of Seville is tough. Poor Bruce is experiencing heat for the first time. He is finding shade under Molly. We want to stay another day but the heat is oppressive.

I consult search for sites and find another place to stay slightly out of town at Puerto Gelves. A marina that has a motorhome site as well. It is heaven compared to the car pound by the port .

We park over looking the river and put out the awning to give some much needed shade. This lady comes walking by with her dog Nelly Mandela . Bruce says hello and we invite her under the shade to have a glass of wine. Dianne Harper is 88 years old and lives on a sailing boat. She is an amazing women . She regaled us with stories of her and her sadly departed husband sailing around Europe and Africa.

We jump on a bus and head back in to Seville. Tonight Casa Matius is buzzing and we spend sometime soaking up the flamenco music in this very raucous and fun bar.

Wednesday 29th May

The heat of Seville is to much and Córdoba looks similar so we decide to head for the town of Cadiz which should be cooler on the coast.

The drive between Seville and Cadiz was great. Lots of rolling fields of Sunflowers and also olive trees.

We find a campsite across the bay from Cadiz with our discount Acsi card called Playa Las Dunas. You can catch a ferry to Cadiz just down the road and we are next to the beach. There are lots of tree also for shade which is now becoming important.

We park up under a tree and decide to cook some steak and chicken outside.

Thursday 30th May

We get up early and go for a 4 mile run along the sea front with Bruce.

It is surprising who you meet along the way.

We go for a swim on the beach with Bruce after run. Bruce is becoming a real water dog.

The wind has increased today to over 40 mph . Went for a walk on the beach. We were not so much windswept more like sand blasted.

We were planning to visit Cadiz on the ferry but not possible due to conditions. After some investigation we caught a train from the other side of town and head in to Cadiz.

Cadiz has lots of character. It is not grand like Seville , more like an overgrown fishing village. A maze of little streets, lots of cafes and small restaurants. A lot of small squares as you move through different neighbourhoods.

Found a bar called Casa Manteca started by a Bull Fighter . Great atmosphere.

Head back to station and catch last train home after a long day. Where to next ? Hopefully somewhere with less wind.

Part Oito

Tuesday 21 May

Slept in car park by the beach In Comporta

Lovely location . Very unspoilt here. Went for a run through the rice fields behind the beach (was not aware they had paddy fields in Portugal) . There are Storks here , they seem to like wading in the rice fields.

Nice flat place to run.Helen hates hills.

Went for a swim on the beach after the run.

Had a relaxing day.

Helen got her haircut she is very pleased. She showed the lady a picture of Jamie Lee Curtis and bingo.

Went to a bar in Comporta in the evening and played some backgammon and had a cannery tapas of Tuna with a piri piri /horseradish mayonnaise.

Wednesday 22nd May

We had been Reccomended by Lilly Martins to go horse riding on the beach at Comporta.

Helen’s Horse is called Eco , apparently it is owned by Madonna the singer who has two horses at this stable.

Very special place to ride a horse.

A great way to remember comporta.

Thursday 23rd May

Our Horse riding Guide gave us a recommendation of a fishing village heading towards the Algarve called Zambujeira do Mar .

On our way there we went a short distance inland and found rolling country side and fields of hay.

Close to our destination we stoped at a beautiful rugged beach A Place called Longueira Almograve. I found it on search for sites. We parked up and were looking out over the beach when a man on the beach shook his finger at us and waved us away. Not the welcome we had been expecting. We got out of Molly and were about to walk down to the beach only to find a no dog sign. Does not seem we are welcome here so we move on . A shame as it was a visually striking place.

Arrived at Zambujeira do Mar. A beautiful place with a great beach.

Found a very nice campsite on the outskirts of the town were we were welcome.

It is getting warmer , time for the Panama Hat to make an appearance.

Friday 24th May

We are now about 50 miles from Celia and Nigel our friends and neighbours in the UK. They have a villa near Ferragudo. They are there for a month while there house is being renovated in the UK and they very kindly invited us to stay for a few days.

We arrive around midday and they take us to lunch at a very nice place nearby with its own vineyard and micro brewery. Was not expecting to drink pale ale in the Algarve.

They have a beautiful villa and a very nice pool . Bruce has wasted no time and is now swimming at every opportunity.

In the evening we end up at a local bar drinking a spirit called Medrnho.

Rosa poured this powerful drink with magical powers.

The memory is rather vague of the rest of the evening or getting home.

Saturday 25th May

Celia and Nigel are very good hosts, they are showing round the best places in the area.

We go to the harbour of a place called Alvor. There are some fish restaurants cooking fish on the barbecue.

We order some sardines and ask Renata to take a photo. She obliges

And then takes a selfie. (Have given her details of the blog )

Sunday 26th May

After two days at Villa Marta we have to say good bye to Celia and Nigel. They have been so good to us. We will miss them.

Living in a villa with a bedroom and large ensuite is a big change from Molly where we live cheek by jowl.

One last coffee and pastel de nata (or glass of wine for Helen) and we are off.

Good Bye Portugal Hello Spain

Part Sete

Friday 17th May

We left Porto and headed for Aveiro . The scenery has improved from the urban sprawl between Braga and Porto. Lovely towns and villages. The outside of the houses have ceramic tiles on them . Some of them are stunning.

We passed this church in a small town called Ovar-Válega.

In this area we start to see some Stork nests. This one is on a gantry over the road.

We stop in a place for lunch by the beach. I did not realise the the town of Aveiro is the Venice of Portugal until later in the trip. Will have to visit another time.

As usual Bruce is making friends.

It is quite windy . After a surf and turf lunch at Praia da Costa Nova Aveiro we head for Coimbra. This town used to be the capital of Portugal . It has one of the oldest university’s and is on a river. It is the Oxford of Portugal as described by my friend Nuno.

We manage to park by the river in an area for Motorhomes. It is a perfect position just across the river from the old town. We walk into town via the Botanical Gardens.

Being a university town the main square is very colourful

Just love this place. It has a magic about it.

Saturday 18th May

Slept overnight in Coimbra. As it is Saturday there are lots of people around by the river . Lots of Sports going on.

Never seen water polo played with canoes before.

We leave Coimbra (definitely coming back here) and head for a medieval town called Obidos

We wander round and have a talk with the locals.

Beautifully preserved town but very touristy . Felt a bit like Disney land.

Consulted TripAdvisor and found a great place for lunch.

We are now not far from Lisbon and carry on our journey .

We decide to stop just over the bridge from Lisbon in a seaside resort called Costa Da Caparica. Need a bit of a rest after a lot of driving.

Sunday 19th May

Go for a run along the coast line . Nice and flat.

We meet some dog owners on the beach . After a restful day we set of for Lisbon in late afternoon. We head for a place by the port that we can park for the night near the old town.

Follow a tram on the way in.

Unfortunately the place we wanted to park no longer allows motorhomes. we drove around but eventually gave up and headed for a campsite on the outskirts of Lisbon.

The place is 9km from the centre and need to get a bus in . No dogs allowed on bus so leave Bruce in Motorhome while we head in to the city.

It is a beautiful city with lots of little alley ways and restaurants.

Stunning landmarks

And buzzing nightlife

Monday 20th May

We leave the campsite and head for Setubal Reccomended by our friend Nuno .

The fountain outside the campsite in Lisbon had an unusual statue.

We drive into Setubal and through the other side in search of a place to park. We find a campsite but not really near anywhere or a beach so head on . We find a great beach but sign saying no motorhomes.

We park at the side of the road and climb down to the beach and have a paddle.

We decide to head on for a place called Comporta which is close to Setubal as the crow flies but a long way by road. We find a Motorhome park there near the town. We are told we can also park by the beach, so we head there.

I think we have found Paradise.