K and A's road trip

Retired professionals wishing to see a little more of the world at home and abroad
Living in: South Wonston, United Kingdom
  • Day198

    Southampton

    December 8 in the United Kingdom

    We are back in UK after an uneventful crossing from Santander
    Great to see friends at Mike and Liz's Saturday night and many thanks to Mike and Liz for your hospitality.
    Fixed up Hazel's owees with Mikes assistance after a good Sunday morning ride around the Hampshire lanes. I have a bit of work to do to get to get my legs back to alpine climbing level.
    Moved to Two Hoots camper ground on Sunday afternoon where we are staying for five nights - using it as a base to get our dentist, doctors, MOT etc done.
    Hazel passed MOT Monday with no worries.
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  • Day195

    Santander

    December 5 in Spain

    We have travelled here for the overnight boat to UK on Thursday.
    The journey up took us up onto another high plain and possibly through some mountains - we could not see much as everything was shrouded in mist. Eventually, about 50 miles from Santander the sun burst through as we came off the high plain and entered the coastal mountain range. The landscape changed. At one moment we commented that it reminded us of the moors/grasslands in Yorkshire and the next the mountains of Switzerland. We checked into our campsite for the night, a few kms out of Santander next to the sea. For the first time in our trip we encountered language problems, as the woman checking us in spoke no English and us very little Spanish. She had to tear up our first booking in form, as we filled it in incorrectly, failing to understand her instructions. Eventually, with lots of signs, we were successful, and were shown to our pitch. Emptying wast water proved another hitch, as we signed and pointed what it was we wanted. Just surprised that in 3 months on the continent this is the only time this has happened. The French, Spanish and Portuguese put us to shame, as they all speak enough English to communicate with us.Read more

  • Day193

    Segovia

    December 3 in Spain

    We came here because Alan wanted to see the Roman Aquaduct, and it did not disappoint.
    This city is an absolute gem.
    We free camped in the area designated for autocaravans next to the bullring - a very short walk to the centre and to the start of the aquaduct.. The bullring looked derelict but it is still used a few months per year for its intended purpose.
    The walled city remains intact and is full of tight lanes with interesting shops, a huge cathedral and numerous ancient churches -it must have one of the highest church to area ratios in the country -which is some going in Spain.
    The walled city sits on high ground high above two rivers which converge below the Alcazar - a quite magnificent building in its own right and only one of many within the walls.
    The Romans fed this city with water by running a supply from the mountains to the south, the source being some 15km away. The final connection to the city is made via an aquaduct which was built circa 100 AD. Our walk into the city started at the first visible sign of the aquaduct which unfolds as we walked down the slope to the city centre - the columns get taller towards the bottom of the valley and after a right angle bend the sight of the final section is awesome. The scale of it has to be seen to be believed. It is quite remarkable and.is in great condition because it was used to carry water right up until the late 1990s.
    We spent a day and a half looking around the city and took an audio tour of the Alcazar which was very interesting.
    Segovia is home to the Artillery Academy as well as a local University.
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  • Day189

    Madrid

    November 29 in Spain

    We travelled up to this site near Madrid so we could have a look at the Capital City over a couple of days.
    We travelled into the city by bus which was very quick and efficient, arriving at an underground terminus very near to the Palace. The Palace is immense - it has over 3000 rooms - and is modelled on Versailles as it was built by a French Bourbon prince - Philip - who was invited to rule Spain when the doollally Hapsburg line failed to produce a sane or living heir. We know this because we took a walking history tour starting at the Plaza Mayor which is a central square very much like the one we saw in Cordoba. Our guide - Lexi - very obviously liked her adopted city and clearly had a good grasp of Spanish History.
    The walk lasted three hours - we did not cover much ground physically because the stops were frequent and at each stop Lexi launched into an impassioned speech relating to the particular aspect that was of interest. Subjects included food, religion, flamenco, royals, the moors, visigoths and Christians amongst others.
    Lexi knew her stuff- she packed in a lot in the three hours - she managed this because she spoke at a million miles an hour. We were probably the only couple in the group who had English as a first language so much of what was said was missed by the other members of the tour - there were a number of eyes glazing over at various times.
    For us, however, the tour was most informative and well worth doing. Lexi clearly loves Madrid and is passionate about supporting the city and its folk, in the1930s she would have been manning the barricades. One highlight - was when she promised to "Punch the lights out of anyone of our group whom she found eating or drinking in the over priced and non representative bars and eateries in the Plaza Mayor." that would not be supporting the true city folk - a slightly unconventional approach to tour guiding but it proves the rule - you can take the girl out of Manchester but not the Manc out of the girl,
    We had no fear of this retribution because we had already determined that authentic Madrid food could be found in the street called Cava Baja, which is where we went afterwards to enjoy some tostas in Casa Tempranillo.
    The following day we returned to the city to take it in in our own stride. The Christmas Market opened in Plaza Mayor selling tat as fast as you like and the local travelling community had obviously stripped some cork bark trees for bases to Christmas table decorations.
    The central shopping streets were rammed with people gearing up for the oncoming festivities.
    We took lunch once again on Cava Baja at a small restaurant/bar called Casa la Concha, which was excellent, before walking to and around the Parque de le Retiro.
    There was an interesting sculpture exhibition within the Crystal Palace and something called art within the Palacio de Velazquez. It was wasted on us.
    Having walked miles around this beautiful city we returned to our campsite, putting the heating on as high as we could in the van. It has turned colder, and we are now wearing the few winter clothes we brought with us.
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  • Day188

    Toledo

    November 28 in Spain

    We spent a day looking around this city, which used to be the capital city of Spain until Madrid took over in the 1500s.
    It is quite a place, with a rich roman history. We parked overnight just outside the northern walls of the old city. The old city is built high on a hill dominating the surrounding plain on one side and protected by a gorge on the other. It is crammed full of churches, all massive, and they seem to be on every corner.
    The Alcazar is now home to a modern military museum and the city library. It is massive and dominates the sky line along with the cathedral.
    I was hoping for a good look at the roman aquaduct, but it has long perished with just a trace of it left one the side of the gorge, however there are some interesting remains of the old roman circus near to where we parked up.
    The old city was quiet quiet and seemed to be full of walking tours and Japanese visitors. If you want to buy a sword this is the place to come.
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  • Day185

    Horcajo de los Montes

    November 25 in Spain

    This place is on the edge of a National Park, high up on the plain.
    The drive here was interesting - the olive groves finally petered out as we rose higher, to be replaced by arable and livestock farming
    We chilled for one day, Karen doing some patchwork and me finishing a job for a client.
    We took a walk in the National Park. The visitor centre was closed but we found footpaths through the woods using a general map of the area.
    The park was very peaceful on a beautiful crisp sunny day. There was evidence of wild boar rummaging in the woods but we did not encounter any..
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  • Day182

    Cordoba

    November 22 in Spain

    We are at a very quiet site north east of Cordoba - at Villafranca de Cordoba.
    We took the bus into Cordoba and took a walking tour of the city. The city is preparing itself for the Christmas festivities and the Christmas market had just opened up.
    The walk took us through the historical city where we saw roman ruins (nearly - they are in fact 1950 recreations on the site of the old roman temple), the Plaza de la Corredera, Plaza del Potro then through the arch into the very old city to see the Mosque/Cathedral, roman bridge, Kings Palace (Alcazar de los Reyne Cristianos). We then took in the old Jewish quarter to finish the walk outside the old city walls at an original Roman gate.
    Once again we took advice from our guide Maddy and tried the recommended tapas bar. This time it was a very modern establishment - Bar Sancho- the food was delicious. We tried the local Salmorejo which was recommended and very tasty.
    The bus back was bedlam - it coincided with the end of the school day and it was full of lively teenagers discussing their weekend plans
    We drove into the city the following day so we could see inside the Cathedral and the Alcazar. We parked a short walk from the south side of the roman bridge. The city was more busy with tourists than the day before.
    We did the Alcazar first which was very interesting and the gardens beautiful - all very well kept and now owned and maintained by the local council.
    We lunched at the 101 Tapas bar which was very nice - a much older establishment - and tried the wild boar stew which is a local favourite, also very tasty.
    In the afternoon we visited the Cathedral and took the audio guides. A truly remarkable building with a long and varied history - a must see for any visit to the city.
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  • Day181

    Vinuela

    November 21 in Spain

    We left Gibraltar with the intent on staying near Malaga for a day or two so we could visit the old town and its surrounds.
    We drove up the coast road - sliding off to see the local seaside towns on the way. Estepona, Marbella, Fuerngirola, Torremolinos prior to reaching Malaga.
    Malaga did not spark our imagination so we moved swiftly on knowing that the old town was probably worth a visit.
    We decided to start to move northwards and adjusted our itinerary to suit. We found this site next to a lake with a nice view for an over night stopover. It is in the hills on the way up to the plain and the scenery quite beautiful. the whole area is one massive olive grove
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