Jul 122017

Another grey day at 20 degrees. On recommendation from our neighbours at the campsite we decided to visit the artisan village of Barcena Major about 45km away up in the mountains. We drove through Comillas and then under the A8 motorway and made our way inland through picturesque scenery up a winding valley with sheep cows and horses in the fields. We passed through several small villages all with traffic lights and 50kph speed limits.

When we arrived in Barcena Major we found that you could not drive into the village but there was a very large free public car park a short distance from the village. We walked into the village and explored the sandstone cobbled streets, it reminded us of a prettier Albarracin. Some of the houses were very old and typical of the area with space downstairs for the animals and living accommodation upstairs. The walls were made from thick wooden vertical and horizontal beams with sandstone filling the gaps between the vertical beams.

There was a stream running through the edge of the village. We stopped and spoke to an elderly Spanish man who was making walking sticks, he explained, in Spanish, how he bent the handle around some pegs and a heated metal former when the wood was green and once it had dried the curve was maintained.

We found an excellent restaurant for lunch and had a great menu del dia for €15 a head. After coffee we walked back through the village to the car and the temperature dropped and it rained as we drove down the valley but the rain stopped the closer we got to the coast and it was just grey. We certainly had the best of the weather inland.

Jul 112017

A nice bright day today and so a good day to chill. Mrs Mop did some washing and so I rigged up a washing line. We discussed our sat nav issues with a couple of other people and found that they had similar issues on occasion. Ingrid then spoke to someone else who recommended a different make of sat nav and so we took a look online to check them out and they certainly look better than the Garmin Camper 760. Ingrid then had a brainwave ‘what about increasing the size of our car and caravan in the sat nav settings?’. I gave it a try and input yesterdays route and it showed the route we actually took rather than the one it wanted us to take, so it may be a brilliant idea, we will see when we leave here.

We have several new neighbours as there have been lots of comings and goings.

We have decided on our last two stops on our way back home and have booked those today. Two more ACSI sites so hope they are better than the one in San Sebastian.

Jul 102017

Another grey day on the northern coast of Spain :(. As my power supply on my Mac laptop had failed I had to get a new one. I rang the Apple franchise in Santander and they had one in stock. So we left the campsite at 10am heading for Santander following the sat nav, unfortunately it still seems to like little one track roads so we ignored its directions for the first part of the journey and made our way onto the A8 motorway our own way. It made another little hiccup near the ferry terminal in Santander and led us to the entrance to the terminal where we had been before. Then it took us back on route right into the centre of Santander to the junction where the shop was located. The challenge now was to find somewhere to park. All the blue boxes were taken and we drove around some little side streets and then out onto the main coast road near the cathedral where we found an underground car park.

After parking we crossed the road and had an expensive coffee con leche (€1.80 each!) and then used Google maps on my phone to take us to the shop. They had the power supply waiting for me with my name on it. The price wasn’t great though, €89, but it is a genuine Apple one. Ingrid did some shopping and picked up another hand towel for the caravan in Zara Home and as they had a sale on she saved €1.

We made our way back to the car and then out of Santander and stopped at a petrol station near the port and filled up at 94.6c a litre which was even cheaper than before. We headed for Cartes to the caravan shop to pick up a 12v adapter and took the chance to look around a couple of motorhomes. We then went back to the large Carrefour hypermarket in Torrelavega and had a boccadillo for lunch and then did some food shopping. As we left it started to rain quite heavily but it stopped again soon after we joined the motorway. Off at junction 258 and again the sat nav led us through a small village instead of sticking to the main road but we were back at the campsite by 3.15pm.

Coffee and afternoon tea with some small fresh Danish pastries from Carrefour and then some reading finished the day off nicely. Eating at the campsite restaurant again today as it was so good on Saturday.

Jul 092017

The morning was grey and overcast and so we decided to do some bits around the caravan. It was looking a bit grubby after the trip yesterday with the rain and the muck on the motorway. It looks a bit cleaner that when we arrived.

We decided to explore the area and have some lunch out. After exploring the area between the campsite and San Vicente de la Barquera on the way down the coast we found that the sat nav had certainly taken us a long way round. We drove over the bridge and into the town and parked in an underground car park. We had a walk around the town that was very busy with restaurants and some shops were open. We bought some nice pastries in a patisserie and a few bits in a Chinese shop and then found a restaurant and had a nice reasonably priced lunch. We then drove a much quicker way back to the campsite and that is certainly the route we should have used yesterday.

Jul 082017

All night there had been light rain and there was very low cloud / fog when we got up. We packed up and just as we finished hitching up it started to rain heavily. At 9.30am we turned right out of Camping Igueldo  even though the sat nav wanted to take us left and back the way we had come. The fog / mist was thick and the rain made for a slow run down into San Sebastian. Through all the traffic lights and then on to the A8 motorway heading towards Bilbao. We stopped at the first service area to fill up with diesel, 1.089 a litre makes this the most expensive fuel so far on this holiday.

Back onto the A8 continuing towards Bilbao and the rain stopped, the mist was gone and we saw some nice scenery. We stopped for coffee and a madeleine at a service area just after 11am. As we are so long we had to park amongst the lorries.

Parked amongst the lorries.

After coffee we headed back on to the A8 and the closer we got to Bilbao the greyer it got with low cloud again. Around Bilbao and on towards Santander. Once past Santander the weather brightened up and rose to 24c. The ACSI book recommended that we leave the motorway at junction 264 but the sat nav wanted us to leave at at junction 258. In view of the problem in San Sebastian we decided to ignore the sat nav this time, wrong decision, and follow the ACSI book. Unfortunately the roads had been renumbered and as a result the marker posts were different. We drove in to San Vicente de la Barquera and over a lovely bridge that reminded us both of crossing onto Hayling Island in the UK.

The sat nav took us off the main road and up a small road through some restaurants and then up a narrow steep hill and back onto the main road. We had a great view of the wonderful wide sandy beaches. Along the main road and then the sat nav turned us right along a reasonable road which then narrowed and became a single track but well metalled. It would through fields past houses and meandered up and down, a good job no other vehicles were using this road. We were then told to turn right and found ourselves in a campsite but it didn’t look like where we wanted to be. We asked at reception and indeed it was the wrong campsite. Luckily we could drive straight through and down another narrow road where we met a coach just wanting to turn up where we were coming from. A few hundred meters more and we joined a main road turned right and our proper campsite Caravaning Oyambe was 300 meters further on. We turned in and parked up and checked in. The owners son showed us around the site and the first pitch he showed us we selected. It was very large grassy area with room for car caravan and awning a real difference from our last stop. We set up had a beer and then some late lunch.

Why the sat nav took us on the blue route on the map below rather than the red one I have no idea.

Jul 072017

Our last day at Camping Igueldo so we decided to take it easy before tomorrows drive and to start getting ready to leave in the morning. Ingrid did some washing and I pottered about. We decided to have a cooked meal at lunchtime and so I would barbecue the chicken and mushrooms we had bought earlier in the week. Even though the chicken was in date it still didn’t smell good so we decided not to risk it and so it went in the bin. The mushrooms however were fine. Rather than just barbecue these Ingrid decided to do them in a pan on the hob. We had never used the small ring before and it was difficult to light and when it did it flared up and singed the hairs on my arm. This ring is obviously faulty as the others are all OK so back under warranty when we get home.

After lunch I decided to do a bit more preparation for tomorrow’s departure. I should have known better after singeing my arm, I stood up and walked into the partially open caravan window. The perspex edge of the window is quite thin and sharp and I now have a 2 inch gash on my forehead that bled profusely. I am now waiting for the third thing to happen.

Whilst having lunch we had a small visitor on the rock wall behind us and he kept still long enough for me to take a photo. Ingrid had spotted him hiding in a crevasse but he came out to have his photo taken.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading in a chair hoping that no more injuries befall me.

Lizard on the rock

Jul 062017

We went the opposite way out of the campsite today in the car and down into San Sebastian town. It was just like being back in the UK and driving in London, narrow roads, loads of traffic lights, pedestrians treating crossings like magic carpets and motor scooters wizzing here and there. We eventually found a Lidl and parked and just like the UK had to pay €2 for the privilege of parking for 50 minutes. The Lidl was pretty small and did not have everything we wanted and so made use of the sat nav to get to an Eroski at the other side of the town.

Got all the shopping done and made our way back to the campsite and had a lazy afternoon reading and starting to plan our next stop.


Jul 052017

After yesterday’s excitement we were hoping for a quiet day today but it was not to be. At 1am we were woken by banging and crashing and high winds and so we had to put our outside furniture away and to roll up the awning. Eventually we got back to sleep and made the most of a lie in this morning.

We had a lazy day around the campsite and slightly repositioned the caravan on the pitch. Late morning the temperature dropped dramatically and initially we thought that there was a forest fire locally but then we realised there was no burning smell and it was only low mist rolling from the see across the campsite.


Jul 042017

Stopped for coffee

After paying our bill at Camping Entrerrobles we left at 10am and followed the sat nav towards Logrono. This was a fairly slow road in places even though it was the N111 as it wound through the mountains. We stopped for coffee at a nice roadside bar.

After coffee we continued on our journey and once we reached Logrono we joined the A12 motorway and continued to Pamplona. The scenery and views along the whole of today’s route was spectacular. After Pamplona we joined the A15 motorway towards San Sebastian and were climbing and descending the western end of the Pyrenees. We stopped at a service area for lunch, a good job we did, more about this later. It was a very expensive for Spain roll and drink.

After lunch we continued towards San Sebastian eventually leaving the motorway and moving onto local roads. For some reason the sat nav routed us to the west of San Sebastian and then into a small village, we followed the directions and ended up at a no entry sign in the village of Usurbil. I had to reverse the caravan down a little side road to turn around and head back to the main road. Looking at the map later for some reason the sat nav wanted to take us down some very small rural roads (note to self don’t trust the sat nav even though it is supposed to be one designed for caravans). We rejoined the main road and I decided to head a bit further west and to see where the sat nav would re-route us.

The sat nav eventually turned us onto the coast road back towards the campsite. This road was pretty narrow in places with a couple of hairpin bends and we met several other vehicles coming the other way but we always managed to pass safely. Eventually there were signs indicating that we were heading in the correct direction to the campsite. We pulled into the campsite and pulled up to the barrier and a security guard told us we could not enter and had to park in the car park opposite and check in and then we could bring the caravan on site. The entry and the roundabout were too tight for me to turn round and another worker for the site told me to ignore the security guard and to leave the car and caravan where they were and check in which we did. The map and instructions on where our pitches were was not very clear and I missed the turning into our pitch and ended up at a no entry sign on a steep downhill road. It was too steep to reverse luckily the same worker told me to ignore the sign and to go to the bottom of the hill and turn round and come back up the hill which I did.

I turned in to the road with our pitch on. Mike had already parked his motor home in the furthest of the two pitches to make my life easier. This did not work out. The pitches were very small and with a motor home parked close to the roadside edge of his pitch I could not manoeuvre the caravan onto the pitch. Mike offered to swap pitches which we did but even still I had to park the van across the pitch as it was less than 7m deep and 8.4m wide and with an 8m long caravan parking width wise was the only option. This left no room for the car luckily I could park it next to Mikes motor home and he could still put his awning out.

We chilled out with a few beers and glasses of wine and then we found that unfortunately the cupboard door in the bathroom had come open and the liquid soap container had come open and liquid soap was all over the bathroom and this took some cleaning up. After an evening meal of cold left over barbecue and some more wine and beer we retired early for the night. A bit of a stressful day but everything worked out OK in the end with no damage.



Jul 032017

Just a quiet day today. Left the campsite and headed towards Soria for some food shopping. We decided to stop in Garray to visit the Roman ruins and the museum but unfortunately even though it was July and due to be open at 10am at 10.50am when we visited it was still closed.

We headed into Soria to the Le Clerc hypermarket and stocked up with food. The diesel was only 92.9c a litre and so I filled to the brim. I wish it was this cheap elsewhere in Spain. Back at the campsite we barbecued the food that we had bought earlier and just spent the rest of the time relaxing. No photos today