Vivil

We left Biscarrosse Sunday morning  – It was such a lovely spot we wondered if we should stay longer. I don’t think we have completely relaxed into this yet and feel we need to get on but we’ve got plenty of time what’s the rush.

It was a lovely drive out past the beautiful lakes and this is definitely a place we will come back to. We were heading for Biarritz but thought we would just pop into Mimizan Plage on the way as it’s where we holidayed a couple of times years ago with the kids. We don’t know what we saw in it now at the time we booked it through the caravan club and the camp site was nice so were the beaches, as with all the beaches along the West coast of France they are all lovely with miles and miles of golden sand. Mimizan has a factory which emits the most awful smell as you go past. The kids always knew they were nearly at the beach when they smelt it but we always held our breath which we did again that day.

From there back on route we drove for another couple of hours and decided to stop off at a beach to eat our lunch sitting in the van watching the waves crashing on the beach.  Although I would have happily swopped those prawns for the steak we could smell from the restaurant on the beach. The wind was blowing the smell our way.

As we were eating we noticed that there was a sign with a camper on it and writing in french which we didn’t understand but looked like it said no camping cars.  There was a camper parked up in another car park the other side of tall bushes so we drove round to have a look and found it was a motorhome stopover park. Again this one was officially closed as out of season but it could still be used although electricity was unavailable.

We parked up and went over to have a look at the beach and watch the waves for a while.  The waves here on the Atlantic coast are massive and were really crashing onto the beach. The sea air smelled so good. On the way back to the Motorhome we smelt the steak again, and what with seeing other motorhomers sitting outside their vans enjoying the sun we decided to stay the night and travel onto Biarritz the next day.

Luckily we had parked next to an English couple Ron and Pauline whom we got talking to for a few hours that afternoon. They passed on some really useful information and we really enjoyed our chat. We met up with them later in the bar of the beach restaurant after we finished our steak meal which was one of the best we have ever tasted.

This is the first English couple that we had met so far and they were so nice and interesting to talk to they were on their way down to Portugal and are on their third trip now.

It was so lucky meeting up with them as we had a bit of a scare with Ray in the bar after the meal. We were sitting on bar stools but Ray decided he wanted to stand. He suddenly turned to me and said he needed to sit down. He was sweating and was as white as a sheet. I held his arm and pulled a lower stall over but he started to fall backwards. Luckily Pauline held onto him the other side and although he still fell to the floor as between us we couldn’t hold him up, he didn’t hurt himself. He actually blacked out for a few seconds (which felt a lot longer) we were calling him and there was no response at first. I couldn’t believe it was happening and was so scared.  He finally started to come round and we got him sitting on a chair until he felt better.

I thought that he should get checked out at the hospital but he insisted that he felt a lot better.  Had we been at home in England I probably would have insisted but not knowing where the nearest hospital was and I couldn’t drive the Motorhome we decided to go back and see how he felt over the next couple of hours. Ron and Pauline gave us their mobile number and said they were only next door if we needed them which was very reassuring.   As soon as we got in we went straight to bed although it was only 9.30pm. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much and kept feeling him and asking him how he was all night I was terrified.

I was so relieved when it was morning and we had got through the night without further problems.  We can only put it down to having a couple of glasses of wine and getting hot standing up.  He is now off the booze again although he had cut alcohol out about a year ago because it seemed to bring on his AF and slowly started a glass or two again.

Ron and Pauline knocked the next morning to check on Ray and to say goodbye as they were on their way down to Portugal. We swopped telephone numbers and email addresses and will keep in touch especially if we each find a nice site or stopover that we can exchange information on. We hugged and said our goodbyes hoping that maybe we will meet up again as we are heading in the same direction.

It wasn’t long after Ron and Pauline left that we set off for Biarritz. It was a really short drive this time only 45 minutes.  We found a stop-over in the book which is 20 minutes walk from the town of Biarritz called Milady. This one has electric as well as all the other facilities and is almost full holding 40 motor homes.

biarritz-2We parked up and walked into and around Biarittz ending up for lunch at an American diner.  This took us back to our Californian holiday last September. How we would love to do this in America (well you never know maybe we will as Ron and Pauline were talking about a scheme they know about for swooping motor homes with people in the country you want to visit.

Biarritz1The sun had been shining all day but then started to cloud over as we were walking back and literally the minute we got in the van the rain started. How lucky was that?

The parking attendants started coming round to collect 10 euros for the parking which includes electric. (I don’t think that’s bad especially as we are so near the town) but the french man from the motorhome next door started arguing with them. It looked as if he didn’t want to pay. The argument went on for about 30 minutes and a little crowd of French people had gathered. The gendarmes (police) turned up and made him pay.

Ron did mention that the French don’t like paying and will sometimes make sure they are out walking the dog when they come round for the money. Apparently, if no one is in they don’t bother coming around again. How mean is that?

Ray is still feeling fine even after our long walk. I am still keeping my eye on him and driving him mad asking how he feels. Tomorrow we intend to travel into Spain to San Sebastián. Well unless we see somewhere else on the way. Loving this freedom.

We found a stop-over just 20-minute walk from the town of San Sebastian which was great.  It’s such a lovely place and we are looking forward to a really good look around the place tomorrow.  We had a little look at the town and La Concha beach which is supposed to be the most photographed the most visited and one of the loveliest urban beaches. It was really cloudy so we thought we would go back the next day when we hoped it would be sunny to get some nice pictures. Sadly it wasn’t sunny the next day.  On our way back to the motorhome it started raining and carried on through the night.  When we got up the next morning it had turned to sleet.

I had a look at the weather on my iphone and could see that the direction we were heading along the northern coast of Spain was going to be cold and raining so we had a change of plan and decided to travel south for the sun.

Pyranees-2What we didn’t expect was that when we got onto the autoroute towards Pamplona the sleet turned to snow.  Within 10-20 minutes it was really heavy and laying and within no time it was a foot deep.  This was very scary as HGV’s were jackknifing and getting stuck.  There was so many multiple car smashes too.  It was so bad that we kept getting stuck and couldn’t get traction.  Several times we just had to stop and wait for the snow ploughs.  I must say that they were on to it very quickly and done an excellent job of keeping everybody moving unlike in our country.

Pyranees-3The other side of the motorway had so many pileups that they had to shut the road and the cars and lorries just had to park up.  (don’t know how long they were there for).

We reached Pamplona and was surprised that there was no snow.  We parked up at a campsite for the night with great relief that we had reached there safely and that we had not damaged the motorhome otherwise that could have been the end of our trip.

We went to bed intending to get up early the next morning.  Ray got up first and looked out of the window to find it was snowing quite heavy and was getting very thick on the ground.  I don’t know how we managed it but we were up and dressed and away within about half an hour.  We didn’t know if we would be able to get off the site but couldn’t bear the thought of sitting around in the motor-home all day or longer until the snow cleared.

Again the journey was fraught with snow flurries on and off throughout the journey and extremely high winds.  We travelled for 8 hours and finally arrived in Benidorm to lovely blue skies and sunshine. We found a nice campsite which is between the mountains and the town of Benidorm.

We had a lovely walk into Benidorm today and spent time just sitting and people watching lapping up the sunshine.  Can’t believe the difference in weather.  We have decided to stay here for 4 nights to rest up after the stress of the last few days. Then we will head along the coast towards Portugal on Monday. Almeria is one place we would really like to see and hopefully pop in to see some friends there.