Good Bye 2020 – Hello 2021

Happy New Year!

We had hoped to be spending Christmas and New Year 2020 in Spain, but Coronavirus put paid to that idea. Instead we’re in our Lockdown Parking Spot, as our home postcode went from Tier 2 to Tier 4, on Boxing Day. We’re not surprised or too down about it, we’re safe and well as are our families too, barring a COVID-19 scare and a fractured wrist!

2020 was not the year we expected! I don’t think it was for anyone. For years we’d planned our travel adventure and nine months in, it was curtailed. We’ve still managed to do a few things this year, regardless.

2020 – in a nutshell:

Having said goodbye to Albi in Spain, in January, we returned to England in March and picked up our new puppy, Reg, It might seem quite a short time between dogs but we realised in the two months on the road, life wasn’t the same without one. Reg is not Albi, despite being the same breed, they are totally different!

Spain and Gibraltar: We loved exploring the coast and mountains. We have got several places we want to return to and hopefully Christmas 2021, can be spent out there.

France: Travelling back along the Canal du Midi up to Bordeaux and on to the most westerly cap, in Brittany before turning right and heading along the English Channel.

Lockdown 1: three months with a new puppy in a car park, was entertaining, but we survived. Reg started puppy training, we took advantage of the good weather and the garden. We went out on our bikes and generally, survived!

July – October: We took advantage of being able to travel and visited much of England and Wales. We avoided hotspot areas and were able to see some places, we’d never been to before.

November – Lockdown 2: We returned to our car park, the prospect of another stay here was daunting, but we knew we could get through it. We had planned to be relatively local, anyway, awaiting the imminent arrival of our first granddaughter (she is actually the sixth grandchild, but the first girl in 30 years!). We are slightly biased, but she is a beauty.

December – a mixed bag! We rescheduled our campsite from November to December, We travelled locally and stayed at some places, we’d usually deem to close to stay at (we could day trip from our old house!). We made arrangements for Christmas and New Year, before changing our plans as the sites we wanted to go to were placed into Tier 4 and closing. Then, the big one on Boxing Day our location and our home address went into Tier 4 too. The campsite was closing, so we had to return home to the car park for the New Year.

We’re hoping 2021, is a better year for us all. There is a hope with the roll out of the vaccination programme. We’re planning our adventure for 2021 and hopefully we’ll be able to see it through, but it’s more important that we stay safe and well. Thank you, as always, for reading, we’ll be back in 2021.

Week 27: New Year in Spain and onto Gibraltar

Another week, and we’re still in El Puerto de Santa Maria, we will leave soon, but its still lovely to be settled and we’re looking forward to New Year here, before continuing our adventure.

Monday, we headed out in the lovely Nortia. We felt it was her turn to go out and about (and we needed LPG (GLP in Spain), not desperately, but we would need to fill up at some point). We headed out to Cadiz and had a drive over the bridge we’d cycled over last week. In the Parque, today, there were flamingos! Cadiz, was very busy, there were two cruise liners in port, including the Mein Schieff 4 which we think we’d seen before in Honningsvåg, on our way to Nordkapp, Norway!

From Cadiz, we headed inland to the town of Arcos de la Frontera, on the recommendations of our lovely neighbours. Time was a little short by now and although we drove there, we didn’t have a chance to look properly, so its added to a list for our next trip (along with Seville)! We returned to the campsite via the Supermarket, but forgot the LPG!

Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, we’d been told you can see the fireworks in Cadiz from the beach so we were hoping to make the midnight hour and be on the beach! We didn’t really do a lot, got bread, sat in the sun, tidied and joined our neighbours for New Year’s Eve drinks. Thank you Sheila and John. Before midnight, we put the dog back to bed and headed to the beach with a bottle of fizz in hand, eagerly waiting for the fireworks… there wasn’t an organised show this year! We had a laugh, made more new friends and sang Auld Lang Syne, before heading back to our MoHo.

New Year’s Day. We awoke a little later than normal and had another relaxing day. I (Sarah) went for a swim in the sea – it was freezing. The sun more than thawed me out though, so worth doing (my sister had done the same in England, so the challenge was set)! We’re setting off in the morning to continue the adventure, so a few last chores were completed, too.

Thursday, we said our goodbyes and were genuinely sorry to be leaving our lovely neighbours, but the adventure needs to continue. We set off to get the LPG we’d missed out on before and filled up our Gaslow system, headed to the Supermarket, stopping in the Motorhome stopover. In the car park of the Centro Comercial El Paseo, there are about four stopover pitches and a service point, which is free if you present your receipt from any shop to the Management Office, who give you a token for water and electricity (about 2 hours). Once sorted we headed off along the coast to Tarifa, where we stayed on a campsite close to the beach, which was full of kite-surfers.

Friday, off again, this time we went into Tarifa and had a drive around before heading off along the coast to La Linea de la Concepcion and the camperstop at the Marina. It’s a great stop for Gibraltar and we set off through the Border on our bikes, over the runway and into the country. First stop, as you do, was to Morrison’s the grocers! Just a quick check to see if what we’d heard was true, and yes, it was, it sells English food, exactly as you get at home, sausages, bacon, Hovis bread, pork pies etc., after our little trip around the rock, we’d buy some bits! We headed off up the rock on the bikes, stopping at the edge of the National Park, partly as you had to pay for the privilege of going further up, but mainly because it was so steep I (Sarah) could no longer breathe and pedal, and Ric had stopped on a fairly steep incline and couldn’t get enough momentum to get up the hill!

We looked over the Pillars of Hercules, also the Strait of Gibraltar, to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Disappointed we wouldn’t see the monkeys at the top, we headed back down the hill, carefully as it was so steep, and there was a big male monkey. Another couple were trying to take selfies with it, but we went for a quick photo and as it decided to move towards us we took off – they are quite large and threatening! We cycled down to the 100 pound gun and then back to Morrison’s, where we did enough shopping to keep us going. We do like Spanish food, but sometimes, you just need a bit of home!

The next morning on the dog walk, we discovered some Haus-Boats, which you can rent out. They are little floating wooden huts, with a kitchen, bedroom and living area. We headed off towards Marbella.

En route to Marbella, we stopped off at Puerto Banus and have a drive around, we headed off to the campsite we’d found, thinking we could cycle on into the town. The campsite wasn’t the greatest and there were so many cats! One thing we know is Albi loves to chase a cat, and he promptly took off, on the lead, causing me to drop a bottle of wine – he was not in the good books! We set off on the bikes following Gloria Google Maps, over the road (the busy A7, via footbridge – thankfully) and down to the beach, where we were told to turn right – no road, path or prom, just sand and beach, so we turned back and tried again, same thing! After about an hour we gave up and headed back to the campsite.

Sunday, we headed along the coast to Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Málaga. Tomorrow is a Fiesta day, known here as the Day of the Kings and a lot of places have special events happening tonight. We headed through Málaga. and up through the Montes de Málaga towards the Sierra Nevada, spending the night in Viñuela, behind an incredibly busy Restaurant, we had to wait for a car to be moved, before we could access the site.

Tomorrow, we’re planning to go up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains – we can see snow up there, so we’ll see how far we get. As always thank you for reading and again apologies for the late post – WiFi in Spain is not as widespread as we had been led to believe!