Day 156-157: How not to wash your clothes…

After a few lovely indulgent days in San Sebastian we headed back into France today, so Rob could get a little more surfing in before we headed home. On arriving into Hossegor we headed straight to the beach to check out the surf and were met with some very choppy waves, combined with a strong current! Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to catch a few more waves Rob decided to head in anyway and began battling with the surf, whilst I took up position on the beach with a good book. The next hour or so was spent playing a game of ‘spot the Robin’ to check he was okay in the surf, reading and every so often moving further up the beach as the tide moved in.

After a few hours the waves and current got the better of Rob and he decided to call it a day, so headed back up to the van to get changed and grab his book. He bumped into Ness and the boys in the car park and stopped for a chat, leaving me on the beach engrossed in my book.

Sadly I got a little too into my book and hadn’t realised quite how much the water was coming up the beach. Before I knew it the water had lept up the beach and unfortunately for me (even though I have been about five metres from the last tidal flow!) I was soon covered in water up to my waist!! After a few minutes of panic – including furiously checking my rucksack to make sure the camera, phones and wallets were okay – I hauled by sorry, soggy arse (and bag and clothes and towel and book!) back to the car park where I was greeted by a rather surprised Rob!

We headed to the aire so I could dry off and by this point I was able to laugh at the irony of having to pick my soggy bookmark out of the sand which read ‘The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears or the sea’. A quiet night of reading (sadly a different book, whilst my other book dried off!) and blog writing followed, before we attempted round two of surfing tomorrow.

A quick detour to grab fuel and we were soon back on the beach again! Rob headed straight down to the water whilst I stayed up in the van blog writing, giving me the opportunity to perv on a few naked surfer’s bums who clearly though the car park was deserted! Ogling complete I headed down to the beach to let Rob know it was time to come in, as we’d been invited over to Ness’ for some food and after a quick change we pulled up at her house. We had another good, if short, catch up with Ness before she had to dash off to work leaving just one thing on Rob’s mind – waves!

We headed back to the beach (making sure I was sat well away from the water!) and Rob was soon enjoying his last opportunity to surf before we began the drive north, however his board clearly has other ideas and after only about 45 minutes his leash decided to break!

With surfing over we headed into town where we had a look in a few surf shops for a new leash, before buying a poster to remind us of our fab time in Hossegor. Then it was back to the van for some route planning, ahead of tomorrow long drive north…

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Day 154-155: A foodie’s paradise

After a rather rude awakening this morning (in the form of a freezing cold shower at our Bilbao campsite!) we set off in the direction of San Sebastian. Arriving at the campsite around lunchtime we set up the pitch and were soon waiting at the bus stop ready to see what the city had in store for us.

Our campsite was located just behind Mount Igueldo, so we enjoyed great views of Santa Clara, Mount Urgull and the bay as we entered the city. Jumping off at the same spot as everyone else we had a wander around trying to work out where we were, before making a beeline for tourist information.

Map sorted we began to wondering around the old town, checking out where all the good pintxos places I’d read about could be found. Unfortunately it seemed that quite a few of them were closed, either opening in the evening only or were closed for the week for staff holidays!

Undeterred we carried on exploring and decided to try a busy looking bar near Santa Maria Church. They had a huge range of pintxos, much bigger than we had seen in Bilbao and we were soon tucking into ham wrapped artichoke covered in a light batter, juicy chicken skewers, scallops gratin and what we think were tiny squid like creatures stuffed in a pepper!! It was all pretty tasty and gave us the energy we needed to tackle Mount Urgull!

We went up the right side of Mount Urgull – taking a path located just behind the San Telmo museum – and were soon met with stunning views over the city, from Zurriola to the east to Mount Igeldo to the west. We had a walk around La Mota Castle and after admiring the views we wander back down the left side of the hill and found ourselves by the harbour overlooking La Concha bay.

We’d clearly worked up an appetite and were in need of more fuel so stopped at a cute looking bar (that also happened to be showing the Japanese MotoGP qualifying!!) for more food and drink. If we thought our earlier pintxos was tasty this place raised the bar with a delicious selection of fishy treats. We were soon snaffling tasty fish (mackerel maybe?) pate, baked cod and salted cod croquettes before realising for the sake of our waistlines and wallets we had to move on.

With the light fading we went in search of the bus stop and were soon back in the van, enjoying a relaxing night in preparation for another day of exploring tomorrow!

Another day brought more San Sebastian adventures and today we planned to begin by going up Mount Igueldo. We decided to reach the top in style so joined the queue for the hundred year old funicular and were soon creeping up the hill in a rickety old carriage, praying we would reach our destination!

At the top we stopped to drink in the beautiful surroundings, admiring views over the bay and down into the city, before exploring the comedy attractions that sat at the top of the hill. This has to be the first time we’ve seen a fairground at the top of a (rather steep) hill and we had a wander around whilst I tried to persuade Rob he wanted to go into the house of terror/on the dodgems/win me a prize on the pick a duck stall. No amount of trying was going to persuade him through, so we headed back down the hill via a few twisty turning footpaths.

Arriving back on level ground we strolled along the promenade that runs the length of La Concha bay – past the Miramar Palace (which is said to be inspired by English country homes), a wedding party and the hundreds of sunbathers – before arrived back in the centre of the city.

I’d heard some great things about a restaurant called Ni Neu, which offers michelin-style dining at affordable prices and so we decided to have a wander over and see if a) they had any space and b) they’d left two hoboesque travellers in! It turns out we didn’t need to worry as whilst the restaurant was fairly busy, it had a great relaxed atmosphere with plenty of families, groups of friends, couples (and the odd tourist) enjoying the food, drink and atmosphere!

Checking out the menu there were two options available; a three course set lunch for €29.50 or a six course tasting menu for €42.50. Having spent the last five months watching every penny and keeping a super close eye on the budget, we decided to treat ourselves to mark the end of a fab summer away (and spend some of our hard earned vendange wages) and so signed ourselves up for the six course spectacular!!

I won’t bore you with every last detail from each course, but I what I will say it that it was all super tasty as we tucked into…

  • Ajoarriero cod salad
  • Spider crab gyozas with roasted onion stock
  • Roasted hake, smooth fish jus and aubergine strands
  • Boned roasted lamb with cheese talo
  • French toast caramalised in the pan with Armagnac ice cream
  • Coffee meringue and chocolate biscuit

Having thoroughly indulged ourselves with lunch we felt the need to stretch our legs so wandered east along Zurriola beach, stopping for a bit of people watching and checking out a game of pelota.

We weren’t too sure what was going on ready – it seemed to be a group of men throwing a very small ball around and hitting in back across a pitch with a gloved hand! – however Rob got chatting to one of the other spectators who it turned out was there to support the Dutch national team and it seems this is an ancient sport, popular in the Basque country, The Netherlands, France, Belgium and South America. Apparently we were watching this year’s international championship, before it moves onto Colombia for 2017!

From here we wandered back into the centre for yet more people watching by the bay, before grabbing a drink at one of the bars we’d been to yesterday.

Even though we were feeling pretty full still from all that food at lunch we’d heard about a place selling epic cheesecake and felt we really had to try it out whilst we were in town. Having found La Vina we went in and soon spied the awesome looking cheesecakes lined up on the bar.

We ordered two portions, however on seeing the size of one soon realised this was a case of our eyes being bigger that our stomachs as one portion would have happily fed us both! Still it was worth it as we tucked into the super light and very moist baked cheesecake – it was unlike anything I’d had before, with almost a liquidy centre!

By now we were both feeling very full so went on a final meander through the streets, taking in a beautiful sunset over the bay and catching another wedding party as they left the church. Now all that was left to do was to bimble our way back to the bus stop and make our way home to the van 🙂

Day 153: Bilbao, Spain

Our mission for the day was exploring Bilbao and the adventure started a little sooner that we anticipated, as we had to navigate our way to the metro station, buy tickets and then make sure we were on the right platform! With the help of google maps and some pointing from the Spanish train guard we were soon on the train and heading into the centre.

As is generally our first port of call in a new city we headed straight for tourist information to grab a map and having worked out where everything was that we wanted to see, we headed down towards the old town. We had a mooch around the maze of streets, seeming to pass the same square and church over and over again as we went on the hunt for caffeine to help fuel our day.

We arrived at a large building sat close to the riverbank and on walking in realised this must have been the food market Ness had been telling us about. It turned out this was La Ribera – the largest covered market in Europe – and had a mixture of stalls selling fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish as well as an area with bars selling everything from coffee and croissants to wine and pintxos! We settled on some coffee (and biscuits we’d bought from a shop on route) and munched away whilst doing a bit of people watching.

From the market we headed onto Plaza Neuva for yet more people watching, this time over a glass of wine and a few pintxos at Cafe Bar Bilbao. It was a lovely spot complete with tasty pintxos, hanging legs of ham, decorated tiles and most importantly seemed to be full of locals. Definitely one to go to if you’re in the area.

We headed west towards the Guggenheim, passing bar after bar selling all manner of pintxos, and arrived to marvel at the architecture of Frank Gehry. It really is an amazing structure from whichever angle you look at it and worth the visit to check out the building alone.

In the end this is what we did, as we didn’t fancy the Francis Bacon exhibition and instead decided to go back and check out an interesting looking exhibition called ‘Human Bodies’ we had seen on our way up to the Guggenheim. And so we spent the next hour or so looking at dead bodies – preserved, sliced and displayed in all manner of poses! It was a really interesting exhibition, covering everything from creation to the nervous system, however I couldn’t take it too seriously when I was confronted with preserved and pickled penises!!

Back out into the light we decided more food and drink was needed so headed to another recommendation, Bar Irena. This didn’t have quite the same atmosphere as Cafe Bar Bilbao – perhaps due to the lack of locals – however we enjoyed a delicious range of pintxos including a kind of ‘cured ham tartare’! Stomachs full we had a final mooch around the shops before heading back to our home for the night in Sopelena.

Clearly the train journey was enough for us to begin feeling hungry again, so on spotting a bakery we decided to pop in and pick up a few biscuits to go with a coffee back at the van. On entering the shop we were greeted by a rather enthusiastic owner (who we decided to call Pablo!) who insisted we tried his freshly baked flan, before he went on to explain in a mixture of Spanish, English and mime exactly how he made it! It was a lovely eggy flan, made using his grandma’s recipe and we felt it was rude not to buy another slice (as well as a few more biccies to have with our coffees)!

Back at the van we cosied up for another film night – watching ‘Two Days In Paris’ – before getting some shut eye ahead of moving onto San Sebastian tomorrow morning.

 

Day 150-152: Surf’s up!!

After a slightly restless nights sleep we woke early and headed straight to the beach to check out the surf before having breakfast. With the wave size looking good for my pretty poor surfing abilities, coffee and cereal was swiftly demolished and my board and wetsuit extracted from the top of the van.

Having been up there for five months, it was good to see that the board was still okay, however sadly the same could not be said for my (now at least 15 year old!) wetsuit as it had become waterlogged and very out of shape! Looking like I’d borrowed it from someone twice my size, I headed into the waves for the first time since our honeymoon in Bali over three years ago, leaving Blaise on the beach to enjoy the sunshine!

After a few of hours of trying to remember how it worked and dodging the masses in the water, I decided that it was time to head in for some food and to rest my very tired and out of shape paddling arms! After a quick bite to eat, we went in search of our stop for the night which was just outside the main town. Having parked up and showered we decided that it was time to stretch our legs and see what Hossegor had to offer!

Getting to the town, I was in surf shop heaven!! For those who don’t know, I spent my formative years working in a surf/skate shop in the surf mecca that is Tunbridge Wells, Kent. So aside from the sunshine, beach down the road and masses of people around that actually can and do surf, I felt right at home!

The rest of the afternoon was spent mooching around the shops looking for a new wetsuit for me, eating ice cream (the first for what felt like weeks!!) and checking out the surf comp. Sadly the waves were not big enough for people who actually know what they are doing, so the comp was not running today, but it did give us the chance to have a go on a VR surf machine which was pretty cool!! Walking back as the sun was starting to set, we decided that this was a pretty cool place to be and were looking forward to more fun the next day.

Day two dawned bright and early(ish) and armed with info from a very friendly sales assistant at the Billabong store in town yesterday, our first call was their outlet store to replace the saggy suit with something that actually fits me and does its job! With that task successfully completed, it was time to get in the water again!

Down on the beach we bumped into Ness and her two boys and arranged to have lunch with them as they only live a couple of minutes away. Blaise headed off with Ness to catch up, leaving me to play in the surf and avoid the masses of boards in the water.

After a few hours, I decided that I was both tired and hungry, so headed in to find Ness, Jerome (Ness’ husband) and the twins chatting with Blaise and my cold lunch waiting for me! All too soon it was time for Jerome to get back to work and for Ness and the boys to get on with the rest of their day, so we left them to it and went for another walk into the town, treating ourselves to a couple of nice pastries – well why not!! Feeling a little weary we slowly wandered back to the BFG for another rock ‘n’ roll night of reading and drinking tea 🙂

Today was our last day in Hossegor before we headed back into Spain. We were hoping to watch the surf comp, but the waves still weren’t playing ball for the professionals, so instead we met Ness and Jerome for a quick coffee in the morning and then I went and enjoyed the small Rob sized waves for a couple of hours. With time ticking on we headed back to the aire for a quick shower and then off to our next exciting stop, Bilbao!

Fortunately the drive to Bilbao is a relatively short one, so about three hours later we were at our new home for the next couple of nights. Parking up, we met some fellow travellers (Simon and Gemma with their two children) who were on their way back to the UK to sell the massive motorhome that was no longer needed for their new life in Portugal. It was great to hear other people’s stories about places they’d been to and experiences along the way and we spent a lovely couple of hours chatting and enjoying very drinkable, and surprisingly cheap, red wine!

Day 102-103: Kamikaze creatures!!

Deciding to leave Spain and head both north and up in search of cooler temperatures, we left Alquezar and headed in the direction of the French Pyrenees. Knowing of the BFG’s dislike for going downhill we choose the slightly flatter and straighter of the two route options, however (after a few wrong turns at the start of the journey) were quite surprised as the road began to wiggle and wind. As a large lake came into view – which was definitely not on the route we’d chosen – we pulled over at the water’s edge for a bite to eat and checking sat nav realised we were in for some narrow, twisty roads!

Fueled up and ready for the journey we carried on up and over the mountain, crossing the border into France and noticing it seemed instantly more lush and green (although not that much cooler!!).

As we started the slow decent down the other side we began to feel like we were in some sort of video game as kamikaze animals kept trying to sacrifice themselves under the BFG! First up a vulture, sat very close to the edge of the road – no sudden movements though, so maybe he was steeling himself before he jumped! Next up it was a ram who again seemed quite content by the side of the road, however as we got nearer he tried to launch himself off the bank and onto the road! Thankfully we missed him and fingers crossed the cars behind us did too!!

After ram-gate we were on alert and soon noticed cars flashing as they drove up in the other direction. As we turned a corner it became apparent why they were flashing as we saw a cow casually relaxing in the middle of the road! Luckily for everyone there was enough space to squeeze past and after the adventures of the day so far we decided to stop at the next town for a break.

Pulling into the car park we had a mooch around the pretty mountain village, which still felt very hot and sticky! On seeing a pharmacy sign it became apparent why, it was still showing 37 degrees!

After a little more wondering we headed back to the van, only to find it was about three foot further forward than where we left it!! We’re still not sure if it was an irate French man who’d muscled it out of the way as we’d taken over two parking spots (the BFG is rather long!) or the handbrake has a momentary lapse and decided to join the suicidal animals, but we’re being extra cautious with the handbrake from now on!

Having descended the mountain we continued our journey through increasingly prettier and prettier villages, passing fields of corn and sunflowers. But before we reached our home for the next few nights there was still enough time for one final group of suicidal animals, this time a herd of cows trotting down the road!

Luckily for us they were accompanied by a group of herders who kept them in check, allowing the long line of cars to slowly pass, and we were soon safely checking into our campsite just outside Cauterets.

After a quick walk into the town to find a surprisingly larger centre than we expected we headed back to the van for dinner and another film night.

After a rather lazy start to the day we headed back into the centre to check out our options for the next few days and decided to take the chair lifts up to Crete du Lys tomorrow, before bimbling our way back down the valley. This meant more time today to do a little mooching and shopping, so with new shorts and a vintage-style resort poster bought it was back to the campsite for the evening.

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Day 101: Escape from Alquezar!

After a very nice, and slightly indulgent, evening it was time to get some exercise! Due to the crazy temperatures that we were experiencing, we rose (relatively) early with a view to walking up to a pretty local village called Alquezar and then taking in a walk in the hills from there.

Directions confirmed with the reception at the campsite, we headed on uphill toward the village with the heat already starting to build. The village was one of the prettiest that we had seen in Spain, perched on the hilltop with a big church standing proud overlooking the valley and below.

As we wanted to try to avoid the worst of the heat, we headed to the tourist information office to check the route that we were looking to take, only to be told that we’d be mad to do it as it was very steep and with little or no shade, however there was a very pretty gorge walk that would be more suitable for us. With more maps in hand, we made our way through the village in search of the start of the walk, and with only a couple of wrong turns we were away!

We’ve seen and walked through a few gorges on our travels, and this was different yet again! The path descended quite steeply, and in a style that would have made any UK health-and-safety officer very nervous! With a combination of very slippery limestone rock, wobbly wooden walkways and some slightly more secure feeling metal platforms, we descended into a world that felt like it hadn’t changed in thousands of years – all this whilst being followed closely behind by a Spanish family with very excitable children who somehow had the energy to run everywhere, even in the heat!

Finally reaching the valley floor after seeing some amazing rock formations, we were greeted by an open, and relatively dry river bed, and a massive cave that had been carved out by years and years of erosion from the river – it was quite a sight!

Having marvelled at nature’s work for long enough, we pressed on along the rest of the route, taking in yet more great views and walking along more dubious pathways before arriving at the end of the walk and into the scorching sunshine of mid-day.

After a slight detour to look at a roman bridge we slowly melted our way back into the village in search of shade and it was quite a relief when we arrived and could hide from the sun!

Feeling slightly cooler, we meandered through the narrow streets, trying to avoid all of the little shops selling delicious looking pastries, and made our way back down the hill to the campsite ready for lunch and an afternoon of relaxing and trying not to overheat.

When we started this trip and spent the first few weeks avoiding rain and having to use our heater in the van to stay warm, we wouldn’t have believed that it would be so draining living in such high temperatures, but with temperatures not dropping below 25 degrees even at night, the heat was getting too much for us! So it was with slightly heavy hearts that we changed our plans again, deciding to heading north rather than west and set our next target to the French Pyrenees in the hope of finding cooler weather!

(A note to Spain – we will be back just not in August, it’s just too hot for ginger people!!)

Day 100: Celebrating our new anniversary!

After a fab few days in Barcelona it was time to leave Jess to enjoy the final day of her fortnight off and for us to head west in the vague direction of Los Picos. We had a really great time in the city and LOVED being shown around by a ‘local’ as it meant we could explore places we would have never found ourselves. We both vowed to come back again and next time I won’t leave it another fourteen years!

Having found our way from Jess’ to the right street for the train back to Mataro we had a frantic few minutes (well I found it stressful, whilst Rob was as ever much more laid back!) finding the right station (there were several to choose from!) before buying tickets and once more panicking to get to the right platform on time. With two minutes to spare – and with the help of a guard – we arrived on the platform and were soon heading back to the BFG! After a quick ride on the free shuttle bus back from the station to the campsite we got back to the pitch and were pleased to see the van safe and well. With less than an hour before we had to check out we spent the next half and hour or so decided where our next stop would be, before hitting the road in the direction of Alquezar.

The next few hours were pretty uneventful, driving through a rather barren landscape whilst sweating prefusily before the mountains eventually began to rise up from the plateau! At about 3:30pm we arrived at our campsite to find reception closed until 4pm, so made a beeline for the restaurant across the road for an ice cream in an attempt to cool down.

All checked in and van set up, we realised this was day 100 of la grande aventure and decided to celebrate with dinner out! Having looked at the menu earlier (and not knowing where any other possibilities were!!) we headed back to the restaurant across the road to enjoy an evening under the stars.

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We decided to go for the bargainous menu de jour – which included three courses and wine for €10.95!! – and were soon tucking into starters of ravioli and butterbean, chorizo and pork soup, mains of lamb stew and cod, before ‘enjoying’ a slightly weird selection of desserts including a steamed apple cake (without the lovely stickiness you’d expect) and creme caramel. All of this was washed down with some rather tasty house red and was the perfect way to celebrate our centenary!

Day 98-99: A local’s tour of Barcelona!

Today we’re Barcelona bound – a city I love but haven’t been back to in (*cough*) fourteen years! As our lovely friend Jess had invited us to stay with her in the city, the BFG was deemed grown up enough to be left home alone and we waved her goodbye as we boarded our bus into the centre.

Meeting Jess off the bus we had a quick stop at hers to drop off our bags, before she got into full tour guide mode and began to show us the sights of the city! As this was Rob’s first time in Barcelona it seemed only right to take him to the classics – Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Sant Pau hospital, Casa Milà, Catedral de Barcelona – before going off the beaten track and getting a taste of the real city.

Having worked up a thirst we made a beeline for El Nacional, a stunning venue that’s home to a mixture of bars and restaurants. The building used to be a garage until it was lovingly converted a few years ago and is now a beautiful, light-filled structure that had a touch of Covent Garden about it. Being in Spain it seemed only right to indulge in a few Estrella Damm and local cheeses, before heading back out into the heat.

Wandering through the city we continued to explore pretty streets and squares, doing a little more celebrity spotting (this time in the form of Lisa Bonet and some dude from Game of Thrones (who Jess got very excited by!)) and grabbing some fab juices from La Bordiny to cool down. A quick stop at Mercat del Born to see the medieval ruins uncovered when demolition work began on an old market, left just enough time to pop into La Xampanyeria for a glass or two of cava and a lomo queso – essentially a hot pork and cheese bap, but tasted 100 times better and super cheap too – before we headed back to Jess’ to put our feet up.

Caffeined, showered and ready to party, we headed up to Garcia where a week of festivities was taking place. First stop was a cute little bar where we grabbed more beer and some super tasty tapas (salt-cod croquettes, anchovies on toast and patatas bravas), before heading in the direction of the music. Each block had it’s own theme and we wandered down streets decorated with huge roller skates, jellyfish and seagulls, before stopping to check out a few local bands.

With Jess’ friend Ginger making us a foursome – and beer costing a budget-friendly €1.50!! – we continued well into the night, finally heading home at 4am when the weary travellers (who have been used to French time for the past month of so!!) began to feel the long blink coming!

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Our second day in Barcelona got off to a rather slow start, however we managed to drag ourselves out of bed after six hours sleep and headed off to the CaixaForum to check out the Philippe Halsman exhibition. Before this trip I’d never heard of Halsman however with both of us loving photography and seeing a selection of his work at the Dali museum, we thought it was well worth checking out.

The building itself was beautiful, a former textile factory now converted into a gallery space split over various levels with internal courtyards and a roof terrace.

We made a beeline for the Halsman exhibition and were soon won over by the work of this self-taught photographer. With a career spanning four decades, Halsman has worked with everyone from Churchill to Monroe, Dali to Eastwood and was the founder of ‘jumpology’ – originally created to help his subjects lose their inhibitions. He is also the co-creater of a book called ‘Dali’s Mustache’ which you’ve guessed it is all about Dali’s moustache! I’d highly recommend visiting this exhibition if you’re in Barcelona before November or if you see any exhibitions of his work anywhere else.

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From the CaixaForum we headed back into the centre and had just enough time to grab a coffee at Satan’s Corner Cafe, before meeting Jess and her friend Matthew for lunch at Pim Pam burgers. We’d been told the burgers here were epic and they didn’t disappoint!! The photos don’t do it justice – although they never do!! – but it’s definitely one to add to your list next time you’re in the city.

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From there we headed down to the beach for a bit of people watching – including a curiously pale man who seemed to be sunbathing standing up to make the most of the light! – and beer drinking. It was then up to Poblesec where Jess’ friend Cat lives for a few pinchos (little bite-sized snacks similar to tapas, but serves individually on sticks), before heading back to the flat for some much needed sleep!

Day 97: Barcelona calling, but first…

Another day in Spain meant just one thing – scorchio temperatures! Still we only have two missions today, to visit the beautiful village of Castellfollit de la Roca and get to our campsite in Barcelona, ready to explore the city tomorrow.

Leaving our base in Olot we headed slightly north and soon saw Castellfollit de la Roca in the distance, perched high on a clifftop. Driving through the village we slightly failed on places to park the BFG so wound our way down the hill only to find a spot to park that gave us great views back up to the village. A little more exploring down a windy path brought us to a bridge where the views opened up even more and allowed us to admire the village with a mixture of awe and amazement.

This was definitely somewhere to see from afar as the village itself was not much to write home (or blog) about – but how the buildings had not toppled over the edge of the cliff is anyone’s guess!?

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Views taken in and snaps shot it was back into the BFG and onto the road to Mataro just north of Barcelona, which would be our base for the next few nights. On the way we amused ourselves with another fun game of ‘spot the prostitute’, this time spotting six!

Arriving at Campsite Barcelona we were greeted by a very friendly receptionist who gave us tons of information about the city, so with a map in hand and free wifi we spent the afternoon reading and planning what we wanted to do over the next few days.

Day 96: A surreal(ist) day!

Waking to views over impressive Spanish mountains, it was soon time again to brave the very narrow mountain roads (and crazy Spanish drivers!) and head on to our next stop. I have to say that I was already looking forward to getting onto some wider roads as even after covering some serious miles in our trip (not far off 6,000 now I think!) and driven on some ‘interesting’ roads, these really were hard work and not for the faint-hearted! So it was with great relief that we made it out of the mountains and found ourselves in one of the homes of Dali, Figueres.

As is now the norm parking the BFG can be a bit of a pain, so we found ourselves in a spot that had less than glowing reviews, but was free, seemed safe enough (there were other campers around) and was just a 10 minute walk from the main focus of the day, the Dali museum. I’m not really much of an ‘arty’ person (I generally leave that to Blaise), but I do find Dali’s work interesting so I was looking forward to learning more about both the work and the man.

To pre-empt what I’m about to say, it was peak season so we did expect a bit of a tourist scrum but……..as we joined the queue to get in, it was one of the first of a few reminders as to why we normally visit places like this well out of the main season!

After about 40 minutes we were in and with map in hand, set about making our way around this massive collection of the weird and wonderful images and sculptures to come out of the mad mind of Dali! The building that houses this collection is a work of art in its own right, but sadly not designed for the masses of people all trying to squeeze through the narrow corridors and into relatively small exhibition rooms!

Elbows sharpened and trying my best to stay calm we worked our way around and I was surprised by the range of styles that Dali produced having only seen the famous surrealist pieces.

Had it not been so busy I would have happily spent most of the day in there however I’m not great in crowds at the best of time (ask Blaise about me and shopping in London!) so having popped our heads in every room, and with my head about to burst from the amount to take in, made our escape!

After grabbing a quick snack of fartos (ha ha, nothing like a good fart joke!) we made our way back to the BFG and were pleased to see that she was fine and fully intact (I subsequently read of reported break-ins at the parking spot, but fortunately not today!). A quick spot of lunch and it was time to get back on the scorching road to our stop for the night.

On our way to the campsite it looked like the weather might be turning to give some cooler temperatures, as we heard thundery rumblings in the hills and saw the odd spot of rain, but it remained stubbornly hot! Checked in and parked up, we set about the usual tasks of consuming caffeine and getting logged onto the wifi so that we can keep you lot up to date!

Blaise left me in the van to head down to the communal area where we could get the wifi, and it was at this point that the heavens fully opened, turning the track up to our pitch into a mini river! After what seemed like a very long time Blaise returned having updated the blog and with a rather disturbing story of two young Spanish girls who decided that Blaise was their new best friend and that it was ok to follow her around and even talk to her when she was on the loo (despite them speaking no English and Blaise no Spanish)! Later that evening I also had the pleasure of meeting these two – if you want to get a true idea of the experience, just watch ‘The Shining’ and you’ll get the idea!

After all of this it was still super hot, so dinner eaten and sweating continuing we rested our heads, trying not to dream of Steven King films!