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Thursday, 18 June 2015

TRIP TO SPAIN 1

We are back at last from our summer trip in the camping car.

 
We took the ferry from Roscoff to Bilbao in northern Spain to save ourselves a very long drive through France at the beginning of the holiday.  The crossing took 21 hours including a night on board so I made sure to take my sketchbook and crayons with me to keep myself amused as we went along.  As you can see I started on Bob as he sat reasonably still reading his Kindle book.

We eventually arrived at the tip of Brittany and as the sea was a bit rough the captain had decided to pass down the Chenal de Four in the shelter of Ouessant island.  We have been down this route several times on our own boat and we certainly would not have wanted to do it in a small boat this time as the waves were quite high!
 
 
As we cruised along we were able to spot several of the lighthouses we knew and we soon started to realise that we had passed some of them more than once and we seemed to be going round in circles. We wondered if the captain had lost his way but when I and several other passengers enquired at the desk we were told that the captain had a pilot on board to show him the more difficult way through the rocks so that in future he could do the route alone.  The lady in the perfume shop, who turned out to be a friend of Stephanie my baker friend, joked that it was 'la route dinatoire' in other words a calm way to go so passengers didn't get seasick!

 
After a pleasant evening and a good sleep we drove off at 8 the next morning into a very damp drizzly day.  We had thought to stop at a campsite near Bilbao in order to visit the city and the Guggenheim museum but the camp I had found didn't live up to our expectations so we drove on westwards with the promise that we would do the visit on the return journey.  We stopped at Ribadesella and found an almost empty, very friendly campsite, and only a couple of kilometres walk from the town and beach.

 
The walk into town was downhill all the way along footpaths and roads so on our first walk the next day I collected a lovely bunch of wild flowers from the side of the road to put on the table and to draw of course.  I counted at least 16 species and I hadn't picked everything I saw!

 
The town was very attractive with lots of interesting buildings in the centre as well as a church.  It's on the 'Camino' to Santiago de Compostela and the paths are marked through the town with painted scallop shells.  We saw quite a few pilgrims with their rucksacks decorated with a hanging shell.

 
The campsite was carved in terraces out of the hillside with the mountains in the distance looming above us.  I sat one afternoon on the top terrace to draw this as we had decided to camp at the bottom level, being easier for us to access with our big camper car.
Next time I'll take you to see the beach and tell you about a very interesting encounter.