We decided to cross the border from South West France into North East Spain via the old road rather than the motorway. This turned out to be the most brilliant of decisions and a scenic delight. To get there we needed to drive along a three mountain passes with hair pin bends, solid rock walls to one side and sheer drops of at least hundreds of feet on the other and all on roads just wide enough for us to pass oncoming cars, larger vehicles were another matter but fortunately they were few and luckily on the slightly wider bits.
All the while the views on this very sunny and hot day were stunning and I wish I had stopped at the few spots there were to stop but I was on a roll and loving the drive. They took us up high before dropping down to a town with a harbour and then back up high again to then drop all the way back to sea level and another town before our final climb up to the old Spanish border post.
Its kind of a shame its been completely abandoned and left to rot as has the potential of being quite a tourist spot with the stunning view and builds which could serve as host to a museum, shop and coffee shop maybe.
As we descended down the mountain we came across a petrol station where I could fill up but was somewhat crowded with a coach party that had stopped there. Whilst I was waiting in the queue I noticed a couple of gentlemen looking into the windows of our Motor Home. So giving up my place in the queue I went over to see what the hell they thought they were doing.
With a mixture of spanish, english and some hand signals it turned out they were trying to work out how we managed to fit on the benches in the rear lounge to sleep as they were far to short to fit a fully grown adult. I explained again with our communication mixture that the bit in the middle pulls out and makes a double bed. Handshaking was then done and I went back to join my queue which had just about gone by then.
The site we decided to stop at was Aquarius Camping which is located next to a large sandy beach in the Costa Brava near Girona. It is an exceptionally well run site and very clean. The toilets and showers are the very best we have experienced so far in our travels and puts the UK ones to shame. There is a restaurant, bar, beach bar and large supermarket that sells an extensive array of stuff including some camping equipment etc. All the staff speak several languages including English.
The site is very popular with Germans, so my wife was happy, and turned out to be half term for many German schools so was very busy. We quickly made good friends with the families who were our immediate neighbours and were invited to join one of the families at their table at the beach bar on Sunday which was having its last day of the season and selling all its drinks for 1 Euro. Needless to say we all got rather drunk whilst talking and listening to the live bands the bar had put on.
Whilst we were at our last site in France we found out what a Mistral wind is to our cost. One of the arms of our wind out awning was ripped away from the body of the van without any warning, well thats not quite true, we did get a little notice has the wind suddenly started and we were just thinking we best get it in incase it gets worse. Well it did, right then! We had some help from our French neighbours and a very nice Dutch chap that was passing and between our joint multicultural European emergency workforce we got it held up in place and wound back in.
I rang the insurance company and found out that the damage would be covered and there was a £400 excess. Since I would not be returning to the UK anytime soon could I get an estimate and let them know.
Having arrived at Aquarius and settled in I enquired as to if they knew of anyone local that could look at it. Fortunately there was a shop at the top of the road (http://caravan-service.eu) that also had a mobile repair van that could come out to us and have a look for us. We were told by one of the other campers that he was very good and not expensive and they weren’t lying. He turned up and repaired the damage in no time at all and only charged us 70 Euros.
Were hearing that our friends and family in the UK are starting to put their central heating on now and temperatures are dropping to single figures whist we bask in the mid to high twenties each day. Although the nights and early mornings are starting to feel a bit on the chilly side. Time to move further south I think.