Friday, 11 September 2009

2009 Trip

Brian brought the motor home to the house the day before we were leaving, my dear friend Tina helped pack it with me.After a lot of hard work we decided on a cup of tea, as I went to the house for milk I got back to the motor home just in time to see Tina going to pour a bottle of Gin into the kettle instead of water, as neither of us drink can you imagine the state we would have been in, dancing on the top of the motor home I shouldn’t wonder. Any way I thank Tina for her help.Up next morning and getting the last bits in and away we go.We drove to a place called Aguilas for the night, we found an Aires by a small cove.We were parked next to the beach, it was beautiful, there were about ten motor homes there, and some looked as if they were there for a while but most only use the Aires for over night stops. The beach was very small and being in a cove the sea very calm, perfect for the children there.

Off we go next morning sorry to leave this spot and travel to Granada I have been before but it was Brian’s first time. We visited the Alhambra Palace which dates to the times of the Moors. Around all the rooms is a tiled border with Arabic writing on it which reads Ali be praised. The gardens are beautiful with ponds, fountains and walnut trees.In Granada we visited a church where the tombs of Queen Isabel and Fernando lie (these were the parents of Katherine of Aragon who was the first wife of Henry V111). Queen Isabel drove the moors out of Spain then started the Spanish Inquisition.This is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. The Aires we stayed on was in the Sierra Nevada where there was still a lot of snow on the tops of the mountains
Next on to a place called Calbra again this was on an Aires and very beautiful, it is in the olive region. This Aires was very quiet and peaceful; we were parked with six other motor homes beside the Auditorium, where out door concerts are held. The native bird here is the Stork, their nests were so big and on chimneys, electric pylons and on tall poles that were put up to encourage them, They were feeding young so were in and out of the nests.

Another new place, we arrived at Caceres after lunch.Caceres is an old Moor’s town with many old castles still there. We enjoyed this town as we love historical places and spent hours walking around all the old buildings some dating from the fourteen hundreds. We moved onto a place called Palencia another place with the WOW factor. The Aires lies beside the river with a beautiful park on the other side of us. This is a roman town with a Roman fort still in existence; the bridge that the Romans built is still used as a foot bridge across the river. We liked this place so much we stayed two days to explore it, only the modern shops bring you into the present and on the out skirts of the town where new building has occurred.

We are now in a very small village called Legazpi , the drive here was stunning with such different views, up mountains and through woods. Each house we passed on the mountain road had a sign post with it’s name on and the distance to the house, some times you could not see a house for the trees although they were no more than a hundred metres some only twenty metres from the road. All though this is just a small mountain village it still provides an Eires for motor homes with all the facilities

This is our last night in Spain tomorrow it is into France, We have seen many different aspects of Spain from the orange and Lemon groves of our area, the plastic greenhouses stretching for mile after mile, the olive groves, grape vines, agriculture land with field after field of grain and wheat then onto land for cattle and finally the forests where they were doing logging. This is indeed a very big country and very a beautiful one.On our journey through Spain we travel 1150 miles before we crossed the border into France.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Portugal Trip

We decided to go on a trip to Portugal with friends who also have a motor home.

Our first stop was for two days in Gibralta,I had read a lot of the history of Gibralta and was looking forward to seeing it for myself, I was not disappointed. For miles we could see THE ROCK in the distance as it got nearer my excitement grew

WE parked the van in a motor home eires on the Spanish side and walked into Gibraltar. We use these aires a lot as they are specially for motor homes to stay on over night free of charge.

We went round the shops first, all duty free and had a meal. The next day we took the official sightseeing trip round the Island wow it was great. We were taken up the rock to go into some caves they were very much like the Blue John Caves in Derbyshire

From there we went father up the rock to see the Barbary Apes they were wonderful to watch and so funny.Brian beside one of the Apes, I hope you can tell which is which?

This one would not let the taxi pass it just sat there untill the drive got out and chased it away

As you can see they get plenty of food.

This family was so cute they were on the wall at the top of a drop down to the see a long way down.

We asked the driver if they had to keep the number of Apes down and he told us they Kept them down to 200 but none were killed they sent the older ones to Zoo’s around the world.
After pulling ourselves away from them we went father up the rock to the tunnels.
These have been used in the First World War British soldiers had cut them out, they

went a long way into the Rock and the troops live in them while protecting the Gibraltar Straights.

On the island is the Hundred Ton Gun this points out to sea but has never been fired in battle.

This is the shell for the gun.

This is the view from the rock down to the sea.

This is the motor home aires on the Spanish side from a window in the tunnel (no glass in the windows just holes cut5 out of the rock).

Well it was time to leave Gibraltar and head for Portugal.

We will be paying another visit to Gibbraltar again it was so interesting.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Bessie part four

All I could think to say over and over was what are we going to do? when a man from one of the cars at the other side of the tunnel came over to us, he was French but spoke good English, how high are you, I'm thinking too high, Brians saying three point two. Have you a tape measure and we will measure it? well our big tape is in the tool draw at the side of the van which we could not open for the mountain at the side of us, so I come out of the van with the only tape I can find one a metre long.
The man climbed the ladder on the back of the van and lay on the top, "I will hold the tape at the top you measure it down"
So up goes Brian to catch this metre tape and try to measure the van (we know it is three point two as you have to put the hight on the booking form for the boat). while he is balacing on the ladder holding the tape bottom with one hand and trying not to fall of the ladder and get the right mark to put the tape to measure the next metre, what happens next? the button decided to come off his shorts and down they slip to his ankles, having ho spare hand to stop them.

All I could think was how could you do this to me , when I could hear clapping and cheering coming from the car behind us, there was a woman in the car really enjoying this. The man then asked if anyone had a propper tape measure and all the cars had one so we ended up with about five. After getting all the tape measures the man say oh come on we will go for it, we will get you through, more panic from me how on earth are they going to do that.

The man went in front of the van other side of the tunnel and one was behind the van or so I thought and Brian got into the driving seat, I could only think well if it knocks anything off the van it will only be the top box that hits the top of the tunnel let it go into the gorge I don't care just don't let the van be damaged. It was like something off the golden shot, left a bit, right a bit, slow, over to the left while inching our way through, it will only be the box won't it that will be damaged? I kept saying to Brian, well afer what seemed ages we came out the other side to the sound of everyone cheering, they reckoned the hight three metres being at the outside of the tunnel and going slightly higher in the middle we were able to get the box to the middle bit by keeping to the left we only had six inches on each side of us in the tunnel we had to fold the mirrors into the van to do it, so we were counting on the men telling us if we were ok as we could not see down the van, when we were through I heard a sound on top of the van and went to see what it was, the man who I thought was walking behind the van had been lying on top of the van beside the box and was telling the man in front where to go.
I nearly had a fit when I found this out, here's me saying we can only lose the box and we could of lost someones head, all sorts of thoughts were going through my mind. There are some kind people in this world and we me met two of them that day, when they left us the one who had come the way we were going said "you will be alright now the road gets narrower but the tunnels are higher" in all it took about half an hour to get to the other side of the tunnel and the sat nav lived to take us wrong another day.

When we could stop and go on top to look at the van the straps round the box were all frayed where they had dragged along the top of the tunnel, that is how much room we had to get through.

At last we were on our way downwards again although the roads were very narrow in parts.

Some of the mountain villages were like medi evil buildings left over from annother age.

We stayed in this village for the night, it was bastile day so there were many celabrations, fireworks, bands and dancing in the streets.
The next day it was off to Monaco and down to sea level again. Monaco is a beautiful place but boy is it expensive. this is the first view you get as you approch Monaco from coming down the mountains.
This is the famous Monte Carlo cassino, we had a drink at the Cafe de Paris belonging to the cassino one small beer and one orange juice cost fifteen euros (about twelve pounds fifty).the photos that follow are the palace and marina and different parts of Monaco.

This is the changing of the guards, at the Monaco Palace a bit different to Buckingham Palace.

After Monaco we went to Nice for four days, on one of the days we took the train into Cannes, in Cannes we saw where they hold the film festival and the famous red carpet that the stars walk up when they are possing for the cameras.
When we were in the camp site at Nice in the next caravan to us was a French couple and their dog, we thought Tina and Dave had come to visit us when we seen their dog.

One of these two bedroom appartments was for sale at the going price of seven point five million euros.Well at last we were on our way home, as we had spent more time than we ment to in the South of France we decided to get home as soon as posible, we set off early the next morning and managed to get into Spain where we stopped for the night. Brian went up to the reception while I made a drink and he came back with our neighbours here in Spain Ursula and Steve, I was very suprised as we had drove as far as we could before picking one of the many camps to stay in, they had done the same on their way back. from the UK.

The next day we were home after enjoying a wonderful trip seeing new places and meeting my dear friend Tina's sister Leeta.

We will be going places here in Spain in the van but are looking forward to planning next years big trip.

Jeanette Spain

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Bessie Part Three

Well we are leaving cold wet England for home, onto Sea France then start our journey through France home calling at Nice and Monaco.

The sea was very rough as the rain was lashing down and the wind blowing quite strong, boats are not my thing at the best of times but this one was not good, you could not walk in a straight line on it, thank goodness it was only one hour over. We satyed in Calais for the night still raining, and set of in the morning heading towards the alps, this is painted on the wall of where you park up for the night.

WE traveled a good way the first day and stayed over night at Montmiral, nothing special just mile after mile of farm land with sun flowers and grain fields, it all gets to look the same after a full day of it.

Traveling the next day we start to see the lower alps in the distance, at last the land scape was changing. we stayed over night in the lower Alps, then went on the next day and finally the wow factor was there, what a sight as we climbed, we found a camp in the mid Alps and decided to stay for two days it was so beautiful. there was snow on the top of the mountains and very warm weather where we were. the place was Vissily, the castle there is where the French Revelution started, so as well as being beautiful it had a lot of history to enjoy.
Our camp site was on the banks of the lakes. We woke the next morning to the sound of bells, not church bells these were too quiet for that, just like a ting a ling type of bell, we could not think where they were coming from, then we discovered what they were all the cows in the field across the road had alpine bells round there necks so every time they move we had the sound of the bells

This area was so beautiful the lakes went on and on and the mountains in the back ground were fantastic, but if we wanted to have a stay in Monaco we had to start moving on.

Put Monaco in the sat nav says Brian, well that was the start of the scariest experience yet the most wonderful experience I have ever had. We started off in the morning and by the time we turned the first bent we were climing and I mean climbingup the mountains, but boy was the sights so breath taking, wow look at that I would say to Brian in sheer wonderment the just as quickly say no keep your eyes on the road. As we climbed the road got narrower and more with more and more twists and turnsin it the scenery got more spectacular, there I am camera in hand trying not to sway about as we rounded another bend.
By now we are high in the alps 20 kilometres from the Italian boarder and there is snow on the side of the road as well as the mountains. Every so many kilometres there was a road sign telling you how high you were above sea level.This photo is a bit blurred as I had to zoom it as far as my camera would to get it.
The 2295 is how high above sea level we were, and the road was by now not much wider than the van.

We could not understand why the sat nav had brought us this way, beautiful as it was it was getting very scary, we had traveled about 25 Ks. and not seen an other car, the gorges were such a deep drop down and the mountains were very high at the side of us, this is a photo of the road we had just come along taken out the back window of the van, so as it is a right hand drive I had the gorge was on my side.

Then as we rounded another bend I went into panic mode, ahead of us was a tunnel cut out of the mountain stating that the tunnel was three metres high, we are three point two metres high, point two higher than the tunnel.

There was a bit of the road to pull into so oncoming traffic could come through the tunnel, but not enough with us parked in it to allow anything to pass us. As I said we had traveled 25 Ks. without seeing anything then in the middle of my panic three cars come up behind us and two coming through the tunnel towards us and us causing a traffic jam. We can't turn not enough room and the gorge was bottomless I am sure I could not see the bottom anyway.

While Brian is out of the van trying to puzzle out what to do I am sat in my seat getting ready to throw the sat nav into the gorge, when a knock came to the window on my side, the stupid frenchman must have thought I was the driver not realizing that we were a right hand drive.

As we have spanish number plates on he tried to talk to me in Spanish, if I had of been Spanish I don't think I would of understood what he was saying so I imformed him English. "Ah" he says " you will have to turn round and go back you cannot get through there" well I do not swear but have you ever wished you did, I gave him a I'm disgusted look and said and just how or where would you like me to turn this motor home round.

Jeanette Spain