Wednesday, 13 April 2016


Having celebrated 10 years of camping I thought you might like to see where we went for our first outing in our mobile home.
We decided to go down the west coast of France and into Spain, hoping to get as far as Galicia, the most westerly part of northern Spain.  This little sketch was done in Derwent drawing pencils near La Rochelle in the Marais Poitevin, a reclaimed marsh area, which is very flat so the buildings like this pretty village and church stand out and can be seen for miles. 

At La Rochelle we crossed the bridge to Ile de Ré and spent a few days at St Martin, the capital, in a campsite just inside the city walls. I used Derwent Graphitint watersoluble pencils for this one and I think the colour has changed over the last 10 years.  While we were there the weather was rather damp, I think we had hoped it might be better but early March isn't renowned for hot sun is it!

We carried on heading south and our next stop was at Arcachon for a night and in the morning we stopped at the dune de Pyla.  I climbed to the top of this, the largest sand dune in Europe and was rewarded with a fantastic view out to sea and over the nearby islands.

After a long drive through the pine forests of Les Landes we came to Bayonne, a beautiful town on the river Nive. We had our lunch in a café by the riverside and I stood to draw this on one of the bridges afterwards.
We crossed into Spain and found a lovely hilltop campsite at Zarautz with fabulous views over the bay and town.  As our pitch was right near the edge we could look straight out to sea through the windscreen and this is the side view from the dining table.  The walk into town was pretty arduous but we went down several times to explore and shop.

One of our reasons for visiting this part of Spain was to see San Sebastian where my parents had holidayed in the 1960s, leaving us children at home with Granny.  I wanted to take photos of the same places they had been and we were pretty lucky to find most of them.  I only had time for a sketch while we waited for the funicular to go to the top of mount Igeldo which stands at the edge of the beautiful shell shaped beach.

Soon it was time to move on and our next destination was Santillana del Mar, a very pretty historical village on the route de Compostella.  This is the view through the door of the camping car, looking towards the Picos d'Europa.  While we were there we discovered a wonderful museum depicting the caves of Altamira which had been perfectly reproduced as the originals were not open to visitors in order to protect the cave paintings over 16,500 years old.

The Picos in the distance were covered in snow and we were glad we had brought some warm clothes.  We debated whether to go any further west and decided to start heading back and save the rest of the north coast for another day.  It took us another 9 years before we completed our original plan to visit Galicia which we did last summer.
We're off again tomorrow to visit the family in England, everything is packed and stowed ready for an early start in the morning so I'll say 'au revoir' and see you again in a couple of weeks with lots more sketches.

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