Saturday, August 24, 2013

I have abandoned my post.

Just in case you're wondering we are not still in Spain.  I kind of abandoned post regarding the blog as soon as we got back.  We were kind of thrown straight back in and managed to get a job etc.

We have just been on a quick trip to Morocco so as and when I will do an update on the trip.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Sorry about the delay on the blog... I am only about 2 months behind...

One of our earliest set offs since we first left we left Caceres at around 10am and we arrived at the campsite just after half 2 after a long drive east to Aranjuez we arranged to meet up with my Mum and Dad again who arrived about 15 minutes later.  We had been to the campsite before, but last time it was June and the campsite was swarming with flies. It was so bad that we couldn't eat outside and the van was full of the bloody things.  It was horrible. This time it was fine though, although the flies seemed to have been replaced by cats. Dad's favourite.

 We planned to go into Madrid the following day so all got an early night.

Bright and early the next morning we set off for the train station, situated behind the palace, about a 25 minute walk through Aranjuez from the campsite.  The train cost around €6 (not 100% on the actual price) for a return right into the centre.  For the rest of travelling we walked around the city as I feel you miss out on a lot if you get the underground.

Last time we went to Madrid we went on a Wednesday and stumbled upon a place called Cervecería 100 Montaditos, which can only be described as a kind of fast food tapas sandwich bar. 100 Montaditos means 100 sandwiches and on a Wednesday all sandwiches and drinks are 1 euro. This time we went in on a Thursday so knew that we would miss out on "euromania" but decided to go there again anyway.
We were walking round with Mum and Dad when dad spots a window that he wants to go and look in. Lo and behold its only bloody 100 Montaditos! So we went in.  Its not the same one we went to last time, and Vick and I didn't really realise that there would be more than one!  The sandwiches were full price again (They ranged from 1 euro to 2 euros for the premium range, so still very cheap) Turns out on a Thursday all beers are 1 euro, whatever the size so we got lucky with that one (by we I mean Dad and Vick.)  If you ever get the chance I would give it a try... it's a little bit confusing the first time but for a quick snack its well worth it.
We walked round for most of the day, stopping at pretty much every 100 Montaditos we found. 

 Apart from eating in Madrid we just walked around the city.  Just street walking in the city is a great atmosphere as there always seems to be something going on.   We did pop into one shoe shop which featured some of the most varied shoes ever, I will be getting some of these bad boys for the wedding I think.

 On the Thursday (and I think Wednesday) the Palace is free to EU citizens, the house itself wasn't very interesting for me but the armories were definitely worth the visit, unfortunately we couldn't take any photos but the display they have there is great. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

We are still here.

Just thought we should let you know that we are still here... We are now back in the UK and have kind of forgotten about the blog.  I will be back shortly with a full update. :)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

A private toilet!

After an extra day in El Rocio we had to press on and head north towards Caceres.  The night before we left we checked the route on the Sat Nav to which is said 3 hours.  Now I no to never trust the Sat nav so we always add an extra hour to the journey.  For some reason we were very slow at packing away so after saying bye to Luke and Karen we eventually left at 12.  We should have left a lot earlier as the journey took us around 5 hours as the Sat Nav forgot to mention the massive dragging hills all the way.  The weather also took a turn for the worse as the heavens opened and rained for the rest of the night. 

One of the only reasons we went to Cacares was to check out the campsite.  After a lot of people telling us about it we decided we should check it out.  It was for no other reason than each pitch had its own toilet and shower, little things ay?  It was a waste of time.  It wasn't the place I thought it was in mum and dads photos and the private toilet and shower was rubbish.  It probably didn't help the fact that it was freezing but getting into the shower in a cold shed isn't very nice.  It was probably very nice in the summer but its definitely not been built for the winter.  Even so it was nice not having to walk across a campsite for a wee in the night.

The next day we decided to pop into Cacares to check out the old town.  Due to not being handed the bus routes we decided to drive in and park in the centre of town.  For once we turned up early so a lot of stuff was still open so we looked around shops for a change instead of looking through shop windows.  We ventured into the old town and had a look around.  We should have spent more time in there but we decided to go back to the campsite and have a drink.

That night Luke and Karen arrived so after their neighbours had bored them with satellite chat (a thing we are safe from) we popped over for some drinks and chats, and arranged a BBQ for around 3ish the next day.

Cut to the next day, 3 o clock rolls round and we head over, pork steaks and beer under arm. We didn't want to eat anything beforehand as it was like a late Lunch (a typical Spanish lunch really) so we sat down for a drink and a chat before the cooking started. Well, a few beers  and swapped stories later and we realise its 7 o clock, its now dark and we haven't even lit the BBQ. Ooops!

Luke and Karen were supposed to be staying the next night at the campsite but after their toilet flooding they decided to leave the same day that we left. For once we got up early and left before 10! A record for us when we are on our own. So we said our goodbyes and headed on our way towards Aranjuez to meet up with Mum and Dad.

Monday, February 11, 2013

El Rocio

El Rocio was one of our main targets to go and visit on this leg of the journey with no idea what to expect apart from sandy roads.  In my head all I imagined was a single street with a bar on the corner and a sheriffs office, basically the setting of a western movie.  I was semi right, however this place is massive! 
Once we arrived and set up camp a guy from one of the previous campsites walked over and mentioned that there was a pilgrimage on and it may be busy on the Saturday.  We were planning to move on the Saturday so with this in mind we decided to stay and see what was going on. 

This western cowboy film I had in my head was coming to life... The town was rammed with people all rinding horseback or mules pulling carts.  On the Friday it rained and rained so the sandy roads were more dirt tracks.  As soon as you enter El Rocio all road rules seem to go out the window and it's every man for himself.  It works but its mental.  You will have some people who will bimble along but you also have people who get in their car and put their foot to the floor. Throw a couple of hundred horses into the equation and it gets a lot worse.   With not much going on in town apart from people arriving we went back home and got dry.  

Saturday the sun finally came out.  It was a nice change as it had been raining since we left La Garrofa. With the Pilgrimage happening on the Saturday we thought we should try and make it in early so we didn't miss anything happening.  We left the tent at 11.30 which isn't really that early.  The town population had at least tripled.  The squares were rammed and horses were everywhere.  It was kind of scary as horses aren't small so when one appears behind you its quite a shock .

After a walk around town we decided we should stop and have a coffee and beer and watch the madness pass us by.  Minding our own business we were approached by two people who had seen us camping in Cadiz and wanted to come and talk to us about the car.  They joined us for a couple of drinks and a quick chat about themselves and our trip, it turns out we had been to the last three campsites they had been to and we were also going to the next three campsites also once leaving El Rocio.  It was a good job that we clicked and got on with them really!  We met up back at the campsite and both exchanged stories about our bowel movements.  Not really a conversation you have after only meeting for an hour but we got on.

As we were leaving the next day I decided I should go in and see if the town was as mental during the night as it was in the day.  My answer is yes.  Its even more mental when everyone is under the influence.  From what we could see the pilgrimage is just an excuse to get on the beers.  There was even one happening the weekend after just down the road.
It also turns out that this was a very small pilgrimage as in May nearly a million people turn up for the Romería de El Rocío

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


After a month of being stationary after such a hectic few days to get to Spain it was a little weird packing up and loading the car again.  We planned to head west as we didn't get the chance to last time.  So we headed towards Gibraltar and found a campsite in the ACSI about an hours drive away from there,  which was nice as I was bored of driving as it was very windy.  Driving the van in the wind is not enjoyable... imagine driving a house through cement,  its worse than that.

The campsite was a very big jump from La Garrofa.  There were camper vans the size of buses with massive  tow cars and caravans the size of a house.  We looked very very small when parked next to them.   We were just sitting down for some tea and then a nice guy came over to talk to us.  He had seen the car in La Garrofa and came to let us know that when it rained the pitch we were in tended to take on all the campsites water and flood, but only in major rain storms and not to worry as it hadn't rained since November when he arrived.  No need to move then if that was the case.  We said thank you and carried on with our evening.  Around 7/8 the next morning it decided to rain.  We woke up in around 5cm worth of rain water.  Now I hate putting the tent away when its wet... but this was just silly.

We arrived in Gibraltar at around 12.30 and headed straight for the cable cars to visit the top of the Cliffs.  There had been reports of very strong winds and so the cable cars had been closed for the weekend.  Just our luck.  For the first and probably last time ever we paid for a tour and took the journey up in a van.  We will probably never go back so we thought we may as well.

The best part was he wasn't even an actual guide.  It was just a taxi driver who knew the tour guide.  Even so he took us up told us a brief history of the place and took us to see all the usual sights.

Vick specifically told the guy that she didn't want to hold a monkey as she doesn't like how unpredictable they are. We were just about to get in the van to go back down when one decided to jump on her head. She thinks it could smell the fear, or it wanted to mate with her, either way she wasn't very impressed. The weather report wasn't lying either.  It was VERY windy.  On some points of the island you could lean into the wind and you wouldn't fall over.  It was a shame the weather was so bad as it would have been nice to have taken in the full view.  It wasn't the same experience when the guide pointed at Africa and said ''its there... its just behind the clouds.''

I don't really like doing the normal tourism stuff when away but seeing as we were in the area we felt we should go into Gibraltar and see the main attraction.  We even visited Morrisons.  Which was a very odd experience.  Everyone speaking in English and using GBP doesn't fit when you can be in Spain within 5 minutes. It just didn't feel right, even so we still bought some pies and onion bhajis.

Because the weather was so bad we ditched our next plan and decided to head inland to a campsite about an hour North.  This was mainly so we didn't take a beating from the coastal winds.  However we still took a beating from the rain.  That night we went to bed in 5cm of rain again but at least it drained away overnight.