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Published: September 16th 2012
Spain via the less travelled route.
Camped beneath the white cliffs at Folkstone on 7th September we were looking forward to some proper summer weather and a bit of scenery in Northern Spain whilst the weather might be still be ok and the crowds hopefully have gone back to school/work etc.
Arriving at St.Valery en Caux only to find the Aire packed with no space at all yet again(couldn’t get a space in June either), we went back to Veule les Roses just 10 minutes along the coast. Weather was great and a couple of days were spent walking the cliffs and beach before heading south. One night stays at Broglie, La Suze sur Sarthe, Turquant, St.Jean de Angeley and a really quaint hamlet called Laas which is in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Our vital life support system called the Sat-Nav passed away most inconveniently so we had to splash out on a Tom-Tom from a local Supermarche which has proved ok so far apart from the fact we cant change it to English speaking until we next connect to the internet and in the Pyrenees only very slow or non-existent connections are available. The D743 sounds simple
in English but with only seconds to decipher “quatre vin dix,quarante-trois has caused some stressful moments in our usually peaceful progress. To further complicate matters our French mistress uses slang English just to try and confuse us , our brains hurt so much at the end of the day it took us 20 minutes after we arrived at our destination to try and recall where we had started the day from.
So our first week has passed with some good weather, a bit of cycling on old railway tracks, a decent meal out ( the fish soup tasted of heads, bones, shells and anything else the chef found lying around and was delicious!) and looking forward to travelling into Spain via some less familiar routes.
For those of you that have been following our blog for sometime you will no doubt have a recollection of ‘Cockroach Reg’, who travelled with us for some time during our Australian leg. Well we have had another stowaway.
It is not uncommon for small mammals, of the furry variety, to climb up underneath a nice warm van next to the engine for a bit of a sleep. So on
Thursday night while we were setting up camp, one such small furry creature climbed on board. Now those who know campers will understand when I explain the technical part. We were taking out electrical cables, to try to reach a typically French electrical point a far, far away, so an extension was needed. It was at this point that we believe the little critter stowed. Having managed to secure our electric for the night, thanks to our pal John, by the way, we closed the understorage lockers of the ‘magic bus’ and climbed onboard for a good nights sleep. Whilst preparing ourselves for our nuptials, we heard several bangs and crashes which indicated that a small furry creature was under the van. So much so that I grabbed a torch and ventured outside to investigate. Now I think it is only far to explain at this point that this occurrence is not uncommon, critters have spent the night underneath our van on several occasions, it gives you a warm cosy feeling to know that you are offering some shelter to a small furry beast, when it is cold and wet outside. Not being able to see anything I climbed back
on board, on settled down for the night. Several times during the night we heard some banging and crashing and reminded each other that the ‘beast’ was still there.
On waking we broke camp, retrieved our ‘lecky cable’ and secured the van for departure. Basically we did the reverse of the previous evening, opening our lockers and replacing cables, levelling blocks etc. We then moved off the campsite to the centre of the village and spent a good couple of hours looking around the small but interesting village. Then we drove off to the next town, spent a pleasant hour or so eating lunch the French way, in a café with wine and coffee before travelling an hour to St. Jean, Pied de Port. This was to be our last stop before Spain. We had planned to stay on another campsite, as our Aires book did not list St. Jean as having an Aire, but as we were passing though the new town we spotted a host of campers parked up and joined them. An Aire, for the uninitiated, is a dedicated overnight stop for motorhomes. They are generally very cheap and the facilities vary from non existent to
palatial, from free to €10. As it was an Aire there was no ‘lecky’ so we didn’t bother opening any lockers. Off we went to explore a rather pretty medieval town at the foothills of the Pyrenees. Early the next morning we set off to transverse the Pyrenees to Pamplona in Spain, a spectacular journey, over and across at approximately 3000’ of small windy roads into Spain. We stopped on Saturday night at a lovely campsite just north of Pamplona, as it was a campsite and we were planning on stay for a couple of nights we opened up the understorage lockers for the cables etc. and out jumped a small but beautiful young cat which ran away!
That cat has now only eight lives left! Over 48 hours in a hot camper without food or water! At least it is now on a lovely campsite in northern Spain, where hopefully it will get some food and water off the local campers.
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