Lockdown Week 13: Places we’ve been (Part 6 – Belgium, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain and Gibraltar (with a night in Portugal).

Ominous Skies

Week 13 in Lockdown. Although we can travel out, we can’t stay out overnight. The weather has not been great this week, but next week looks better!

Reg had to have a new bed, this week as he’s outgrown his! We’re hopeful that we can move in three weeks, but waiting for Boris to give us the ok.


We headed out of the tunnel on our first trip and headed to Belgium, so we could get Nortia fixed the following day in Geel at Dicar Motorhomes https://www.dicar.be/ and despite trying we couldn’t find anywhere with space, so had to head across the border to the Netherlands for the night.

  • De Klinge – we stopped, once Nortia was fixed at Camping Fort Bedmar in Belgium. The campsite was our first one in Belgium and in a lovely place. There is a statue in the town to Gustaaf De Loor, winner of the first La Vuelta, in 1935.
  • Ypres – we stopped at the Jeugdstadion, just a short walk from the Menin Gate and the town.
  • Bredene – Camping Veld & Duin, just a short distance from the beach and the town centre. Almost next door is a Chinese Restaurant!


  • Richmond, Yorkshire – Richmond Hargill House (CMC) Camping and Motorhome Club site. Our very first stop in Nortia! Close to Catterick, Darlington and the Yorkshire Dales.
  • North York Moors CMC, on the edge of the North York Moors near Whitby. This site was the first we have ever stayed on without facilities, and a good way to get to know Nortia (and our limits)!
  • York – Rowntree Park CMC, on the edge of the city. We love this site! If you venture out of the back gate you come across a lovely neighbourhood, with local shops, restaurants and services. Out of the front gate and follow the river into the city centre. This site does flood!
  • Maplethorpe Camping and Caravanning Club SIte, a short walk to the beach, passed a lot of holiday parks.
  • Thetford Forest CMC – another site with no facilities, but in the middle of the forest and with the Desert Rats Memorial and designated trail. Perfect for dog walking.
  • Ashwell, Baldock, Hertfordshire – Ashridge Farm CMC, in a idyllic English Village, complete with two pubs and a cricket green.
  • Henley – Henley Four Oaks, close to the town of Henley and the river Thames.
  • Littlehampton CMC, close to the town of the same name.
  • Folkestone – Black Horse Farm, ideal for the Tunnel and Ferries.
  • Bearstead CMC – close to the Tunnel and ferries. In the countryside with a good dog walk.
  • Polstead Camping and Caravanning Club Site – a gem of a site (we’ve stayed here twice on the trips first in October and again in March). Close to Flatford – scene of Constable’s Hay Wain.
  • Oakham, Rutland – Rutland Caravan and Camping Site. Close to the town and with a lovely dog walk.
  • National Memorial Arboretum, Burton-on-Trent – As we were passing, we wanted to visit the site of National Remembrance. It was very wet when we arrived and we had a great day out here.
  • Swadlingcote – Conkers Camping and Caravanning Site, Derbyshire.
  • York – Sheriff Hutton Camping and Caravanning Club Site, a nice site, not too close to the City. We stayed here at Halloween and it was here I (Sarah), managed to nudge a caravan when reversing! If you are going to nudge a Caravan, make sure the owners aren’t sitting having a nice cup of tea, watching your every move!
  • Alnwick, Northumberland – River Beamish CMC site. We stopped here so we could visit Cragside, the first house in the world to be lit with hydroelectric power.
  • Berwick-on-Tweed – we’ve stopped here before and love the views and the town.
  • Hawes, Yorkshire – Britain’s highest market town. The campsite is a short walk for the town centre.
  • Castleton, Derbyshire – after a hairy drive over the Snake Pass in the rain – the road had been closed but was passable with care. We stopped at the CMC site in the village.
  • Shrewsbury, Shropshire – Love 2 Stay Campsite – a very modern campsite.
  • Cheddar – We stopped at the CMC Site, just on the edge of the town and close to amenities.
  • Dartmouth – Hiilhead CMC club site – lovely views of the coast and an all-purpose campsite, with restaurant and swimming pool. We left here using the Kingsweir ferry and stopped for lovely lunch in the town.
  • Truro – Carnon Downs Caravan Park. We stopped here on our way to the Lizard and Lands End.
  • Tavistock – we stopped at the Camping and Caravanning Club Site, close to the market town and Dartmoor.
  • Charmouth – Manor Farm Holiday Centre. Close to the town and the beach, but not a lot of character.
  • Wareham – Hunters Moon CMC site. A brief stopover, with a lovely dog walk.
  • Brighton – CMC site, at the edge of the city. Close to the seafront.
  • Crawley – Gatwick CMC site. If it wasn’t for the fact it is close to family, we might not stay here! The runway is literally a road away, so very noisy.
  • Moreton-in-Marsh CMC site – on the edge of the Cotswold village.
  • Leek – Blackshaw Moor CMC, in the Peak District, great views and walks.
  • Skipton – Bolton Abbey CMC on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, great views and walks and drives.
  • Harrogate – Harrogate Caravan Park, just outside the town, next to the Great Yorkshire Showground. We stopped here as Nortia, was booked into Steve Mann Caravans, to repair a fault we had with the water pump. https://stevemanncaravans.co.uk/
  • Barnes Green, Horsham – Sumners Ponds. Close to home and a gem of a site.


  • Edinburgh – CMC Site. We had hoped to go into the city and have a look around, but the weather turned and rain set in. Be aware, there is a lot of cycle theft up here and the site have lockers for you to store them in, safely.
  • Dalbeattie – Glenearly Caravan Site. We followed the South West Coastal 300 (SWC300) around the south west of Scotland. We found this campsite almost by accident and it was lovely.
  • Stranraer – Low Glengyre Farm Certified Location – a gem on a working farm.
  • Moffat – Moffat Camping and Caravanning Club Site – on the edge of the town.


  • Llanberis – Morris Leisure Touring Caravan Holiday Park. Right at the edge of the village, close to the Snowdon Mountain Railway and walks.


We started our tour of Spain on the Costa Verde travelling along from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Campostela, before heading south.

  • Zarautz – Gran Camping Zarautz – our first night in Spain, this campsite was right on the Atlantic with a lovely view of the sea and beach and a walk right around it.
  • Loredo – Camping Loredo Derby – Right on the Atlantic, sand was blown along the campsite roads. We discovered in the night that we had parked side on to the wind, so a fairly sleepless night ensued. The facilities were incredibly basic.
  • Onis – Camping Picos de Europa – a campsite right in the Picos de Europa Mountains. This is where we heard the wolves in the morning.
  • Castropol – Camping Vegamar – due to the amount of rain they had in this part of Spain, the grass pitches were not available, so we were allowed to camp in the car park.
  • Santiago de Campostela – Camping AS Cancelas – a lovely site close to the centre of the city and a hypermarket and shopping complex. We didn’t get to see much of the town, as it was here we spent the night (almost) in the hospital.
  • Salamanca – Camping Regio – heading south we crossed into Portugal, then back into Spain and spent the night here. The campsite is behind the hotel and a reduced price fixed menu meal was available.
  • Cáceres – Camping Cáceres – Our first campsite with a private bathroom.
  • Hinojos – Camping Doñanarrayan Park – we arrived to a closed campsite after a horrendous journey in heavy rain. The Barman, came out and explained we could camp but we had to wait until the morning to pay etc. We were given a basic map. After walking the dog, we found the only sanitary block, but it did have heating and hot water.
  • El Puerto de Santa Maria – Camping Playa Las Dunas San Anton – this is another site we don’t want to share but…. we arrived for two days – then Christmas and left 16 days later. We made some lovely friends here and will return.
  • Tarifa – Camping Valdevaqueros, The time had come to say goodbye to the friends we had made and head off on our adventure. Heading south we stopped outside Tarifa on the beach and contemplated asking to go to Morocco, then we heard from our friends www.rewindthegap.co.uk that the Erwin Hymer Insurance wouldn’t cover us, so we couldn’t go. The campsite is close to the beach accessed via subway and home to a lot of kite surfers.
  • Marbella – Camping la Buganvilla. We found this campsite just outside the town hoping we could cycle in, but without cycling on the busy A7 there was no way.
  • Viñuela – Camping Presa La Viñuela – Up in the mountains above Malaga, behind a restaurant. There are walks along the river.
  • Granada – Camping Suspiro del Moro, Otura – This is another lovely gem of a campsite, just outside Granada and you can get the bus or cycle into the city.
  • Roquetas del Mar – Camping Roquetas del Mar – we were going to stay for two nights, but this is where Albi fell sick and passed away. We stayed for another night whilst he was in the vet clinic. We did manage a cycle out along the sea front and will probably return to explore further.
  • Mazarrón – Camping los Delfines – we stopped here in desperation of somewhere to stop and were contacted by Karen and Colin – Rewind the Gap, to say they were nearby and did we want to meet up?
  • San Javier – Camping Mar Menor – after a Burger King Brunch, we arrived at this lovely Stellplatz. Our place had been held by Karen and Colin (much to the dismay of others who’d been turned away). The campsite has the best facilities, we’ve seen for ages (especially for a Stellplatz). It is behind the former Airport – now home to the Spanish Air Force display team
  • Villajoyosa (Benidorm) – Camping El Torres – a must on our to do list. Neither of us had been to Benidorm before and we had heard the tales. A short cycle ride from the campsite and you are in Benidorm!
  • Moraira – Camping Moraira. This is another hidden gem. We cycled out from here to Cova des Arcs at Cala del Moraig. The beaches and bays around here are fantastic. Even better, at the bottom of the hill to the campsite is an Indian Restaurant and takeaway!
  • Valencia – Camping Coll Vert, El Saler. We arrived for two nights, so we could cycle along the beach to the city. Then we were hit by Storm Gloria, and the two nights turned into five. Sand and water was everywhere.
  • Benicassim – Camping Tauro – a one night stop over and we found ourselves in a Caravan Club rally. The campsite was full of Brits! We could have stayed at home.
  • Peñíscola – Camping El Eden – close to the beach in a gem of a town, overlooked by a castle (in Game of Thrones) with cycle routes around – when the sand is cleared. When we were there the sand was over a metre high in places!
  • Amposta – Parque Natural Delta del Ebro – A free spot with Motorhome Parking (services are payable – water and disposal), in the heart of a natural park, with Flamingos.
  • Cambrils – Camping La Llosa – we loved it here. You can cycle into the town and on to Salou. We picked up an Indian takeaway and met some more lovely people here. We stopped for two nights and left after five! We got the train from here into Barcelona.
  • Prades – Camping Prades Park – Up in the mountains, with stunning views and walks. We walked up to La Roca Foradada, the holed rock. Another weather warning was in force when we arrived, but thankfully it wasn’t too bad
  • Taradell – Camping La Vall – still in the mountains, the weather turned colder and we headed back to the coast. We liked this site and will return!
  • Palamos – Empord’Area Palamos – A Motorhome stop just outside the town and with more cycle paths into the town and around the countryside. A supermarket is within walking distance.


We only spent one night in Portugal, hoping to return later in the year. We will be back, just in a little while!

  • Chaves – Guest House Chaves, on the back of a park and on the edge of the town. The campsite is in the garden of a guest house. It was a lovely taste of the Country, especially having driven over the mountains and through the countryside.


We should have stayed longer. We actually stopped in Spain but it was so close to the Border, that we’ve added it under Gibraltar.

  • La Línea de la Concepción – Alcaidesa Marina Motorhome Parking. On the edge of the marina, close to the town and the border and an ideal cycle ride onto the Rock.

Week 32: Cambrils, Spain to St-Jean-Pla-de-Corts, France

Frost in Prades, Spain

We left the lovely campsite in Cambrils and followed our instincts into the mountains, stopping at a site in Prades. Prades sits in the Muntanyes de Prades, and the area is stunning, just what we needed after the coast.

On our way up, we headed off to Carrefour and stocked up with a few bits, but in the International aisle, we discovered a whole load of English (UK) goodies – crumpets, Aunt Bessie’s thick cut oven chips, Richmond sausages, Cornish Pasties and cottage cheese! We do love Spanish food and some that we have tried has been excellent, but when you crave a sausage sandwich, the Spanish ones aren’t quite right!

On arrival at the campsite, you are handed a welcome pack, which includes things to do / see and there was a walk which looked good. So the next morning we set off to the town and followed the directions up to La Roca Foradada (the holed rock). First we passed the Ermita de Sant Antoni, then a lake with frogs before we found the Rock itself. It literally is a large piece of sandstone, with a hole in it! We headed back down and wandered back through the old town, looking at the architecture. There is also a photo exhibition of people who lived in the town on the walls of some of the buildings.

We have had some more weather here! We arrived with an amber weather warning for wind on Tuesday, it was a bit blustery but after Storm Gloria, seems a little tame! It started gusting in the night and continued until about five o’clock in the afternoon, when as if a switch had been hit, stopped dead! However that night it did get cold and we awoke to frost.

On Wednesday, we continued our journey across, above Barcelona to the Massis del Montseny and the lovely town of Taradell, just outside the town of Vic. The campsite was a gem and is another we will come back to, but the weather has turned a little colder up here and getting back to the coast is on the cards.

Thursday, we set of again up the mountain passes towards the Costa Blanca. We passed through Vic and then on to Osuna, another Game of Thrones location – we really need to get up to speed with GOT and find out what we need to know! Next, we headed into the Parc National de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa, and on to Palamós. Our stopover here is a Camperstop, with amenities but it is well kept and quiet.

The town of Palamós is close by and the following morning (Friday) we cycled down to the Marina and the old town. The wind off the sea was bitter and very cold, so we headed back to Nortia and the remainder of the sunshine, to cook ourselves a curry. Ric had been wanting to cook a beef curry for a while so I duly found what I thought was beef, to discover it is lamb! Knew I should have checked with Google!

We decided we would stay another day at the Camperstop Empordarea, where we felt comfy and there were (limited) services – motorhome service point – also available to drive in and use for 3 Euros – toilets (1 male and 1 female) and 2 showers – 1 Euro for 5 mins. It is also about a five minute walk from the Supermarket and about 15 minutes from the town / beach.

We set off on our bikes towards Platja d’Aro and as the cycle route disappeared in several places, we stopped at the town and returned to Palamós, before heading off on another Via Verdes (green route) towards the town of Palafrugell. After 21 miles, we returned to Nortia and stayed comfy and warm.

Sunday, we had already decided we were going to leave and head over the border to France. We set off along the coast road to Sant Antoni de Colonge and then inland to Colonge, where we followed French cycle training group up the hill, they pulled over at the top and we carried on towards the border and were stopped by a cycle race in progress. We continued to the border, where the number of parked up lorries, service stations, cafe/bars, restaurants, shops and prostitutes increased. At the border the number of Police also increased and once safely over the border and back into the quiet of the countryside we could breathe again! We stopped overnight in Saint-Jean-Pla-de-Corts, on a little campsite with views of the snow capped peaks of the Pyrenees.

Tomorrow, we’re off again on a new adventure, where will we go? Find out next week! As always thank you for reading and following our travels.

Week 31: Peñiscola to Cambrils – a search for flamingos.


On Monday, we left Peñiscola and headed up the coast to the Parque Natural Delta del Ebro, where we’d found a camperstop and heard we could see Flamingos. We’d already seen some on this trip on the road to Cadiz, but here they are supposed to be prevalent.

As we turned off the main road onto the single track road which takes you down to the Parque, we were surrounded by rice fields and birds. This looked like the ideal stop over, although there are no amenities as such – you can empty your waste water and toilet between 10:00 and 13:00 for 3 Euros, but otherwise you are on your own! There is also a restaurant at the Delta.

We found ourselves a nice pitch with a view of the mountains and the rice fields, and having heard it could get quite busy were tucked out of the way of the main camperstop. We set off to the closest Mirador (viewing platform) to have a look for flamingos – and there were some! There were also herons and storks.

The next day, we set off on our bikes towards the sea and the beach, passing more flamingos on the way – you can’t tire of seeing them, they are beautiful and various stages of colour from white to deep pink. We then headed down to Sant Carles de la Ràpita, before heading back having cycled 23 miles. The camperstop was filling up tonight and several of our neighbours asked us about the flamingos!

Wednesday, we set off again to the coastal town of Cambrils. I (Sarah) had previously been to Salou, but as none of the campsites there were open, we chose the nearby town. What a surprise it was too. We were asked to select a pitch and having duly measured one and checked the sun position, we drove in. One slight hitch was the gnarly trees, whose branches were quite low and positioning Nortia, took a bit of effort – we even had to remove the bikes to get sorted. We completed the task and are still talking!

We went for a stroll along the prom into the town, it’s about 500 metres away with lots of restaurants, bars and shops. We decided we’d stay for a few days. Thursday, we were finally able to catch up with our blogs, and set off on the bikes to Salou. There is a cycle ride along the beach, however Storm Gloria has left her mark here and we had to abandon the cycle path in places, where the sand hasn’t yet been cleared. Salou is not how I remembered it from 20 or so years ago, and Cambrils feels a lot more like the Salou I recall. Salou appears to have had a big renovation and in some ways reminded us of a mini Benidorm! We headed back along the road and looked out for a Restaurant we’d been recommended, but it’s not yet open.

We had decided that on Friday we’d go to Barcelona by train, so having heard that the train station had moved, we set off again on our bikes to find the station and the train times. We chose the 10:33, as its an hour and a half each way and set off on foot on Friday morning to the station – 30 minutes away. The train ride was pretty uneventful and we got off at Barcelona – Passeig de Gràcia, which is the closest to the Sagrada Familia. As we strolled along, we found a restaurant advertising home cooked fish and chips, so challenge accepted – Somewhere Aragó. It was as good as expected! We continued to the Sagrada Familia and joined the hoards of people in the vicinity. We opted not to go into the Church itself as there was a 20 Euro entry fee each!

We headed off from here to the home of Barcelona Football Club – Nou Camp, before heading back to Barcelona – Sants Station, to get the train home to Nortia. We strolled back through the old town, before collapsing at the Motorhome. It was one of the longest days we’d had!

Saturday, the sun was shining and the temperature was due to reach 22°C, which it did and possibly some more – as we were in direct sun. We had to keep reminding ourselves it was 1st February! We didn’t do too much except, hunt down a Chinese Restaurant in town and head back later in the evening for dinner.

Sunday, the sun was still shining and although possibly a little cooler, it was a great day. We headed out on the bikes to the old town of Cambrils. What a gem of history, this place has. In the Civil War, Catalunya resisted the Franco Regime and as such was bombed by the German and Italian air-forces, at Franco’s request. There is a trail through the town with information in English, and an air raid shelter under the street, which you visit via the Museum. We’re moving off tomorrow, hopefully up to the mountains nearby.

If you’ve ever fancied the idea of doing what we are and blogging for the Erwin Hymer Group, they are looking for couples, families and solo travellers for their 2020-2021 Blogging Team. Their request is, “If you believe you have the qualities and spirit of adventure we’re looking for, are engaging and inspiring, set the wheels in motion and get in touch today”. Email Rachel and Emma at bloggers@erwinhymergroup.co.uk

Thank you as ever for reading.

Week 30: Storm Gloria met us with a bang!

A Lull in the Storm

Having been into Valencia on a gloriously sunny day (we do have to remind ourselves its January), we were hit full on by Storm Gloria. We asked each day if we could stay as the weather was so bad. Each time we asked we were met with a little smile (as if we were going anywhere!)

The storm continued into Monday and whilst it started to look a little better, it came back with avengence. We settled down in the Motorhome downloading programmes to watch and waiting out the storm. On Tuesday, there were more weather warnings, high waves (8 metres), wind and snow above 300m. A thunderstorm raged for over two hours complete with hail and heavy rain. Spain was on alert – the port of Valencia and the airport at Alicante were closed, three people were known to have died. We and others we knew were safe and sound, but just staying put in various places. Mid-afternoon, there was a lull and we took advantage to have a wander, walking down to the beach for some fresh air and the scene that met us was unbelievable. The roads were flooded, as were the vegetable fields and the cycle path we had used on Saturday. The sea was a murky grey and the horizon was hard to distinguish. There was even a shipping lane buoy washed up on the beach. We were nearly caught out by a wave but managed to stay dry.

Wednesday, the storm had relented, despite being woken by giant hailstones and more thunder, followed by some sunshine. We headed off up the coast, through Valencia to Benicassim. The full effect of the storm was evident all around. We had made the right decision to stay put. We arrived at a campsite, pitched for the night and had a walk to the sea.

On Thursday, we continued our trip along the coast to Peniscola. We saw even more damage caused by Storm Gloria, and the seafront road to the campsite was closed to general traffic, as it was being cleared of sand by JCBs, Bulldozers and Bobcats. There is an underground car park on the beach, which is being pumped out of water (it was still being pumped out when we left on Monday).

We went out on the bikes, up to the castle and the port, before trying to get to the Ermita de Sant Antoni, a mere 5 kilometres away, but with about a kilometre left the path turned too steep and we turned back. As we returned, the fishing boats were coming back into port and the fish sales began.

We decided we would stay in Peniscola until Monday, it’s a lively town with a lot to see and do. Despite being the low season, Restaurants and Bars are open and the weather was fantastic. We set off on our bikes to Benicarlo, just up the coast. The road here has not yet been fully opened and in places the sand was about two feet deep, if not more. It was like giant snow drifts. Shop owners were sweeping out their shops and apartment building and hotels were sweeping and jet washing their frontages. The Fire Service was also pumping out basements. The bikes needed cleaning before we could put them away as there was sand everywhere!

Saturday, we knew the weather was a little doubtful today so we planned to go to the castle. It has been used in several films, including El Cid and in the TV series Game of Thrones. The castle has an interesting history too. It was part of the Arab reign of the region, then Spanish and a Templar Castle before being the pontifical seat of Papa Luna – Pope Benedict XIII. It stands high on the rocks and partially built into them, overlooking the bay and the port and it is easy to see why it was built here. It is cheap to enter and you can wander around at your leisure.

Sunday, after a night of rain, we went off to explore more of the town and the surroundings on our bikes, the sand is still being cleared. We think this will be a long term operation. We took a trip back to the lake where we’d seen jumping fish to see if we could capture it in a picture – we did!

Tomorrow, we’re off up the coast in the hunt for Flamingos! Will we be lucky? As always, thank you for reading this. We really appreciate it. We also apologise for the intermittent postings, due to the storm, WiFi has been very hit and miss!

Week 29: Spain (7 months on the road)!

Seven months ago, on 19th June 2019, we were handed the keys to Nortia, and we haven’t looked back since! Don’t get us wrong, there have been some testing times – we used to have a fairly large house, we rattled around in – we even had a room, known as the dog’s room! So, transferring to a motorhome was going to be different! We had jobs we liked and loads of friends and family for support. The time had come though for us to do something we’d talked about for years – TRAVEL.

We sold our house and downsized to a flat, which we could rent out, if needed. We sold surplus belongings and quit our jobs. We set off up to Darlington to collect the keys to Nortia. Nortia, as we’re sure you’re aware, is an Etrusco T7400 QBC and has a front dining / lounge with a pull down bed and a fixed rear queen-size bed, under which is the garage. Separating the two areas are the shower and toilet – both are separate, but can be closed off to make a big bathroom or en-suite to the bedroom.

Since leaving Cleveland Motorhomes in Darlington, we have travelled 21000 miles, been to 26 countries, travelled to the top of mainland Europe, Nordkapp, the two centres of Europe – old and new, visited the three capital cities on the Baltic Chain, met lots of wonderful people and made new friends, we drove to Croatia to meet my (Sarah’s) mum, on holiday. We have travelled through the Dolomites on the recommendation of Marcella and Julian, http://www.theofficeisclosed.com/. We were filmed for Etrusco in Riga, where we first met Karen and Colin http://www.rewindthegap.co.uk/, then we met the again in Poland – unexpectedly, and again, last week – planned, in San Javier. We went to Auschwitz, Salaspils and various other memorials, including Tyne Cot Cemetery and the Menin Gate. Experiences have not always been pleasant, even remembering the stinky fish – Surströmming, in Sweden, makes us slightly green!

Last week, we said goodbye and good night to one of the team, Albi Dog, in Spain. We’re continuing our adventure with him in our hearts and with so many memories.

What has this week had in store? We left Karen and Colin in San Javier and headed up the coast – eastwards towards Benidorm. We stayed at Villajoyosa, a short bike ride away, and had our first look at the town on Monday! It was just as we thought it would look with large numbers of sky-scaper buildings (hotels) and an amazingly large beach. We were going to come back and explore tomorrow, so for now it was time to head back. On Tuesday, we went back to Benidorm, we had brunch – a full English Breakfast – in a cafe on the sea front and though how peaceful it was, nothing like we were expecting. We thought we’d find the hotel where the TV series is filmed, so put the address into Gloria Google Maps, and off we went. This is when we realised we hadn’t even scrapped the edge of the town. It was heaving with people, cars, bars, restaurants and shops, interspersed with amusement arcades. Every other person appeared to have a hired mobility scooter – including tandems, and there was even parking for them at the hotel. Having found the hotel, we headed back to the campsite, but not before being told off by a Policeman for cycling in the pedestrian area (full of mobility scooters)!

From Benidorm, we headed further east, up to Altea, where we had planned to stop for the night. We’d been told how lovely it was and wanted to have a mooch around the old town, but it was so busy – it seems everyone had the same idea, both the campsite and the stellplatz were full, so we negotiated the one way system, along the beach and pulled up in a lay-by overlooking the bay for lunch. From Altea, we headed up to Calpe and on to Moraira, where we found a small campsite at the top of the hill, with views over the bay.

At the bottom of the hill, we spotted an Indian Restaurant with Take-Away, so we unloaded the bikes and headed for a tour around, just to see what was there. We went up to the point westwards, but there were no real views over the bay, just villas. We did find a supermarket, another Indian Restaurant and two Chineses along with a number of bars. We had already decided we were having an Indian and cycled back down the hill later to collect one!

The next morning, we headed off on the bikes to Cova des Arcs, at Cala del Moraig. It’s stunning bay with natural coves and the most perfect blue green sea. We stopped for lunch before setting off up the 22% incline of hill from the bay to Cap d’Or. Cap d’Or is another beautiful bay with a cafe and bar and sandy beach. We’d been recommended it by one of our neighbours we met that morning.

On Friday, we set out to Javea, and spotting an English Supermarket, felt compelled to stop. It wasn’t as great as we expected but we were able to get a few home comforts – crumpets and a warm sausage roll! We continued onwards up over the hill (and hair-raising bends) to Denia, before heading up towards Valencia. We stopped for the weekend at a campsite just outside Valencia, in El Saler. It’s right on the cycle route to the city and has a bus stop right outside. The beach is also about a five minute walk. We’re here for the weekend, trying to slow down our trips and enjoy what we see more.

Saturday, after a slow start, and chores completed – laundry, bed changing etc., its not all glamour and sight seeing, we sorted out the bikes and headed into the city. Valencia is a welcome mix of old and new with beaches and green spaces and a cycle route that takes you right around the city. We headed to the port then up to the old town and back through the park, which seems to span the whole of the middle, before cycling back along the beach and the prom.

Sunday, there was a weather warning for today, there was due to be coastal disruption from 12:00 to 00:00, generally, we have learnt this means high wind and coastal based activities are put on hold. We awoke to rain and it carried on all day, putting paid to our plans of cycling to the nature reserve and around the local town, but we haven’t done bad for the weather recently! We’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings and where we head off to.

As always, thank you for reading and following our blog. We hope that you are enjoying it. We’ll be back next week, internet permitting with more news and tales!

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!

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!

Week 26: Christmas in Spain

Having decided to stay at El Puerto del Santa Maria until after Christmas, we settled in to the campsite quite nicely and made friends with our neighbours. The campsite is made up of about three separate areas for motorhomes and caravans and another stepped area for tents. Within the area we are based there is also a road which splits the area and each little cul-de-sac off it has eight pitches, plus another four which back onto you, giving you a little community feel!

On Monday, we had a little drive around the local area and went up to Jerez, to see the MotoGP circuit and the Monumento Michelin ( a giant Michelin Man on a roundabout!). On our trip we passed a fire station tower, with Santa waving at the top and then popped into the Hypermarket to stock up for Christmas. Food shopping in Spain at Christmas is no different than at home – it is chaotic and manic and the shops here only shut for Christmas Day! Once back at our little home from home, we checked the weather forecast and saw we were due more sun for the week!

Christmas Eve, we set off in search of a bread shop (Panaderia) and ended up on the bridge to Cadiz. We had planned this and not just found ourselves several miles away. You can see the bridge from the beach and as you may have discovered by now, we have a thing for bridges! It was too good an opportunity to miss. Cadiz is a peninsula into the Atlantic Sea, connected to the mainland by a number of bridges. We set off through the town of El Puerto del Santa Maria and then passed over the river – there is also a ferry from the harbour to Cadiz, here. We headed down to the village of Valdelagrana and into the Parque Natural Los Toruños, a lovely oasis of riverbed and grassland, and a natural habitat for a number of birds.

On the other side we exited the park by the University of Cadiz, and headed towards the bridge – Puente de la Constitución de 1812 and found you can cycle up the service road and across to Cadiz, we only ventured halfway across, as we’d already cycled 13 miles and it was 20° C. On the way back, we found a Chinese takeaway and stopped to pick up our dinner.

Christmas Day and the sun is shining. We started the day opening the cards and presents we’d brought with us from home, before setting off in search of bread. We’d read that bread is a staple in Spain and that a meal is not a meal without it, so surely there must be one open, We checked Gloria Google maps and headed off to one that looked like it might be open, no, then off to another, again no, right one more… YES and the bread was still hot. We bought one for us and each of our neighbours (it is Christmas after all!) After a light lunch, we sat in the sun for a while more and ten strolled on the beach, before heading back to Nortia and sitting some more outside, but with our nearest neighbours – our pitch and theirs adjoined! We prepped our dinner and rang the family, before heading over for a couple of drinks with them in their awning. Needless to say one turned into two and our Christmas dinner was postponed until Boxing Day!

On Boxing Day, we decided to stay at the campsite until the New Year, it feels so homely and comfortable, moving around over the Christmas break felt a little too stressful! We headed out again for bread and found another bread shop, this one had little cakes too – well it is Christmas! After completing a few chores, having lunch and sorting the laundry, we set off on the bikes to the nearby town of Rota. We knew there is a large Military Base there, as we’d been listening to the US Military civilian radio station, and after a few miles, Gloria Google maps decided we should turn right into the Naval Base, faced with a large Marine with a larger gun, we returned to the campsite, relaxed some more in the sun and had our lovely Christmas Dinner.

Friday, another day chilling in the sun, we had a cycle around the town and went to the supermarket, but not much else! Relaxing in the sunshine can be such hard work!

Saturday, another lovely sunny day – we emptied out and cleaned the garage, before heading out again on our bikes and mooching around the town, before more sun and another walk on the beach.

Sunday, we set off again on our bikes to the town of Valdelagrana, with its fabulously long sandy beach. We cycled along the prom and back into the Parque Natural Los Toruños, cycling a different route and seeing various types of wading birds, herons, storks, curlews and guillemots. After 13 miles we arrived back at the Motorhome and sheltered from the very strong winds, before setting out to the beach, to walk the dog and feeling like we were being sand blasted with the sand whipped up off the beach!

Not the only Etrusco – our Spanish Etrusco Neighbours!

Again, and as always, thank you for reading our post. We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will update you with our New Year’s adventure soon….

Week 25: Spain and Rain (not only on the plain)

The rain in Spain on the Costa, not the plain

We set off from our overnight spot in Cáceres we headed south towards Seville and our overnight spot we’d picked in Hinojos. As we headed down we were greeted by more orange trees and the occasional lemon or lime tree. We asked Ditsy Daisy Sat Nav to find us a supermarket and she took us to an empty field! It might be about to be one of those days… We had passed an ALDI on the way so we popped in there instead. The weather was lovely and sunny when we left Cáceres, but as we stopped for lunch the weather decided against a nice sunny spot and we were pelted with wind and rain. On the drive south, the weather pretty much decided it was in charge and although we didn’t have snow, we possibly had everything else! When, the rain stopped it turned foggy!

We arrived at the campsite at Hinojos, to find there was no-one else there, even Reception was shut, but there was someone in the Bar who met us and told us where we could stop and gave us the instructions as to when there would be staff on site! We left, Hinojos, in the sunshine and headed back towards Seville, we’d opted to switch Ditsy Daisy off the Motorways (and Toll Roads) but after an hour navigating around the outskirts of Seville, we put her back on to the Motorway route and found ourselves back where we had started, and a route out which took a matter of minutes! We carried on through the roadworks on the bridge and down towards the coast, through what appeared to be desert, before arriving at El Puerto del Santa Maria, on the Costa de la Luz.

The campsite is opposite the beach and from our pitch about a five minute walk. The sea here is still the Atlantic, we haven’t got around the coastline enough to reach the Mediterranean again. We took a short stroll on the beach, and began to feel this could be our spot for Christmas, although its still a week away. We decided we’d see what we felt like the next day…

The next morning we awoke to sunshine, and decided we would stay here for the big HO HO HO! We’ve been on the road now for almost six months – it was our six month Vaniversary, in a couple of days and we decided we needed to stop for a little longer, plus the thought of having to try and find somewhere as nice, the closer we got to the Christmas break, could have been difficult. El Puerto del Santa Maria, appears to have everything we needed in one place.

We got the bikes out, gave them a quick overhaul and went out on a short (12 mile) cycle around town, not bad after a long break away from them, although it is very flat here, so that is a plus! We were helped out on our return to the campsite by a lovely local lad, who thought we looked a little lost and the route he took us back, headed right past an Indian Restaurant – guess what we had for dinner! And to top it off, it was on justeat.es – exactly the same as in the UK!

Our six month Vaniversary, was spent in the lovely Nortia, as the weather has turned wet and windy. Today, marks six months since we were given the keys to Nortia, in Darlington, England and the beginning of our adventure. So far, we have travelled 20,000 miles through 25 countries, some more than once, 30 of the 48 English Counties. We have been to the most northern point of mainland Europe, both centres of Europe (old and new), followed the Baltic Chain, been to the most southern point of Scotland, Lizard Point and Lands End, Snowdonia, the Peak District, the Lake District and the Pennines. We’ve been to the Arctic Circle and beyond, been to Santa’s village and met reindeer. We’ve spent the night at Auschwitz, before visiting. We’ve eaten fish and chips in Whitby and Hawes, Curries in York, Suffolk, Crawley, Tromso – Norway, Aalborg – Denmark, Riga – Latvia and here in Spain. We’ve had some interesting moment in Latvia, where we got stuck in the mud, were filmed for Etrusco, picked up a speeding fine and were stopped by Border Police! We were also stopped on the entry to France, from Italy! We’ve paid our respects at a number of memorials, in a number of countries. We’ve met new friends in lovely places, had new experiences, not all good! We’re now looking forward to our next six months and new adventures and experiences!

The rain continued on and off for the rest of the week, although not cold, we did seem to have a knack of getting wet every time we tried to go anywhere – the dog walk, the local shop etc. However, we have given Nortia a proper road test in trying weather and so far she has passed with flying colours!

There is now a weather warning for the whole of Spain and although our little part has disruption due to a coastal event – the sea is about to get a little rougher, and its not advisable to enter it! It’s still raining however, the Winter Solstice was marked with more rain – whoever said “the rain in Spain, stays mainly on the plains”, had definitely not been to the Costa de la Luz in December! Still the days should now start to get longer.

Sunday, the sun has come out to great us, finally – its only been three days but feels a lot longer. We were lucky to have arrived before the rain, the campsite had got a little soggy and the new arrivals had been holed up in the car park, unable to drive onto site, but today we got new neighbours! The sun also, encouraged the general chores to get started, there was a queue for the laundry, skylights and doors were flung open, carpets hoovered, and we even smelt a BBQ. We went back out on the bikes, just around town, but the town is decorated for Christmas. There are lights strung across the narrow roads and Christmas Trees as well as Orange trees and Poinsettias, growing in the town square. The weather looks promising for the next week, so fingers crossed.

As always, thank you for reading and hopefully you’ve enjoyed our little adventure this week….

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….