One year on, Lockdown and a Dilemma.

Handover Day 19/06/2019 Cleveland Motorhomes, Darlington

A year ago today, 19th June 2019, we arrived at Cleveland Motorhomes in Darlington and were handed the keys to Nortia. We started our trip with a little get-to-know-you adventure driving south, slowly before heading to Europe.

We visited Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, France, Monaco, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. All in covering 25,000 miles in nine months, then Lockdown hit and our plans for the next three months were changed in an evening.

Lockdown began for us in Sussex, when Boris said all unnecessary travel was prohibited and only essential businesses should remain open. The campsite we were on, was closing. We headed off home and parked up outside, plugged into the electric, logged onto the WiFi and filled up with water. Here, we dutifully stayed parked up, until we were allowed to go out for day trips in June. On our first trip, we had to check the tyre pressures and dust off the cobwebs, which were everywhere – wheels, wing mirrors, bike rack. We had been stationary for so long, that driving was a new experience and we actually forgot about the cruise control and sixth gear! We headed to the beach, hoping to show Reg the sea, but so had the rest of the county, so we headed up into the South Downs National Park instead.

Our views, whilst away, have been magnificent, the fjords in Norway, mountains in the Dolomites, the Alps in France, marinas in many countries, sea views and green fields. We’ve stayed in towns and in isolated areas, with many people and on our own. Now our view for the last three months has been a fence and garage doors!

During Lockdown, we’ve managed to stay sane, trained a puppy, been in good health and we’re still talking – there have been moments, but with the three of us in a 7.4 metre long motorhome, you’d expect some fireworks.

Our plans had been to travel up to Wales and over to Ireland (perhaps, to the Isle of Man), on to Scotland and the Hebrides (Inner and Outer), but they are on hold for the time being.

Life is slowly beginning to get back to normal, non-essential shops are allowed to open and campsites are beginning to get ready to open on 4th July, still no word about pubs, restaurants or hotels.

Now our dilemma, Etrusco need to sell our motorhome – our year has come to an end, but we have been offered first refusal, we’re just waiting for a price. We’ve started looking at the market, to see what we can afford but, we need to move on if campsites open.

Our dilemma is two-fold – without a price for the Motorhome, we don’t know where to book!

  • If we have to return Nortia, we need to plan to head north and sort out a plan to return home to start again; or
  • If we can buy Nortia, we can start to book our next trip, into England and see more sights, Wales looks like it might be opening its borders soon so a slow trip west could be on the cards.

As always, thank you for reading. We’ll update you with our plans as soon as we know what we’re doing, Government guidelines depending.

Week 28: Spain – not a good week.

Goodbye little dog, what a wonderful life we have been able to share with you.

Monday morning, a fiesta day in Spain and there was evidence of last night’s celebrations in every town and village we drove through – confetti and foil streamers in the roads, it must have been a great night. We left our little overnight stop in the mountains and drove towards Granada and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Granada looks like a lovely place to visit properly and has been added to our list! Our goal for today, was to drive the road we’d seen featured in Top Gear several years ago, up to the Pico de Valeta – a ski resort where the road stops! The peak (Pico) is at 3,300m above sea level and there is snow at the top. We checked the weather and ski reports and felt it was safe to do so. The road, was fantastic although we did hear a lot of popping in the MoHo – we stopped and checked all the bottles, as they’d started to pressurise at altitude, but couldn’t find a reason, so on we continued.

The weather was wonderful, clear blue skies and sun. There were cars approaching us laden with skis and people dressed in ski wear – we were still in shorts but… (we do have our whole wardrobe with us, so we are able to change on a whim)! We arrived as close to the top as we wanted to, the final part was full of parked cars and people, and we knew we would have to turn around to come back. At the top we repressurised the fuel tank, by undoing the cap, and with a loud hiss the cap opened – when we were in the Vosges mountains in France the fuel gauge took an age to give us the right reading when we came back down the mountain! We stopped for the night in a lovely little campsite in Otuta, a short distance from Granada and accessible by bus. There were only four vehicles parked there and it had a lovely view of the mountains.

The following morning we set off along the southern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains and stopped for lunch in another little village, before heading to Roquetas de Mar. Our aim was to stop here for the night, before heading up to Tabernas and the desert, famed for spaghetti westerns.

We had a pleasant evening, although Albi started to be a little unwell. He occasionally suffers with sickness and has medication to help him, so although a little alarmed we thought we’d see how he was in the morning. We awoke and although he wasn’t much better, he seemed OK in himself and we thought maybe all the driving, might have upset him, we decided to stay another day and let him settle. As the day progressed he worsened and we went straight to a vet, we’d had recommended – without an appointment, but they said they’d see him. Unfortunately, Albi’s condition had worsened considerably during our wait and he was put onto a drip and had an ultrasound carried out on his stomach. He was diagnosed with an engorged gall bladder, and would need surgery to remove it once he had perked up a little. We were warned his condition was serious and there was a 50:50 chance of survival. We said our goodbyes, just in case and unfortunately, following the operation, his heart failed and he was unable to be resuscitated.

Goodbye, little dog. Albi has been part of the family for almost 11 years, he has been to over 28 countries in Europe, he’s walked the Coast to Coast with us, he climbed Haystacks and Hellvellyn, he’s been to the Inner Hebrides, the Outer Hebrides, the Isles of Scilly. He’s camped in tents, a campervan and the Motorhome. He’s been on boats, ferries, cable-cars and vernacular trains. We hope we gave him as good a life as he deserved and we know we did as much as we could to enable him to live a good life. He will remain, here in Spain. we know where we’ve left him and we can return to his resting place.

After a day of upset and heartbreak, we decided we would continue our adventure and Albi will always be a part of what we do and where we go – he was (is) part of the team – it’s Three go Travelling after all! We headed along the coast towards Mazarron and stopped at a campsite by the beach – we later saw there were a number of wild campsites nearby, which would have been nicer, and allowed us to wake up with a view of the sea. Here, we found out our friends, Karen and Colin a.k.a Rewind the Gap http://www.rewindthegap.co.uk/ were just along the coast at an incredibly cheap campsite, and they would be there for the next day, so we arranged to meet them there. It was a very busy campsite and they had been able to reserve us a space, much to the annoyance of those turned away. The campsite is in San Javier overlooking the Mer Menor, by an airport now used by the Air Force.

We spent an evening with Karen and Colin, and caught up with their news and shared ours. We found out a few places to visit nearby and despite only thinking of staying for one night we stayed for two. On Sunday, we set off on our bikes to Cabo de Palos. Gloria Google Maps told us it was an hour and a half by bike, so easily doable on our bikes! After an hour and ten miles, she told us it was another hour and 23 Kilometers (15 miles) away, we stopped and returned to the campsite. There is a boardwalk, through the nature reserve from the campsite to the promenade, with lots of restaurants and bars (many aren’t open in the low season) but it was very busy on a Sunday Afternoon! We even found a cafe serving Full English Breakfasts – if only it had been a bit closer!

As always, thank you for reading and sharing our adventure. We’re continuing around the coast next week, so we’ll share more of our trip with you when we can!