Where has the time gone? Neither Keith and I can believe that we have been in and around San Juan Alicante for the best part of six months …. although to be fair with the winter that everyone else has had, we are pretty happy that we were!
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the last couple of weeks since we got back from the UK have been spent eating, drinking, enjoying the company of our friends and doing the occasional Yoga and Pilates class…. ok so nothing new!
We have been cracking out the bar b q as much as possible although it has still been fairly windy …. but that is all behind us now as we have battened down the hatches and spent the last five days getting some miles in before we change our minds again on our destination!
As some of you will know, our plan this year – like three other years – was to head to Eastern Europe and do some exploring, alas, it looks like most of Eastern Europe will have to wait for another year…. but we will get there! The plan changed when we found that we needed to be in Northern France at the end of May/beginning of June giving us only 6 or 7 weeks from leaving Spain, it has however changed a few more times since then and we are currently sat in St Valery sur Somme (GPS n. 50,18211 e. 1,62896) looking out at the dark grey clouds, ready to jump on the train back to the UK tomorrow to go and see a possible new (to us) motorhome….. exciting!
So, it has been a bit of a whistle stop journey, stopping in Teruel (GPS n. 40,33171 w. 1,09255) on Monday night – only to find out that Monday was a regional holiday. Some regions of Spain celebrate St Georges day by giving books to their loved one(s) …. a little bit like Valentine’s Day but more educational! Shopping was therefore put off until Tuesday morning but my mum will be pleased to know that we did buy a tub of Boquerones (baby herrings in vinaigrette) before we left Spain.
After a quick shop we headed further north and into the snow as we crossed the border to France via the Somport Tunnel again. A smooth journey and we were pleasantly surprised at the temperature when we arrived at Oloron Saint Marie which is roughly 50km into France as it was 24+ degrees …. definitely Gin Tonic weather!
Oloron Saint Marie (GPS n. 43,18403 w. 0,60878) is a pretty little town on a river with about 10,000 habitants. It appears to have three different ‘centers’ two of which are on the crest of two different hills which keeps the locals fit. After a quiet night we woke to the soft drumming of rain on the roof and knew that our sunshine had probably gone for a while so tackling it full on I went for a wet run into the beautiful countryside. It sounds daft but it was lovely to see green rolling hills and cows …. as much as we complain about the rain it brings a very special kind of beauty.
Setting off on our next stint we were horrified to find that we had been staying in the home town of Lindt chocolate and didn’t know anything about it ….. all we could do was drool a little … and lick the windows … as we passed the factory and shop on the way out of town and plan to come back and visit it next time.
Another 350km on the road and we stopped at Roullet Saint Estephe (GPS n. 45,5809 e. 0,04458), I guess what can only be called a village in the middle of nowhere that had an Aire and strangely a reasonably size motorhome showroom. A good stopover and very quiet until the local farmer starting shooting at the crows in the morning. Initially I thought that it was one of the automated shots that are in the crop fields to scare aware the birds, until I saw the guy walking round in his wellies randomly shooting at the crows …. I guess that we should be thankful that he didn’t mind motorhomes that much!
That said we set off on the road again arriving at another pretty town called Chateaudun (GPS n. 48,07138 e. 1,32423) at around 4pm for our stop. The Aire was just by the bridge on the river Loir … yep, that is Loir and not Loire, we were about 100km north of the Loire by this point.
We set off for a walk around town, taking in the historic center, castle and the tranquility of the countryside as we walked back along the river – definitely somewhere to come back to for some walking.
Once we got back to the Aire we took up our favourite sport of watching idiots… they were right on cue and arrived in a very large (9.5m at least) motorhome with a motorbike on the back and tried to park up in one of the bays. To be fair to the guy he parked the truck really well …. until he reversed a bit too far and hit the tree with his motorbike/very expensive motorhome. He then spent 5 minutes trying to get satellite signal and then realising that he couldn’t get it where he was, moved further away from the cliff to try again. With each move you could see him getting angrier as the movements were more abrupt but he parked again…. albeit at an angle and barely allowing our neighbour to get into their motorhome… to then accelerate out of the space again five minutes later frustrated, leaving the aire for who knows where …. but away from us. Too much money and too tight to want to spend it on a place slightly more suitable for a motorhome of that size …. sorry, did I say that out loud??
Now relaxed in St Valery sur Somme, stocked up with a little french wine before we head back to the UK for a few weeks we are settled in next to a nice Concord… just sizing it up for now, ready for the next part of our adventure, whatever it brings!!