We arrived in Calais at 7.30 in the morning after a very quick trip via the tunnel – too quick really as before I knew it I was driving out and negotiating the French roads. We only travelled 8 miles down the coast to a place called Wissant and a campsite my Dad uses with friends regularly. We spent the next two days here catching up on our sleep before heading off again with the aim of travelling 200 or so miles. The trouble with plans though is that they have a tendancy to go wrong and later in the afternoon we realised that the electrics (and therefore the lights) on the caravan weren’t working again!! Luckily quite soon after this we saw a sign for a campsite and pulled off to see if it was open. I ran up to the top of a rather steep access road and found a lady who said there were open for just one more night. She was a bit odd as not only did she not look at me when she spoke but she actually looked in the complete opposite direction!! Hubby managed to get the caravan up to the pitch but just 10 yards or so short of it we rang out of petrol……..The warning light had failed to come on and so there we were stuck in front of someone else’s pitch (they happened to be English too) dumbstruck at our luck.
The next day after about 2 hours and a lot of upheaval we finally managed to sort the electrics, fill the car with petrol and get back on the road. We aimed for the original campsite that we were heading to the night before and arrived relieved that nothing else had gone wrong on route.
The rest of the journey down through France was event free and we passed through some lovely countryside – particuarly the Limousin region where the chateaus were breathtaking in amongst all the autumn foliage. However we then decided to hit the toll roads as the cats seemed to fair better with the travelling on roads where we could stick to a steady 50mph with no stop starting for roundabouts and traffic lights. It cost us a small fortune but was worth it for their health and our sanity.
Once in southern France the weather started to improve significantly and the sun hasn’t stopped shining yet – woo hoo…….
We made it from Narbonne down to Barcelona in one day but once there had immense trouble finding a campsite. At one point we ended up in a suburb of Barcelona trying to navigate our 37ft rig around little roads. Not a good move and the clutch struggled greatly as the roads were also up and down. So we abandoned out plans to do some sight seeing in Barcelona and headed further down the coast to a place called Sitges where we knew of a campsite. We stayed here 2 nights and had a day in the town of Sitges instead which was lovely. We had lunch on the sea front in glorious weather and finally began to relax for the first time in months it seemed.
From here on our journey seemed to gain in momentum and we quickly passed Valencia – lots of lovely orange groves – and then began the stint down to Alicante. We stayed just south of Alicante and the last part of that day’s journey began to get a little lairy as the wind started to pick up. Driving a caravan with a windsurfer on top of the car is not much fun in strong winds and we decided that if the weather was still the same the following morning we would have a rest day. The weather was fine the following day however and we decided to go for what we though was going to be the last leg of our journey. Again….all good plans and that……..about an hour and a half into the day the winds were getting very strong – worse than the previous day and the windsurfer was moving around a fair bit. We slowed down to 30mph, hazzard lights on when we realised that we were about to go over a viaduct about 300m up!! we had no choice but to go for it but believe me there were some prayers being offered up to the universe at that point. The windsurfer was literally jumping across the roof and the caravan was taking a battering. I think if we hadn’t been a twin axle (i.e 4 wheels in the middle instead of 2) then the outcome may have been different. Hubby said afterwards that he thought we were going over the edge.
Thankfully we made it across and there was an exit straight away which we obviously took. We pulled over on a hard shoulder both shaking and when we got out to try and sort the windsurfer out neither of us could stand up straight. Luckily two Spanish policeman pulled up and advised us on the best way down to the port before they were called away to another incident. We crawled down and holed up in a car park for the next few hours whilst the worst of the storm passed. When we checked out the interior of the caravan we found lots of broken plates and glasses as cupboard doors had been flung open.
Battered but thankful to be in one piece we abandoned plans to get to Iznate that night and found another campsite to stop at instead.
Up and away before 10am the following morning we finally arrived at our destination just after lunch. We had a windy climb up to the village of Iznate – the views are stunning – and found the site with no problems. It is very rural and quiet with us being the only tourers here at the moment. They are a handful of semi permanent bungalows/mobile homes where we are pitched and most are English so we have been getting a lot of useful advice on the surrounding area.
We have spent the last two days sorting out the awning and unpacking the car – we brought way too much – so part of the next three months we are here will be spent really working out exactly what we need so that hopefully when we hit the road again we will be a lot lighter.
So, 13 days and 1919 miles after we left Diss on a cold and miserable evening we are sat here in Spain in the sunshine and letting it all sink in. Oscar and Molly are happily exploring their new surroundings and sunbathing at every opportunity. Tinker has only got off the bed to eat and poo for the last two days but she is happy.
It has been quite the journey for us all and we are looking forward to calming down and just enjoying the experience.
We did take some video’s whilst we were travelling but the quality wasn’t the best so for now you will have to make do with a photo diary of our adventure so far……