Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Home and dry

From Morella we headed south to our favourite wildcamping spot just off the beach and not too far from our Spanish base.

The weather was not on our side though and we were treated to huge thunderstorms and constant rain for the next couple of days.

Staying by a beach is not so much fun in these conditions so we decided to finish the trip.

So back at base we will be able to catch up on all those jobs that have been mounting up while we've been away.

I doubt that it will be long before we're off on another excursion.......... :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Across Spain

We found the wifi..... well on one laptop but strangely not the other? Anyway we were delighted to catch up with Downton Abbey at last :)

Huesca is a nice place to stop and we dined out for a change and had the best entrecote that either of us could remember, Digger was very pleased that we brought home a doggy bag for him. He really has settled into this life and seems very content in the van when we have to leave him, he must be more sure that we always come back to him.

From Huesca we moved on via more stopover research to Morella and were really pleased to find the new A22 Autovia has made much progress and now has many sections open to speed us on our way.

We arrived at dusk at Morella and were the only occupants at the Aire. The low cloud was swirling around the hilltop castle and once illuminated looked very eerie and almost like it was on fire.

A very peaceful night and ready for the next leg of the journey which is across to the Mediterranean and to a lovely wildcamping spot that we know ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Atlantic France

After 3 days of walking on the beach and generally relaxing at Mimizan we moved south inspecting various Aires along the way and stopped overnight at Capbreton (another lovely beachside Aire) and then Hendaye Plage before crossing into Spain.

Scenic views in all directions as we passed through the Province of Aragon and into Zaragossa, our destination for the night being a campsite in Huesca that was mentioned in MMM magazine.

On arrival it all seems a bit dead but at least the gates were open, so we drove in and parked up. Suposed to be wifi here but haven't found it yet so still typing on the very frustrating Kindle.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mimizan Plage

We moved on today to one our favourite beachside Aires - Mimizan Plage.

Miles of fantastic and very uncrowded beach makes this place so popular with motorhomers. Its a great place to bring a dog too, Digger has already made some new friends :)

We'll spend a couple of days here at least.

Details of the Aire ae on Club Motorhome.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

By way of an update

We are making our way from the UK to Spain following an unexpected and very sad family visit.

We crossed the Channel via the Tunnel to keep Digger the dog happy and spent the next couple of nights on the Aire at Gravelines. From there we have made our way south staying Aires all along the way. Le Crotoy was next followed by St Valery en Caux, Gace, Villaines Les Rochers, a couple of nights at Niort, Parentis en Born and today we are by the lake at the lovely Aire at Gastes.

As usual wifi availability has been sporadic and communication via Club Motrhome's Facebook page, Twitter page and now our blog has been via our trusty 3G Kindle. Painstaking to type on but reliable!

Unfortunately uploading photos and adding more stopovers to Club Motorhome will have to wait until proper internet access makes it possible )

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back to base and a catchup.

After Cares Gorge we returned to Cangas for a another night before planning our trip back to home via a dozen stopover locations to research for Club Motorhome.

5 days later and we arrived back at our base, unloaded and parked the motorhome back in its secure storage all ready for our next trip in about 6 weeks - MOT and service time in the UK, Oh well.... one has to pay for the pleasure eventually! :)

PHOTO Map showing general route and the majority of the stops we made during the trip.

Conclusions? Galicia is STUNNING! Asturias less so but still lovely - the northern coastline is not a patch of the western Galician coast. The Asturias does however have the Picos de Europa which are magnificent - especially on clear days when you can see them! All in our humble opinion anyway :)

Right, where's the maps? Which way shall we head to the UK? Planning has started!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cares Gorge

Day 24 - 8th June

The car park filled rapidly as the daytrippers arrived for the cable car rides so we moved across the road to the day parking area to not get in folks' way. Once we'd walked Digger and breakfasted etc we set off to the start of the Cares Gorge which is renowned for its spectacular walking.

The place was busy with parked cars and we only managed to find somewhere by a lot of manouvering, including reversing through a tunnel, and squeezing up against some guard rails at the side of the road.

PHOTO Parked at Cares Gorge

We spent the next couple of hours walking some of the path. In total its 12kms long and then 12 back so we only did a bit of it. We had thought we would be meandering along the River Cares but no, the walk is a succession of steep inclines and by the end I'd certainly had enough, but again the scenery was worth the effort.

PHOTOS Cares Gorge

After our walk we headed back to Cangas again - its a useful base when in these parts.

Picos de Europa

Day 23 - 7th June

We had the co-ordinates of a potential wildcamping spot on the other side of the mountains so we set off to see what it was like.

The roads were predictably winding and the drop offs were predictably BIG but the views en-route were well worth the slow pace dodging oncoming vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The scenery of the Picos is something special, our route followed a gorge through parts of the mountains. I think Caroline got a better view than me though as I had to watch where we were going a bit!

We reached a fabulous lake and found the spot, it was a little near the road for our liking but would have been a lovely place to overnight.

PHOTO Lakeside parking

We moved on though as it was still relatively early and we knew of a parking place by a cable car station further on. When we arrived we were disappointed to see no motorhomes overnight signposted :(. I took Digger for a walk and realised that we were in the car park next to a Parador and the cable car was across the road. There was another motorhome already parked up but I couldn't see anyone in it to ask. I called in at the little shop and asked if it was OK to stay overnight? - No problem was the reply.

We parked up and settled in - beer poured and feet up! Then spoke to the other English couple with the other motorhome. They were desperately seeking some sunshine in Spain following a wet holiday in Scotland last year. They only got off the ferry the day before and had spent a very expensive night in a campsite so far. They were seriously considering bolting for Barcelona to find the sun!? We told them about our trip so far and that it would be a lot nearer to go back to some of the places we had been.

Another English van came in and looked around then disappeared. I later saw that it had chosen to go and park in the prohibited area - great for the reputation of responsible motorhomers! (probably the type to moan when they get fined by the Guardia).

Another day in Cangas

Day 22 - 6th June

The weather was still shrouding the mountains around us in cloud so we decided to stay where we were for another day.

Great views are only great if you can see them!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Circus Comes to Town

Day 21 - 5th of June

Waking around 9am Caroline said that she could hear lots of different animal sounds outside - I asked her if she was still dreaming? Taking Digger out I was surprised to see, around the car park, ponies, donkeys, highland cattle, a lama and a camel...... the Circus had moved in during the night.

PHOTO Circus

We thought we would get some more admin done today so decided to stay put until tomorrow when we'll venture into the mountains.

Digger got a good walk to the edge of town and back. This town really comes to life on a Sunday, loads of pavement cafes and restaurants catering for lunchtime needs - fantastic smells as you walk by.

By 5 o'clock the dodgems have started up again but we're confident it will go quiet again at a reasonable hour......

As its Sunday we have our usual paella and despite the limited space it cooks up OK!

Back to town

Day 20 - 4th of June

Digger had a restless night and seemed a little nervous of the local cow's clonking bells, he wasn't too impressed when he saw them close up in a field yesterday.

PHOTO Cows and Bull

We found him curled up in the footwells rather than his usual bed space under the table - he is a funny chap!

Another morning walk on the deserted beach before breakfast (the surfers seem to be later risers than us) then we made plans for the day.

PHOTO Surfers still asleep

We needed some essential laundry doing but rather than find a campsite just for that Caro used the shower tray as a big bowl and did some handwashing to see us through, we reckon we have another couple of weeks before we'll be home. Now needing fresh water and to empty wastes we decided to return to the service point at Cangas de Onis to replenish  and empty our tanks.

Leaving this beautiful beach location we again inched our way through the access hole in the rock and got on our way via a Mercadona at Arriondas to stock up on provisions too.

Settled back onto the Aire at Cangas de Onis we got our jobs done and went for a walk along the rushing river that goes through the town, its signposted to be a salmon area so we were hoping to see one or two leaping up river - apparently not today though. Digger waded into the river at a calm stretch and cooled himself down.

We walked back through the town centre to find some wifi. There was a bar with a wifi sign up and the kind lady said that we could take Digger in with us. Returning with our laptop we settled down with a beer to upload some blog. The beer was good but the wifi just wouldn't accept a connection so we finished our drinks and left to find somewhere else. The tourist Office was open and told us of a particular street that is a free wifi zone so we headed there.

Another bar and another kind lady who let us take Digger inside, more beer and success this time so the blog got uploaded, Digger curled out fast asleep under the table - he really is a great 'pub dog'! A great bar, not unlike an English pub so we spent a lot of the afternoon there - hic!

There was a bit of a fiesta feel about the town and a fairground belted out some techno stuff from the dodgems until late but all went quiet just before midnight so we all got a good night's sleep.

PHOTO Fun on the dodgems

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Another lazy day....

Day 19 - 3rd of June

What a place to wake up! Another gorgeous location, again with no one on the beach. I took Digger out first thing for a run on the sand which he really enjoyed - he does that puppy mad few moments when he will run madly in all directions with the apparent intent of colliding with something/someone any minute! Absolute madness but lovely to watch him having such a great time, he's certainly seen some changes in the last few months.

PHOTO Digger Madness

Back at the motorhome we had breakfast and decided that we would definitely stay another night, meaning that today would be a lazy one - perhaps with a little housekeeping thrown in.

The cove is busy with daytime visitors and its obvious why, the place is beautiful (did I already say that?). When the tide is out its possible to access another part of the beach by the large rock formation known as the drinking horse. A young family in a Czech motorhome took advantage of the seclusion to bare all and just have a nice time on the beach.

PHOTO The Drinking Horse

At the time of writing this its mid/late afternoon and there's not much housework been done! Who cares? - this is a holiday after all :) The Guardia Civil have been and gone and are obviously not bothered with sensible motorhome parking. No one is abusing the site, it was great to see some youngsters who arrived in their surfer's vans yesterday, to enjoy last evening here tidy up after themselves - every one of them took their rubbish to the bins as they left.

Some more photos to sum up the day and the location:

PHOTOS of Playa de Cuevas Del Mar

Still no wifi so the blog will not get uploaded yet.......

Always up for a challenge (or several)

Day 18 - 2nd of June

We decide to go back up to finish exploring this part of the coast and search for the, so far, elusive quiet bay to overnight at.

Arriving at some known co-ordinates we found it unfriendly to motorhomes so we squeezed an about turn and left Playa de Vega behind. Wanting to hug the coastline we ignored TomTom and turned in where we saw a solitary motorhome parked in a campsite, as we were getting near to needing laundry services we found the entrance to the campsite to ask about its facilities. Establishing that it would cost us 22 Euros for one night we again about turned and tried further along the coast at San Pedro. Great parking area but sadly behind 2 metre barriers so we had a quick walk round and moved on, squeezing across a very narrow bridge with aonly a couple of inches to spare at the sides.

As we sped along decent roads but away from the coast Caroline pointed out that there were many signs pointing to individual beaches and that maybe we should just pick one and go for it...... Playa de Cuerres came up and we turned in, before long the road became single track and then more of a cart track then when it looked like becoming a foot track I gave in and reversed very carefully out with only inches clearance from stone walls either side. After a while I was able to turn round and we headed back to the main road, Caroline said she would keep her suggestions to herself from then on :)

Our next port of call was Ribadesella which is quite a smart seaside town. We did see one motorhome in a car park but it was really too busy to crowd in as well. Coming out of the town we again squeezed along tiny streets made even worse by the ridiculous parking of the Spanish, Caroline hung out the window to offer advice as we just crept through the gaps.

Determined to find somewhere we again turned off towards a beach, the road looking to be sensible this time. We saw a motorhome parked at the roadside in the distance but thought it was too far from the beach. We then found out why it had gone no further - access to the beach was through a hole in the rock lower than his roof. As we were a little lower and with Caroline walking infront I squeezed under the rock very slowly hoping to not remove any roof fittings.

Photo - Hole in rock entrance

Success! And the reward was to park up in a lovely little sheltered cove - Playa de Cuevas Del Mar it was and what a lovely find too!

A restful day

Day 17 - 1st of June

We decided to stay put today and explore the town. Cangas de Onis is at the side of the Picos de Europa mountains and is a thriving, touristy, but interesting town dating back to Roman times with some lovely old buildings, loads of shops, cafes and restaurants. Keen to try some local cider we stopped at a pavement cafe for lunch.

PHOTO Roman bridge

The cider was served in a bottle, but that was inside a plastic statue thing which dispensed the contents into a glass (held by the statue thing's hand) from a height when a button was pressed at the back of its head - completely naff, but the cider was OK - after a few mouthfuls anyway. We had a bocadillo each and the lot came to 10 Euros, so not bad for a tourist town!

After a restful afternoon of writing up our blog (but again not uploading yet) followed by an Asturian dinner of artisan cheese, jabali sausage (wild boar) washed down with a couple of glasses of local cider - from a proper bottle this time :). We mulled over the options for the next day over a bundle of information provided by the Tourist Office - back to the coast or up into the mountains?

Are we nearly there yet?

Day 16 Tuesday 31st May

Woken early to the sound of a grounds maintenance crew going about their business of cutting the grass of the hospital grounds next door to us we got up a little earlier than normal and were pleased to see that the weather was brightening a little. After breakfast we made use of the services (always best to when you can!) and set off for our next Aire along the coast.

An hour or so later we pulled off the main road to get nearer to the sea to search out a bit of suitable parking. We stumbled across a beautiful little rocky cove at A Corida which would be ideal for overnighting, at least out of season, and stayed for lunch and a walk, knowing that we only had an hour or two to get to our destination for the day.


Back on the road we eventually found the campsite/aire at Santa Maria Del Mar only to find it was shut and then that it only opened at weekends - brilliant! Never mind, there was another Aire less than an hour away. Our PDA that runs our TomTom switched itself off unhelpfully and would not reset. Eventually it came back to life but showed us driving about 100 metres to one side of the road we were actually on! Another reset and it seemed better although the graphics became sluggish and difficult to relate to.

After struggling with TomTom's directions we squeezed down some tiny roads and arrived at Aviles, or the Aire behind the restaurant by the hospital. This one is on a grass pitch which despite assurances seemed to offer the possibility of getting bogged down with the damp weather, so we moved on again.

An hour or so later and a little inland we arrived at the Aire at El Entrego, a car park in a scruffy edge of town location surrounded by flats. Oh joy! The designated motorhome spaces were blocked by parked cars so with all things considered we moved on again.....

TomTom was still being a pain with slow responses but we made our way out of town heading for our next option a couple of hours away! We climbed out of the town gaining altitude quickly on a twisty hairpinned road that although two way would have been impossible to pass 2 vehicles, no crash barriers and serious drop offs to boot! The rain started again which dampened our spirits further.

On and on we went, up, round, down, round, up again - maybe an hour later we came out onto a reasonable road so were able to improve our pace a bit and ticked off the kilometres to the next Aire at Cangas de Onis eventually arriving at about 10pm.

After a quick chat with another English couple (a rare site on this trip) we had home cooked MacBurgers and went to bed.

Going East

Day 15 Monday 30th May

The weather was a little better in the morning, but as I walked Digger I noticed more of the grubbiness of the area, the next car park had 3 decaying cars parked in one corner, a track we walked along was strewn with the remains of previous nights out (!) and some boy racer was making a pratt of himself skidding his (or maybe not his?) car up and down the gravel - no wonder our new Spanish acquaintance Miguel had recommended not overnighting here.

The service point was good though so we filled and emptied as required and set off into the city to the point Miguel had told us that was better to stay at. He was right, a busy area on the clifftops by the Tower of Hercules but its where we will happily stay next time we're in the area.

Although we hadn't travelled far time was getting on so we lunched here and then set off for our next destination further along the coast, Cedeiro Port.

We drove along the coast road as much as possible and both felt that this northern coastline was not a patch on the western side with its coves and beaches and when we arrived at Cedeiro Port we parked near another motorhome and went off for a wander. The place seemed quite picturesque with boats moored out in the estuary but just had a down at heel feel to it, coupled with the traffic hurtling up and down the port road on noisy cobblestones we decided to move on again.

We knew of an Aire an hour or so along the coast at Burela so headed there. En-route the rain started and the clouds descended to make the area look even more bleak and when we pulled into Burela we found the Aire which was adjacent to a hospital and otherwise surrounded by excavations and building works - oh well you have to take the rough with the smooth....

We walked around the town in the drizzle, saw the scruffy port and wandered back. We turned in early with the background scent of damp dog!


Day 14 Sunday 29th May

What a fantastic place to be when the blinds are opened!

I took Digger for a run on the beach - him not me :) and there was only one other person about even though it was after 9.

PHOTO Beach in the morning

We had a leisurely breakfast (as always these days) and went for another walk along the rocky headland to where there is a memorial cross at the end. The seascape from here is just stunning!

Back at the motorhome we made ready and set TomTom for the next location, a possible nightstop but as it was still early we just pulled in for a look at a lovely little port.

Driving along this coastline just takes in one bay after another, beautiful wite beaches and because of the superb weather the sea is as turquoise as could be. Caroline said that she wished I would take her somewhere nice..... she was definitely joking!

We pressed on and travelled miles off the beaten track towards a headland and ended up at a very isolated lighthouse where we had lunch and let Digger off his lead for a run... He must have got the scent of rabbits because he was off instantly in pursuit, all but disappearing into the distance. This used to worry us when we first took him on but we have gained confidence in that this is just what he does and comes back when he's had enough - or thinks we might have wandered off without him!

PHOTO Lighthouse

It was pretty bleak at the lighthouse so we moved on again and decided to get back onto some main roads to get to a known Aire and nightstop a couple of hours away. We were looking forward to staying this Aire as it was billed as being a bit special.

En-route it started to rain but as this was only the second time we'd had any since we left home we didn't mind at all. As we approached our destination at La Coruna TomTom directed us past some refineries and heavy industry and with only a kilometre or so to go we found it hard to believe that we were nearly at our stop. We were then directed along some ever narrowing and rough lanes until we arrived at some gypo camp! Abandoned and part dismantled vans scattered about with overflowing bins in abundance and we only had a few hundered metres to go! We decided to go no further and reversed our way back until we could turn around.

We tried to put the co-ordinates in again but the route kept coming up the same so we tried the road name and that gave us a clue or at least a slightly different route, a little later we saw a sign and arrived where we were supposed to be.

Hardly special but a proper area to nightstop. The area to park is steeply sloping and looking out to sea.... past a grotty (closed) restaurant/bar and little industrial port. The air is heavy with the stink of the local refineries. I have to admit that the declining weather conditions did not help with the overall impression of the place.

At least the sun appeared as it set on the horizon.

PHOTO Sunset

As it is Sunday paella (something of a tradition with us) is on our menu and as Caro rightly deserved a break from the cooking I did the prep and cooking instead, she did the washing up though.......

Back to the wilds

Day 13 Saturday 28th May

When we used the services before setting off we chatted to a Spanish motorhomer, Miguel. He gave us some more GPS co-ordinates to explore. One of the best things about being on the road is meeting complete strangers who share the same motorhoming interests and they quickly become friends.

We headed out to the coast agin and found an idyllic beachside location to stay overnight, we arrived in the early afternoon which was good because lots of cars arrived afterwards with visitors to this fantastic beach.


As sunset fell the cars all disappeared to leave us alone to enjoy the spot. We watched the sunset and then had a late dinner before turning in for the night.

PHOTO Sunset

At about 3am Digger gave a couple of muffled barks which woke us up. Caroline could hear movement behind our motorhome so we turned on a light and I got up to investigate. Not too much of a drama as it was only a couple of fishermen unloading some buoys from their car. Well done Digger anyway!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Day 12 Friday 27th May

Again a leisurely breakfast and we set off for the city of Santiago de Compostela just to see the cathedral as it is so famous. We travelled on some excellent new Autovias, many not known to our TomTom - we just followed signs to Santiago.

It was obvious once we got there that there was going to be little or no chance to park the motorhome so we just viewed the city while drove around its centre a couple of times. Impressive and VERY busy.

We doubled back to an Aire that we were aware of which was located in a supermarket car park. Again no chance of parking as the designated spaces were all taken up by cars, even the service point had a car parked on it - great! On we went to another location at Milladoiro a few`miles away.

This Aire is in a sports centre car park and had plenty of room, for the moment. We had to move position to avoid flying footballs but other than that its a good place to nightstop and, the benefit of free wifi!!!

There are plenty of shops to wander round and that gave us a good walk too. The car park really filled up during the afternoon and evening as people came to use the huge facilities and kids were playing football until about 2 in the morning - apparently, nothing too unusual in this though Spanish kids love football, makes them grow up into world cup champions!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Any port will do

Day 11 Thursday 26th May

With us breakfasted, dog walked and van serviced we headed north out of Boiro to seek out some more wildcamping spots.

Our 1st GPS co-ords would have meant turning into a tiny road which, and I'm usually game to try off road, looked nigh on impossible for us. I think the person who gave us the recommendation may have been travelling in a more compact motorhome - I hadn't thought to ask... We headed further up the coast to Porto Do Son but were again met with very narrow streets and a 3.5 ton weight limit but a we exited the town there was a last turning that would accommodate us which led down to the port itself. There was a German motorhomer already parked up and he confirmed that there should be no problem overnighting.

After lunch we went for a walk around the town, the German had since driven off.... Wandering through the tiny back streets we came to the Town Hall and Guardia Civil HQ. My turn to ask this time so leaving Digger with Caroline I went inside to ask if it was OK to stay down by the port for the night. The young lady then told me I'd have to ask the General upstairs! I think she must have just meant the boss......

I explained where we had parked and that it was just for one night and a couple of telephone calls were made. I was given a hand drawn map to show where it would be OK and told 'No Problem!' Moving the van a few hundred yards to its approved place only took a couple of minutes. So for this evening we sat facing onto the harbour where the busy, brightly coloured, fishing boats are coming and going. There's a strong wind blowing off the water but other than that the situation is superb.

Photo harbour

A short siesta and another walk up to the top of the town, photos taken including one of a rather bizarre statue and we called in at the local butchers and bought some interesting looking pork marinated in some sort of pepper sauce - that'll be nice! :)

PHOTO statue

Moving on...

Day 10 Wednesday 25th May

We could easily just stayed where we were, the place is beautiful! But we have 'only' another 5 weeks to go and a lot more of Green Spain to explore so we packed up and set off for an Aire that we knew had services as we were now full up again.

Before leaving the island we drove into the centre to see what was there and were nicely surprised to find most of what could be needed - all nicely kept and a lovely port area with very helpful Tourist Office staff who gave us maps, a potted history of the island and again confirmed that motorhomes are welcome to park overnight where we had.

Photo Panorama of the island

An hour or so later we pulled up at Boiro, again on the coast but the last stop had been a very difficult one to beat! We made use of the services and discovered that there was a 6 Euro charge to overnight AND one had to traipse all the way into town to get the compulsory to display ticket! We couldn't be bothered but a Dutch couple that we had just met had enquired at the bar across the road and found out that they had no tickets at the moment so it was OK to stay up to 3 days free - as long as you ask for a ticket first!? No problem then, so we stayed. Not much shade about and the temperatures in the van wouldn't get below 30 degrees.

Another day in paradise

Day 9 Tuesday 24th May

We decided to stay in this lovely location for another day as we had water and waste capacity, we could make the most of lazing about and enjoying the place. After a very late wakeup I walked Digger and was surprised that apart from a late arrival the other motorhomes had gone - did they know something we didn't after all? No problems were apparent so we just assumed that had been up at a decent time and just went...

The van needed some housekeeping so this was an ideal opportunity to tidy up a bit, mats shook, swept and mopped through and dusted and polished... all before lunch too.

In the afternoon we walked around 'our' bay for a couple of hours. Digger enjoyed a paddle and substituted seagulls for his usual rabbits to chase - daft dog!

The island is really small and we reached one end, which was where the campsites were that we visited yesterday, maybe on a cooler day it would be good to walk right around it? There were plenty of photo opportunities so the ones following show the results of our walk.

Still no wifi so although the blog is being written day by day there's a backlog building that needs uploading - maybe tomorrow...

Day 8 Monday 23rd May

Another very peaceful night and a wonderful view to wake up to. The French couple moved off leaving us to enjoy the place to ourselves. I took some photos and after a very leisurely morning we had a quick tidy up and sweep out before moving on again.

We were in need of some services as our tanks were full so although we were going to look at a couple more wild camping spots we would probably not be able to stay unless we could find somewhere to empty or continue onto an Aire beyond the wild locations.

Our first spot was almost in sight along some twisty narrow roads when we came up behind a construction lorry that seemed not to be going anywhere anytime soon. We had to reverse back along the same twisty road for a kilometre or two before being able to turn around - oh well........

Shopping was needed so a quick call into a suitable Eroski supermarket made that possible. Within a couple of kilometres we then crossed a long bridge onto a small island that looked something close to motorhoming paradise!!

Pale sandy beaches spreading in all directions with pine trees that looked like palms from a distance - we would definitely have to find someway of staying on here!

Again the GPS co-ords took us beyond a likely looking place to park up - but no matter, we found that there were two actual campsites, maybe we could use their services? The first was very apologetic but said they had no facilities that we could use so we went down the road to the other. No problem, they had an outside loo to empty the cassette, a suitable drain for the grey waste and a tap to fill our tank from - 5 Euros for the privilege - Superb!

Fully serviced we went back to the parking place that we saw and found ourselves a spot. I asked a couple of other motorhomers, one Spanish and one German about the legalities of overnighting here and they both confirmed no problem.

So we are parked on this beautiful little island facing directly across a narrow beach to the sea and the mainland beyond. We'll enjoy a glass of wine or two this evening gazing out at the water with our panoramic windscreen view :)

Family gathering

Day 7 Sunday 22nd May

After exchanging texts and confirming where to meet we walked the 45 minutes (!) into the port area to meet Lorraine and John who we hadn't seen since last September. We soon saw the enormous ship that they had arrived on and then met up and found the nearest bar for a couple of beers and a catchup.

A really hot day but we decided to explore some of the city and headed for the old castle in the middle. 275 steps later (John counted them) we got to the top - the castle wasn't up to much but the views were worth it looking out over the rooftops and water. Time passed quickly so we headed back to the ship but stopped for some tapas en-route at a nice little pavement restaurant in one of the back streets, tortilla, scrambled egg with prawns and spinach, calamares and patatas allioli all round - excellent!

After saying our cheerios we walked 45 minutes (!) back to the motorhome hoping it was still OK with us not being there. We had again been reassured by The Guardia that it would be fine with them always on duty. It was indeed fine, so we quickly made ready and moved off to find our wildcamping spot for the night.

With the city behind us we climbed the steep roads along the coast watching the Cruise liner heading out to sea on its way to Lisbon for the next day.

We made our way through some very narrow and twisty roads to find the GPS co-ordinates that we were given, passing a likely looking place to stop on the way. The road became more and more difficult for a van of our size so we decided to turn around (no mean feat either) and returned to the spot that we saw a little while before. The clifftop location was far enough off the beaten track to let Digger off his lead which he seemed to really enjoy acting like a complete loony running and jumping rocks like he was confident that he knew what was on the other side!!!

Caro spoke to a couple of patrolling Guardia in their 4x4 and asked whether it was OK to stay overnight? They confirmed that it was alright so long as we were parked and not camped - so no awning, chairs, table etc outside the van - no problem! We shared the small parking area with an older French motorhoming couple and had a lovely evening looking down on the Atlantic waves coming in and went to sleep with their sound in the background.

Day 6 Saturday 21st May

After a very slow fill up with water from the drinking fountain and breakfast done we set off for a rece of a couple of wildcamping locations that we were aware of before ending up at Vigo where we intended to stay the night.

We completely missed the turn for the first wild location so pressed onto the 2nd, a beach just below a ruined (under restoration) monastery. Turned out to be a lovely spot for another day but smelt strongly of sewage this time so we moved on to Vigo.

We needed to check where the Cruise Liners docked as we planned to meet up with Caro's sister and brother-in-law when they docked the next day. We found our way into the very swish port area and asked the port police where we could meet up and what were the chances of parking overnight? Well you have to ask..... Obviously no chance locally but the policeman kindly got us a map and directed us along the front past the freight end to where it would be OK.

We followed his map and ended up amongst some articulated lorries by a Guardia Civil manned customs house. Caro spoke to the Guardia officer who couldn't have been more helpful. He pointed to where we could stay the night and that we need not worry as they are on duty 24/7. So we had somewhere to stay the night and would be well placed to walk to the Cruise ship in the morning. A few cars coming and going but otherwise a quiet night.

Day 5 Friday 20th May

A really good and peaceful nights sleep and a good start to the day - walking Digger, messing about with him on his lead making him sprint and stop caused him to jerk on his lead when I wasn't expecting it and nearly catapulted me over a ledge! Only a conveniently placed tree gave me something to block my fall. Apparently it looked funny....

Anyway, breakfast over we headed towards our next stop at Tui. We found the Aire easily but had to squeeze in a bit as there are only three 6 metre spaces with one left and we are 7 metres with the scooter on the back, but we managed.

Photo parking at Tui

We settled in for the afternoon, walked Digger on some waste ground which gave him a chance to run madly off the lead, he does think he can catch pigeons! Dinner and another peaceful night.

From plains to mountains

Day 4 Thursday 19th May

A late arrival by way of a German motorhome meant that we had company for the night although Astorga seemed perfectly tranquil at night and a secure feeling nightstop.

Next morning we slotted in to the queue for the services (lots of motorhomes arrived just to use the services) and once sorted we were on our way. A couple of hundred kilometres to Chantada, our destination Aire. We got TomTom to route via another Aire en-route so that we could research it for Club Motorhome.

As soon as we entered Galicia it was clear that we had swapped gently undulating plains for mountains with much use of the gearbox needed to make good progress uphill and down. We pulled in at our research stop and found it excellent! Right on the side of a lake with plenty of open spaces, picnic areas, a bar and brand new services. We used the bar of course, just to see if it was OK, then pressed on to our destination for the day.

Photo New Aire lake

The town of Chantada is large and by just driving through, pretty uninspiring but the Aire on the edge of town is a different matter. Recently constructed it is beside the new football stadium and is on landscaped parking which leads down to a river walk.

Photos Aire and river walk

We walked along the river in both directions and were quite impressed with how clean and well kept it all was, and a popular walking area for the locals too, we struck up conversations with a few along the way which gave us a chance to practice our Spanish - we leaned that the English like to buy old houses and do them up, there are a mixture of French and Italians in these parts but the politics are not good so they don't mix well, an old lady was picking a certain type of flower to be made into arrangements for the San Juan festival on the 24th etc etc. Sometimes we cope well with the language and other times we are complete rubbish, today was a good day.

We have paella on the menu tonight and the temperatures are high at 25 degrees. Hopefully the football stadium won't create too much noise and we'll get another peaceful night......

Digger the brave?

Day 3 Wednesday 18th May

When we woke and looked outside we found that we were mostly surrounded by parked cars. So as to not get hemmed in we moved over to the service point to finish our normal morning routines.

A little later one of these horrible little Aixam cars put-putted up and stopped right in front of us, out got two burly and fairly unsavoury looking hillbilly types who then physically pushed the car backwards a little (I don't think they have a reverse gear). One of them then knocked on our van and gesticulated that we were in his way to use the water tap, I gesticulated back that he was in my way to move but there was little understanding....

I got out and spoke as abruptly as they did to try and explain that there was nowhere else for us to park as they had just blocked us in, there were so many cars parked now and this was a MOTORHOME service point. With much grumbling on their part I got Digger out and took him with me to the rubbish bins to dump a bag. On our return the hillbillies were filling their water containers and moaning that they had to carry them a few metres to their little car, one of them made some comment about Digger being big, at which point I thought Digger would stand proud (some Spanish don't like big dogs) but instaed he suddenly cowered and grovelled on his belly to squeeze under the van. I can only guess that these two characters had stirred some distant memories and the poor dog turned to jelly. I managed to encourage him back into the van and 'safety' but felt that we had put on a less than macho display - oh well!

That episode out of the way I used the service point myself to empty the wastes and we set off for our next destination of Astorga. We had researched the Aire there in advance and were looking forward to seeing it next to a bullring and publicised as being a bit special.

Again, excellent Autovias made the 200+ km journey quite pleasant and by 2pm we arrived and parked next to the bullring and also the Highways Dept storage yard incorporating an active helipad! Amazing how different peoples perceptions can be..... Still, it looked an OK place to stop but we certainly wouldn't bill it as anything special.

Photo bullring

During the afternoon we wandered into the town thinking we might find something to make this a 'special' stopover. Impressive cathedral and surrounding buildings but very ordinary otherwise. Anyway, back at the van - photos taken, blog updated (but not uploaded), cool beer in hand and we're ready for the rest of last night's delicious chilli.

Photo incoming helicopter