Tuesday, 17 January 2017

From Spain, Tuesday 17 January

We basically spent all day driving up from just south of Poitiers up to Calais. We left our friends after breakfast, and stopped off at the Auchan in Poitiers for bread and diesel. Then we stopped for lunch a couple of hours later, and a final stop for a splash of expensive motorway diesel before coming straight to Buffalo Grill for our now-traditional Last Supper. 

As I didn't sleep very well last night, I slept a lot of the way, but it was a lovely day for driving, although cold. The trouble with driving days, though, is that there are few, if any, photo opportunities.

Tonight will be cold, but not as cold as in the Massif Central. All the same, bedsocks and hot water bottles, and rugs on top of the duvet.... cosy!

Monday, 16 January 2017

From Spain, Monday 16 January

A couple of hours' drive this morning brought us to our friend's house, where we are spending 24 hours. Very enjoyable, but not blogging material! 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

From Spain, Sunday 15 January

Really a nothing day; it has rained the entire day. We came to this village called Clérac, driving up the motorway in the rain and stopping at a rest area to have lunch. The village is about half way between Hossegor and where our friend lives, and was supposed to have free services, but they are closed for the winter, although there is a loo.  And there is a bakery, but of course it is closed on Mondays. Oh well.

We are having a chicken, leek and mushroom casserole for dinner, followed by some kind of chocolate dessert I bought in Spain. And a very nice Rioja that I wish we'd bought more than one bottle of.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

From Spain, Saturday 14 January

Well, I can't exactly say "To Spain" any more now that we are on the homeward leg of our journey!

We left our very nice aire of last night after using the services, and drove north towards France. We stopped, as we had on the way in, at a huge shopping centre, 95% French cars, and I went shopping. Took ages, because so many things were on offer for €1 each, things I wouldn't have thought of buying but which I would certainly use, like dried beans and chick peas and a thing of 6 small containers (perfect for mixing curry powder for a trip like this) and a cake cooling stand because I can't find mine!  Also wine and stuff. What we needed was bread and milk, and I took ages to find the fresh milk, which was in a fridge beside the UHT stuff; logical, I suppose, but I had to ask...  Also a bottle of Grant's whisky for €10.50, do nicely for my mother's birthday next week.  Anyway, I bought masses of stuff and only spent €50 or so.  Very pleasing.

Then we drove on and into France (eventually; we took a wrong turn and ended up on the motorway going the wrong way!), and are now parked up outside Hossegor, a little town on the edge of the Landes where I direct a holiday as a child, although I don't remember it very well. It was where I first learnt to like Astérix!  The SW went for a walk, and then we had supper. It is cold - not freezing, but dank and wet - so we have gone to bed early to read and listen to the radio (free WiFi at this site!).

Friday, 13 January 2017

To Spain, Friday 13 January

I said, when I planned our trip, that where we spent last night, on a headland overlooking the Port of Bilbao, would be lovely unless there was a storm. There was a storm!  We were horrendously exposed, and I slept very badly, being quite convinced that a window would blow in, or the van would blow over, or the solar panels would blow off. However, none of those disasters occurred, and morning came at last.

We didn't hurry to get up, and when we eventually set off, we asked the machine to take us into Bilbao, which looked really rather nice once you were there, and then we drove to Donostia (San Sebastian), and again, had a quick peek at it before we headed to the parking, which turns out to be a very nice aire by the university.  Not free, but not expensive (€3.25 per night), and services are provided. And it is sheltered, so although it is raining steadily, we are not buffeted as we were last night.

As this is our last night in Spain, we decided to go out to dinner (plus I hadn't been out all day) to a nearby burger bar which was well-reviewed, but of course when we got there it had closed down. So we went to another one, which was ok, but not brilliant, but perfectly edible, and delicious beer, only €2.50 for 500 ml, and then came back to the van and ate coffee-flavoured "flan" and ginger biscuits before getting into our cosy, warm and dry beds! 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

To Spain, Thursday 12 January

I have had a relatively quiet day today; I find I need that occasionally. We set our sat-nav to take us to a services in Vittoria-Gasteiz, as needed to use them.  While we were there we went to a Mercadona and bought the biggest bag of oranges you ever did see.

Then we drove to where we are spending the night - a car park above Bilbao, which I thought would be lovely if it didn't storm - so, of course, it is pouring with rain and very windy!  But we watched the Bilbao-Portsmouth ferry head out - sooner them than me - and the SW went for a walk before the rain started which he enjoyed. And now I am going to curl up in bed. The rain is making the grey water tank say it is full, but we know that is rubbish! 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

To Spain, Wednesday 11 January

I always say that you don't really know a city until you have used it's public transport, but these days with the Internet to tell you how, it's almost too easy. So we found there was a bus that would take us right into Zaragoza town centre from about 500 metres from where we were parked up.

Idiot Google had said there was no pedestrian route to the nearest supermarket, but there totally was, it was just by the bus stop on the way back and a perfectly good pedestrian crossing!  Anyway, that was later; for now we caught the 41 into town and made a note of where we got off to get back with no hassle. Then we walked through the town centre to the river, and along a bit past the Cathedral and the Basilica, and then there was a big market so we wandered through that, amazed at how cheap meat is here.  Then there was a tram, so we got on that for a couple of stops, and then only a short walk back to our bus stop, via a cashpoint, as I was running a bit low.

I went to the supermarket as I wanted mushrooms for a risotto, and was amazed at how cheap stuff was - ended up buying some deodorant, as it was a brand I use and reduced to 60 cents!  Beer is also incredibly cheap, but I'm not buying that until I don't have to carry it!

Then we set off and drive out of town - why are the outskirts of towns always so hideous? - and stopped in a random services for lunch. Then I went to sleep while the SW drove here, to Lograño, where we are parked up by a reservoir.  He went for a walk, and then I cooked risotto which was very good.  And we drank some of the wine we'd bought at Mas Alart, which was just as good as we'd thought.