Aug 072018

It was a nice cool 23 degrees this morning, we packed up and stopped at reception as it opened at (am and collected our fresh croissants. We then followed the route back out of the campsite to the N1141 and then on to the D939 heading north. This was a country road through villages and past fields of sweetcorn and sunflowers. At a roundabout we came across a small supermarket with a single petrol pump at ‘only’ €1.40 a litre for diesel. I did a top up of 43 litres and hopefully that will be enough to get us to Portsmouth where we can top up with some cheaper fuel. After fuelling up we continued and just after 10.15 we joined the A10 toll motorway heading north.

We stopped for coffee at a nice but expensive service area and ate our fresh croissants. We re-joined the A10 and then turned on to the A83 heading for Nantes. We ran into some showers of rain along this section of the motorway, it was dirty rain and so it made the motorhome a bit grubby. It was also quite windy in places with the van moving around and the roadside trees and bushes were taking a battering, with leaves being blown across the road like snow. We stopped at the toll booths just before Nantes and had the same ‘camping car’ conversation and so the toll fee was €27.40 instead of €38.80. Once around the ring road we joined the N171 heading for Rennes. Just after the junction was a service area but I missed the signs and we sailed past. We started looking for somewhere else for lunch. The next service aire was marked as having coffee but there was none there so we continued and eventually came across another sign but this lead us off the motorway and then there were no more signs so we had to re-trace our route back south to the previous junction and round the countryside to get back onto the motorway heading north. The next one was also sign posted as off the motorway so we decided not to bother and have something when we arrived at the campsite.

We went around the Rennes ring road and on to the A84 for a few kilometres and then turned off onto local to lead us to Chauvigne to La Maison Nueve campsite arriving at about 3.15. This is a working farm with gites, a restaurant and a campsite. The young lady on reception spoke no English and my school boy French is decidedly lacking now we have lived in Spain for so long. €14 for the night with electricity was not expensive and we had large grassy area where we could choose where to park. They also had fresh home-made jam for sale not cheap but it is really tasty. As we were having dinner on board the heavens opened and we had a real heavy downpour with some thunder.

Aug 062018

After a quiet night at Beau Rivage we got up this morning to some dew on the van which was a pleasant surprise. We packed up and dropped our grey waste and left at 9.30. After yesterday’s windy roads we decided to take things a bit easier today and to take the motorway where possible even though it meant paying the tolls. Even still we had a long drive from Navarrenx to the motorway. We went through the village and then on to the D947. The road wound through some small narrow villages and then through open farm land with lots of fields full of sweet corn and others full of sunflowers. The French certainly seem to like their roundabouts. If we went through 10 today we went through at least 50. There was one narrow section through a town with bollards in the centre and I ended up scraping the rear tyre against the kerb, luckily there was no damage. At one roundabout there was a red car right in my blind spot in the roundabout but luckily Ingrid had seen it and we didn’t have a coming together. We eventually joined the A63 motorway heading north as we were passing an HGV it flicked a stone up which has put a chip in the windscreen. We decided to stop for coffee and pulled in to a rest area to find it was only a parking one.

We stopped at the next service area for a coffee and a croissant, very expensive in comparison to Spanish motorway service areas. We re-joined the A63 heading north towards Bordeaux and I comments that we hadn’t seen many Adria motorhomes going the other way and then the next one was an Adria, typical. We saw lots of motorhomes on today’s journey and many of them were Adria’s. There was one tolls section on the motorway and we pulled in to the toll booth and it said 15.50€ but it should have been less so I called up on the intercom as mentioned on Facebook and said ‘Camping Car’ and the toll was promptly reduced to 5.50€.

When we were about 25km from Bordeaux we suddenly stopped and then we crawled for at least 20km until we came across the scene of an accident on the opposite carriageway, the holdup was caused by the rubber-neckers. We continued to the outskirts of Bordeaux and then on to the E7 ring road, the queue to the accident was at least 20km long in the opposite direction. We turned off the A63 and on to the N10 in the direction of Angouleme. This was mainly a 2 lane 110kmh motorway. We stopped for a snack for lunch and then pulled in to the campsite in Angouleme at just before 3pm and checked in to the overnight ire parking that was fully serviced for only 14€ a night. It was 38 degrees when we arrived with clear blue skies and not a breath of wind so it was scorching. There was also an Adria Sonic 600 parked on the site, the first we have seen on a site for quite a while.

Aug 052018

After a hot and sticky night at Zaragoza I got up at 7am and it was already 24 degrees. We had breakfast and stowed everything away and left the campsite at just before 10am. We followed the sat nav route on to the ring road around Zaragoza and then on to the A23 in the direction of Huesca. Some of the A23 road surface was excellent and some of it was terribly rutted. Following Mike’s suggestion we pulled just off the A23 in Huesca to the Carrefour shopping centre and filled up with diesel for €1.18 a litre, much cheaper than Carrefour in Ondara and some of the cheapest fuel we have seen recently, not looking forward to the French prices. We rejoined the A23 and stopped for an expensive cup of coffee a bit further along the motorway. We passed a few fields of sunflowers and lots of fields of corn that were being heavily watered. We hadn’t realised how high we were until we started to drop down fairly steeply towards Jaca. The road was a bit twisty and subject to some extensive road works but as it was Sunday there were no delays.

We were surprised that today the vast majority of the traffic on the road was Spanish registered vehicles. We passed a lot of motorhomes heading south but very few like us heading north. We went through the Somport tunnel and that was also very quiet and then wound down the narrow twisty road in to France. This section of road downhill was over 20 kilometres in length and we were glad that no lorries are allowed on the the French roads on Sunday otherwise it would have been interesting. It was a slow journey with some of the road subject to 30kph speed limit. In France again there were lots of corn fields close to the road. we followed the sat nav into Navarrenx and over the bridge over the river and then it wanted us to do a hairpin turn on to a narrow road which I wasn’t keen on. After a bit of shunting supervised by Ingrid I decided to approach from the opposite direction, as I went further up the road I saw more signs for Camping Beau Rivage straight on through the village, I then remembered the advice on the booking to ignore the sat nav. I went back and picked Ingrid up and we then followed the signs through the village to the campsite arriving just before 2pm. We had to wait for them to reopen after the siesta and were then allocated our pitch which was nicely shaded by large trees. We had a late lunch sitting on the grass on the edge of our pitch. A nice site that we will definitely revisit and spend longer at in the future.

Aug 042018

We loaded up and set off at about 9.15 this morning and it was already 28 degrees. Ran down to Ondara and then joined the AP7 heading north for Valencia. The motorway was surprisingly busy and a majority of the vehicles seemed to be French registered cars heading north. We had an uneventful journey on the motorway up to the toll booths near Alzira and typically I chose the wrong lane and got stuck behind a French driver who took ages to find his wallet and then wanted a receipt then we just breezed through with the toll tag. We left the AP7 and joined the A23 heading for Teruel and Zaragoza. The A23 had some lovely smooth sections and then some very rutted sections needless to say the 3 usual cupboard doors came open, luckily the drawer stayed close so it looks like I may have fixed that. We stopped for coffee at the same service area we first stopped at in our Spanish trip in June, this time it was busy but luckily not as bad as last time and we actually managed to get served this time.

After coffee we re-joined the A23 and continued north towards Zaragoza. Along the A23 there were a mixture of French and Spanish cars all heading in the same direction as us. We saw 3 Adria motorhomes going the other way. We also saw more caravans than motorhomes in both direction on this section of the journey. We stopped at the 202 services for lunch and just had a snack as neither of us could face a full meal. I bought a litre of very expensive 0-30 synthetic oil for the motorhome at the garage by the restaurant as the new Ducato engines have an appetite for oil. It was a good job that I did as the dashboard warning came up to check the oil, I had been unable to buy any from the auto recambios in Ondara last week.

We rejoined the A23 and continued to Zaragoza and arrived at the municipal campsite at 3pm. They had our reservation and so that was good and we were allocated a pitch right opposite the toilet block. Free wifi but quite expensive at over €30 for one night. It was 38 degrees when we arrived and so the air conditioning is getting a work out.


Jul 142018

During our recent holiday around Spain we did not visit all the places that we had planned due to the poor weather on the north coast which is unusual for this time of year. However, we had a great time away for an extended period in our Adria Sonic, we covered a total of 2163 kilometres and this consumed 255 litres of diesel which cost €308 and we stayed in 6 different campsites for a cost of €309.

A brief review of our campsites in order:

  • Camping Entrerobbles near Soria – this was our second visit to this site and nothing has changed in the 12 months since our last visit, there was still no wifi, the pool wasn’t yet open despite the 32 degree temperature. The mushroom meal in the campsite restaurant was very good like last time. The site is remote and transport is needed for a longer stay. Cost €23pn.
  • Caravanning Oyambre near Comillas – again this was our second visit to this site and nothing had changed in the year since we had last stayed here. We stayed in the same area as last year. Unfortunately the weather was poor with rain, wind and grey skies every day. The campsite restaurant was as good as before and the staff as usual were very helpful. The taxi into Comillas for the Friday market was only €6 each way. ACSI site. Cost €19pn.
  • Camping Cudillero near Cudillero – a nice grassy site with large pitches and excellent fast wifi. The campsite restaurant was just OK and nothing special. This was another site where transport was required to do any local exploring as it was some distance from town and a steep climb down to the beach down a twisty road. The weather here was terrible with torrential rain, hail storms and high winds. ACSI site. Cost €17pn.
  • Camping Pedro Ponce in Sahagun – this site is a municipal one and is right on the pilgrim route from Santiago de Compostella. The touring pitches are large grass areas with unmarked pitches so that you can take as much room as you need. We stayed here for some time as we liked the site and it was only 10 minutes walk into town. There was lots to see in the town as well as a large Dia supermarket. The campsite restaurant looked nothing and the menu was nothing special, however, the chef was excellent and everything was home-made from local produce and was excellent and very cheap. Refurbished wash blocks and modern facilities with free wifi made this a remarkably cheap site and was a favourite. €15pn
  • Camping Ruta de la Plata near Salamanca – this site was very disappointing given that it was an ACSI site, the wash blocks and in fact the entire site was old and tired and in need of some time and money spending on it. The earth pitches were over grown with weeds, the trees were in need of pruning as they scraped both the sides and the roof of the motorhome. There was only one fresh water tap for the whole site and manoeuvring into the grey waste disposal point was not easy. The campsite restaurant was only open for light breakfast and closed for the rest of the day. The only thing to recommend it was the bus stop right outside the door to Salamanca itself. Cost €19.20pn.
  • Kiko Park Rural near Villargodo de Cabril – again this was our second visit to this site in 12 months and nothing had changed. Reasonably large fully serviced gravel pitches with little shade and can be quite windy at times. The onsite restaurant is good and the free wifi speed is OK for emails and browsing but little else. The wash room facilities are starting to look a bit tired with shower doors rotting at the bottom and toilet cisterns not attached to the wall. Our most expensive site and not really worth the money in comparison with other sites that we stayed at on this trip. Transport would be needed if staying for any period of time as it is in the middle of nowhere. ACSI site that cost €28pn.

Holiday route

Jul 112018

We had a bit of a lie in this morning and when we got up we checked the weather forecast for the day. It was due to be another scorcher and at least 4 degrees cooler at home. As a result we decided to pack up and head home, after packing up we had a quick coffee and then left at about 10.30am. We went back through the village and then re-joined the A3 in the direction of Valencia, the closer we got to Valencia the busier the motorway got. We left the A3 turning onto the A7 heading south and towards home. On this section of the motorway we saw two other Adria motorhomes, the first that we had seen since leaving Caravanning Oyambre 10 days ago. We stopped at the service are north of Gandia for a quick sandwich and then continued down the A7 to Ondara. We stopped at the shopping centre and filled the tanks with diesel ready for our next trip and then headed home and were parked up by about 2.30pm. I walked home and collected the car and we unloaded the motorhome and took everything home and then had a refreshing swim in our own pool.

We weren’t away for quite as long as we had intended and we didn’t visit all the areas we wanted to but we still had a very enjoyable holiday.

Today’s route

Jul 102018

Due to the forecast temperature and our disappointment in the campsite we decided to leave this morning rather that stay and go into Salamanca. As a result we packed up and left just after half past nine. We left the campsite and traced our route back to the motorway and followed the ring road around Salamanca and we joined the A50 motorway heading towards Avila. As we travelled down the motorway we saw the cathedral of Avila towering above the spectacular town walls. This is certainly a city that we have added to our must visit list and it was truly incredible to see. We then joined the AP51 motorway and were looking for somewhere for coffee but there were no services on this section of motorway, luckily it was fairly short and we then joined the AP6 motorway in the direction of Madrid and found a service area here for coffee.

We followed the satnav route to the outskirts of Madrid where it became fairly busy and we drove underneath the cable car that runs across Madrid. We then joined the M30 inner ring motorway and were surprised that this was a 3 lane in each direction underground motorway with a 70kmh speed limit. The satnav lost its location needless to say as it couldn’t get a position signal. We were surprised after about 12-15km the satnav suddenly announced take the next exit in 2km, sure enough 1km later the first sign appeared for the A3 towards Valencia, very impressed with the CoPilot satnav. We joined the A3 motorway and as it left Madrid it was a rough concrete road surface, luckily this didn’t last for long and soon became relatively smooth tarmac. We stopped at the A77 service area for lunch and it was excellent. They had home-made cakes in a chiller cabinet and so we decided to treat ourselves to a piece each of Santiago tart for me and an apple tart for Ingrid. The barman cut us off huge pieces and wrapped them up for us. They went in the fridge in the motorhome for afternoon tea after we arrived at our next stop.

We rejoined the A3 and continued towards Valencia and went over the huge bridge over the dammed lake near the campsite, the water level in the lake was even lower than I remember from last year. We turned off the motorway shortly afterwards and went into Villargordo del Cabriel and the on to Kiko Park Rural arriving at just after 4pm. We checked in and were offered the same pitch as we had last year or any other that was vacant. As last years pitch was convenient for the wash block and the restaurant that is where we set up. We then had afternoon tea and the cakes we had purchased at lunchtime. The temperature outside the motorhome was 36 degrees and inside was 38 degrees, a most uncomfortable temperature. After showers we went to the restaurant and had a good meal that was unfortunately spoilt by the large number of flies that bombarded us and so we rather rushed our dinner. After coffee we returned to the motorhome and sat outside with a nice nightcap.

Today’s route

Jul 092018

Just after 1am I was rudely awoken by Ingrid saying there was someone knocking on the motorhome, I got up and checked without going outside and couldn’t see anything and said it may have been the wind knocking a tree branch into the motorhome. I went back to bed, a few minutes later Ingrid was convinced that she heard something else and went out to investigate and found to young teenagers hiding under the rear of the motorhome, I went out and as I opened the door they ran off. I stayed with the motorhome and Ingrid went to tell the security guard, he searched around the site but could not find them. We both had a restless sleep for the rest of the night and got up early to a bright sunrise with clear skies but it was very windy. We completed packing up and left just after 10am but found that the campsite reception did not open until 11am and so we were unable to pay our campsite fees.

We left the campsite and retraced our route back towards Leon on the A231 and on the outskirts of Leon we turned onto the A66 heading south towards Zamora. Soon after we joined the A66 we passed a huge breakers yard, but it wasn’t a normal one for cars but had hundreds of cranes, JCB’s, diggers, tractors and other plant machinery, I have never seen anything like it before. We stopped for coffee along the A66 and then continued to Zamora leaving the motorway to head into the Lidl for some food shopping. After the shopping we followed the satnav back through the centre of Zamora and then back on to the A66. We continued along the A66 until we reached the outskirts of Salamanca and then followed the satnav direct to the campsite. We checked in and were told to find a pitch that we liked.

For an ACSI site we were not impressed with Camping Ruta de la Plata, the site looked generally tired and uncared for. The trees needed pruning as they were very low and scraped the side and the top of the motorhome, there was only one water tap for the entire site and the grey waste disposal point was at the bottom of the site and not easy to manoeuvre into with a 7.5m motorhome. The toilet block was tired and needed some work, there was no soap by the basins and the washing machine and pots and pans washing area was also unloved and old. The pitches were earth partially covered in weeds that needed cutting back. To top the lot the bar was only open for coffee and croissant for breakfast and the wifi only worked in the bar area. We tried to sit outside but there were lots of small flying bugs that were annoying but not biting thank goodness. As a result we decided to stay here just for the one night and head on.

An eventful 24 hours all in all and not one we want to repeat. I emailed Camping Pedro Ponce about leaving without paying and am waiting to hear back from them.

Today’s route

Jul 082018

We awoke again to another clear blue skied sunrise with a slight breeze. I managed  to get the awning closed properly by opening it part way and then pushing the frame forwards, this allowed it to close properly. We turned the ground sheet over to dry in the sun. After it was dry we folded it up and packed it away, cleaned the pegs and put them away too. I drove across to the grey waste point and emptied the grey water holding tank and then parked the van back around the other way, as a result we did not need the levelling ramps.

For lunch we ate in the campsite restaurant. It was an excellent meal with home made salad and home made chips and was really reasonably priced. After lunch I settled down to watch the exciting Grand Prix from Silverstone and Ingrid sat in the sun reading. At about 6pm the sky darkened and the wind picked up but the forecast rain didn’t arrive. After a light snack for tea we stowed some of the items to make departure in the morning quicker and then settled to watch a film.

Jul 072018

As we went to bed last night there was thunder and lightning which then stopped and a little later there was some light rain. This morning we woke to a brilliant sunrise and clear skies but found that the light rain had in fact been much heavier after we were asleep and I had not put enough fall on the awning and so there was a puddle in the roof canvas. I drained it all off, it and the windblockers dried fairly quickly in the sunshine. Looking at the forecast we are due more rain later today and so once the windblockers were dry we folded them and put them away and I put a lot more fall on the awning as we still needed it for protection from the sun.

I got the folding bike out to go into town for some milk and cold meats for today. I found that the road to the town was more uphill than I realised when we had walked it before. After doing the shopping I coasted 3/4 of the way back without pedalling. After lunch I watched the grand prix qualifying and saw the England result on the BBC website. Who would have expected England to make the semi finals. About 6pm the thunder started again. There was some small amount of rain during the evening and there was an unusual sunset.

Unusual sunset