Motorhome Blogs by Members

Blogs written by Club Motorhome members.

Onwards to France

All went quiet and we got our peaceful night. By next morning the snow had cleared on the roads a little making progress much more enjoyable. Other than TomTom taking us into a residential area via a single track, meaning a reverse out of maybe a kilometre!

Once on the way the main roads were easy. The A15 towards San Sebastian is newish and free and stays far enough south of the mountains to keep fairly clear.

On entering France we headed to our old favourite stopover at Hendaye Plage only to find it had been redeveloped into a new barrier entry parking at a whopping 10€ a night for what amounts to a station carpark, services also no longer free and now require 4€. We pressed on to Biarritz. Also a new barrier entry to the Aire and now 12€ but that does include electricity and services and it IS Biarritz! 

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Comfort zone and then the opposite

Our next night was at a campsite we often use in the heart of Huesca. It's cheap in the winter due to a seasonal discount and we usually treat ourselves to a meal in their bar restaurant. The steaks are cooked over wood embers and are usually very good, sadly not this time though but never mind.

Our plan from here was to look at some Aires along our route towards the western end of the Pyrenees where we planned to cross into France.

This is where our comfort zone finished! As we left Huesca in freezing weather the skies soon changed from bright and sunny blue to heavy grey and all the roadside warnings were telling us the obvious - snow!

Well it wasn't long before the white stuff appeared and increased in strength. Our target was Jaca to some official parking by the fort. We got to Jaca, which was lovely in the snow, but there was no way we would have been able to access the parking with maybe a foot of snow on the side roads leading to it. So finding somewhere to turn around, no mean feat, we headed off towards Pamplona. This meant missing out on a couple or three Aires further into the Pyrenees - what had I been thinking of?

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Wind in the night

We got the early night that we wanted but there was little sleep to be had - howling gales all night. It was like trying to sleep in a boat that was being rocked by waves. It was possible to hear the gusts coming before they hit the van, then bam! I got up during the night to check the security of the roof-lights as they were being torn at by the gusts. Even the folding shower doors has to be clipped back into place as they were swinging and clattering with the motion of the van.

I'm writing this over morning coffee and the wind is still howling. It's going to make interesting driving on today's mountain roads!

So today the roads have actually been quite good, not like the wind which has been atrocious! I had to literally fight the steering wheel to keep a straight line for a lot of the day. Before long we had persistent rain to accompany the wind. Anyway we found a couple of Aires that we wanted to review. One being quite nice, in a big wine growing area. We stopped there for some lunch before setting off for the other which was an odd sort of affair.

Our satnav wanted to take us in via a very narrow route so we chose to ignore it. We then found a motorhome parking sign indicating 100 metres, then about a kilometre on another saying 100 metres, then another arrowing to turn left down a riverside track and then another indicating an impossible turn left into some big trees. We manoeuvred in but then gave up as there was no sign of services so reversed the entry procedure and carried on to our night-stop at Teruel.

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Heading North in winter!

To coincide with MOT time for this van we need to be in the UK for March/April so we left our relatively warm and certainly sunny Spanish base with a view to meandering up through France to get a Tunnel crossing on the 11th of February. In order to enjoy what might be the last of our good weather for a while we made a small detour and spent the first 3 nights of our trip at Calpe with some of our friends that had been there since before Christmas.

They're good planners these friends, so on arrival we were immediately whisked off to attend their alfresco Australia Day group lunch. Wow what a treat they laid on! Lots of barbecuing going on obviously and a fair amount of alcohol too.....

The next day another lunch was hosted by other friends (and Club Motorhome members) Starters, mains and desserts from all directions and lots more alcohol..... Not quite sure how we would cope if we stayed here very long .

Our last full day was a little more laid back but somehow still, very nicely, included afternoon teas and more alcohol!

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Staying put

News No 7

 

So …. we have now been here on site for a week – the longest we have ever stayed in one place in our seven years of motoroming. And what do we think of 'rallying' so far? Well, a bit like the curate's egg – good in parts!

 

It is interesting that it was only last night when we first had a conversation with anyone about where they, and we had been in our motorhomes. Of course a lot of the people here are caravanners … our view has always been that caravanners like to go somewhere, pitch up and stay put. Here some have found their ultimate expression of good caravanning, where the typical rallyer stays 3 months, with a good many staying longer – anything up to six months; and they will have rallied in the winter in Spain anything from 4 to as many as 15 times before – often at this same campsite every year. And there are a good few motorhomers who follow this pattern too, it seems.

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Delayed publication!!

This news update should have preceded 'Landed'.  This covers a week wandering along a short part of the southern coast of Spain

 

News No 5

 

When we left Avila we decided that we would give Madrid a miss this time and make haste to the coast and the sunshine. We chose not to use the toll motorways and, as we thought, there really would be no benefit to us at the speeds we travel at. Spain has an amazing road system – we travelled all the way on motorway-standard dual carriageways. They were very lightly trafficed except when passing through Madrid (yes through – including a very long tunnel right under the centre, with several turn-offs which we somehow managed to get right) where the traffic was a lot heavier, but we still didn't experience any hold-ups. Here's a couple of views seen from the road as we travelled through.

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Landed

News No 6

 

We followed the coast west for a few miles, and when we had been about 20 miles in the whole day we stopped beside the sea again at a 'freecamp', along with about 15-20 other motorhomes, well spread out on the sand. As you can see, this is not the best of sand, and it packs down quite hard, so is fine to drive on.

We had a walk into the small town (St Juan de los Terreros) along a beautifully paved promenade which ran for about 2 miles from just beyond where we were parked to the centre (such as it was!). For a country which is short of money they do spend well on their pavements and promenades – and you don't find many trips in the pavements. The whole place was all but deserted out of season, existing only for the sake of the sun and the beach (which was nice white sand, unlike the grey stuff where we were parked).

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Recent comment in this post
fiddleranne
If I don't get another chance before Christmas, have a great time. Looks very inviting for a years time! What super photos...keep... Read More
Monday, 15 December 2014 19:11
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Castille and cold weather

News No 4

 

We have visited two old Castillian cities, Segovia and Avila. Getting there from Valladolid was easy – this is a typical via of the Autovia on our way there.

 

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Spinner
HelloThanks for the pictures. It brings back memories.We visited Segovia a few years back. I remember the drive up through the m... Read More
Saturday, 06 December 2014 18:06
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The rain in Spain

Doesn't fall often, even in winter - but when it does it falls wherever it likes - like going up the mountains on the longest hill we have ever driven up, in the pouring rain.

 

News No 3

 

We travelled on to Biarritz, on the way staying at an Aire by the river Lot at another recovering medieval village, Casseneuil.

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Recent Comments
fiddleranne
Hi, I think they are Mirabelles, we had them in France. If they are a small version of Apricots but sweeter then thats it sorted. ... Read More
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 16:54
NEILMAC
Not certain about the fruit but may be persimon (or persimmon) they are a more financially productive crop to oranges and seem to ... Read More
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 17:01
fiddleranne
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Kaki_20041002.jpg Heres a link to the persimon on a tree but there are several... Read More
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 17:12
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Still in France, but only just

News No 2

 

After leaving our overnight spot on the Loire we travelled on to Oradour-sur Glane, near Limoges. Oradour is the site of an atrocity carried out by the Waffen SS in 1944 – just a few days after D-day. In their effforts to supress the resistance they attacked the village murdering one third of its inhabitants, of whom the majority in the village during the day were of course women, children and the elderly. They then burned out the village, which has been kept as a memorial; a new village was built just a few hundred yards away, but not until 10 years later.

The following morning we were befriended by a cat; it simply walked in as we opened the door, and despite being forcibily removed camped on our step. Eventually we gave in as it had not tried to claw us when we threw it out, so we made abit of a fuss of it. No doubt it it regularly popped down to visit the motorhomers – it certainly looked as if it was used to having double rations! We called him 'Smoky' which he seemed to respond to, no doubt to ingratiate himself for a free meal!

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Recent Comments
Hassell
well I'll be damned ..... the cat - we had her in our van in September. Lovely thing. Likes sardines. Oradour is a touching plac... Read More
Friday, 28 November 2014 23:32
fiddleranne
We've joined up now as members, clue's above! Amazing about the cat....we didn't have a visit when we stayed there last year but i... Read More
Sunday, 30 November 2014 20:11
hblewett
The cat likes chicken too - must be the best fed cat - and with a cosmopolitan diet. Smart cat!!
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:04
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