France to Spain 2019

Currently traveling
Motorhome adventure to northern Spain via French Atlantic coast
Currently traveling
  • Day29

    Where is the lake?

    June 23, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Astonishly we woke up at 10am. We had earplugs in and they obviously worked. Loads of tents and vans had left without disturbing us.
    We decided to turn our backs on gilt and religion for once and Ian mapped a 30 mile route to a big lake where we hoped to have a picnic.
    We ended up heading up a gravel road to a water tower, and then past lots of signs that looked suspiciously like no entry signs. We followed a canal, met 2 walkers only, and then reached a sign over a dam that , roughly translated, said "really don't go here we have cameras". All the while the lake was missing.... Dried up we presume. So we took a detour and finally reached a tarmac road with a little traffic. Found a picnic spot in the middle of nowhere, and then Ian acted as a windbreak for a strong headwind home that nearly finished us. More miles than we had intended in the heat.
    Last stretch was along the river. We happened upon a village fiesta with an oom pa pa sort of band and trestle tables and everyone out strolling.
    Home for a rehydrate and a rest and paella and BBQ pork.
    Back to religion tomorrow we think.
    Safer option, or maybe someone is trying to tell us something...
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  • Day28

    The long journey north begins

    June 22, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We left the campsite early (glad...washrooms unclean and odd feel about the place ) and had a short journey on an empty motorway to Salamanca. Our campsite here couldn't be more different. Welcoming, organised, nice bar and restaurant, nice pool, washrooms you could eat your dinner off. We have a huge pitch, nice and private. We spent a couple of hours organising and resting in the heat, and then rode a lovely 45 minute route along the river into Salamanca. We parked our bikes and strolled about in the sun for a couple of hours. Elegant and interesting city, buzzing with families and even a wedding to watch. Decided we will stay an extra day it's so nice. Mindful of approaching heatwave too....
    Not a big fan of Dyson the man but the Dyson fan has been a life saver...
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  • Day27

    To the frontier

    June 21, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Headed off to cross another set of mountains - the Sierra de Francia - this time on a passable road which had a line down the middle....
    Great views across into Portugal - we are very close to the border now. Stopped at a picture book town at the top for coffee - La Alberca. Enticed to buy what we thought were cookies but turns out big slabs of chocolate with walnuts in ...€5 !
    On down the other side and stopped at Ciudad Rodrigo. A historic walled border town. Spent most of its history defending itself against attack from all sides. Even Wellington had a go at it.
    We wandered the deserted narrow streets and climbed the walls. At 6 pm everyone came out to the main square for drinkies so we people watched for an hour or so. Swallows in their hundreds swooped all round the square. We had sussed out our dinner venue and it was a great success. Divine seafood stuffed peppers and the best fillet steak we have ever eaten.
    Campsite poor though and in a dodgy part of town. It is the first time we have felt a bit insecure on our travels...
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  • Day26

    Listen to the silence..

    June 20, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Ian had sorted another 30 mile loop ride on the GPS. We set off a bit late. We hadn't set an alarm because we were knackered after yesterday. Soon we were high up in the cool oak woods above the valley and the quiet was deafening. Our only companions were the birds and the frogs.
    On to the next village - Gargantilla - where we heard Ry's masters result. They have a cherry co-operative.
    Rode past a couple more tiny villages and stopped in one that had a sign of a bull in its village sign - Segura de Toro. We parked the bikes and walked down the steep streets. Some one was filming in the village by the church and a friendly lady gave us a leaflet on the history of the village (in Spanish of course).

    Then we found a bar where an old lady used Google translate on her iPhone to tell the barman what coffee we wanted...
    We pedalled on to a small town called Zarza de Granadilla that was compulsorily evacuated in the 1960s for a reservoir to be built, but the water level never reached it so now it remains nearly deserted. We had a picnic in the church square watched by the storks.
    Home across the parched valley.
    Celebratory curry and a fine local wine ended the perfect biking day .
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  • Day25

    Cherry suprise

    June 19, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    We headed off from Segovia and paused our journey to look at the almost perfect walled city of Avila from a vantage point on a hill outside the city by a monument built as a defence in 1566.
    Then we drove on a "scenic" route Ian said. Turned out to be another buttock-clenching, nail-biting journey round endless hairpins on a single track road with sheer drops into the valley. All around, terraces shaped the mountainsides and on the endless terraces, endless cherry trees. I wondered why they were so cheap to buy in the supermarket this morning...
    We finally reached Hervas, a lovely small town with a medieval Jewish quarter. We jumped on the bikes and rode into town for a walk around the narrow streets and then a couple of crisp white wines in the square watching the people go by.
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  • Day24

    Fountains in the mountains

    June 18, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Another bike loop today. This one inspired by our Spanish friend Simon who told us to see the palaces outside Segovia in the hills. It was hot and windy but a lovely route. Our first palace was in a small town called San Ildefonso. It was the summer palace of Felipe V. We didn't go into the palace but the gardens were absolutely magnificent. Fountains everywhere and cool shady walks through the woods above the palace. We had a picnic in the shade and continued on our way to the second palace Rio Frio which was built as a hunting lodge for a son who died young. The building was huge but not pretty. The grounds were enormous and apparently full of deer and birds of prey although we didn't see the deer... There were stork nests on special poles. We weren't sure whether we were allowed to bike through the grounds but we blasted our way past the guard on the gate and sailed on into the estate, which went on for a few km on a private road, and then made a dash through the lower gate giving the guard a big Ola!
    Hot dusty and hilly ride back to Segovia, but a great day.
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  • Day23

    Segovia splendours

    June 17, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Biked down a long hill from the campsite and the aqueduct just fills the sky in front of you as you turn a corner. It's a magnificent thing, all held up with no mortar. We marvelled at all 800m of it along with the busloads of tourists on a day trip from Madrid (mostly Chinese using selfie sticks). Then we walked up through the narrow streets to the Alcazar. Also magnificent, beautifully restored and presented. We saw that mostly surrounded by hordes of Spanish school kids - much preferable to the selfie sticks.
    A menu del dia in a quiet back street was just great.
    Then we visited the cathedral. We have seen 3 great cathedrals now and the opulence is near overload.... However these things were built in the 11th and 12th century so that alone deserves respect I suppose.
    Bit of a drag back up the long hill and BBQ with beers in the cool beside the van .
    New favourite wildlife creature is storks. They are on every church bell tower.
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  • Day22

    No rain on the plain...

    June 16, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Moving on day today. Started with a lovely route through a spectacular canyon - Rio Lobos - where we watched huge birds of prey wheeling around on the thermals. Then on to El Burgo de Osma. We stopped for a coffee and then nearly drove on through but caught sight of the storks on the church belltower and the cathedral spires so we jumped out for a walk about. Very lively Spanish Sunday with everyone in their Sunday best drinking and eating tapas. Then on out over vast rolling plains to our stop in Segovia.Read more

  • Day21

    Cyclocross

    June 15, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Restless night worrying about bears and wolves we are so deep in the woods...
    Set off on a gentle 30 mile bike loop around a huge lake/reservoir nearby. Had a relaxed stop at a small village to buy picnic supplies and have a coffee. Then off we went again unaware our route was blocked crossing the dam . This meant a choice. An extra 30k or so or a rough bike path through the woods. Ian got the casting vote. Disturbing start through a herd of cows with a massive horned bull in the middle.
    The surface got worse and then unridable sand and stones so it turned into a cyclo-cross event, pushing and lugging the bikes along for several more km than was good. There were no words spoken till we reached the road at last....
    Then things improved. Nice picnic stop and another stretch on the Santander to Valencia bike path to finish. We are friends again now.... Scenery was beautiful.
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  • Day20

    Platinum CD reserve team

    June 14, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Set off in the van from the busy campsite in Burgos and pretty soon on quiet empty roads. We had 2 stops on our journey today. First in a beautifully preserved medieval town called Covarrubias. There was a Norwegian connection as the top banana brought back a Norwegian princess for his wastrel brother. She was so lovely her sister in laws poisoned her...
    Then we went on to an 11th century monastery in Santo Domingo de Silos. Just scraped in to see the cloisters before they shut for siesta or prayers or something.
    Absolutley delicious pintxos in the town square...stuffed peppers (stuffing not determined, however. Black pudding?) and chorizo sausage cooked in cider.
    They told us the Gregorian monks had made a CD of their chants that had gone platinum so we went to a service in the church in the early afternoon but clearly got the B team...some old monk kept blowing his nose really loudly during the singing. We snuck out the back...
    Moved on to a wooded campsite by a reservoir deep in the middle of nowhere.
    Only the birds to keep us company .
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