November 2010: We finally left the UK on the 9th, we decided to take the train through the Euro tunnel so as we could stay in the van with Busta (the dog). he doesn't like loud noises & so we didn't think he'd cope very well being left for an hour on his own if we went on the ferry. For anyone that is thinking of taking the train across remember to book in advance, we had looked up the prices the day before & it was £80 but when we got there we had to pay nearly £200!!!! The crossing was quick & uneventfull & we drove straight to Amsterdam to meet the friend we had made a couple of months before whilst at the Ridgeway. We met in the middle of Amsterdam at a coffee shop, it was €4 an hour to park which was a bit of a shock! We met up with our friend & also a friend of his whose caravan we were going to be parked up by for the week we stayed. He lived outside a squat just outside of Amsterdam, we spent a great week cycling into Amsterdam everyday & sampling the delights of the coffee shops. Busta really enjoyed all the running as well :)
After a week of getting stoned we headed south towards the sun as the weather was getting colder & wetter. Our first nights stop was by this beautiful lake called L'Eau d'Heure.
Now into France, it has been really foggy in the mornings but has cleared by mid-morning. We have been getting up early so as to get lots of miles in & have been averaging about 200 miles each day. Have passed a massive second world war memorial & graves of unknown soldiers. We stopped in Charlons en Champagne for supplies one day which is where Champagne comes from but we didn't try any. I've never got the whole Champagne thing, give me a glass of red any day! There are lots of crazy French lorry drivers who hate our slow hippy bus & have been frightening the life out of me by driving right up our ass, overtaking & then cutting us up when they pull in in front of us. After a couple of days we started seeing more mountains, a lot had snow on top. We stopped at a rest station for a cuppa & the police pulled up & decided to search the van. We have no idea why as we don't speak French which is a pain, at least in the UK we can understand the police & their motives even if we don't agree with them. We stopped one night after passing the 1000 miles since we left mark just south of a town called Millau where there was some unusual looking rocks.
We headed through the east side of the Pyrenees & across the border into Spain. The first night in Spain was spent at this beautiful ancient site called Dolmen de la Cova d'en Daina. The weather is changing now, it is warmer & sunnier as we get further south. We headed towards Barcelona, we were meant to go round the city but ended up right in the centre & then broke down! Luckily we have breakdown cover & eventually we were back on the road after a few hours in Barcelona. It was only the fuel filter & they were able to temporarily fix it thank goodness!
Afterwards we found a great park up at Cala Romana where we stayed for a few days as it was my 40th birthday. We found a nice little restaurant for my birthday meal, I had Sardines & mushrooms which was lovely. I also had nearly a whole bottle of wine so I stumbled back to the van! Simon had Spaghetti & a spicy sausage with vegetables & a beer. All for €20, what a bargain! While we were there we saw some amazing sunsets, a fantastic storm out at sea & some beautiful coastline.
After a few days rest we headed off further south following the coast. We stayed up in the hills for night away from anyone & anything. After we passed Supplicant airport we stopped for the night & found this graffiti.
We stopped in at my Mum's in Murcia on the Mar Menor for a while & whilst there unfortunately my zoom lens decided to play up, thankfully it seems to be an intermittent problem & so I still sometimes get some good shots!
Quite by accident we found these amazing rock formations at Bolneuvo & further down the road we found a beautiful beach where we stayed for a week.
December 2010: Our next stop was the town of Nerja famous for it's amazing caves which we visited. We found a great park up between Nerja & the next town Maro, it was in a valley & there was a beautiful walk down to a secluded beach. We stayed there for a week & made some new friends that were also travelling in vans. As well as the massive caves that you have to pay to enter there are also some smaller caves in the area, we found a couple that people were living in.
We had been told about the town of Orgiva & my guide book said lots of Brits have moved there especially New Age types. The town has various businesses offering new age therapies, a health food shop & an English bookshop. After asking around we were directed to a valley called El Morreon where there were a lot of UK traveller vehicles & UK travellers living there. It was a good place to park up for a while & we made some great new friends & found out about other places to park.
We had been told about the hot springs at Santa Fe near Granada where there are people parked up in trucks & buses so we went there ourselves to see. There were a lot of travellers there from all over Europe in a variety of vehicles. There was also lots of people coming & going to the hot springs which were lovely to bathe in.
While we were in the area we went to see Zion Train play in Granada.
We went to visit Simon's Uncle Peter who lives in the hills near the town of Alora. While we were there the rain came down in torrents & we were stuck there for almost two weeks. Peter was very hospitable though & he is also a photographer so gave me some good tips. The Alora hills were a great place to take some beautiful photos.
We stopped again at the hot springs in Santa Fe.
January 2011: After spending New Year at Santa Fe we headed off again. We stopped in a town called Guadix where there are some amazing cave houses.
We made it back to my Mum's for my son's visit where we visited a few different places to take photos. We saw some birds & jellyfish on the Mar Menor & went to Elche where there is the biggest Palm forest in Spain.
On the way back down South we stopped at Santa Fe again.
And we stopped at El Morreon again.
We didn't go into Gibraltar but we did stop to look at the rock. Gibraltar is not very campervan friendly & most people with campers park in the border town of La Linea & walk or cycle in. It is worth going for cheap shopping & UK food!
The Roman ruins of Bolonia near Tarifa were interesting & free entry.
February 2011: We spent six weeks parked up near Tarifa at Punta Paloma. Tarifa is popular with kite surfers due to the winds there. At first we were in a car park that was €1 a day to park in but after 4 weeks the police turned up & told us to move. We moved a few hundred metres to a field known locally as the Pig Field. It was amazing waking up every morning & being able to look over the sea to Africa :)
March 2011: We headed back to Santa Fe for the Dragon festival. Dragon used to be held near Orgiva but has now moved due to council opposition & flooding of the valley where it used to be held. We had a great time as did most of the people there :) See Official Dragon Festival for more information.
We stayed on at Santa Fe after the main festival had ended. The Spring weather brought out all sorts of wildlife :)
April 2011: We decided to head towards Portugal, on the way we stopped at El Chorro gorge, an amazing limestone gorge with a dangerous walkway that was built in the 20's. We didn't go on the walkway because we couldn't actually find a way to get to it but plenty of people do go on it even though you get fined if caught & a few people have fallen to their deaths.
cool video of walking the pathway by some nutter here...
We also stopped at El Torcal park which is full of unusual limestone rock formations. We saw Eagles there as well as other wildlife.
Our last stop in Spain was Antequera where there are some massive dolmens, all are free to enter. There is also a mountain nearby known as lovers rock due to the fact it looks like the profile of a woman.
Thanks for looking xoxox