Scenic

There was snow on the tops this morning but here on site all that we had overnight was rain. Constant, noisy rain. Everything was awash when we rose this morning. There has been little walking today, but we have been out for a couple of short walks – fitting in lunch at the campsite bar in between.

After our second walk we investigated the shop and bought a bottle of Cava for later. It is very posh Cava and cost 19 Euros! However, it is the same one that is sold by Fortnums, so we are expecting that it will be good.

This post is the last test of post by mail for now. I think all that we need now are a few tweaks and a little learning.

Hola, estamos en España!

After twelve weeks in France, and with just about 2,950 miles on the clock, we crossed the border into Spain this morning. The mileage thing is a bit iffy as I was so busy trying to spot the border sign that I missed checking the mileage until we had gone a few clicks further down the road.

Our first toll road went quite smoothly and we coped with the booths on both sides of the border. There were some obvious differences once we arrived in Spain.

On the French Motorway

In Spain

So many signs, so incomprehensible! So many tunnels. The scenery however was stunning and so were the enormous birds flying overhead. Some kind of Kite, I believe.

We arrived at our destination bang on midday but of course there was somebody in Reception. In France we would have to hang around until after lunch before seeing anybody.

We settled onto a nicely even pitch looking out to sea. The sea is however a long way down.

Our view

We checked out the facilities. Gosh, such luxury after the French campsites; Toilet seats! Paper! Handbasins! SOAP!!!!! Shower cubicles with room to turn around in. Best of all, everything is clean. *sigh* All of the facilities are open too, and that includes the bar and the shop. All of this convenience is going to take some getting used to!

We lunched at the bar on site – there is another bar adjacent to the site, so we have a choice. The daily set menu costs 11 Euros for three courses with bread and a drink – we had a bottle of Spanish cider (extremely different from its Norman and Breton cousins.)

Crumbs!

After lunch we tackled the walk to the beach… all 450 steps. Then we failed to find the shops, had a beer and were entertained by the local bird population, which I fed with dog treats, then walked back to the steps and climbed all 450 of them again.

The steps to the town

We can do it all again tomorrow, only this time with shops, I hope.

On the prom in Zarautz

We met this wee chap on our way back up the cliff

While we are in Spain our French SIM card allows us very little in the way of roaming data. Updates may be sparse and intermittent. For now the campsite here offers free wifi but later, who knows. I am working on ways to update using less bandwidth but for now expect fewer images and less burbling.

We are here for three nights at least. No idea whatsoever what will come next!

 

From Arcachon and onward

Last week we had arrived at Arcachon, where we stayed for three nights. It was a very pleasant campsite, with fair to middling sanitaires. There were four washing machines and two dryers so by the time that we left, everything in the van was squeaky clean.

Direct access into the forest meant that Nell was more than happy with her particular lot.

As for ourselves, we walked into town a couple of times and found plenty to occupy us, though the proposed celebratory dinner morphed into crèpes for lunch.

Arcachon is a pleasant and quite upmarket seaside town with plenty of sandy beach. The weather was such that there were people out on the sands and we even sat on the front eating ice cream one day, watching the carousel turning in the sun.

The carousel filled me with instant joy the moment that I saw it. Even from a distance I could tell that it was a genuine old one and as we came closer and heard the organ music I do believe that I began to squeee. I even attempted to capture a video in order to share the full effect. Sadly, it failed to pick up the music.

The Parc Mauresque completely captured me and I was happy to stroll through more than once. It was fantastic to see the French out and about and using the park in an enthusiastic way that we tend not to see in the UK. There were many games of boules in progress on both afternoons that we passed trough, and quite a  few players eschewed the formal squares in order to play in the sunshine on the park pathways. This made negotiating a route quite challenging at times. The young people were in evidence on half day Wednesday too, some of them practising with their skate boards. All very charming.

I had discovered that the town sported a bridge construction and an observation tower, both of which had engaged the hand of Gustave Eiffel in his  early career. It is said that his work on the observation tower informed the later work on his better known engineering work in Paris.

Anyway, it was a glorious day when we came to it, far more clear than the previous day had been and I was minded to be brave. I actually climbed to the top despite the wobble and even managed to release my hands from the railings at the top in order to take photographs! I felt very pleased with myself and the view was certainly worth the effort.

One other thing that we will remember Arcachon for is the sighting of a column of Processionary Caterpillars. Nasty wee beasties.

By the time that we left Arcachon, the weather had warmed up somewhat and the overnight frosts had passed. 

Our next stop was at a beautiful lakeside aire at Gastes, where we stayed for two nights after stopping in Biscarosse first to collect our package.  We also had a Chinese lunch…

The aire lies next to a marina and a cycle path runs by, we were not short of walking for Nell. The village is small and what facilities it could boast were closed for the season, sadly. A Friday evening market consisted of one fruit and veg van and a mobile pizzeria.

By the campsite at Castets

After Gastes came Castets, where we are now on our third night.  The walking here is not so good but there is a space by the river that borders the site. A cycle route is about half an hour’s walk away. The small town boasts a cinema and a bar and also a rather pleasant restaurant, Les Forges, where we had dinner on Saturday evening.

That’s all from France for now. Tomorrow we hit the motorway and go take a look at Spain to see if we like it.