After a good nights sleep, a beautifully hazy morning run along the Somme and a bit of exercise we packed up, replenished our water and set off with a couple of extra bits – no prizes for guessing that additional wine and cheese were required!!- that we picked up from the Intermarche the previous night. For the first time ever we are trying out the boxes of wine to see whether they are half decent instead of buying bottles and we have been working way through a 3ltr box of Cotes de Rhone Village which it is fair to say is pretty good. It was one of the more expensive boxes but still works out as pretty good value – as well as quality – but it makes a huge amount of sense from a storage and weight perspective ….. one box vs 4 bottles…. happy days!
The sun quickly burnt off the haze and warmed everything up from the 2 degrees or so that it was when I went out for a run and day two took us through Rouen and on to Vendome for the night. Rouen is probably one of our least favourite cities to travel through as it has either had the main bridge shut due to a fire or major roadworks for the last 10 years. We were however pleasantly surprised and had a good journey although we were grateful that we were travelling on a weekday as the presence of the ‘Yellow Jersey’ was high at most major junctions. The camps and fires at the side of the road were very prominent and the roads at many of the main junctions were severely burnt, obviously where fires had been lit over the past months whilst the Yellow Jerseys set up blockades. Rouen was by far and away the worst city that we travelled through for the presence of problems, the further south we got the less we saw of any manifestations or issues but that may have been just sheer chance of our route and which cities we touched.
We arrived into Vendome late afternoon and parked up by the sports center in the center of town having negotiated our way through a few narrow streets and roadworks to get there. The area they allow you to park up motorhomes in was just outside a campsite on the edge of a park and despite being very central, as well as being close to a busy road, was pretty quiet. We set off for a quick walk around town and found a lovely mix between old and new architecture as well as shops and green spaces, we couldn’t spend too long wandering though as there was bread to be made, so headed back to Hattie but we would definately stop here again if we were passing close by.
Another good nights sleep and once exercised, showered and breakfasted we were on the road again to head further South to Saint Romain la Vervee, roughly 20km North of Bordeaux. It was a long days’ driving but all pretty simple apart from the rather long detour through some tiny villages that Keith took in on his watch again… guess I have just been lucky! The Aire was next to a village school which was shut for the holidays so pretty quite although they were doing some construction out the back which meant a few trucks passing by from 8am. Teh construction traffic was nothing however in comparison to the local kids who decided to play with their scooters at mid-night …. grrrr! The Aire had eight places and oddly we had already said that as it wasn’t the easiest to get to, we would probably try a different one next time but we were surprised how busy it was, 11 motorhomes stayed overnight and a few came and left … must be the proximity to Bordeaux.
Next Stop was Spain and a little town called Berriozar just outside Pamplona. The journey took us along the coast around Biaritz which was nice but generally a lot of the driving was in or around towns, so pretty busy. We climbed over the mountains and although Hattie marched on up like a trouper, we obviously needed some lessons on how to manage her gear changing on hills as a semi-automatic, as when we got to the top a red light came on and we needed to pull over. It was the semi-automatic clutch which apparently gets a bit confused if you switch into manual and it just needed five minutes of downtime to sort itself out before we carried on.
The Aire in Berriozar was on the edge of the town by a school but as we were arriving at going home time on a Friday afternoon we knew it would be pretty quiet on Saturday. We headed out to stretch our legs before coming back to make some more bread and settle in for a quiet evening.
Waking to blue skies and lots of sunshine (if not a little fresh), I headed out for a run whilst Keith did his exercises by the motorhome and I was surprised to see that the cycle path/greenway appeared to go all the way from Berriozar to the next town and then on into Pamplona…. joining everything together. Despite being quite a built up area there weren’t many people out as it was a Saturday morning…. perfect for a nice peaceful run!
The next stage of the journey was to Teruel, pretty much all on good roads so a fairly simple days driving. We have been to Teruel a few times before and it is a lovely town. As I still needed to get a photo for my ‘Challenge’ we headed into town for a wander around …. this weeks task was to simply take an excellent Black and White photo – easier said than done! Walking around Teruel with its bright blue skies and sunshine, the beautiful towers which weren’t covered up for restoration fought with the locals out for an afternoon stroll…. finally I found a couple having a lazy post dinner nap on a bench and think it captures it all…
Zak had his cousins staying over half term which means lots of distraction and late nights but he has taken a really good photo of one of his cousins, Amira and I think he has not only got the light right but also the depth to the photo.
Black and white photography doesn’t really leave a huge margin for error so you have to make the most of the subject to make it stand out.
Teruel was tranquil as always and we woke to blue skies and 0 degrees on our last day of travel down to San Juan Playa. The roads and traffic were good and we arrived just after 3pm, breaking up the game of pétanque as everyone welcomed us back…. always a nice feeling.
Once emptied and refilled we assessed our spot which had overhanging trees that were going to cause an issue for Hattie’s height. We soon found someone willing to lend us a little saw though and with the help of our extension ladder cut the branches back and managed to get settled fairly quickly.
The last week seems to have flown by, with us going out with friends for Tapas a few times as well as cooking up lots of different food that we haven’t done for a while on the BBQ…. Pizza, Smokey Beetroot Burgers, Bacon butties, Sausages, Normal Burgers, Calamare, Spatchcock chicken, Chargrilled Veg as well as roasting aubergine to go into our first ever Babaganoush…. all rather nice.
We also made some drop pancakes for breakfast and tried out a new recipe for Goan Fish Curry which was pretty good…. we are certainly eating well, and I think my jeans are showing it!!
Hattie has now been washed and her face has been polished and is looking pretty good. Apart from a little issue with the gas deciding to stop working on the fridge this morning, life is definately starting to get back to normal with a fair amount of walking and some lovely runs along the promenade. We have also caught up on the chores so all we need to do now is wait to see what Theresa May delivers over the coming weeks in regards to Brexit but it will be what it will be and we will find a way to work around it.