Belting across France, I’m not sure the we saw the yellow orb of happy thoughts once (that’s the Sun, not the sign for Lidl), so we just kept moving, it can’t be sunny every day right?
We hit the west coast at Honfleur, always a pleasure to visit, any time of year, but not deep or interesting enough to hold the tourist for long. Over a hundred MoHo’s in the ‘official park’ which resembles an organised meeting, mostly French with a sprinkle of Dutch & German. We stay two nights, walk the town north to south, east to west and exhaust every other possibility of touristic interest. Time to head down to another old favorite, Labenne-Ocean, within spitting distance of the Spanish border, just north of Bayonne and so reminiscent of our beloved north Norfolk coast. Cycle lanes, pine tree forests, sand dunes and miles and miles of beach. Last time we were here, the campsite was part of the ACSI discount scheme, no longer, but they did give us 10% discount and the pool is great. (Hi to Jill and Ian, hope that van of yours is looking after you both) 🙂
A little drive south and another couple of nights in Donostia & San Sebastion, the aire is jammed solid, but the walk or cycle into the port is worth it alone. The temperatures has lifted a bit, the sun is out and the beach is fairly packed. I’m going to give the Pixnos a swerve this time around after a bad experience last we were introduced. I’m sure 99% of them are perfectly OK, but trust me to cop for a bad one…I can’t face any more, so home cooking only this trip.
Portugal is calling, so the urge to push west is getting stronger. A fellow MoHo’mer at the aire suggested we should call into San Vincente de la Barquera, on route, so we top up the tanks & drive. Coming down into San Vincente de la Barquera looked very much like parts of the lake district. This flooded, wide river-mouth looks so photogenic in the sunshine. The walk up to the Estatua del Inquisidor Corro, a church high in a hill tests the best of thighs, but the view will reward the more determined, if breathless tourist.
The sun came out, forecasts were 30* for the next week, so we thought ‘Bugger it…let’s have a little holiday’. It may be hard to believe to the average reader, but this life of planning, packing, driving, searching for interesting input can become a repetitive bore. I know I’m not going to get any sympathy from many hard working, full time employed readers, but anything repetitive can become drole. Even paradise. My Mum (as so many other Mums do) has a saying that has true meaning, “a change is as good as a rest” ..I couldn’t agree more. For most of my working life, (as loads of people have) I’ve got up before 6am and gone to work and it becomes a drag… and a difficult cycle to break. But weirdly, sometimes it would be great to return to that cycle, if just for a few days (have I had a bang on the head?). Is this the first sign of worthlessness? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s just an echo of my former ‘work-eat-sleep’ life, attempting to drag me back into ‘normal’ existence, a 40+ hour week and a purpose? Have no fear. For now, that’s not going to happen, but the opportunity of a change of routine does sound appealing…some days… not every day. Anyway, back to the ‘little holiday’, we booked into an ACSI site just to the west of Santiago de Compostella. At E15pn, inc 1/mB WiFi it was perfect for a few days.
You know how the story goes, when life seems perfect, the sun’s out, the planets are aligned, the Son’s warn & the beer’s cold, then fate throws you a curve-ball, let’s see ya deal with this one. The fridge/freezer packs up working! Ah!…I’m one step ahead of you fate, I’ve loads of spare parts in the boot for the fridge, so I change the PCB (the brain)…no better. There’s only one thing to do & that’s drive back to the city of Santiago de Compostella, remove the fridge and hand it over to the clever bods at the service shop, (who, I later learn, turn it upside down for 24 hours, then turn it back the right way up and plug it back in). Two days later, they inform us ‘I’ts deceased…dead…un-repairable…the refrigerant has crystalised, …game over and the nearest replacement unit is in Munich. If you want it, it will be £2,300 (Yes, pounds!) and take 7 working days! Ouch! No…double Ouch…2,300 Ouches! ! After letting the shock sink in for 10 whole minuets, we made a decision to order the replacement, hang about for 7-10 days (without a fridge/freezer), then we can go on our way, fully confident the fridge will be a new one and should be working well. It’s a lot of money, but at least it failed within a European country, if it had failed in Morocco, it could have cut our journey short, better to get stuff like that out of the way on mainland Europe.
On the plus side, this gives us loads of spare days to visit Santiago, and more time on the campsite on the west coast. The campsite at Muros and the beach are delightful. There’s a mixture of dunes, pine forest, long flat beaches and crashing Atlantic waves. The perfect place to contemplate open wallet surgery.
The guys at the service shop managed to save our ‘Vegetarian frozen food stuff’, (specialised Quorn & Soya products, mostly brought from the UK) by storing it their own freezer for us, so at least this time we didn’t lose the lot like we did in Helsinki. Seven days later the new well traveled fridge/freezer was fitted and it’s been great ever since. Problems have been solved, time to stop hanging about, get the wheels rolling and the sun back in the front screen…
Portugal here we come!
San Sabastion n43.30770 w2.01420 Water & waste free. €7.60pn at coin m/c.
Santillana del Mar n43.38941 w4.10670 €4/24 h. Noisey. No services. Free
Comillas n43.38960 w4.28910 beach car park. Shower water on beach. In front of the police station. Nice spot, nice beach. Free
Gijōn n43.54700 w5.63650 Large car park. No services. Free
Guitiriz, w43.17750 w7.87927 Free aire edge of woods. Water/wast & EHU all FREE!
A Vouga Camping. n42.76050 w9.06180 ACSI €15 pn. Nice site. Perfect beach.
O Milladoiro (7km south of Santiago de Compostela) n42.84680 w8.58150 Large car park behind swimming pool. Busy during the day, quiet at night. Free (we had 5 nights here in total)