Part Seis

Tuesday 14th May

We were woken up by an Alarm . The fridge had stopped working. We are in a car park not connected to Electricity and the fridge should be working on gas. Tried the usual things. Turned fridge on and off checked gas ect no joy. Weather has got better going to be 30 degrees today. Still to early to ring Swift service in England so went for a 3 mile run along the beach, it is going to be a nice day weather wise anyway.

Got back from run and rang Swift . The lady could not help but promised to ring back after seeking technical help. It was now getting hot and we lost all food in freezer.

I then remembered it was possible to shut down the electrical system . I found this under one of the seats .

I pulled out the fuse for the fridge and waited for a few minutes. I put the fuse back in powered up the system and turned on the fridge. Helen was outside listening to the outside grill of the fridge.

To our amazement it fired up. What a lovely sound to hear the small roar of the gas burner.

Panic over we went down to the beach for a well earned swim with Bruce . Helen was beaming knowing the white wine would be chilled for later in the day.

Spent sometime at the beach which is next to the place where we are staying.

Nigel, Joanne their son Jack and Barney the dog (mad as Bruce) are in the Motorhome next to us . They saved our bacon or actually they put our white wine , beer and milk in there fridge while ours was recovering. They are two and half months in to a years break touring Europe.

The laundry bag was full so decided to visit the local laundry. 3 euros for a wash and 2 euros for the dryer.

After a long and at times stressful day we decided to find a bar to play some backgammon and have some food.

Bruce said hello to the two very nice people on the next table. Alvaro and Alejandra from Uruguay. They are on a month trip around Spain. We told them about our blog and they looked it up on their phone . They were able to do google translate and read it in Spanish. They are now following the blog.

Wednesday 15th May

After two very nice days in Baiona it is time to say goodbye Spain hello Portugal. We pack up and head for the border . We cross in to Portugal at a town called Valença and decide to turn left and head for the mountains and some waterfalls our Portuguese friend Nuno has told us about.

We stoped for lunch in a small town on the way called Arcos de Valdevez . There was no menu just what was cooking which turned out to be a very nice stew with rice and a litre of red wine for 10 euros . Only managed half the wine.

We met this lovely lady on the next table . We do not know her name as she spoke no English . We did try google translate but the only time she stopped speaking was when we gave her the phone to speak into.

As we climb into the mountains the scenery is amazing.

We park at the side of the road at a place called Cascata da Portela do Homen in Parque National Penada-Geres

Helen loves it here

Even Bruce jumps in .

After the waterfalls we search for a campsite and find out there is one fairly near called campo de Geres . What we were unaware of is we had to drive over a mountain to get to it and the road was narrow and sheer drops.

By time we got to the campsite Helen was traumatised. It took a good hour before she calmed down.

Thursday 16th May

My good friend Mike Hodges emailed me this morning and asked if i could give him a better idea where we have been travelling . So here is a map of the journey so far.

We decided no more mountain roads for a while would be a sensible option. We headed for Braga. We could not find anywhere to park so carried on to Porto.

The road from Braga to Porto is just urban sprawl and quite awful. Not what we were expecting . We decide to stop on the coast just the other side of Porto and get the bus into Porto. We stop in a place called Vila Nova de Gaia.

We parked up and walked to the bus stop to travel into Porto . Unfortunately the Bus did not allow dogs , so we went to a supermarket bought a cooked chicken and went back to Molly glad to finish a poor day.

Friday 17th May

We got up and decided to go for a run. Feeling in better spirits today after a fairly low day yesterday.

Helen met a nice guy while running , as you do .

We decided Molly needed a good clean . Pulled all the carpets out and seat cushions , had. A good sweep out and brushed. The carpets and cushions.

Much better .

Part Cinco

Friday 10th May

Helen woke up this morning with swollen finger . She had injured it a few days ago and thought the swelling would reduce, as it has not, we decided to find a medical clinic. We headed out of Potes and drove through the Picos Mountains towards the coast.

As we passed though a village called Rio Deva we saw a clinic on the side of the road.

We went in and explained the problem . They said they did not have any tools to remove Helens ring but would try to reduce the swelling. They then said someone was coming in with a tool to remove ring. We think it was a builder / electrician working down the road . Helen was slightly nervous (due to lack of wine)

We are not totally sure of his medical credentials but he did remove the ring without loss of limbs.

With pressure relieved we headed for our next destination Cudillero .

We found the campsite and parked in our spot.

We walked down to the village and harbour.

A beautiful place . We wondered around the harbour restaurants and picked one with Langostinos ala Plancha .

Saturday 11th May

I bought a WiFi booster on Amazon for the trip . I could not get it to work so decided to send back to Amazon . Printed out return slip at campsite and headed for the local post office . When we got there a sign was on the door back in 15 Minutes. So decided to head for the nearest cafe.

We joined the Senoritas for coffee, and caught up on the local gossip.

Posted the parcel and headed for next destination . A town called Ribadeo.

We parked by the port and walked into town . Another great place with narrow streets and lots of character. Menu Del Dia at lunchtime is becoming a habit . For somewhere between 8 and 15 euros you get 3 courses , half a bottle of wine and coffee. A true bargain to be found in most restaurants and eateries almost everywhere we have visited. The choices are small which means you eat something new everyday and a bottle of wine . What is not to like .

YUM YUM mmm !!

We decided to carry on to Santiago De Compostela as we were now quite close. We found a campsite about 2.5 km out of town. We decided to catch the bus in, but unfortunately they do not allow dogs so Shank’s Pony was the order of the day.

We have been following the Camino for St Jean pol pied de port in the french Pyrenees and it felt good to eventually arrive in Santiago De Compostela. As we walked along the Camino into town there were many pilgrims and lots of singing and music being played . It was very atmospheric.

We wandered through the streets and finally reached the main square in front of the cathedral .

Sunday 12th May

After completing the Camino it is normal to walk another 60 km to the final end of the Camino by the sea. The place is called the end of the world . I suspect before Columbus found America most people thought it was.

Having found the perfect spot for the night we headed for the bar. On a balcony over looking the sea we met Geraldine & Mathew from Jullianstown in Ireland.

We spent a lovely time together watching the sun set.

Monday 13th May

Leaving this truly magical place was difficult but Portugal beckons . We drove on towards the border through a large town called Vigo and finally stopped for the night in a place called Baiona about 25km from the border. After consulting search for sites we found a free place to park overlooking the sea. Just perfect .

Part Cuatro

Monday 6th May

Bruce learnt to swim today

And he met his Spanish Double “Lucas”

After a bit of Chilling

and a few games of Backgammon we left this special place and headed down the road to an old small town on the Camino called Estella. we had heard it was a place to visit.

We parked at a Airs Motorhome site about 2 miles out of town. Should have been 4 euros a night, but the barrier was up so it was free.

We headed into town and walked downhill along the Camino trail to Estelle. The Camino is well sign posted and in places there is a brass shell in the pavement

The old town is magical but very much a part of the town and felt real.

In France Bruce was allowed in every Bar or Restaurant we went to. In Spain it seems Dogs are not allowed in any Bars or Restaurants. This meant we could only eat at a Bar with an outside table. Eventually we found a place with outside tables and a nice menu.

The wine was exceptional and Cod Stew and Chorizo in Cider went down very well. we headed home to molly after a perfect day.

Tuesday 7th May

This area is a wine growing region and so we decided to visit some vineyards very close to where we were parked. The first one was about 400 yards away and had a free wine fountain for visitors. although it was around 10am this did not deter Helen.

With Molly’s wine cellar suitably stocked we headed for our next destination along the Camino trail , Burgos. This meant driving through Rioja. More vines than you can shake a stick at.

And the odd Bull

Up to now we have stayed in some nice campsites this unfortunately came to an end in Burgos . This is a stopping point for people heading from south of Spain to Santander or Bilbao for the ferry. It was packed and it was raining and the site was grim. Not the best mix for enjoyment.

We locked ourselves in Molly and cooked a nice dinner and pretended to be somewhere else.

Steak and Pasta with Pesto

Wednesday 8th May

Got up early and out of Burgos. would have liked to see old town but it was pouring with Rain.

We decided to leave the Camino and head for the Picos Mountains. we found a campsite in a place called Potes.

This meant heading over some mountains. I like heights and even my stomach was churning on some of the bends and sheer drops on either side.

There were also some obstacles in the road to overcome.

I thought he was going to charge at Molly

We finally arrived in Potes. We were not expecting such a great town in the middle of the picos. A very nice surprise after Burgos.

Wandered round the town had some lunch.

Even the Priest was out for a drink.

Headed for the campsite and were pleasantly surprised what a lovely place it is. Probably the best yet.

After we settled in i was soundly beaten at Backgammon.

After a long day we retired to the bar to watch Ajax v Tottenham. If only our good friend Phil Mastris could have seen it . Well done Spurs.

Thursday 9th May

Two weeks on the road today. Walked into town for a lunch to celebrate this milestone event. A 13 euro 3 course menu del dia including a bottle of wine.

And would you believe it they let Bruce in as well.

Part Tres (Well Done Molly)

After two great days at our Surfing Paradise (Moliets-Et-May) We decided to head in to the Pyrenees Mountains . On the way we drove through Biarritz . It had a beautiful coastline but was busy. Bought a rotisserie chicken and found a place to park on the sea front.

We decided to get back on the road and headed for St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees. This town is one of the start points for the Camino Pilgrims walk to Santiago-de-Compostela. It is a journey of 791km. A trip i have read about and would love to do. There is a great film called The Way about walking the Camino and it starts in this town.

We found a beautiful camp site within the towns Ancient Wall and a stones throw from the centre.

We crossed a bridge and walked into town

An amazing place .

The starting point in this town for the Camino.

The Basque Symbol is everywhere

This is the entrance to the pilgrims office where you sign up for the trip and get your pilgrims passport which needs to be stamped at churches and refuges along the way.

A map of the journey.

Had a very tasty Rustic Basque Meal and then home to bed.

Went for a run in the morning , stunning to run in this scenery

After a refreshing shower and some porridge we set off over the Mountain pass into Spain. I was unsure how Molly would cope with the hair pin bends and steep inclines and descents. I need not have worried she coped admirably.

Stopped at a lay by which was also a stop for the pilgrims walking the Camino. It seems if you are looking for a partner you put a piece of underwear in the box . It works like Magic !! .

We were looking for the border between France and Spain but saw nothing not even a sign. We came down the other side onto Spain and headed for Pamplona. We drove through the town but could not find anywhere to park so headed on along in the general direction of Santiago de Compostela. We soon started rising again and found an amazing view from the top.

Bruce found some interesting Plants.

I was getting tired after driving up 2 mountains and consulted search for sites .

As luck would have it there was a site on a lake about 15 minutes away. Turned out to be perfect.

Settled in and Helen cooked a great dish to end a perfect day. A sort of chilli with goats cheese.

2 mountain passes in one day WELL DONE MOLLY.

Road Trip in Molly Part Deux

After two relaxing days on Il de Re we headed over the Bridge to the City of La Rochelle. We found a great site near the old town , perfect location for site seeing. A car park that had an area for Motorhomes.

I had heard La Rochelle was nice but i never expected such a great place. The old town is set around the harbour with two towers as an entrance to the harbour. Lots of cafes and restaurants , just a great place to wander round.

We sat at a table and did a spot of people watching

Wednesday 1st May.

We set of early heading for Bordeaux. We noticed shops were closed but there where lots of people selling flowers at the side of the road . Lily of the valley flowers. The. French call it La Fete Du Muguet . (Lily of the Valley day )

We were heading for a vineyard a bit out of Bordeaux. We had been advised to give the town of Bordeaux a wide berth, but the place we were heading for was further out than we expected. as we were driving through the outskirts of Saint-Emilion we saw a motorhome sign. We followed the signs to a little vineyard called Chateau Gerbaud.

Wine tasting at 6pm and if you buy some wine it is free to stay. Bargain

Such a lovely setting surrounded by grape vines. all the restaurants where closed due to May Day but found a man cooking Pizza at the end of the road.

Thursday 2nd May

The Vineyard owner suggested we visit the town of Saint Emilion before we left and we are so glad we did .

Had to have. A cup of coffee in the square

And a spot of nail banging in the Church

Left Saint Emilion and headed for our next destination , the small town of Moliets-et-Maa on the Atlantic Ocean near the Spanish Border.

This will do for a couple of days .

Introduction

Always wanted to travel but never had the time. Now at the age of 57 i finally have some time and i am going to travel. Correction Helen my wife, Bruce the dog and i are going on a roadtrip. Initial plan 3 months going though Europe. Not too fixed but have pencilled a basic route.

We bought a motorhome and named her Molly. Now for some preparation. fairly boring but needed. Researched the net about driving abroad and bought a collection of items including Breathalyser, Safety triangle, Spare bulbs , head lamp beam converter and last but by no means least a Pet Passport for Bruce .

So the day after Brexit was delayed we went to vets picked up pet passport and booked ferry for April 25th from Poole to Cherbourg.

We had always planned to leave at end of April but would have had a problem with Bruce travelling if we had crashed out of EU without a deal. Luckily we are still in and that decision has been kicked down the road.

THE ROUTE

The Journey Begins

10am Thursday 25th April 2019 We leave The Marshes our home in Riseley and head for Poole ferry to Cherbourg. It was the first time we had taken a pet abroad, thought it might be complicated , it was very straight forward. They looked at pet passport and checked embedded chip. Drove onto ferry , left Bruce in Molly and took our seats.

Helen likes the odd glass of wine .

France

Ferry took about four hours . Arrived to a rainy Cherbourg. Drove out off the town and headed for an Aire site i found on an App called Search for Sites. Had a few traffic issues on the way .

Arrived in Siouville-Hague as the sun was setting on our first day. Beautiful small village by the sea. The site was in a field close to the beach. Bruce had a great time racing around and discovering rock pools.

Friday 26th April

Early morning on the beach and then set off to Mont-Saint-Michel . Avoided the motorway and took local roads. Lots of nice french villages.

Caught first glimpse off Mont-Saint-Michel . Amazing .

Path to Mont-Saint-Michel.

Saturday 27th April

Today we head for St-Malo. Not a long journey . Arrive in town around 11.00am. Found amazing site overlooking harbour.

View from Molly

Today is our 34th Wedding Anniversary so we set out to explore St Malo and find a restaurant to celebrate. Being a trip advisor fan we found a great place in the centre of the walled town ranked number 1 called Cargo Culte.

Great food , perfect location, relaxed atmosphere

Ended the evening at CUNNINGHAM’s BAR near the harbour . They had a live band playing blues and harmonica.

Sunday 28th April

On the road again heading for La Rochelle . Long journey. Around 2pm getting hungry and cannot find restaurant still serving so stopped in village .

Bought asparagus , Red wine, Strawberry’s , Melon & Bread
Cooked poached eggs and asparagus . Perfect

Found site near La Rochelle on the island of Il de Re. Got to use our AICT card and got a discount at a site next to sea.

View from Molly

After a long day on the road. Needed some food but did not want to go out and eat. We found a hole in the wall Pizza machine !!. Did not know they exist. Freshly cooked in about 4 Minutes. What a great idea.

Monday 29th April

Il de Re is a beautiful chic place. The more time we are here the more we like it. Lazy day. Chilling by the sea and started writing this blog.

Tuesday 30th April

Yum yum

What better way to start the day than buying fresh croissants and bread. I am not supposed to eat bread due to low carb diet but the french make such good bread.