Ola Spain!

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We had two visits to Spain –

Firstly coming from France through the west coast (San Sebastian area) down to Madrid and over to Portugal.  The second time coming from Portugal’s south coast, travelling around to Barcelona, and then north to the French Riveria.   

Zarutz

 

Private dinner party for two

The countryside was drastically different – from beaches to vast dessert like land, which reminded us of the Australian outback. Spain was ok, but no match for Portugal’s charm, beauty, and prices (deisel was 10c less a litre though!). 

Madrid was our pic of the cities we travelled through.  The east coast was a bit of a let down.  The beaches were either way too touristy or (in the south) the sand was black, like ash. Barcelona was nice, but I think we were over big cities.  Nic managed a spot of shopping at Zara though – thoroughly recommend Barcelona for shopping ladies!

As for the food…well Nic made the best tapas (seriously, Waldu did say that), and the paella was nice.  Jugs of sangria – two thumbs up! 

 

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Postcards from Portugal

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Sorry we have not been on the blog for a while.  We have been on holidays from our holiday, in Portugal.  We cannot speak highly enough of the areas we travelled through from the romantic (don’t tell Waldu it was romantic) town of Evora in the middle of Portugal to the sun, sea, surf and sunsets at Capricosa, south of Lisbon, Portugal really turned on its charm.

Beach breakfast

 

We ate well (and cheaply) and drank lots of really nice and inexpensive wine from the various wine regions (a top shelf bottle cost AUS $10), had beach picnics for breakfast and sunset, and best of all we met some interesting and friendly fellow travellers – Paddy & Rita, Guy & Jacqueline, Benje & Beryl, Therese and Bob…looking forward to seeing you all in Oz.

 

Beach Braai

Cheers to new friends

We travelled down the west coast, south of Lisbon, and stopped at so many breath taking look outs.  Sadly we turned the corner and entered the Algarve, which wasn’t as nice – very touristy indeed.  But the rest of Portugal (and the bits we didn’t get to that we heard were great), well it was something we will never forget.  We definitely want to return.

Where the land ends and the two oceans meet

Where we’ve been

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We are in Portugal at the moment, and stopping for 5 nights in the one spot (a record for us) to soak up the sunshine.  We have updated the itinerary page (for Europe anyway) but it does change often.  But, we are definitely off to Greece at the end of November.  As for where we have come from:

Timing Country City
13-Aug-11 United Kingdom London
14-Aug-11   London
15-Aug-11   Southhampton, Stonehedge
16-Aug-11   Bath and onto Port Eyon, Wales
17-Aug-11   Shrewsbury
18-Aug-11   Lakes District
19-Aug-11 Scotland Edinburgh
20-Aug-11   Edinburgh
21-Aug-11   Edinburgh
22-Aug-11   Day trip to Glasgow
23-Aug-11   Edinburgh
24-Aug-11   Edinburgh
25-Aug-11   Edinburgh
26-Aug-11   Edinburgh
27-Aug-11 Morocco Marakech
28-Aug-11   Esouria
29-Aug-11   Esouria
30-Aug-11   Marakech/Scotland
31-Aug-11   Scottish Highlands, Oban
01-Sep-11   Scottish Highlands, Fort William
02-Sep-11   Scottish Highlands, Innverness
03-Sep-11   Drive back to Edinburgh
04-Sep-11   Edinburgh
05-Sep-11   Drive to York
06-Sep-11   Rugby, Banbury overnight
07-Sep-11   Drive to Folkstone
08-Sep-11 France/Belgium Bruge, Ghent
09-Sep-11   Day trip to Brussels
10-Sep-11 Holland Drive to Amsterdam via Delta Project
11-Sep-11   Day trip to Amsterdam
12-Sep-11   Friesland driving during day
13-Sep-11 Germany Drive to Wolfsburg
14-Sep-11   Wolfsburg Autostad tour
15-Sep-11   Day trip to Berlin from Potsdam base
16-Sep-11 Poland Drive to Poland, Wroclaw
17-Sep-11   Auschwitz tour
18-Sep-11   Day trip to Krakow
19-Sep-11 Poland/Czech/Slovakia Salt mine tour, drive to Slovakia
20-Sep-11   Trencin castle, Modra wine
21-Sep-11 Austria Day trip to Bratislava, drive Vienna
22-Sep-11   Drive country side
23-Sep-11   Explore village and country side
24-Sep-11   Day trip to Salzburg
25-Sep-11 Germany Munich and Oktoberfest
26-Sep-11   Day trip to Munich
27-Sep-11 Liechtenstien Drive via Bodenesee Lake
28-Sep-11 Switzerland Lake Luzern
29-Sep-11   Mt Pilatus
30-Sep-11 France   Champagne region
1-Oct-11   Day trip to Paris
2-Oct-11   Drive to Blois
3-Oct-11   Drive to Cognac
4-Oct-11   Drive to south east coast France
5-Oct-11 Spain North coast Spain (San Sebastian)
6-Oct-11   Zarautz
7-Oct-11   Drive to Madrid
8-Oct-11   Madrid day trip
9-Oct-11   Rugby & drive to Casceas via Toledo
10-Oct-11 Portugal Evora
11-Oct-11   Sesimbra then overnight Capricana (Almada)
12-Oct-11   Capricana
12-Oct-11   Capricana
13-Oct-11   Sintra, coast and overnight Capricana
14-Oct-11   Lisbon, overnight Capricana

Washing day in Spain

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A Chinese laundry in Spain

We arrived in Spain (north west coast – near San Sebastian) to sunshine, hot weather and a gorgeous camp site view of the ocean from our hill top perch.  Lekker – two days of sunshine and we could wash everything and get them nice and dry in the sun.  Or so we thought.  Day 2: A little misty.  “It will clear” we said.  Time for a slow start to the day and then we hoped for sunshine, but it wasn’t to be.  Oh, well.  At least we got a little R&R from our trip.  Off to Madrid now.

Tour de France

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After Paris: Burgundy region.  Secured a nice free spot for the night, down by the river.  Got ‘temporarily disoreintated’ (sounds better than lost) searching for the Yvonne wine region.   

Day after: Cognac region.  Waldu samples some of the fine spirit and Nic drives (eek!).  More free camping.  Most of the camp sites closed on 2 October so we spent the night in the carpark and met some really nice French travellers, Jean Pierre and Monique.  Monique filled us in on more free spots, left us with a book on free and paid spots in France and Spain, and two new friends. 

Some day after that:  south of Bordeaux there is some nice beaches and small towns.  As the campsites closed on 2 October most of them are deserted so we get another cheap night.  Only 5 euro a night, 5 min to the beach, and this one has toilets (we have cold showers in our pop up tent – you get used to it).  We enjoyed a meal with a fellow German traveller, Nick, and Waldu got to build a fire – finally! Off to Spain, back in France in a couple of weeks.

Trying to convert Waldu ahead of the World Cup Rugby 1/4 finalWaldu is always on the look out for fire woodAnyone for a cold shower?

Champagne, Burgundy, Cognac, Bordeaux…the beast has been through all.

No love found for Paris

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She took our money, time, fun times and Nic’s favourite dress, and left us with nothing but an average French meal…that was Paris. We snapped three photos in total, all of the silver iconic construction that is a Paris icon, the Eifel tower. We are not into art museums, but if we were than I guess the Louvre would have allowed us to spend some more time enjoying Paris, along with the many sculpture exhibitions. Instead our half day in Paris (factoring in the 1.5hour train ride from our base at Troyes), was spent on an over priced hop on off bus that was crammed with tourists as it was a beautiful sunny day. From our down stairs position, and in heavy traffic there wasn’t a lot to see in the few stops we endured.

 

Loved Lucern

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On top of the world (or Mount Pilatus at least)

We bypassed the main cities of Switzerland and headed for the centre, Lake Lucern.  A second visit for Nic and first for Waldu.  The lake and city of Lucern didn’t disappoint. 

We headed up to Mt Pilatus, using a romantic (don’t tell Waldu) boat to cruise to the base of the mountain, and then an 1800’s cog wheel railway to get us to the top (48% incline!).  We left a dreary, misty and overcast day down below and when we passed the clouds we had nothing but bright sunshine.  So much so that we got burnt walking around (and drinking wine, eating cured meats…).

Waldu freaking out at Nic standing on rock edges

Late afternoon, two cable car rides and one toboggon later, we headed back to the old town to search for the dying Lion statue.  It was carved into an enormous rock face to commemorate the 170 swiss soldiers who died in the French Revolution.  A great couple of days – just really expensive.  Off to France…

PS. A note about the Toboggon ride: “They really should make their instructions more clear” said Nic after a very blonde moment.  “I thought that you only pushed the lever forward if you wanted to go faster, not to make it go.”  After a very slow toboggon ride, Nic finally made it to the end.