Spain
Spain

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2,992 travelers at this place:

  • Day963

    Over the Pyrenees to Elorrio, España!

    February 14 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Ahh, España! We are sitting on a wooden bench just a little way down the hill from Martha, overlooking a grassy bank and the white, salmon and ochre painted apartments of Ellorio. It's a well kept area and the sounds of school children playing waft through the air. A gentle breeze is the only thing stopping us from taking our jumpers off and Vicky is even going so far as to bare her legs in a skirt because the sky is clear and sunny and at 18°C it feels warm!

    We are glad to be able to relax as the 150km drive over the Pyrenees wasn't the easiest. With a ferry to catch from Santander in a few days, our time in France had come to an end, so with Will at the wheel and Vicky co-piloting, we left our rural riverside picnic area. Before long we hit the built up environs of industrial looking Bayonne, then seamlessly passed into hectic Biaritz. After this we climbed through the hills to touristy looking Bidart. It was from amongst this white walled resort that we had our first glimpse of the huge Atlantic rollers that attract so many surfers. The Pyranees were still just a distant outline as we left behind the high end surf shacks, signs for Rip Curl and Quicksilver and the boards strapped atop roofracks. Dual language road signs were a good indication we'd entered the Basque region of France, but we concentrated hard on what the sat nav (Aunty Satya) was telling us, not wanting to take the wrong exit at any of the gazillion roundabouts. Will managed to pull over at a roadside boulangerie and pick up our last French stick, returning to the van with the piping hot baguette wrapped in a twist of paper.

    Part way through the town of Irun, Satya announced that we were in Spain and sure enough the language on the signs had changed and little red polka dot flamenco dresses were hanging on rails outside shops. There was no noticeable border, not even the EU symbol announcing entry to a new country. The roads were good and the fuel stations busy, as people took advantage of the lower prices in Spain. During the course of the morning, we'd slowly been nudging the van's blower from hot to cold. By now it was as cool as it would get as the outside temperature had reached 21°C!

    The Pyrenees had been looming gradually larger on the horizon. We began to snake up hillsides and follow the course of rivers to avoid the worst of the climbs. Our ears popped repeatedly as the green hills ahead made it look like we'd soon be surrounded by countryside, but their interlocking bases disguised the meandering ribbon of development following the valley floor.

    As we were overtaken by a motorhome with a hazard plate over their bicycle, it jogged Will's memory and he realised we needed to fit ours in order to comply with Spanish regulations. Luckily we still had it set up from when we'd toured Spain this time last year, so it didn't take too long to get it in place once we'd found somewhere to pull over. It was getting on lunch time so we found a fuel station a bit further on and after topping up with LPG and having the attendent fill our diesel tank, we settled down to a quick van lunch before getting underway again.

    The route wasn't straightforward, with rarely as much as 10km between roundabouts, exits and turnings. Finally we dropped down the other side of the mountains into Antzuola where we were greeted with the comfortable sight of clothes drying on lines strung within the integral balconies of multistorey apartment blocks. It just wasn't something we'd seen much of in France. Intermixed with towns were huge industrial units, but also some signs of the countryside like the shepherd sitting on the crash barrier watching his small flock graze a lush field.

    Finally, signs guided us to the free motorhome aire in Elorrio. While we sat in the cab, looking out on the open aspect of low rise blocks with a part forested hill behind, we felt relieved and elated that we'd made it. After a cuppa and some choux pastry treats Will had bought for Valentine's Day, we sat out on the bench together, taking in the different language of the occasional person who passed. After a while, Will (who still had energy), went off to explore the town. We've become used to French opening hours but as he wandered past the closed shutters of shops on the quiet, paved streets, he realised it would take more than a few days to adjust to the Spanish siesta! A few bars were open within the ochre hued buildings, but he managed to resist, knowing there was some bubbly chilling in the van fridge for later that evening.
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  • Day965

    Arnuero

    February 16 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Our stop at Arnuero isn't pretty, but its free and at 45km distance from the Santander ferry port, its just what we need. The aire provides a dedicated tarmac parking area between a main road and a wetland grazed by cows. The clear skies have persisted and an unpleasant aroma wafts over from the cow field as it bakes in the 24°C heat. Its not too bad and we are appreciating our last day of winter warmth!

    On the way here we stopped at a humongous Carrefour supermarket to pick up a few bits, bobs and bottles. While we were getting lost in the aisles that stretched farther than many of the small villages we've stayed in, we kept hearing a dog barking. We ignored it, thinking it was probably a new toy, but on the way out we saw that the complex also sold puppies, that were displayed in glass tanks stacked for prospective buyers to peruse. The practice of selling puppies and kittens like this will soon be illegal in the UK and looking at these poor creatures we could see why.

    Without much to do near the stopover, we didn't feel we were missing out as Vicky began to pack our bags for the ferry and Will took the chance to service the tandem. He took it on a test run to the nearby supermarket and picked up bananas for a vegan eggy bread recipe Vicky was keen to experiment with. There's not much else to tell really; our minds being taken up with tomorrow's sailing and our impending return to the UK, so our last evening on the continent was a quiet one.
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  • Day10

    Canyon de Sil

    June 1 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Today we drove to lookouts or Miradoiros along the Sil River and Canyon do Sil (gorge). It covers the last 50 km before the Sil enters the Minho. The scenery is considered to be the most spectacular in Galicia and we weren't disappointed.
    We just picked a little village ( Ferreira de Panton) at random for lunch and enjoyed a delicious meal. The language barrier caused a few concerns at first but the meal that was delivered was amazing. It was a 3-course meal (we had no choice because of the language issue) but after having pasta salad and boar stew with potatoes there was no way we could eat a third course....and that was having two dinners shared between four people! Great value too!
    We also visited The Monastery of Santa Cristina - both its buildings - church and cloister - are fully Romanesque and Renaissance, respectively.
    It was a Benedictine monastery that was already documented in the 9th century. Its Romanesque church was built in the 12th century.
    We then called into the Regina Viarum Winery (Bodegas) and caught the end of a tour and tasting - I actually tried red wine and it was nice, but I won't be changing my preference just yet. Vino Blanco is still top of the list!
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  • Day2

    Honestly GWR take note!

    September 18 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    From air con to reclining seats to your own personal radio... Renfe are amazing... leg room for miles also. And this is budget travel. £60 for 2 people for a 4hr train ride.

    The Renfe train is very good. We left at exactly 7pm as per the timetable. There is a trolley service that appears regularly serving soft drinks and snacks and a cafe car serving alcoholic beverages and a selection of snacks and warm food. Free headphones are provided to listen to the the film showing on the TV's. The train is smooth, quiet and comfortable with masses of legroom, reclining seats and fold down tables. We are very pleased with our first experience on the Spanish trains.Read more

  • Day3

    Apparently the biggest in Europe.

    September 19 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Palacio Real De Madrid
    Apparently was built and then the king decided it wasnt big enough so had it made bigger.
    Truly enormous.
    Be prepared to queue and be heckled to buy water, tours and fans...
    Definitely the biggest I have even seen!

  • Day3

    Lunch in Madrid

    September 19 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    As with all cities lunch is best found off the beaten track. Retrogusto in Plaza del Biombo is our stop for today. Sitting in the courtyard under the shade of a tree eating beautifully prepared and reasonably priced food. Lunch plus a glass of wine is about €9

  • Day3

    Tapas Tour

    September 19 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Now... I love food... this we all know and.... I love wine... also something we all know, so, when someone offered me the opportunity of both for 3 hrs for a few Euros then obviously I jumped at it.
    Last night we enjoyed a very good local tour with a very experienced guide who showed us the city, it's people and its cultures through his eyes.
    At stop 1 we ate squid and garlic prawns with bread and white wine. At stop 2 we had bread and chorizo and iberian ham and manchego cheese with red wine and the 3rd stop we had Spanish Omelette with mushrooms and small green peppers with sangria.
    Finishing off with a stroll through the city.
    We both had a fabulous experience that we would both highly recommend even if it means I have to walk even more today to burn it off.
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  • Day4

    Leaving Madrid

    Yesterday in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We have had a lovely time in Madrid but we must now leave now for Barcelona. A quick beer and cake whilst we wait for a platform is a must. We had Churros for breakfast which you must try if you come here.
    The trains can be very confusing and different ticket desks only sell tickets for certain trains. The local short distance trains arec Renfe Cercanias. The long distance trains are Renfe trains from the Botanical Gardens.Read more

  • Day964

    Elorrio, Day 2

    February 15 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    Day 2 at Ellorio dawned clear and bright. Night time temperatures hadn't even dropped to single figures so our heating soon clicked off once the sun rose above the hill. We enjoyed a slow start to the day, leaving our coats behind and wandering down to town around half ten.

    Locals went about their morning business, but the wide, pedestrian streets were in no way crowded. We mooched around the Chinese bazaar that sold tools, tea towels and everything in between. These businesses had been a real fixture on our 3 month tour of Spain last year. A few shops spilled out onto the pavement with a stall or two of goods but most were content to let customers come to them. We passed a fruit shop, butchers, fishmongers, a hardware and a few clothes shops whilst looking for the tourist information office, where we could get tokens for the van service point. Our Spanish is very rusty so we were glad when the attendant spoke reasonably good English, despite the main foreign language here being French. As well as the free tokens, they gave us a map of the surrounding area, pointing out a nearby medieval burial site and a rural walk we might like to explore. We asked about restaurants that may offer vegetarian food and they pointed out several eateries where we could enquire, but no specific recommendations were allowed.

    Arriving at Xara (the smallest of the three establishments) a friendly husband and wife team had set up tables outside and a mouth watering array of pintxos (Basque tapas) on the bar. They said they only had one veg dish and recommended the larger restaurants round the corner. We scouted these out but being before 1pm, they weren't yet into the swing of lunchtime and lacked the character and warmth of Xara's, so we returned. As is customary in Basque country, all tapas came with bread. The chef cooked Vicky a special plate of tempura peppers and pointed out the counter top tapas that hadn't got meat, including the ones with ham, because jamon isn't really meat is it?! We sat in the sun with our plates, rioja for Will and an Amstel for Vicky- bliss!

    After nipping back to the van for sunscreen and a bottle of water, we began the walk to find the necropolis. Leaving the town behind on a country lane we heard rustles in piles of dry leaves and soom spotted Italian Wall Lizards sunbathing on a dry stone wall. Argiñeta Necropolis sat on a grassy slope beside San Adrián hermitage; a humble sandstone building with an overreaching terracotta roof, providing shade around the perimeter. The site was low key, with no signs or information boards. A rectangular border of gravestone shaped slabs enclosed 21 aligned sarcophagi, five of them with headstones called stelae. These were replicas but the 13 originals could be seen within the hermitage, by peaking through an iron grating covering a small cutout in the solid, dark wood door. The site is thought to have come into being between the 7th and 9th centuries and the carvings on the stellae are thought to be the oldest examples of Christian inscription in the area, perhaps even the whole Basque country. We were the only ones there and loved being able to explore this peaceful site.

    Back home we took advantage of the warm sun behind the van to apply the second of our VnWTravels decals. We really enjoy writing this blog and creating content for our YouTube channel and Facebook page so we wanted to add our name to the van to make it stand out and hopefully reach more people (even though we are half expecting ranting messages from drivers unlucky enough to have been stuck behind us!)

    The evening was spent watching locals exercise their dogs on the grass bank. Vicky was so happy to have been well enough to get out and explore today. Part of the reason we are returning to the UK is for a procedure that will hopefully improve her health so she can really make the most of our travels!

    On the last morning, she nipped down to Elorrio to fetch bread, passing individuals and pairs carrying mops, buckets, brooms, dustpans and feather dusters, who seemed to be congregating at a hall, perhaps for some big community cleanup. We enjoy seeing gimpses of local life such as this, but most of the time view it through the lens of everyday. Normalising it is perhaps a coping mechanism, because as Vicky walked along past the rustic Spanish townhouses, a sense of enormity about where we were and what we were doing hit her. The excitement and privilage of being able to see this as an everyday experience was overwhelming. Life on the road isn't for everyone, but we really love and appreciate being able to do what we are doing right now.
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  • Day9

    Monforte de Lemos

    May 31 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Monforte de Lemos is located in a valley between the rivers Minho and Sil. The river of Cabe, a tributary of Sil, runs through the city. It is the core of the region known as Terra de Lemos and capital of the area known as Ribeira Sacra. Our accommodation here is Parador Monforte de Lemos, located in two historic buildings of the Monastery of San Vicente del Pino, whose origins date back in the 9th Century (reconstructed in 18th Century).
    We enjoyed some drinks in the beautiful neoclassical central cloister of the monastery before eating a delicious meal in the restaurant.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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