Category Archives: Summer 2010

7-week trip from Calais to La Corunia (northwest Spain) and back to England.

Luanco, Tuesday 3rd August 2010



Luanco's beach


view of pier from free parkint spot

What a find of a spot!  We’re on top of a cliff in a free public carpark overlooking the beautiful bay, beach and beyond.  It’s been a very hot day and, as we arrived here at 12.30 pm, have been able to enjoy it all afternoon.  There was just one motorhome when we arrived, but it’s now full.  However, I’m sure most of these people will leave by 8 or 9 pm.

We got up just before 9 am, had breakfast and then Adon and I walked into town in Llanes to La Plaza de Abastecimientos, where we bought ingredients for paella.  We had a long wait at fishmongers, even though it had only just opened at 10 am and that was followed by quick visit to small shop for wine, breakfast cakes for Pepo and spices for paella.  We set off at 10.45 am, so it was a shortish and comfortable drive here. The sea is lovely after the initial shock and there’s ample space on the very hot sand.  I was surprised, however, to find toilets cost 40 cents a go!  Still, there are lots of showers and drinking water outlets for free, so can’t complain too much.

Parking spot on cliff top










excellent dog walk on cliff top

I think we’ve given up on following suggestions from internet info sheet and are following our noses and instincts  instead, which have proved far more successful.  So who knows where we’ll end up tomorrow?  We’re following the national/coastal roads west, all the way to La Coruña in north west Spain.

Luanco's harbour

Playa Toro, Llanes, Monday 2nd August 2010


Overview of Llanes seafront from promenade.

This is more like it!  After a short drive of just under 1/2 hour, we arrived at one of my favourite towns in Spain.  The young couple parked next to us in Getaria showed us their motorhome guide and told us we could park here for free overnight.  So we arrived this morning before 11 am and got ample space in carpark overlooking the beach and with plenty of green space for Bramble to walk and go to the toilet.

Adonis and I walked into town to buy food and drinks and a stamp to send postcard to my sister Mari Carmen, whose birthday is on the 4th August.  Not sure she’ll get it in time, but I can al least try!

It’s not a sunny day, but warm enough to sit on the beach and to go for a swim, which Adon and I have done already, followed by drinks at bar and lunch in van.  I bought some ‘membrillo’ (quince jelly) this morning, so I enjoyed it with my cheese earlier on (Quince and cheese taste like a kiss).

LlanesToro Beach

Now Adonis is having a siesta, Pepo ‘s reading his ‘Useless Information’ book and I’m going to read mine.  I’ll be cooking hotdogs tonight, so nice and easy.  Before that, I hope to walk into town again and take more pictures of harbour, pier, etc.  With a bit of luck, we’ll stay here for a couple of days: there are toilets, showers, a beach, lovely walks , a bar… What else would you ask for?

Aire at Toro Beach

Pier at Llanes

Llanes Quay

Los Picos de Europa in background.

Pechon (Cantabria) Sunday 1st August


Another wild goose chase today.  We started off at 8.45 am from Getaria heading for the ‘Area de Servicios del Lago del

Beach at Pechon

Acebo’ in the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, but again, when we got there, we were deeply disappointed to find that the entry fee was 20 Euros per adult!  We quickly made a u-turn and after one more unlucky attempt, we ended up here, at the ‘Las Arenas’ campsite, just a few kms west of San Vicente de la Barquera.  It’s a huge campsite on serveral levels leading down to the beach, where we have already been for a walk and a swim (in Adonis’s case).  It has the usual features of this area of rocks and caves and interesting walks around, perfect for Bramble.  One drawback at the campsite is that the electric hook-up connexion box is too narrow for our lumpy cable end and cannot buy adaptor until 5 pm and we’ve been here since 1.30 pm, so we’ve been running on gas instead.  We’ll try again later.

Another little disappointment for Pepo was that wifi wasn’t working and the IT bloke is not coming until tomorrow, being Sunday today, but we’re only staying here one night as this pitch is costing us 37 Euros a day!  By far the most expensive and disappointing campsite yet: happy to charge top premiums when not all the services are available: despicable and will not come here again.

Well, we’ve just been to supermarket to buy ‘alargador’ (extension lead) but they are out of stock.  What a poor show!Hopefully they won’t charge us for electricity.

Cliffs on beach at Pechon


Idyllic spot, but overpriced campsite at Pechon


Getaria, Saturday 31st July 2010


Getaria: view from promenade

It was a very peaceful night, as we expected, and made an early start just after 9 am.  We stopped for diesel, food and drinks at Le Clerk at St Gaudens, where diesel was only 1.07 euros a litre! (Why can’t England sell as cheap as the rest of Europe?).  Then we carried on Westwards following the Pyrenees to the south through Tarbes and Pau, stopping for lunch at the aire of Hastingues on the A64, just 20 km east of Bayonne at about 1 pm.

We carried on southwest and crossed the border into Spain at Irun and continued to ‘supposedly beautifully scenic’ aire at Astigarraga (as the guide described it), which was far too overcrowded for our liking, with the world and its aunty having picnics and barbeques and very little space in between families, let alone parking spaces.  Contrary to what was stated on website, there was no place to empty grey or black water or fill up with drinking water, as it was all closed off with barriers, and the spaces reserved for motorhomes had been taken by cars!  So, after this great disappointment, Adonis decided to try Getaria, where he’d been with his parents many years before.

Getaria's seafront promenade

So here we are, in a car park reserved exclusively for motorhomes and overlooking the sea: very pretty indeed, but road behind us is a tad too busy for my liking.   Still, we were lucky to find a place at 4 pm on a Saturday and can’t complain.  We’ve gone for a walk on the beach and through the village, with Bramble enjoying a very needed swim in the sea, as it’s 30 C in the shade.  He’s now sleeping again, Adon’s having a fag and Pepo looking hot and bothered.  We’re about to upload pictures on hard-drive of the last places we’ve been to in France and our first stop in Spain.  I’ve got to say that this place is something else and that the pictures should be very interesting indeed.  Adonis is cooking his famous couscous with porc and aubergines.  I’m looking forward to it already.

cafes and restaurants on seafront

Marina at Getaria


city wall

Boussens, 30th July 2010



A week after Adonis’s birthday.  In the end we just walked down to the village and had a lovely meal at the Deux Mondes restaurant, although we all agreed that the vegetables were far too overcooked and that chips would have been better than tagliatelli with the steaks, which were very good as well as the fish.

We had a very relaxing week by the pool, with only a few walks to the Spar supermarket and a trip to the go-karting course for Pepo and Gabriel while Jakkie and Peggy went shopping.

We also had a lovely evening dancing in the house, trying to learn to waltz and tango with very little success, although I must admit that Jakkie and Jeff did us proud with their sense of rythm and co-ordination.

Another evening Adonis cooked some gorgeous Milanesas, which were enjoyed by all but Peggy, who had salmon, and the best thing is that every meal was enjoyed outside on the patio by the pool.

We also enjoyed a delicious meal at a tiny Chinese restaurant in Béziers run by a middled-aged couple very efficiently and with unusual dishes, very different from the standard Chinese we get in England.  The most amusing part of the evening (Tuesday 27th July) were the very interesting rice wine cups in which the above drink was served, which had a see-through marble at the bottom that, when filled with the wine, showed pictures of naked women that couldn’t be seen otherwise.  When I asked for naked men for the ladies, the manager laughed and said he’d get us a mannequin.  After most enjoyable meal, we strolled gently back to car through Béziers promenade, all lit up with bullfighting themed lights (more Spanish than Spain, I thought).

So after a week of enjoying the Saysell family’s company, Jakkie, Jeff and Gabriel left yesterday evening, preceded by lots of tears, first thing in the morning.  They drove to Montpellier to catch plane to Charles-de-Gaul and from there to Rio, where they should have arrived this morning.


view from aire at Auterive

After Peggy and Peter got back from Montpellier, we ordered some pizzas and had early night.  We got up at 8.30 am this morning and drove mainly on the A61 past Carcassonne and then joined the D622 at Villefranche-de-Lauragain towards Capens.  We stopped at 12.30 at beautiful aire at Auterive, where we took short stroll to bridge and pictures of river and church.  We set off again at 1.45 pm and joined motorway again at Caens towards Martres Tolosone, but we didn’t like the aire there, which was more of a dirt track carpark opposite the cemetary, so we carried on the D817 towards St Gaudens and Adonis spotted signs to Lac here at Boussens, which is absolutely lovely.  We’ve taken Bramble for walk and more pictures and are just now relaxing by the lagoon and it promises to be a very quiet evening, with only tow vans with a family from Belgium all set up a few metres away from us.

It’s my turn to cook tonight Spaghetti Bolognese, so I’d better start soon.




Portiragnes, Saturday 24th July 2010



celebrating Adoni's birthday with family

Here we are at Adonis’s parents’ beatiful house in hot southeast France.  We arrived yesterday just after 12 noon and have been enjoying the sun by the swimming pool after nearly 3 days of rain!

It’s lovely to have all the Saysells together, as Jakkie, Gabriel and Jeff are here too all the way from Brazil, so we had delicious lunch and tea by the pool, serenated afterwards by Jeff’s guitar and singing, which was really good fun, as he can play and sing really well.

We all had an early night after all the excitement and and early rise too.  Adon and I had breakfast in van and then cycled into the village to buy beer, toothpaste and glue to make Adonis a birthday card, which I had to improvise with crochetted flowers and printing paper, but I think he enjoyed it as well as hisw Kurasawa set of DVDs.

Lock at Canal du Midi, Portiragnes

The evening before last at Puylaurens was very tranquil and we walked in the rain through village to buy eggs for omelette and visit the church and take scenic pictures.  Omelette turned out very well and we enjoyed it with a tomato salad and bread, followed by reading and early night.

Tonight we’re going to Serignan to celebrate Adonis’s birthday, so it should be a good evening.

Canal du Midi, Portiragnes

Puylaurens Aire, Thursday, 22nd July 2010


After spending 3 very relaxing days at Beauville’s stunning ‘Les 2 Lacs’ campsite, we are at a free aire in the Haute-Garonne.  We had some heavy thunder and rain on the last two nights at Beauville, as well as a very noisy supersonic plane which preceded the thunder on Tuesday night, thus depriving me from my beauty sleep.  Adonis, as always, slept his way through it, so I had to make up for lost sleep in the afternoon.

Last night it just didn’t stop raining at all and it hasn’t stopped yet (1.45 pm).  We got up at about 8.30 am, had breakfast and packed up.  Adon took Br. for walk and I queued up for baguette under toilet block.  We were ready for 10 and after returning the extension lead for hook-up to reception, we were well and truly on our way.

I must mention, however, how annoyed I got at Dutch couple who interrupted our dinner on Tuesday night because they wanted us to move our hook-up cable to a different source, as they had just arrived and couldn’t hook up theirs.  Adonis obliged in the middle of dinner to my great irritation, as stupid couple took over an hour to set up their enormous trailer tent and, therefore, didn’t have need of hook-up yet!  Why couldn’t they have waited until we had finished our meal?  And who with basic manners would interrupt someone’s dinner with such a request when there wasn’t any rush or immediate need for it?  It just goes to show that we’re not all brought up with the same manners and standards.

Anyway, that’s my moan out of the way.  We’re resting at this free aire at Puylaurens, where we can empty our loo, grey water and fill up our tank if we need to.  It should be a quiet evening as there is nobody else here.

I intend to make a Spanish omelette for tea, but must go into village and buy some eggs first.  Now I’m going to join Adon for a siesta and make up for lack of sleep last night!

Les Deux Lacs, Beauville, Tuesday 20th July 2010


Entry by Adonis:

swimming lake at les 2 lacs campsite

Hot today.  Had durazno (peach) and croissant for breakfast.  Regulator stuck on gas bottle, so had to borrow campsite spanner: no problem.  Went for a swim, had lunch, Bramble had a swim.  Cycled to village at 4.00 pm for beer, etc, but everything closed.  Had beer on site: Que rico! (How nice!).  Checked internet, etc.

Really lovely here: don’t want to go.  Bramble is flat out most of the time.  Seems strange that this place isn’t booked solid, but it’s out of the way and that suits us fine!  Another day tomorrow and then we carry on towards Toulouse.

We were woken up by some loud voices far back into the campsite; don’t know what it was all about!  We were up by 9.00 am and Adon took Bramble for his morning walk while I had a shower and got things ready for breakfast.  As promised, the baker came down in her van sounding the claxon at 9.30 and I went to queue for baguette and, as Adon was struggling with the gas bottle, I also bought some croissants, as I couldn’t grill the ones in cupboard.

fishing lake at les 2 Lacs

Lazy morning reading and crochetting, followed by usual lunch of cheeses, saucisson, etc, then siesta, walk Bramble, swim in lake and beer at brasserie.  I tried to upload some pictures of the campsite onto Facebook, but couldn’t manage it.  I’ll try again when we are at abuelo’s in Portiragnes.

Beauville, Monday 19th July 2010


Les Deux Lacs campsite and Brasserie

This is a truly magnificent site in the back of beyond and it would be very hard to hope or want for anything better.  Appropriately named, ‘Les Deux Lacs’  is between 2 lakes, one for fishing and one for swimming, with a water trampoline and canoes into the bargain.  If you have young children, it’s paradise on Earth for them and there is also a brasserie, which we intend to use before we go.  We have booked 3 nights to give us a proper break before heading southeast to Portiragnes.

Last night was very quiet by the canal and Adonis managed to catch a baby catfish.  There were some young people swimming in the strictly forbidden area between the locks in true French fashion ‘you can’t tell me what I can’t do’ type of attitude, and later on a young man parked his car blaring some Reggae music, but it was all silent by 9.30 pm, when we went to bed.

We got up at 8.15 am, so it was a very peaceful and silent night and set off at 9.45 am with just one stop for tobacco and bread.  We made it here by noon and had to borrow an extension lead, as hook-up point is too far from our pitch.  We have been relaxing ever since, with cooling swims in the lake, as it’s 32 Celsius in the shade inside van!

Pitch at Les Deux Lacs, Beauville

Castets-en-Dorthe (La Garonne), Sunday, 18th July 2010


Locks on canal at Castets-en-Dorthe

So Pepo is in Portiragnes now.  We took the 10.30 am bus from Beausoleil to Gare St Jean in Bordeaux, which took about 40 minutes to get there, for the shocking price of 2.80 euros RETURN!!!  The bus driver was very helpful and told us where to put the ticket on the way back and asked what we were going to visit in Bordeaux.  So bought ticket to Béziers for 12.38 pm and we had one hour to spare to have coffee and coke.  Friendly waitress was amused when I gave her a 20 pound note to pay and said it was ‘très jollie’, but not good.  After apologising for blunder, I gave her a 50 E note and she was even more surprised.

After a fruitless attempt to buy a vodaphone top-up card for Pepo’s mobile, he got on the train, coach 5, seat No 68, and I went back to bus stop.  Got on delayed bus just before 1.00 pm and Adonis had lunch ready.  After break, I took Bramble for a walk and then we had coffee, followed by nice relaxing time in the sun and dinner of breaded chicken escalopes and watercress salad. 

I managed to access Facebook to answer messages and play on Farmville, Frontierville and Countrylife!  After reading for a bit, I was in bed by 10 pm.

Adonis woke me up at about 8.45, had breakfast and, while he took Br. for walk, I put things away ready for departure at 10 am.  We stopped por diesel at Le Clerk (only 1.08 E) shopping in super U and followed D113/D10 to Langon and then the D1113 here.  We are now by the canal at a charming little village called Castets-en-Dorthe.  Just had lunch, Adon is peacefully snoring away and I am about to do the same before afternoon walk along canal.