Wednesday 30 March 2016

Back to the Coast: Cabo de Gata and the Costa Calida

Our spot at Playa de las Palmeras

Spain, 24th – 28th March 2016

We’re now back on the coast having worked our way east from Almeria and started going north along the Costa Calida finding some great beach parking spots to stay. I didn’t realise how mountainous this area was, in some parts all the way to the coastline, it’s clear why much of it is undeveloped. We’ve been on a lot of twisty and hilly roads to get about the area with some nice scenery. It seems beach parking is very tolerated in these parts which is good news for us, and surprisingly even “camping activities” overlooked. We’ve seen a lot of vans, including many VW campers, with awnings, chairs and tables out, and have seen Guardia Civil drive by without stopping at two of the places.

Saturday marked the 356 days on the road milestone for us. With our original plans for a year touring Europe we'd be back in the UK now, but with our efficient spending can extend it for a few more months now and keep enjoying it!

Thursday 24 March 2016

Exploring Inland Andalucía: El Torcal, Antequera and Sierra Nevada

Spain, 18th – 23rd March 2016

Rather than following our usual patterns of edging along coastlines we’ve stayed inland this week.  From Ronda we skipped the rest of the Costa del Sol by travelling east with no intention of coming back to the sea until reaching Almeria on the other side of Andalucía.  That’s quite a chunk of coast we’ve left unexplored, but between the stunning karstic landscape of El Torcal and the views of distant snow-capped mountains in the Sierra Nevada, I think we probably made a good call.

Sunday 20 March 2016

From British Fish 'n' Chips to Moorish White Towns: Gibraltar to Ronda

Spain and Gibraltar, 14th – 18th March 2016

Following Portugal I wasn’t expecting much of Spain and thought we may face a plateau in our trip at this point so travel through quickly. We’d heard lots of stories of problems and of not being able to freepark in southern Spain but so far it’s been great. It confirms to us further that you shouldn’t believe all the stories that go around and instead get there and find out for yourself. We’ve had some great beach locations last week, then this week have visited Gibraltar before heading inland into the mountains to the Pueblos Blancos, the White Towns.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Looking out at Africa from Tarifa, Andalucia

Spain, 4th – 13th March 2016

We’re currently parked up for the night on a piece of land near Tarifa, overlooking the ocean and the beach where all the kitesurfers and windsurfers flock.  Morocco is close enough to our kipping spot that we can see the white specks of buildings as well as a windfarm on the mountain peaks on the other side of the water.  This is the point of our trip where we’d considered going over to Morocco and branching our travels to include a little bit outside of Europe, but from a practical standpoint it didn’t quite materialise this time around; give us a couple of years and maybe it will be a different story.  Our trip down to this southern extreme of Spain hasn’t been for nothing however, as amazingly, Matt’s long neglected windsurf gear has finally had a dusting off.

Saturday 12 March 2016

Adios Piri-Piri, Hola Tapas! Seville and El Rócio

Portugal and Spain, 29th February – 4th March 2016

After two months we’ve finally put Portugal behind us, which means that we’ve got to swap our ‘obrigad(o/a)’ for ‘gracias’, and also that sadly there’s no more cheap piri-piri chicken on the horizon.  The good news is that I’ve already found a way of filling the food-shaped hole in my heart; after all, we’re in tapas territory now.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

The Final Stretch of the Algarve and Mina de São Domingos

Portugal, 24th – 28th February 2016

We have finally left Portugal, after two months here we've spent about twice as long here as we’d originally planned as we've enjoyed it again down here and found lots more nice and interesting places. We were aiming to get over to Morocco this winter and had gone as far as having immunisations while back in the UK and buying a Rough Guide and Camping Morocco books, however were not completely decided. The key thing that was still required was a vehicle insurance green card for the period that we would be there which would have to be arranged and posted, and after realising we were going to be in Portugal for a longer period it would be March before we would arrive which would be too late really as we’d want to allow 4-6 weeks over there. In addition there would be the added mileage on the van and a service due, so decided it will have to be left for another time.

Friday 4 March 2016

Eastern Algarve: Faro, Loulé and Estói

Faro marina

Portugal, 20th – 23rd February 2016

We’ve finally moved on from the Portimão area, and after a few weeks on the southwestern end of the Algarve we are covering new ground in the east, with the Spanish border coming ever closer.  We’ve had a few learning experiences this week, namely about the limits of what our solar-free electric setup can cope with, and also about what may drive a person to physically suck on a tap (the good news is the water pump still works, and hot showers are still within my grasp).  We’ve also been catching up with fellow motorhoming friends Matt and Ellie, which marked a special occasion in our fridge: the cans of Lidl lager were replaced with not just bottles, but branded bottles.  First bottled wine and now beer, aren’t we fancy pants?