2007 First Europe trip, with a Pössl Van motorhome

 

DAY 01 Nov. 8th

We left Stocken at 2pm to Ellös to do some shopping and then continued to Stenungsund to buy some things for the camper, and then we started our trip to Varberg. Of course this meant we passed Gothenburg in the rush-hour and it took one hour to get through the city. We arrived at the ferry at 6.30pm which was due to leave at 8pm. We didn’t have to wait long for boarding. The ferry should have arrived at Grenå at 23.55 but there was a hard wind and it was delayed and didn’t arrive until 01.00HRS. We drove 3kms along the beach at Grena where we found some beach parking with toilets. That was our first night! …Mandy was terrified!! And Goran did his best to make her even more scared!!

Parking at Grena beach
Parking at Grenå beach

DAY 02 Nov 9th

It rained on and off all morning and we set off before breakfast. The toilets were closed so we had to hang on!! The plan was to drive all day in order to get to Belgium to use our Camping Cheque, but we stopped first at Flensburg to buy some wine etc etc !!!! and the journey through the centre of Hamburg was right in the middle of rush hour, making our beloved “Eleanor” go crazy because we made her take an alternative route! .. Unfortunately this was not a good idea, so it took us over 2 hours to get on the highway again!! …. This meant we would not reach Belgium until midnight! … Therefore we stopped to wild camp at a gas station in Osnabruk. We slept very well because we had dinner with wine!! …

DAY 03 Nov 10th

On road to France
On road to France
Mandy with all here Swede's
Mandy with all here Swede’s

Started the day with breakfast and had France as our goal for the day. We left at 9am … weather was rotten all day, rain most of the time… round about 8pm we reached our destination but it looked like a ghost town with nobody there… we tried to phone… no coverage… nobody home!! We were about to leave when someone came out and welcomed us in….. Goran tried to use the camping cheque but no! no! no!.. machine didn’t work!! .. no! no! no! ….. so, paid the equivalent in euros. Once we were installed we saw the fresh water tank was empty and that was not okey! …. Where has all the water gone? A leak??

DAY 04 Nov 11th

We woke up to find one car and one tent in the camping area! … we took our first shower!!! ……Filled up the fresh water tank… we left for Bordeaux with hope of arriving by 4pm. But alas due to a stop in an Aire to take some sun we decided to stop in a little village called CHASSENEUIL which had a municipal parking with electric and water and toilets.. Everything was ok but the facilities were not good! ..toilets full of shit… electric only for one hour…. No water to refill… We had to fill up water in containers. Had coffee in a bar and then back to campervan… watched a movie and then it didn’t work due to fuse. Fixed it.

First aire in France
First aire in France

DAY 05 Nov 12th

Set off before breakfast…. Hoping to reach San Sebastian… camping Igueldo. Arrived San Sebastian later than planned… didn’t like the camping… very expensive and very far out… so we continued another 20 kms south to Zarautx. Used camping cheque..YES!! Had a great meal to celebrate our arrival in Spain!

DAY 06F Nov 13th

Zaraoutx camping
Zaraoutx camping

Resting day, but no rest as Goran did some DIY on the camper… checked the tank and filled it up… then took a walk over the hills and down to the beach at the town.. Nice weather but a bit windy…. Walked along the beach…. Stopped for coffee at Karlos Arguñano’s restaurant.. Famous Spanish tv chef. Decided to go down later with camper to check internet WIFI and to eat at restaurant, but as always… CLOSED ON wed!! … WE ATE in the camper!!

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Zaraoutx beach

DAY 07 Nov 14th

We left camping to continue route to Bilboa to meet friends from Mallorca. En route we went by Guernica… very interesting with great memory of smelly cheese in car… had to stop car… it was dog shit on shoe!! …. Had to throw away the shoes!! … in Spain it is good luck to step in dog shit!! … Goran cannot understand that…!

Guernica memorial
The tree of Guernica.

We searched for the camping near Bilbao but it was very far out and needed a train ride and a long walk and a tram etc and expensive!….. so we wild camped in the city!! Beside the football stadium! No leakage from water tank! .. Met our friends and had dinner in the old quarter for tapas… We had been told about a restaurant to eat in but it was closed on THURS!! .. of course!!

DAY 08 Nov 15th

Slept well…. Up before 8am… took breakfast in a bar….coffee and croissants…. Rained all the time….back at camper by 9.30am as we had to move. Met P and R to go up the funicular for view of city and Gugenheim… Went up. Went down.

Gugenheim museum
Gugenheim museum
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Gugenheim spider with Goran and friends from M.

Had coffee in the Gugenheim … took pics… then went to Portugalete to see the hanging bridge built in 1896 by a student of Eiffel.

Car ferry in the air!! Bridge built in 1896 by a student of Eiffel.
Car ferry in the air!! Bridge built in 1896 by a student of Eiffel.
Car ferry from top of construction
Car ferry from top of construction

P and R went back to the city and we continued to Santillana del Mar camping… luxury to go and have another shower… oh the joys of camping!!!

DAY 09 Nov 16th Met P and R at the Cuevas de Altamira… but before that, we had a walk around the medieval village and Goran stepped once again in dogshit!! ..he didn’t throw away the shoes this time! …We continued to Comillas where we had lunch and looked at the house built by GAUDI.

Gaudi villa
Gaudi villa
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Resting in sun

Said goodbye to P and R. Continued on to Gijon…. Camping on the promenade ….lots of other campers wild camping…..

DAY 10 nov 17th

Bike ride along promenade… good sun but very cold.. frost in shadow… Heating was on all night. Continued trip along coast to Luarca. Fishing village Cudillero very picturesque… had picnic above village.

Cudillero overview
Cudillero square
Cudillero square

Luarca was nothing special so we kept going . Stopped at Tapia Casariego. Perfect situation overlooking beach and sea. Gin and tonic and read before dinner…. Well..some people can read whilst others cook!! …. Housewine pasta with chicken breast and mushroom sauce….mmmm! …. Coffee and copa in the village.

DAY 11 Nov 18th

View over Tapia Casariego beach

Woke up 8am with morning call with POLICE!! …… Guardia Civil… told us that we were illegally parked.. too near the sea! .. they checked the papers of the car…. Questioned the S … was that Sweden??? ….. good job we had an interpretator!! … they said goodbye and sent us on our way-.In and out of Santiago… Next stop Finisterre to see Gonzalo! … His restaurant was closed but we found him! .. He took us to the Lighthouse and to see the Pilgrim walk ….. Headed for camping at Ribeira.. took ages to find. But we got there… dinner at camping restaurant. Good fillet steak. Raining real Galician rain!

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Pilgrimwalk ends at Finisterre

DAY 12 nov 19th

On the road again… passed by Baiona where we stopped to do some shopping….. we had a late start after showering with really hot water!! And then some reading… we have to relax sometime!! …. On to Agarda where we wild camped in the port area… really lovely… hope we don’t have any “wake up” call from the Guardia civil!! .. another lovely dinner with LAN Reserve vino which Gonzalo gave us!

DAY 13 Nov 20th

Breakfast in the harbour and then up to Monte Santa Trega with amazing views but incredible mist which made things look like things were floating…

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Monte Santa Trega

Wonderful sight. We found the Celtic villages and the view from the top overlooking Portugal and Spain was incredible.

 Celtic villages
Celtic villages
View from top of Monte Santa Trega
View from top of Monte Santa Trega
Monte Santa Trega overlooking harbour in Agarda
Monte Santa Trega overlooking harbour in Agarda

It was raining on the way down! … We took the ferry across the river into Portugal and then travelled miles and miles towards Leiria after stopping in Aveiro to buy some food and some things for the camper. San Pedro De Moel in the middle of nowhere!!! … I think that is where we stopped! … it was late when we had dinner… 9.30 Portuguese time but 10.30 our time… don’t know what I cooked but had to throw out the fish as it stank!! … whatever I cooked was good however!! ..

DAY 14 Nov 21st

Very hot shower!! ..yippeee!! En route to Nazare… beautiful lighthouse and beach … totally amazing….

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We eventually found somewhere to park as the front did not allow campers…. We took coffee and wandered around looking at the strangely dressed ladies and the way they hang the fish out to dry!!!

Fish
Fish market

….Weather wonderful 19º…. We continued to Lisbon… found camping on south side… took bus and metro into city at night… found little restaurant with EL FADO music…. Raining and had to hide from rain at beginning of evening….

Fado in Lisboa
Fado in Lisbon

DAY 15 Nov 22nd

Babtised the new gas outside cooker with fried eggs, and tested new vacuum cleaner… finally a good one!

Breakfast
Breakfast
Lisboa
Lisbon

No water at camping from 08.30 till 1500.. so guess who got up early today??!! We took the bus again into the city and used the tram and the funicular to see the sights…. Right to the top to the castle … lovely sights…. Not a good lunch!,,but interesting city. During “Pee” break, G disappeared to the Croc Shop! ..I wonder why??? Before returning to campsite we took some Tapas in one of the squares which were equally disgusting as was the lunch! Early to bed after a salad supper in the camper.

DAY 16 nov 23rd

G woke M up at 6.30am with coffee to say Happy Birthday! .. the crocs were too small sooooo….. back to Lisbon city! … we took the ferry across the river which was great as it took us to the city centre. We headed south to the Algarve and reached Sagres and  Cabo San Vicente which is Europe’s most south/westerly point….known as “the end of the world” in the olden days. Got to camping at 8pm and went down to village to have dinner at Restaurant which was the first good meal eating OUT….

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Restaurant in Sagres

DAY 17 Nov 24th

Washing day!! …hooray! ..clean clothes! …but it looked like a gypsy camp with everything hanging outside! .. 2 washes… G’s wash was ..well…not up to standard!! .. clothes could not breathe!!! … anyway… it got done. Bicycles down to village to internet café… coffee, beer and a sandwich, but no WIFI. Cycled to la Punta de Sagres, took pictures and videos.. amazing high waves!! …. Fillet steaks for dinner bought in Lisbon! Brought in marathon washing line!

Lighthouse in Sagres
Lighthouse in Cabo San Vicente

DAY 18 Nov 25th.

Sunshine!… We left camping at aprox 10.15 and drove to the lighthouse at Cabo San Vicente..the most southern/westerly point in Europe….Then to Sagres to sent Emails from the Dromaderio internet WIFI café…. Continued on to Lagos to see spectacular rock formations in the sea after climbing down rocks and steps.

Lagos rock formations
Lagos rock formations
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View over Lagos

No time to hang around!! ..got to keep moving!! ….Dinner in the camper…night stop in Quarteira.

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Quarteira camping

Mandy cooking… Goran observing!! … whats new?!!!

DAY 19 Nov 26th

Drove to Faro… beautiful weather… parked outside city and took bikes to old quarter. Lunch in old quarter at Taverna Modesto…9euros everything included!! … cant beat that!

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Faro

… Lovely old town… night stop at OLHAO… great camping site but very full… were welcomed by Swedish man as soon as we parked! ….Street called Karl Johann due to number of Scandinavians and Norwegian flags flying!!

DAY20 Nov 27th

Last day in Portugal and heading for Tavira…. Not worth staying there so we continued and visited Cacela Vehla and on to Santo Antonio to cross the river into Spain… thought of taking ferry but thought again !!! .. so took bridge! … Drove through Ayamonte which was a nightmare with narrow streets, and finally got to Isla Cristina which had… YES! … GREAT camping site! … wifi … AND dinner at 20.00hrs!!

DAY 21 Nov 28th

Good shower in this camping…. Then bike ride on amazing beach and rail tracks… uncomfortable for some people!! .haha! .. Took beer and tapas out in the street in the town and did some shopping in LIDL… cooked outside and sat in sun in the late afternoon and read our books…. Early night.

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Isla Cristina beach

DAY 22 Nov 29th

Back in to the town with the bikes to return gas accessories we bought yesterday… coffee in the sun! … and then onward we go towards Seville! …. We arrived about 3pm and changed idea of campsite as it was dismal! … went on to Villson…. Cooked outside accompanied by 8 or more cats! .. then took bus into city! … a little glass of wine here and a little glass of wine there!!

Sunny Isla Cristina camping
Vilson camping outside Seville

…. A wander here and a wander there.. and then home. Free wifi direct from camper van! … NEWSPAPER READING!!

DAY 23 Nov 30th

Up and jump!! – City tour… lovely city . Ofcourse we showered before we went to town!! …. And ofcourse we interneted!! …..

Placa del Toros Seville
Placa del Toros Seville
Sunny Seville
Sunny Seville

Had lunch in oldest Taverna in Spain in the sunshine before it disappeared… then coffee at Starbucks with yummy chocolate cake.. then to meet Cati and Julio for a glass of wine. Shopping at Carrefour and dinner at the camper (with the cats of course!!)

Cat camping (Vilson)
Cat camping (Vilson)

DAY 24 Dec 1st

We left Seville with Cordoba as our destination… 130km according to Eleanor…she was a bit troubled during the journey…. She wanted to go south on another highway which was in fact longer… so we told her to listen to us!!! .. do it our way! …Arrived in Cordoba round about 5pm… El Brillante Camping. We then took the bikes down to the city centre… lots of folk around doing xmas shopping…we biked round to the roman bridge and the mosque and had some tapas in a little narrow street with lots of flower pots on the walls.

Cordoba
Cordoba

We got lost on the way home! …spent almost 2 hours to find the right road! ..Neither of us seemed to hit the right direction!! … Got home eventually.

DAY 25 Dec 2nd

Mandy woke up with a bad cold… I wonder who contaminated her?? …. Difficulty in driving in to the city as many police around… ended up in a very narrow alley with a big crane and no space to get past!! ….After discussions with the Spanish interpretor we managed to get out! …. We parked on the outskirts and biked in to the old city

Cordoba
Cordoba

… a lot to see and then left at about 2pm to head towards Toledo where we arrived about 6pm at El Greco camping. Dinner in the camper.. Spag Bol… Mandy moaning with her cold symptoms!!

Toledo
Toledo

DAY 26 Dec 3rd

Mandy had a bad night with her cold… we left the camping about 10am and parked outside the old city of Toledo.. walked through the old quarters… very nice and very Don Quijote! … jewellery and knives! …good views of landscape. Next stop Avilla… another medieval town with walled city… Eleanor was good today… took us straight there on a good scenic road.

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Avilla wall

Avilla high altitude of 1000 metres… no camping site so we wild camped in the street. We had dinner and then walked up to the walled city for coffee and then to bed early…. Lady not well!!

DAY 27 Dec 4th

Before leaving Avilla we took a walk round the walled city (las murallas) which had spectacular views but it was cold!!! …we had hot chocolate and churros and didn’t hang about as we wanted to get to Segovia! … that was lovely… spectacular acuaduct and old castle…. Interesting square for beer and tapas….

Segovia aqueduct
Segovia aqueduct
Segovia castle
Segovia castle

Old castle and then onwards to Haro…. A lot of kilometres today!! …. HARO…. We arrived there about 8.30pm… we had already had a lunch/dinner so we used the facilities for washing clothes etc…. Mandy still feeling awful!

DAY 28 Dec 5th

We got up late, showered in lovely hot water!! … working day with bed linen. Biked down to town in sun and no wind!! … Visited Wine museum for basic education, and were recommended to go to visit Dinastia Vivanco museum in Briones. Excellent! Highlight of the day! Searched for a restaurant for evening meal… tried 3 which were closed, 4th try smelt bad! … 5th had only benches to sit on! … Sooo … last try found us at locked building which after ringing the bell, took us into old building, wonderful décor, and spectacular atmosphere.

Haro restaurant
Haro restaurant

Price ofcourse was fitting with the décor!!!! But the food was also good!

DAY 29 Dec 6th.

Sleepy morning (but hey! Its Fiesta in spain!)… drove with intention of reaching Logroño… first Bodega en route to visit was closed (in Abolos) but we found a family run Bodega… Solana de Ramirez Ruiz. Very interesting tour as it was personalised! Ofcourse Göran has personal translator!!hahaha! … On to Logroño and tapas in the famous street. Grilled mushrooms in garlic ! ..mmmm… On return we checked out Faustino’s bodega but it was closed due to the Fiesta! .. as were some others.

DAY 30 Dec 7th

Departed Haro campsite heading for Faustino and El Coto. Faustino still closed! ..El Coto was open but not for tourists.

El Coto
El Coto

Thanks to personal translator we got in to buy some supplies!! Eleanor then guided us towards PAMPLONA which didn’t work too well, as the roads had changed considerably! … We got there eventually! … and parked the van and off we went to explore. We found Ernest Hemmingway in the tourist information office!! ….

Pamplona bull with umbrella
Pamplona bull with umbrella

Walked round the town and found an interesting coffee bar with loads of Hemmingway memories then on to the Bullring and the famous sculpture of “El Encierro”.

Bullring in Pamplona
Bullring in Pamplona

That was the last stop in Spain and we started our homeward journey. 30km before Bordeaux we rested for the night.

DAY 31 Dec 8th

Early rise at 07.30hrs! Light breakfast before heading towards Paris. Stopped off at Bodega we saw from the road “Bertrand” where we sampled and bought wine and brandy!! 3.10€ per bottle! Onwards to Paris where Eleanor saved us from the hectic city! Outside of Paris we refuelled for the 2nd time that day!We drove and drove and passed the border into Belgium… eventually we found somewhere on the highway to wildcamp.. We drove 950km today!!!!!! Well, Göran drove! And Mandy TALKED to keep him awake and alert at the wheel!!

DAY 32 Dec 9th

Route planned to Hamburg with stop in Luxemburg for fuel and booze! Not so easy to find liquor shops!!! …but interesting countryside!!! Eventually we found a village which we thought was still in Luxembourg and from the supermarket receipt it would appear it was in fact LUXEMBOURG.

Luxemburg boarder shop with happy chappy!
Luxemburg boarder shop with happy chappy!

Then full speed ahead to Hamburg! WE came across a blocked highway but got round it with 20km diversion. Wild camped just past Hamburg.

DAY 33 Dec 10th

No shower this morning! .. cat wash! … Drove to Lubeck for wine shopping but we abandoned due to bad traffic. Shopping was then done at Calles in Heilighaven. Puttgarden for ferry to Denmark…really now homeward bound! Continued straight ahead for Helsingör to cross the water to Helsingborg arriving at 16.45hrs. Straight home to Stocken with a quick stop for food shopping and home at 21.00hrs! That was 33 days and almost 10.000kms !! ….YES!

Waterway to Denmark
Waterway to Denmark

Both of us caught nasty colds (it was never mentioned that Göran was also miserable with his) and the driver behaved EXCELLENTLY at the wheel whilst the cook also behaved EXCELLENTLY in the kitchen! … a good time was had by all and the experience will definately be repeated!!!

Forgot to mention that whilst in Spain if one steps in dogshit it is meant to bring good luck…. Soooo we bought a lottery ticket in Cordoba, and guess what? … we won 100€!!!

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