3 days and 285 miles on the road

The last few days at home were spent packing up Camel again. This is why we needed to buy so many pegs.

1a Pretzeled pegs

The packing was all pretty straight forward, but there was one mystery.  I went to empty out and refill the water carriers and there was……. an earwig floating in one of them.  How on earth did he get in there?  I tipped him out into the sink and filled up the containers and the critter started moving around the sink.  He must have been in there for nearly two weeks, so how come he was still alive?  I let him loose in the garden, as he deserved his freedom after surviving all that.  I just hope the local earwigs will be kind to him because he probably doesn’t speak English.

The other exciting thing is that my little granddaughter has said her first word. ‘Map’. (one of her aunts is a cartographer, so she is thrilled) She also said ‘app’, which seems more appropriate, as she loves to play with any phone or ipad she can get her hands on.  You should see the joy on her little face when I Skype the family; it would be flattering if she didn’t then start bashing on the computer keys.  She also had great fun trying to catch Tim’s birthday present; my daughter has decided that she wants to make a movie, something about a monster baby….

1b Granddaughter vs tank

We have started doing the boasting traveller thing of putting stickers on Camel, The rules are that it has to be a place with its own parliament and flag and you have to at least eat a meal there.  So far Camel has been to England (oops, we share our parliament), Wales, Eire, Northern Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, Lapland (Ralph and Belinda included the Sami people, so we are going to as well!) Finland, Sweden and Holland. We bought the flags on eBay and the seller obviously got very over-excited at such a large order, sending us dozens of extra stickers that are no good to us whatsoever.  I guess it is nice to have spares in case any drop off. 

2 Flags

I also cut off some bits from one of them to put apostrophes on our new daft wheel cover.  Just wish I could do something about the i. (Sorry Mrs Mack)

3 bad grammar

So goodbye to lovely West Sussex in all its autumn glory for a while…

4 Goodbye west sussex

Sunday evening we caught the ferry from Portsmouth, the Cap Finistere, which seems rather small and lacking in facilities after sailing with the Noruña to and from Iceland.  It is also very quiet, which is not all that surprising as there are not many people that are daft enough to sail across the Bay of Biscay so late in the season.  We stopped for an hour or so at Roscoff so they could change staff and bring on a few passengers.  I’ve never been to Roscoff before, I’m not sure I ever will again, as it looks very very small.  It is pretty enough round here, with lots of sand dune covered islands.

4a Roscoe

There must be worse ways of spending a Monday than sitting in the sunshine on a millpond calm sea, reading a book, sipping some nice chilled wine and watching dolphins play in the wake of the ship (we saw more than 6 schools of dolphins, some of which were huge, so many that I even stopped shouting ‘dolphins’ every time I saw them).  It was a shame I only had my snappy camera on me, because they just came out as little black dots on the photos, but I was in cetacean heaven.   I felt considerably less sniffy about the Cap Finistere after such a lovely day and a pretty good meal in the restaurant, especially after thinking about the cost compared to the Noroña (£330 for a single trip compared to over £1000!).  

So back into Spain and a weird sense of deja vu.  We did not quite retrace our route from Easter, as we headed straight for Salamanca, but the mountains south of Bilbao were beautiful and good old Camel just went straight over this time, phew!

5 hello spain

The countryside was much less verdant that in April

5a Brown Spain

We stopped to pick up supplies, managing to resist the temptation to buy a little sausage

6b Big sausage

We managed to find the same campsite that we stayed in at Easter, but, despite what my guide book said, the bar was shut.  Luckily we always carry an emergency supply of beer and just spent the afternoon enjoying the sunshine.

7 Camping Don Quixote

8 Don quixote 2

On Wednesday we cycled the Bromptons along the river that flows right past the campsite into the centre of Salamanca.  The cycle track was lovely, and we experienced a certain nostalgia for Iceland, as we rode over stretches of gravel.  All that was missing was a 4×4 coming towards us at 50mph, raising a huge plume of dust.

9 Slamanca in the Autumn

10 cycle path

We wandered around the parts of the City we missed last time but were pleased to find the same bar that sells beer and a snack for just €2.  Salamanca really is a lovely and well preserved place and it is much nicer at this time of year, because the hordes of people that were here at Easter are missing.

12 Bridge in Salamanca

12a Bromptons in Salamanca

15 salamanca 3

A bar for Futurama fans...

A bar for Futurama fans…

We did resist the temptation to repeat the squid and pineaple disaster, despite how good the fruit and veg looked at the market

17 salamncan market

I was a little perplexed by the bear without a sore head

11 Bear without a sore head

and the cow in a shop (or was it a bull? I guess it might make more sense if you are Spanish?)

16 salamanca 5

I did think this toilet might be a bit off-putting, especially for men….

19 baby toilet!

I couldn’t help but compare these wall carvings to those in Alta

13 wall carving Salamanca

We enjoyed this square, where we sipped some beer listening to a man playing Spanish guitar music.  It’s a hard life, but someone has to try and help the Spanish economy.  It’s only fair, as we had a good go in several places around Scandinavia!

14 Spanish music

This is the best ‘keep out’ sign I have ever seen

20 best keep out sign eve

It was, all in all, a great day out.

21 Bromptons

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