Category Archives: Spain

St Christoly de Blaye, Gironde Dept. Sunday 10th August 14

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The swimming lake at St Christoly de Blaye

The swimming lake at St Christoly de Blaye

 

It’s been quite an interesting ride since we left Pamplona yesterday morning. There was no problem following the Carretera de Irún, or N121A, north, which is wonderful, but no good if you don’t like tunnels, of which there are many and long on this stretch of the road. We enjoyed the mountain landscape again and the lovely Basque country houses or Caseríos, very pretty and picturesque. We also did a very cheap shop at Mercadona just down the road from the campsite on the way to Pamplona to stock up on Spanish products to bring home.

Once in France, we followed the A63 past Bayonne to junction 7 and D810 towards Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains. This was a terrible mistake on my part, as the stretch of road from Capbreton to Seignosse-le-Penon was jam packed with traffic, not made any easier by the absurd number of roundabouts that seem to appear every 200 metres or so and made the experience even more tiresome and irritating. Add to this pedestrian and cycle crossings and you’ll get a picture of the frustration of not getting anywhere fast!

We somehow arrived at the aire at Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains for midday and had to take a ticket to get in at the barrier. A quick drive around showed us that there were hardly any spaces available and we squeezed ourselves between 2 vans parked parallel to the access road, but after taking Beano out for a quick trot and putting van on blocks, we realised we couldn’t connect to the electricity hook-ups, which was supposed to be included in the price, as they were all in use. Taking everything into consideration, – being packed like sardines, parked by a busy road, no chance of getting table, chairs or awning out and no electricity – we decided to leave, but to our dismay we still had to pay the 12 daily fee, as we had stayed there longer than 5 minutes! We found this terribly unfair, as just driving around to find a space takes longer than that and feel like writing to the Council about it. Surely there should be a longer period before they start charging, at least 15 minutes, to give people a chance to have a good look around and decide whether to stay or not.

Annoyed, we put it down to experience and decided to go back to reliable and trusted Étang de Léon, about 10 miles north east, and were pleasantly surprised to find a much emptier road (D652) and motorhome aire, with loads of space, shade and right by the lake at the lower price of €10 a day, but no electricity. Much happier then, we had our late lunch and rest before walking Beano in the woods and a swim in lovely lake.

 

The roomy motorhome aire at Etang de Leon

The roomy motorhome aire at Etang de Leon

 

This morning, we joined the A63 at Castets (J.12) all the way to north of Bordeaux and paid the €15.62 toll, just like last year. After crossing the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, we joined the free A10 to J40a and D137 to St Vivien-de-Blaye’s motorhome aire, which stands by the church and a lovely pond and seemed quite adequate, but Adonis thought the bells ringing might be a problem and, after going for a walk round pond, we thought we could try this other aire just 3 or 4 miles north and we are delighted with our choice.

 

 

Pretty and tranquil motorhome aire at St Vivien-de-Blaye

Pretty and tranquil motorhome aire at St Vivien-de-Blaye

 

The motorhome aire at St Christoly de Blaye is free, with toilets, a shower and free water and, again, right by the lake and a wonderful woods walk around it. There is also a sort of ‘animal farm’ nearby with exotic creatures like camels and llamas, as well as horses, pigs, geese and chickens, and offering pony rides and pedal cars for families. We love it here and I wouldn’t mind staying another day. In fact, I would be very happy to pay £12 here instead of that awful aire at Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains!!!

 

Shady motorhome aire at St Christoly de Blaye

Shady motorhome aire at St Christoly de Blaye

 

Some exotic animals near the motorhome aire

Some exotic animals near the motorhome aire

 

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And the old fashioned gypsy caravan

And the old fashioned gypsy caravan

 

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Camping Ezcaba, Valle De Ezcabarte, Pamplona, Friday 8th August 2014

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Embalse de Yesa a Pamplona 136

Beautiful Pamplona seen from the Cathedral’s Bell Tower

 

We have spent three very hot days in Spain, the last two at this wonderful campsite just outside Pamplona, and I’ll be sad to leave tomorrow to make our slow way back north through France, although we still have Brittany to look forward to as a proper final destination.

 

Heading south for the Pyrenees

Heading south for the Pyrenees

 

After leaving the motorhome aire At Sévignacq-Meyracq by Arudy, we went straight south on the D934 to Fabrèges in the Pyrenees National Park, just 10km north of the Spanish border, where we were able to stop for the day and night by the lake, which was utterly beautiful and heavenly and where we enjoyed a cooling swim with Beano as well as a walk around the area, popular with walkers, trekkers and tourists waiting for the funicular and the mountain train. We didn’t go on these, as we didn’t want to leave Beano alone for too long and most round trips took 3 hours, so we enjoyed a quiet day by the lake, admiring the mountains and making the most of the pure clean air.

 

Our stopping place at Fabreges, Pyrenees National Park

Our stopping place at Fabreges, Pyrenees National Park

 

The lake and mountains at Fabreges

The lake and mountains at Fabreges

 

Feeling excited about Spain being just on the other side of those mountain behind me

Feeling excited about Spain being just on the other side of those mountain behind me

 

The Funicular ride up to the mountains

The Funicular ride up to the mountains

 

We carried on south on the Spanish A136/N260 to Sabiñánigo and west on N330 to Jaca, where we did a small shop at Mercadona and stocked up on some Spanish goodies like Manchego and Galician cheese, membrillo (quince jelly) and Colacao (drinking chocolate) to take home to Pepo.

 

At last!  Welcome to Spain after a 4-year absence

At last! Welcome to Spain after a 4-year absence

 

From there, we carried on west to the campsite on the north side of Embalse de Yesa, where we stopped for the day. This was a basic campsite with adequate and clean facilities and lovely views over the lake and, more importantly, direct access to it, although we thought the 27.40 daily price was on the steep side, but one supposes you pay for the privilege of the location and because there is nowhere else around to stop for the night.

 

Lago de Yesa

Embalse de Yesa

 

Embalse de Yesa

Embalse de Yesa

 

Sheltering from the heat at our pitch at the camping of Embalse de Yesa

Sheltering from the heat at our pitch at the camping of Embalse de Yesa

 

The Reception area and Bar at camping of Embalse de Yesa

The Reception area and Bar at camping of Embalse de Yesa

 

Yesterday morning, we continued slightly north west towards Pamplona and north from there on N135 and arrived here just after 11am to enjoy another hot day and the large swimming pool, This is a very large campsite, although only half of it seems to be taken up at the moment and we presume that its size it to accommodate all the visitors during the Feria of San Fermín on the second week of July.

 

Camping de Ezcaba, Pamplona

 Charming and roomy Camping de Ezcaba, Pamplona

 

The site has very good facilities, including a large area for bbqs, showers and washing blocks, all very pristine and attractive.

BBQ area for campers at Camping Ezcaba

BBQ area for campers at Camping Ezcaba

 

This morning, we took a taxi to Pamplona for only €10 and enjoyed a stroll through the city’s old quarters (or Casco Viejo), which is absolutely charming, with its old buildings with beautiful balconies, the jaw-dropping Townhall and its magnificent Cathedral. We paid €5 each to get in, which included a visit to the Bell Tower that commands impressive views of the city below: definitely worth a visit.

 

Enjoying the sites in the Casco Viejo in Pamplona

Enjoying the sites in the Casco Viejo in Pamplona

 

La Plaza Mayor in Pamplona

The attractive Plaza Mayor in Pamplona

 

Pamplona's Cathedral

Pamplona’s Cathedral

 

View from the Bell Tower

Views of Pamplona from the Bell Tower

 

Views from the Bell Tower

Views from the Bell Tower

 

Views from the Bell Tower

Views from the Bell Tower

 

Ornate chapel inside Cathedral

Ornate chapel inside Cathedral

 

Tombs of Charles III and Eleanor of Castilla

Tombs of Charles III and Eleanor of Castilla

 

Beautiful Gothic Cloister

Beautiful Gothic Cloister

 

Again, as we didn’t want to leave Beano alone for too long, we had a beer and a tapa in a bar just outside the Town Hall and took a picture where people usually stand behind a wooden fence during the running of the bulls in San Fermín before taking another taxi back to the campsite.

 

The superb Town Hall in Pamplona

The superb Town Hall in Pamplona

 

Some interesting roads in Palmplona's Old Quarters (Casco Viejo)

Some interesting roads in Palmplona’s Old Quarters (Casco Viejo)

 

Charming buildings in the Casco Viejo

Charming buildings in the Casco Viejo

 

Charming buildings in the Casco Viejo

Charming buildings in the Casco Viejo

 

Waiting for the bulls!!!

Waiting for the bulls!!!

 

It’s been a hot day, but the weather has been threatening with thunder on and off for about an hour, only to produce a lot of noise and a few drops of rain. We have put our stuff inside just in case, but the sun has just begun to shine again…