8th May 2009

We got up and had a lovely shower, the first decent one in a campsite since leaving England. It was located in an apartment that the Dutch couple rent out as a holiday let but as it was the quiet season they kindly let us use it.  It had a cubicle and separate loo and we were able to shower together. We had breakfast and then paid for our night’s camping. We also bought some postcards – one for Wayne and one for Davina - then set off to our next campsite.  We’re going to try to make it to the Spanish border and find a campsite nearby, crossing over tomorrow night.

Paul: Tina’s been bitten by something again in her hair and round her neck area, damn these bloody flies and midges.  I do hope she doesn’t have a bad reaction to anything, although we are fairly well equipped medically.

Oh, and we keep forgetting to mention the lizards we spotted when we visited Josephine Baker’s Chateau.  They were everywhere. Tina tried to catch one but they are too quick.  Most of the time they were just basking in the sun.  We also saw a snake slithering along by the side of the road yesterday.  We’re definitely not in England!

After a very interesting drive up into the Pyrenees we found our next campsite Le Gave d’Aspe, which unfortunately looked deserted.  There was one other motorhome on site but nothing else.  We had a look at the map and camping guide and found another site well inside Spain, so we decided to head for that.  It meant we wouldn’t arrive until early evening, but that would hopefully be okay.

We drove up through the mountains and Tina was amazed as she’d never been in such high mountains before.  There were lots of interesting views, and as the road was good,  there weren’t too many scary drops at the side.  Tina’s petrified of edges/drops and roads with steep edges off them.

We went through a huge tunnel -Tunnel de Somport - which was actually the border, and as we drove along we saw a large information screen across the road. As we approached, our vehicle registration number flashed up in huge neon letters.  This scared us a bit and we immediately checked our speed but we didn’t seem to be doing anything wrong.  We can only assume that it was a clever welcome from the Spanish and also a way of them recording our details for future reference. Hmm.

We're getting higher!
Now that looks scary up there!
The roads are very quiet, are we going the right way?
Fascinating building but you wouldn't get me up there
The road went right up into the clouds and then started to descend into the dryer more barren countryside below.  After the green of the French side, it was quite a contrast.
We expected to see cacti just like the Arizona desert, it was so different.  And so, au revoir to France and Bienvenidos to Spain.

Some notes about the French part of our trip.
We’d travelled about another 1,000 miles and the van had behaved perfectly. We were still getting around 25-26 mpg, hadn’t used any oil and managed to find our way despite avoiding the toll Autoroutes. We thought the general standard of French campsites wasn’t brilliant, but some of the showers were okay and the people we met were nice. The food in Carrefour restaurants - the big ones anyway - was really good. We thoroughly recommend their pizzas! Other food shopping was also good, and prices not as high as we’d expected, although more expensive than UK for most things. The roads and traffic are very motorhome friendly, and on the whole in good condition. We tried not to travel more than four hours between campsites and the ACSI campsite guide proved to be - in the main - very good. Tina's event log follows:

· Fell in a dip and twisted my other ankle at a French campsite the other day.
· We bought some shopping at a Leclerc Supermarche and we got some crisps to go with our rolls for lunch. When Paul ate them he said ‘These are apple!’ We know the French for apple is pommes, but the crisps were called Crosti Pommes and the flavour on the packet was Naturelle so we thought they were just plain crisps – not apple.

We leave France and Enter Spain
We drove for what seemed like ages before finally arriving at the El Temple campsite, which was between Zaragoza and Huesca.  It was now nearly 7pm. The campsite was absolutely shocking!  Like something out of a refugee camp.  Washing hanging on lines everywhere, what looked like refugee kids sitting around playing with scrap metal and other rubbish.  We drove in and then turned round and dashed out of the gates again.
Camping El Temple - shocking site
Now we were in trouble as the next nearest campsite was in Huesca which was 25 miles back the way we’d come. It was starting to get dark, and it was in a town centre area, which was NOT what we wanted for our first night in Spain.

We got to the Huesca campsite only to discover that this was also shambolic.  It was located in the city and surrounded by a long brick wall, but was in the middle of a street market - a run down, seedy street market.  We had no alternative, so I went in and tried to negotiate a reasonable price for one night.  The girl in the office just said €18.90 take it or leave it! €18.90 for this pigsty!  No facilities, crappy showers and toilets.  We were getting a bit depressed – is this what Spain was going to be like?  If it was, then I could see our trip might be cut short. 
Camping San Jorge Huesca
Tina was devastated.  She burned our dinner and neither of us got much sleep.  It seemed that everything was going wrong, and then Tina discovered that our Guardian Angel statue, which she’s pinned onto the wall above the van door, had fallen off  as we drove into Spain, so maybe that was what was wrong - we hoped!
We discussed what to do and I said we should go east to the Mediterranean coast rather than travel down through central Spain to Portugal as planned.  I said that if things didn’t improve there, we’d go back to France as we wouldn’t be able to get to Portugal any other way, so we’d have to give it a miss.  We hoped that in the cold light of morning, things would look better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment