It seemed like a good idea at the time – overwinter in the south of Spain, since we have the dog, the Canaries weren’t an option although it would have been our preferred destination, having lived there albeit 25+ years ago. So, how hard could it be? Having now arrived and settled in, we can give a better opinion of the Trip. Distance wise, we have driven over 700 miles and sailed about the same in nautical miles. We drove through heavy rain and blinding sun, down the A43/M40/A34 from Yelvertoft to Portsmouth on Sunday afternoon. Bit of a detour, since several Muppets had crashed on the wee bit of M40 that we wanted. So around Bicester we went. Quick pit stop at Hedge End for a fast food snack, then on to sit and sit and sit to be boarded on to Cap Finistere. Got there around 1900, way too early but then drove on about 2140, having had Toby scanned and checked. Big dog sticker put on the car! The delay was due to ” a complex loading situation” – lots of oddly shaped lorries! All very carefully Jenga-packed onto the ship.
It is a ferry and not a cruise ship and perhaps the two-night stop was not a good idea as we could only have Toby in the cabin or on the exercise deck (a very sad and very smelly short stretch of barely enclosed upper deck). We didn’t want to leave him alone, so we had to take turns in wandering around the exciting ship! Despite having paid over £700 for the return trip, we still had to pay for food/drinks etc (£10 breakfast, £20++ for dinner or buy stuff from the cafe). So a bit of a trial but thankfully the crossing was fairly smooth – Storm Brian had moved North. The little salad boxes from the cafe were quite good and the coffee pretty decent too. Come Tuesday morning, we were up at 0500 to exercise dog and then wait to be told to take him to the car, for yes, he had to sit in the car for an hour before we were allowed back! Then, escape, yea! Driving off into the dark at 0720 (or 0820 Spanish time), trusting our Mio MyDrive prat nav implicitly to get us out of Bilbao and on to the right road. Which it did. What lovely roads! They looked and felt like brand new – and after a brief flurry of rush hour, the traffic thinned out to nada! It was very soporific – like a computer car game – just keep the car in the lane Steve!!. . . we stopped once or twice to change drivers, refuel and let Toby out, who didn’t want to – let me sleep he said! On and on and on, magnificent and empty countryside. A pit stop at a cafe in the Ribero del Duero area saw us drinking “cafe cortados” and buying wine and a big pot of local honey (1 kg for 10 euros). A long drive of some 7+ hrs but the ease of driving on these roads made it easier.