Sunday, 4 December 2016

Winter in Spain - Week One

Sunday 27th November
From Home to Portsmouth

We left for our 2 months in Spain after lunch and drove down to Portsmouth. We stopped off at Bob and Lucy for a cup of tea and to see our granddaughters. We arrived at the ferry terminal a little after 8 pm and had a sandwich while we waited to board.
After boarding we took Button up to our cabin which was small but comfortable enough. Button wasn't too impressed with the dog exercise area though. She was very reluctant to do her pees and poos on the deck as she is used to only using grass!
Button and Lyn in the dog exercise area

Button in her bed in our cabin

Monday 28th November

Across the Bay of Biscay

We slept OK and arrived at the intermediate stop of Roscoff mid-morning, leaving there at 1pm for the crossing of the Bay of Biscay. The sailing was pretty comfortable as the sea was only slight. We sailed past the island of Ushant – the most north westerly part of France and the entrance to the English Channel. By dinner time the wind had picked up a little and the sea was a bit more bumpy, but we coped well with that, eating a meal in the bar.
On deck of the ferry
The island of Ushant

Tuesday 29th November

Bilbao to Logroño

We docked in Bilbao a little after 8 and began to journey across Spain. The first stretch was only about 150 Kms to the town of Logroño. We parked up in a huge car park next to the (closed) Las Norias aquatic park. After a snack lunch we took Button for a walk into the town, passing the camp site where we had intended to stay the night. Unfortunately it was closed so we decided that we would just stay in the car park.
Logroño is an interesting and welcoming town. The town square next to the cathedral was being set up for a display of Henry Moore sculptures, unfortunately not opening until the end of the week. All the sculptures were wrapped in black plastic sheeting.
Along both sides of the River Ebro were attractive parks – good for walking Button. White storks were nesting on a purpose built tower in the parks and also on chimneys and other high places in the town.
We had a comfortable night after an evening meal of Spag Bol washed down by a bottle of Malbec.
Morag at Las Norias in Logrono
Footbridge over the River Ebro with stork nest on the top

Con-catedral de Santa María de la Redonda.

Street scene in Logrono

Stork nesting tower in one of the parks

White Storks

Stork on top of a disused factory chimney

Wednesday 30th November

Logroño to Calatayud

We left Logroño early, without breakfast and started out on our drive to Calatayud. The drive to Soria was through spectacular mountain scenery, climbing all the time up to the tunnel at Puerte de Piqueras (1700 mtrs). We emerged from the tunnel into fog after the sunshine with snow on the ground (but not the roads) all the way up. The fog was quite dense in places until we dropped down to Soria.
On the road to Soria
We stopped at a garage in the hope that the shop would have bread or croissants for our breakfast. They didn't so we bought some extremely sweet pastries (Lazos de Hojaldre), after all, we're on holiday. From Soria to Calatayud the scenery was much less spectacular but still interesting.
It was easy to find the Aire in Calatayud and after parking up in the part reserved for “Autocaravannas” we walked into the town to find somewhere for lunch. We ate in a bar/restaurant from the fixed price menu (€10.90). The meal was OK. Starters were good but the main course disappointing. The price included drinks and dessert so was pretty good value.
Wandering round the town we found some interesting old buildings and a 16th century fountain “Fountain of the 8 dogs”!
Lyn beat me at backgammon in the evening before we settled down for the night.
Street scene in Calatayud

Colegiata de Santa María.

Lyn makes a new friend

Puerta de Terrer

Fuente de Ocho Caños - Fountain of eight dogs
Thursday 1st December

Calatayud to Javea

After croissants for breakfast we drove the remainder of our journey across the high Spanish plain. We noted the lack of rain on the plain in Spain! Much of the journey was along the Autovia, a toll-free motorway with little traffic until we reached the outskirts of Valencia.
We arrived in Javea and found the campsite quite quickly with the help of the SatNav. The site “Camping Javea” is pleasant and clean with modern facilities.
After a bite to eat we walked over to the campsite bar where a group were playing 60s and 70s hits to an audience composed mostly of British old gits like us. Great fun and the bottle of Rioja and three plates of tapas helped pass a good evening.
Morag at Camping Javea
Friday 2nd December

At Camping Javea

Rather than struggle to do something for breakfast, we drove into Javea and had breakfast at the Noray restaurant on the seafront. We both had very nice scrambled egg dishes but it wasn't cheap! After breakfast we went to do some basic shopping for lunches etc.
We had a relaxing afternoon back at the campsite before visiting the bar again for our evening meal.
Our breakfast view

Button helps write the blog

The campsite bar at night
Saturday 3rd December

To our villa at Balcon al Mar

After breakfast croissants we spent some time tidying Morag and preparing to leave the campsite. We left around 10;30 and drove up to Capo de la Nao to see the viewpoint before meeting the keyholder at the villa for our stay. Robin and Karen were very pleasant and helpful and showed us where everything could be found.
It took some time to unload Morag but once completed we were able to relax for a while before taking Button out for a walk. We were hoping to buy essentials (wine!) at the local shop but hadn't reckoned for the Spanish siesta time. The shop was closed until the late afternoon so we stopped at the Ahazar bar/restaurant for a beer. We decided that we would return in the evening for our meal as the other nearby restaurant, Casa Pepe, was closed for staff holidays.
Capo de la Nao

Capo de la Nao

Relaxing with a beer

Sunny skies
We had a Skype hook up with Bob and Lucy to discuss their plans for coming out to stay for a week. After this, we got ready for our evening meal. The walk down to the Ahazar was quite a challenge as there are absolutely no street lights. We found the restaurant eventually and were welcomed with a complementary glass of Cava. We had a very good meal with the best mozzarella salad I've ever had followed by a good, tender steak. Lyn also had the mozzarella followed by Hake. We both had the delicious chocolate soufflé for desert. We found our way back to the villa easily enough after a very good meal.

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