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Andorra and beyond, quick smart!

Monday morning and it was time to pack up our beautiful pitch by the sea. We had done most of the van chores the previous night but still left with the toilet and jet wash the van as it was covered in salt. ( we shall never moan about flush toilets again. It’s so nice that we can just go to the toilet in our homes, flush and walk away. Here we have to walk it up to the toilet block twice a day, clean it out, bring it back blah blah blah) Eventually we left the campsite at 09.30, not bad for us.

Our last morning’s view.

The route to Andorra was very pretty indeed. Especially travelling past Montblanc. Higher and higher we drove, the temperature falling as we ascended. The roads were mainly single file and very twisty and long drops each side. Huge birds of prey circled above. It was like a scene from little house on the prairie. A couple of times we pulled over for a cup of tea and a spot of lunch. The scenery is quiet something.

View from our lunch shop, just past MontBlanc

The border of Andorra was now before us. We wondered if we would be stopped and searched as we heard some motorhomes had been but fortunately we were waved through. There was now one road in and one road out. Buildings seem to perch dangerously on the edge of the mountains. The buildings also changed in colour. In Spain the had been bright terracotta’s but here the were dark and grey. What with the rain and low clouds it was quite depressing. The campsite was eventually found. So we parked up and went to check in. The receptionist was miserable and didn’t seem to like my French. But we got our token and tried to find the pitch, electric and water. All the while whilst it was raining very hard. We had to turn off our data roaming on reaching Andorra as it’s not included in the European packages and we found ourselves with no phone signal, data or WiFi. Because of the situation with dad at home I wasn’t keen on not having any signal and when we found out the restaurant didn’t start serving until 8pm and very expensive food at that we decided to make a break for the border. France and the border was a 45 minute drive away. We just needed a new campsite. The only thing we liked about Andorra was its quirky roundabouts ( trust us, there is a lot of them) Each one had a different sculpture on.

A large golden cockerel.
Big bottomed cyclist being pulled of a bike by another big bottomed person.

Just before we reached the French border we had to pay a toll of 11 euros to go through a tunnel. It was an extremely long tunnel through the mountains and when we came out the other side the road junction just had written in white paint with a line, Andorra and France. Thank goodness. Now to get the data switched back on and find a campsite.

The first was an aire and it was full, the second was closed in September and the third, well once we eventually found it after Miss Lexy had taken some wrong turns through the tiniest village with walls just wide enough to get through. But, the campsite office was deserted, no one would answer the phone. There was a van and a caravan on site as well as a few lodges. So we parked up kitted up with full wet weather clothing and got about sorting the water , electric and toilet out. Maybe someone will be around in the morning to take payment from us.

By this time we were very hungry and with no restaurant we managed to knock up some melon and Spanish ham, chips and omelette. Well one omelette between two. The first two eggs whisked up nicely. The second two from a new box were hard boiled. Mmmm it seems our translation in the Spanish supermarket hadn’t gone to plan and we had purchased half a dozen hard boiled eggs. All this whilst defrosting our fridge as it had been working so hard in the heat it had blocked up.

So there you have it. In a nutshell we have driven further than planned today, the weather is pants but then we are high up in the Pyrenees in a village called Merens-Les-Vals. At least tomorrow we now have an hour less to drive. Time now for our strawberry tarts and cup of tea before bed. Night all

Our last day in Spain

So the last full day on the campsite in Spain. We decided to make the most of our glorious pitch and remain here for the day. The weather was due to be overcast, but by mid morning the sun was beaming and it was 24°. The previous day we had to return to the supermarket as Scoot had stopped working. A replacement was found and bought back and charged so this morning it was time for its maiden voyage. Introducing Scoot-too.

The funny man in the cape is not batman, but Rich, my new husband

Scoot-too is slightly faster than Scoot so we have to be a little careful and keep our eyes on the road. Children on bikes and scooters here appear out of nowhere.

After the successful trail run and van chores done it was time to sit down and do not a lot. It’s very pleasant doing not a lot in this weather.

We also have new friends today that must be related to Suzy. Every time we get something to eat there they are. Quite a peculiar pair. We have named them Maud and Mildred.

Lunch was a bowl of pasta soup with chicken and prawns. Their seafood here is so nice.

After lunch it was time to do, you guessed it. Not a lot 😂just sit and read, watch and listen to the waves crashing. It’s. A challenging life pitched on the beach. Although I think the big challenge will be in a few days when we need to wash all the salt of the van and the awning.

Just before we headed to dinner we checked out where we would be driving to over the next few days and ensure we had some campsites in mind. Monday’s target will be Andorra. Quite looking forward to some mountain views.

But alas the evening has arrived and we enjoy our last evening in the restaurant. Sitting outside it was still so warm and still. I enjoyed monkfish with rice and Rich a rather splendid looking pizza with local ham.

Whilst we are travelling you may ask what have we done with Suzy? Well she herself is at doggy holiday club and tonight we got a couple of photos of her chilling out with the gang. No need to worry about her 😂

Sleepy Suzy

We shall leave you with another video of our newest member Scoot-too and a few from our wander round the campsite. Have fun

Children’s play pool at the campsite.

Another busy day of….. not a lot 🏖

Friday, we decided to stay at camp today as we are now on this amazing beach front pitch. On awaking it was fairly overcast but warm so I popped out the sofa chair, dressing gown on and tea in hand and sat over looking the sea. Mr Hurks likes the comfort of the van chair in the morning as he is not as brave or stupid with the weather like me. The sun was trying to come out and there was an orange glow with a millpond sea. A stand up paddle boarder paddled his way across in front of me. It looked idiclic.

Breakfast on the beach.

The morning was spent drinking tea and doing the usual motorhome chores, until lunch time. We needed to cook up our fish today so I set the Cobb up and prepared the potatoes. Wrapped them in foil with oil and salt and placed them in the bottom. The fish was placed with plenty of butter, lemon and lime and chopped fresh parsley and placed in a roasting bag. Thank goodness we have now used the parsley. Our fridge was taken over by it.

Time to sit back and let the cooking, well cook.

After 45 minutes dinner was ready. There is something very therapeutic about cooking on the beach with the waves crashing in the background.

Just squint, and you can see past the black bits on the potatoes.

After dinner was done Rich relaxed whilst I went for a dip. Turns out I’m quite scared of the sea when I’m going in on my own but I kept saying to myself it’s ok, you can swim just keep your mouth shut, let’s face it sea water tastes disgusting. I had a good swim even if my feet did keep trying to float higher than my head as I kept my crocs on as it was quite stony.

Rich had arranged a geocache meet for this evening and it was just along the beach at the next restaurant.

We met with 4 other cachers, one of which was from the Netherlands originally and the other 3 from Spain. Fortunately the lady spoke fluent English so we managed to find out a few things rather than just smile at each other. Although it always makes me chuckle when even if they can speak English, Rich develops his own translation. Have you done that? Speak in a different accent, slower and louder and think they will understand you better! It’s hilarious and he does not realise he is doing it.

Dinner was not bad but we have had better and I was too full for desert, of course Rich managed to squeeze in a sorbet.

The evening finished with a short walk along the sand to our pitch and again the usually maintenance before a nice cup of pre-bed tea.

A gentle day of local exploring.

We did it! We were up and out before lunch time. Yes, showered, dressed, fed, toilet emptied blah blah blah. 🙂 we had information from our neighbour about a fishing port mentioned in his guide book that may be worth a visit. So off we trotted to L’Ametlla de Mar.

Well nearly. Only after we stopped at reception and booked us in for a few extra nights and to move pitch to a sea front pitch as quite a few campers had left this morning.

It was only a 20 minute drive and we arrived and parked up in the harbour outside a very nice looking restaurant. The menu wasn’t available in English or French but the kind waiter gave us a rough translation. I ordered the sea food Paella and Rich had some kind of local catch of the day fish. Which we both thought was very nice. Even if it did have funny looking teeth.

😉do not fear, the onion was removed.

As it was so nice Rich also had a dessert of a Catalan Apple desert.

We hadn’t been successful with finding any geocaches the previous day so we checked the map and one showed 60meters from the restaurant. After a nice quick find we headed off to our next stop. We had spotted a castle on the map a little further down the coast with a geocache. The roads here were quite good and full of local Spanish built houses. Very pleasant.

As we neared Castell de Sant Jordi d’Alfama motorhomes were dotted around in between the bushes. It appears that this is a good place to wild camp as you have access to the beach and stunning views.

Yes, agreed it was a fantastic spot to park up. Views of a castle and endless coastline, clear blue seas, clean and tidy.

With geocache found it was now time to explore the car park. You May ask why we needed to explore the car park? Well the previous day and whilst on our shopping trip Rich spotted something he was rather keen on. Yes, we are about to reveal the purchase 😂

Rich is not the speediest at walking at the moment so he fancied something to give him a boost.

Are you ready?

Meet……..

Scoot

Scoot is Miss Lexy’s new co pilot an shall accompany her on her travels. Just think bat mobile and bat scooter.

Rich had spent the previous evening putting scoot together and painstakingly translating the instruction manual into English. Then once he was fully charged this morning, Scoot had his maiden voyage. A quick ride along the road in the campsite. But his major outing was the car park at the castle.

The first outing

It was hilarious. You should have seen Rich’s face. Like a kid Christmas morning.

Check out the eye brows at the end 😂

It was now my turn and never ridden a scooter I wasn’t quite so sure I would survive.

Such fun

After our crazy antics we enjoyed a cup of tea with these amazing views and planned our route back to camp.

Now we had been a bit fed up with motorways so we thought we would set google to local roads. Well hmm, not sure about those. Either local pirates would jump out of the bushes, or the mad donkey riding cowboys would race us along the unmade roads. Yes unmade road, google? What were you thinking? At one point Miss lexy bounced into the air over an invisible bump that was disguised as a flat pot holed road. The sugar jumped out of the cupboard. Thank fully the lid stayed on. Ok reroute, back to the bigger road.

The remainder of the journey was smooth but we arrived back late again. Spanish time really goes quick. Must be their clocks.

So we cheated for dinner and went to the restaurant where we enjoyed the dinner especially as no washing up required. Desert is always the best bit and tonight’s was lush. Creme caramel for me and Rich had some local chocolate something which he assured me was delicious.

A quick retreat after as we had a new pitch to get to. Right on the sea front. Guess where we shall be drinking our cuppa in the morning. Right before Scoot takes hubby to the shower.

Night all.

A busy day of doing not a lot

Where does the time go? We were up early today and even first in the queue for the bakers to grab some fresh rolls for our picnic lunch and croissants. May have accidentally slipped a couple of strawberry tarts in too. Anyway we sat outside with our table and chairs and enjoyed a very leisurely breakfast of eggs, bread, croissants and jam, washed down with quite a few cups of tea. It was quite warm but cloudy.

Now the thing with camper van life is you think it’s easy to pack up and get out on your travels quickly. Well let us tell you a little secret, we never seem to get out quickly. By the time we, turn the seats into their driving position, wash up, unplug the electric, empty the loo, then empty the grey water it’s gone lunch time. Oh well never mind we are on holiday after all.

On our way out we head to a supermarket. Despite the supermarket on our campsite being very well stocked and even having a butchers and grocers, they don’t sell goats milk. So we find a large carrefour enroute to Tarragona. This supermarket was huge. All the fresh produce looks amazing and the fish counters are so inviting. I wouldn’t know how to cook half of it. But we did purchase some fresh white fish to Cobb the following night with fresh parsley, ( which is a huge bunch) you should see the fridge it looks like it has half a jungle and we also bought jacket potatoes. Goats milk was found and an additional purchase by hubby. More to come on that one. By the time we had paid it was 3.30pm. See where has the day gone. Time to find somewhere nice to park up and have our picnic lunch.

A lovely spot was found right on the beach front. Blue skies and clear blue sea. Perfect. So perfect in fact I had to go in for a swim whilst Rich was researching stuff. It was cold on your feet at first but then it felt so warm. I ended up swimming and chuckling to myself as the waves crashed into me sending my off balance.

Time to head back to the campsite just before dark, where we would once again turn the seats, fill the water tank, plug the electric in, put the roof up, think about what we’ll have for dinner and at some point put our feet up and write a blog. May even read a book 😉

The most relaxing day

Monday, Rich had booked us a spa treatment at the world famous Aire de Barcelona. We had come across it on another travellers blog a few months ago so he booked us in. The only downside was that we needed to drive into Barcelona again. Parked up in what we think is the only secure car park we fit in, we hailed a taxi across town to the spa. Alas we were early and Rich wanted a haircut so we walked round the corner to oddly an Englishman barbers. Very quirky and they had space for him later in the day. On route to the barbers there were lots of winding old fashioned tiny narrow streets with odd shops. Something worth exploring. But for now, the Spa.

We headed off and we’re greeted by a very friendly receptionist who gave us coloured bracelets so we would know which treatment we were having. Into the changing rooms which were separate male and female. A maid was on hand to point me int he direction to change and to give me a locker. We were both given soft light weigh robes and cute little neoprene slippers to wear.

Next we went into the spa area. It was dark but lit my many soft candles and gentle music played. We were given an explanation of the different areas.

There was a tepid water pool, a fridge pool, a sauna, a jacuzzi, a salt water pool, rain water showers amongst others.

We started with the tepid pool pure relaxation. Warm but not to hot water to just sit and relax. It did have a sign saying silence, but we ignored this and chatted quietly.

A lady then came and whispered to us that they were ready for us for our couples massage. Everyone whispers here which makes it quite a challenge to work out what they are saying with a strong Spanish accent.

The massage rooms were fairly dark with relaxing music. We were asked to lay in the benches with our faces through the hole. Now can anyone tell me off you should lay with your forehead stick to the hole or your chin? I haven’t yet worked this end and think we both came out like a scene from friends with a polo face. Well as massages go that was pretty spectacular and very sensual. Even the way they take off your little neoprene shoes and uncover and recover you with the soft towels. The massage itself was quite firm and certainly it worked the knots out from my very creaky back. Rich could even move his legs better after the firm massage. Sadly the half hour was over way to soon and we got up feeling sooo relaxed and slightly dazed.

The jacuzzi had different sections you could sit in. One part with normal seat, one so you could stand and have your whole body pummelled and a ridge so that you could lay down and have the bubbles run under your back and legs, heaven.

We made our way back to the pools and worked our way through them. The sauna was fresh and minty. It had a plunge pool which Rich dared me to go into. Of course I took up the challenge. Now that’s what you call refreshing. Absolutely freezing when you get in, but you soon warm up in the steamy room. Next came the salt bath.

Now if you haven’t tried one of these we would strongly recommend that you do. (But don’t shave your legs the same morning as it stings quite a bit when you first get in;-) we walked in and out our heads on the side, our legs lifted for us and we just floated. It was so buoyant you didn’t need to keep your head on the side. You could just float like a starfish in the pool. No effort required and did I mention lovely and warm?

The next hour was spent going from one pool to another. A totally relaxing experience. If you get the chance, GO!

Even the changing rooms and shower were pure indulgence. Posh shampoos and shower gels, all toiletries provided and even hairdryers, straightening devices and hairbrushes. Ahhh time to leave.

On via taxi back to the van and a 1.5 hour drive to just south of Tarragona. The road took us through many tunnels which went under the mountains.

The campsite itself is huge and right by the sea. Our pitch is a few rows up from the beach. As it was late we decided on treating our selves to a meal in the restaurant.

I’m in a stage of my life where I like to try new things so tonight we chose tapas of olives, big prawns cooked in garlic butter, and what I thought was a sausage casserole. We have no idea what it was but it was lovely. Looked more like baby octopus to me

Rich ordered a dish of Hake in parsley pesto with clams and prawns. We shared all the dishes and they were absolutely delicious.

Of course cocktails.

Another lovely day and a mere 25°.

Tomorrow relaxing and exploring the large campsite and paddle in the sea.

Just a little edit as I forgot to mention the critters today.

On our pitch this morning was this bright chap. No idea what it is but looked impressive.

Then this caught my eye amongst the lavender whilst we walked back from the showers. Must be some kind of bee nest. Again very impressive. A work of art.

Barcelona part two

We thought we would head out early today as it is a Sunday, but it wasn’t to be. Time just seems to fly by when your in a motorhome.

Finally we headed out but had to find a supermarket first. It was only a few kilometres away but so busy. It was like everyone had to go shopping Sunday morning. Now we had a list and we had some places we wanted to visit today so we had to keep focused. Which I must say we did, sort of. Only ended up with a few extra treats in our basket. One of which we have just enjoyed, fresh fruit danish pastry’s. Yum.

So shopping done, packed lunch made off we drive into Barcelona. Our target today was to jump on the hop on and of bus to tour the city. First hurdle, the car park we had booked was to low for Miss Lexy. Ok so we would head back to where we had parked the previous day. Second hurdle, recent booked car park closed on Sundays. But a message suddenly popped up form one of the staff telling us where to find the remote control for the garage door.

Well the next half hour was rather stressful shall we say! But we finally got it and thought sod it, let’s eat our packed lunch before we set off. It was now 1.30pm.

On route to the bus stop there was a business owner and police office looking into what seemed like a very recent break in. Someone had thrown a scooter through the window and got in. Such a shame as it could be such a lovely place.

Anyway bus reached, still with our wallets intact and off we set on top deck to explore. We spotted some rather interesting sites on route but boy was it windy. We jumped of to admire a building with very interesting architecture took a few photos, found a geocache or two then hopped on the next route bus.

The next stop was to be La Sagrada Familia.

One of the most inspiring and iconic buildings in Spain; An unfinished church, unique in its architecture and conception, the work of the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.

What’s not to love about the architecture of this stunning building, and they are still building it. Now that’s a project that has overrun 😂

A few pictures from inside the crypt.

Again time had run away with us as it was now 7pm. Time to head back to the campsite for a very late dinner.

Over all a good day but not a city I would return to. So full of graffiti and warnings of pickpocketing and vehicle break ins. You can’t fully relax and take in the history.

Tonight is our last night here and upon reflection whilst we listen to the crashing waves, it has been a very nice campsite. Everything you could need, clean, tidy and not to noisy. Well all sort from the odd plane flying overhead, every few minutes 😂

Tomorrow we head towards Tarragon. I wonder what adventures we will have there.

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