Week 24: Spain (and a brief trip to Portugal)

Sunset in Spain

Another week has passed by and we’re now in Spain, heading towards the Picos de Europa. We drove up to Santander, where we discovered that today is another National Holiday! Shame we’d made the journey to stock up at the Supermarket! From Santander we followed the Camino de Santiago through Pots and Pans (really, Potes and Pannes) and on to Poo – really! Before we arrived at the Camping Picos de Europa, in the mountains, at Onis. The Picos are actually part of the Cordillera Cantabrican range of mountains, which runs from the Pyrenees to the Gallician Massiff. We had no idea Spain was so mountainous. We had a little stroll around and the campsite is really quite large. We’d chosen a pitch quite near the centre on dryish ground.

The next morning, I heard howling from the mountains! Albi was still in his bed asleep, so not him, but it was time to take him out. We stayed as close to the other campers as possible and definitely not in the woods! I’m glad we did, as a little research informed me that there are wolves in this part of Spain! We carried along the Camino de Santiago, there are quite a few routes so we just picked our route and happened along it in parts, to Tapia de Cassariego and Camping Vegamar. The campsite was all closed up, but the Owner allowed us to park in the car park, with full facilities and hook up. There has been so much rain here, the grass pitches are water-logged.

After a pleasant night, we headed to Viveiro, where we’d been told about a dentist. Ric had toothache and needed to have it looked at. We’d found an Stellplatz nearby and had made an appointment for the following day, we’d thought we’d see where we would spend the night. We had lunch there, overlooking the quay, before heading off to Santiago de Campostela. The plan was to return along the coast at a leisurely pace before going to the dentist.

The journey to Santiago was very scenic, however the weather decided that would change! We started off in lovely sunshine, which turned to rain and high winds, and more sunny intervals. The campsite in Santiago, overlooks the city with (in sunshine) fantastic views, which we’d managed to sneak a peak at on arrival, but the drizzle set in and it was surrounded by cloud.

Here, Ric had a reaction to the painkillers he’d been taking for his toothache and we needed to see a Doctor urgently. The campsite Receptionist, was superb. He ordered a taxi, explained to the driver where we needed to go and kept me calm, as I found all the necessary paperwork, for a visit to the Hospital – Passports and EHIC cards. I had the Insurance details on the phone. On arrival at the Hospital, after a bit of to and fro-ing, we we booked in, the EHIC card scanned and through triage to a bay and consultation. After a few hours, pain relief and fluids given, blood and X-Rays taken, he was given the all clear and discharged. Such a relief. The system had worked so smoothly.

We stayed another night at the campsite in Santiago de Campostela, just to get over the stressful night and to hope the weather would allow us to see the city, but unfortunately not. We have vowed to return, when the weather might be a little better and we can see the city.

The weather has again affected our travel plans, there is a severe weather warning in place for the Portuguese coast, we’ve had a look at the map and decided to head towards Madrid. The route took us through Portugal to Chaves, where we stayed in a little stopover in the front garden plot of a Guest House. It was lovely. A small campsite, with electricity and hot showers and toilets. It’s close to the town and a supermarket.

We headed on again to Salamanaca, and a campsite in the grounds of a Hotel – The Hotel Regio. In high season there are a lot of amenities here, swimming pool, cafe etc but in low, low season, not a lot, but you can have a meal in the Hotel. It was lovely and the hotel, had the design I remembered, from those Spanish hotels, when I was a child! On our way here, we travelled through the town of Zamora (and the obligatory singing of…. “If you sit in Row Z and the ball hits your head, that’s Zamora” – football chant from back in the day!).

We’ve changed our plans again! We’ve realised how close Christmas is and, in addition, we need to head to the sun, so we’re heading south. We’re in the town of Cáceres, en route to the Costa de la Luz. The campsite is nice, and each pitch has it’s own shower an toilet!

Spain, so far, has been excellent and the views varied and amazing. We just need the weather to play ball and we’ll have it all! We’ve seen mountains and hill towns, dams and rivers, empty reservoirs, cows, sheep and pigs, statues on roundabouts and hillsides. We’re looking forward to the next part.

As always, thank you for reading. We’ll be back with our next part of the trip, in time for Christmas! Hopefully, this week will be a little less dramatic….

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