Nov 19 Off to Spain

In mid November we started our journey through France to Spain. At this time of year, the French campsites are mostly closed, so we set a course via the most likely looking aires. Although the weather was generally a bit chilly, we did not encounter too much rain. We stopped at two small villages on the first two nights after leaving Dieppe; Fresnaye and L’Hommaize. The aire at Fresnaye was on the edge of a natural park and there was plenty of wildlife about. We had a lovely walk through the forest to enjoy the autumn colours.

Forest at Fresnaye

Darkness comes early at this time of year and with it any warmth disappears. We were soon tucked up in the van with the heating on.

Our next stop was Cahors on the banks of the river Lot. We were fortunate to find one of the three riverside parking spaces free and from there we had a pleasant stroll across the bridge into the town.

River Lot view of the old bridge
Modern bridge over the river

It was another slightly damp, chilly day, so our exploration of the town was brief. It would definitely be worth a visit at a better time of year.

Our next stopover was the medieval town of Foix. We called in at Tourist Information for a map and followed the medieval route up to the chateau, which was closed! At least we stretched our legs a bit. Our plan was then to travel through the Pyrenees to Vilanova il Geltru, but the weather was terrible so we changed our route and went via the port of St Cyprien.

The journey to St Cyprien was mostly undertaken in the rain, but was still very scenic along the D117. By the time we got to St Cyprien and parked on the aire, it was sunny and 10 degrees. A great improvement. It would also make our journey to Vilanova a lot shorter. St Cyprien is a lovely little port and marina with a promenade overlooking the Cote Vermeille.

St Cyprien Marina

Although the aire was very full, it was quiet and we rested well, ready to arrive in Spain next day.

A three hour drive through beautiful scenery took us to Vilanova Park campsite.

On the road from St Cyprien, France to Vilanova, Spain

Barcelona

Now in Spain, we had to lose the French and get the Spanish head back on. Not so easy as there were quite a few Brits to chat to. Our reason for revisiting Vilanova was to get the bus to Barcelona and visit the Sagrada Familia. We had visited more than ten years ago and now wanted to see it without the interior scaffolding. We were not disappointed. It is stunning! The light pours in through the coloured windows and colours the pillars and floors. The scale of the building and the way it is constructed to provide huge open spaces is just amazing. Here are a few pictures to give an idea. We really were bowled over by its splendour.

Exterior

Interior

The pictures really do say it all. We were shell shocked after that assault on our senses and walked slowly back to catch our bus, stopping only to eat our lunch on a handy bench.

Oliva

We were intending to spend most of December in Albir as we had last year. Our best route took us via Peniscola for a few nights, where we stopped, as the weather was very stormy, then on to Oliva. The trip there was quite unexciting but the campsite was near a nice beach and it was a reasonable walk into the town. Not quite so exotic here but we followed the old town route and looked at the buildings.

Attractive square
Leafy boulevard in the centre is very pretty

Albir/Altea

After a few days we were ready to head for our old favourite, Cap Blanch at Albir. We were lucky to get a pitch as it is very popular, especially in December. This is our place for relaxing and chilling out. We were joined by some people we met last year, which was very nice. It is starting to feel like a second home! Although we have been before, we managed to do some different things such as the trip to the Jalon Valley, wine growing region for some wine tasting and a great market. I had some nice brisk walks along the front and early morning excursions up the path to the lighthouse. We also had some really stormy weather with the waves washing over the sea wall and across the road. It was most unusual.

Early morning walk on the beach at Albir
Calm after the storms
Bodega at Jalon
Terrace on way up to the Serra Gelada National Park
Rugged walkway with great views
Looking down from the footpath up to the lighthouse
View of the bay at Albir
Interesting sculpture on Albir prom
On the prom at Altea
Evening view from our pitch
Evening sky
Colourful market stalls

After a three week stay, we moved to a camper park near Royal Parking ready for our flight home for Christmas. It was a bit of a shock to the system, but necessary to be nearer to Alicante. I paid for the night and for another night on 28th December, when we would return to Alicante from home. Seems simple but………..