La Vera

We were up early on Friday, with 275 miles ahead of us we didn’t want to hang around, especially when we usually end up averaging around 50mph. Some of Spain is very scenic, some of it is repetitive with miles and miles of nothing, except for plains of sandy terrain with an array of colours from beige to brown to red, the odd reservoir and a few billion olive trees. We travelled for hours throughout this “nothing” so did get a bit excited when we spotted Consuegra a town with a castle and windmills scattered down the hillside, and a while later could just about make out a few distant snowy mountain peaks through the haze.

As we got nearer the peaks we became more excited; it wasn’t just the scenery, but there were new birds, big birds, storks flying gracefully overhead. I’d never considered how big they were, let alone that we would see some. We even spotted one perched in its nest on top of an electricity pylon, I’m just gutted I didn’t get a picture.

We were heading to a campsite in Jarandilla de la Vera, a village on the southern slope of the Sierra de Gredos mountains in the Extremadura region. We arrived late afternoon and found a large area next to the river that we could have to ourselves. In the early evening we went for a quick stroll and found that we needn’t had gone overboard stocking up in a big supermarket on the way as there were well stocked local shops and the promise of a market on Sunday.

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Ubeda & Baeza

On Tuesday we spent the day at the campsite, and with no walking or cycling it felt like we were finally going to have a proper day off to relax. Then I discovered there was a mountain of washing to do, that’s hand washing, and so any thoughts of taking a break went out the window! The chemicals in the washing powder must have got to me as I then decided to wash the motorhome. It was getting a bit grubby now we’d clocked up a few miles. Meanwhile Lisa did a great job cleaning inside, nothing to do with the chemicals, she’s just a tidy freak! Those jobs done we could relax for the rest of the afternoon and were able to leave early the following day for our next stop, Ubeda.

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Ubeda

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Rio Barosa

We wanted to be out by 8.00am on Monday so talked about setting the alarm the night before. Doh! We only talked about it and woke at 8am. We were ready by 9am but got a rude shock when we stepped outside, it was only 3 degrees! We had to cycle 4.5 miles to the start of the walk and by the time we’d arrived our hands were painfully cold. The best way to warm up was to get going so we set off at a good pace.

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Rio Barosa, the sun yet to clear the mountains

Lisa had read a few reviews of this riverside walk, we were expecting great things and weren’t disappointed. The river itself was so picturesque, babbling over rocks and the blue-green tint to the water added to the magic. After walking a few miles along a wide gravel track we came to a section of wooden walkways fixed in to the side of the rock face which left us walking over the river, brilliant!

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Walkways suspended above the Rio Barosa

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A ‘Short’ Walk

Thursday was a lazy day, just popping out on the bikes quickly to pick up some wood for the evening’s BBQ. This was our first BBQ of the holiday and it was christened with albondigas made even better with the smoky taste of the fire.

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No problem cutting with this – Bahco Laplander Folding Saw

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A Tunnel and a Lake

On Monday we decided it would be our last day in El Berro and we should do another walk, but nothing as strenuous as Saturday’s hike. We picked a 5.5 mile loop past the next village, Gebas. It was another sunny day, temperatures in the low 20’s and great views again, paticularly looking back at El Berro. We picked thyme and rosemary (it grows wild everywhere!) and half way around the walk found a large boulder to perch on and have lunch.

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A Palace and Hiking

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a week since I last posted, but we have been busy!

On Tuesday morning we left France via the pretty village of Ainhoa. It would be nice to write that it was a smooth journey but with many miles of road like a washboard and a lesson in why the fridge door should always be locked when moving, it wasn’t! Luckily we didn’t end up with scambled eggs all over the floor and some gaffer tape has temporarily fixed the fridge door.

We stopped at the quaint town of Olite, having read in a guide book about a fairy tale castle that sounded worth visiting. It certainly was. For a bargain €3.50 we got to wander around the Royal Palace of Olite. And not just a few rooms like in most historic buildings, but the whole place, every tower, turret, nook and cranny. The building was started in the 13th century, was in use in to the 16th century but was burnt down and left in ruins from 1813. In 1937 restoration and rebuilding work lasting 30 years was started leaving us with this impressive building. If you are in the area it’s well worth a visit, as is the town. We would have stayed longer in the free aire but were keen to continue our journey south. We ended up stopping for the night in Arguedas, a town that was quiet and felt deserted, certainly unloved.

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End of the First Week

I cant believe we’ve been in France for a week already. Usually at this point in a holiday it would be time to think about turning around and heading back towards home, I’m so glad we don’t have to, our wheels are our home.

We’ve crammed a lot in to the last few days. Lots of cycling. We both love cycling but haven’t done very much over the last year so it’s been great to get on the bikes; we’ve already clocked up 80 miles so far. Most of the cycling has been on paths, but when on the roads it was never too busy. We’ve also cycled through some forest tracks, the ones around Biscarrosse and Messanges being particularly fun, especially when the soil turned to deep sand!

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The Journey Has Begun

I must be feeling relaxed. I can’t even remember how long we’ve been in France. Maybe it was that last glass of wine I had last night. Maybe it’s that it doesn’t matter what day it is, or how long we’ve been away. Life is certainly a lot more relaxed without the need to count the days.

 

So what have we been up to? Out first stop was a lovely wooded car park with facilities for motorhomes which we found on a great website called campercontact.com. We arrived early evening and quickly set ourselves up, although after 10 minutes of sitting at a funny angle decided it was best to try out the blocks for the first time and get the motorhome level.

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1 Week To Go!

Are we excited? Actually, we’re too busy to be excited. And, to be honest, a bit stressed. 8 months in a motorhome, it’s going to be great fun, but the amount of preparation, organisation and odd spanners in the works is certainly being felt by both of us.

I’ve still got the solar panel to fit. It shouldn’t be too hard, but it’s a bit scary drilling a hole through something you’ve just spent thousands of pounds on.

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No More Baths :-(

Being away from home and living in a small space there’s bound to be some sacrifices to be made. So what will I miss the most?

My laptop and limitless internet. I must confess that I spend a lot of time on the internet. I love it, it’s a giant library with endless resources. Don’t for a minute think that I’ll be going cold turkey, no way, I’ll be taking a tablet and a mi-fi device. But the tablet is not quite as convenient, especially for typing, and when you have to pay for the data used then you really start to think about cutting down on internet usage.

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