We were on the road just after 09:00 and just 280km to Santander. An easy drive along the E80 with yet again no traffic delays (well, none in front of us at least!) and a 3 hour journey to the port of Santander.
We arrived in plenty of time before the scheduled departure of 15:15 and enjoyed a fairly pleasant 24 hour crossing to Portsmouth. The Bay of Biscay was somewhat choppy in the prevailing force 6.
Following our return to Hampshire, we had a couple of jobs to perform before installing the caravan back into its home – the laying of a ton of concrete to better ease it’s motion in and out of its corner.
Then finally, the destruction of the fence, which had so nearly cost us the entire trip…
A day to explore the local town of Tordesillas. There is no shortage of beautifully kept ancient villages all over Spain. Apparently Tordesillas is famous for the signing of a treaty between Spain and Portugal on 7th June 1494. The treaty basically carved up the world based on a meridian line in order to split up the new world between Spain and Portugal. How the mighty are fallen…
It was also the day of Corpus Christi celebrations which is a Roman Catholic festivity. All the kids have been dressed up – girls in white flowing dresses like a wedding dress and boys suited and booted.
Convent of Santa Clara – closed
Still, this timing meant the convent was closed due to the celebrations and this was the one land mark we really wanted to look around. It was a palace in the days before it became a convent but today it was “cerrado”.
Lunch was in the main square and consisted of a three course Menu of the day. Mo had salad followed by cod and I had scrambled eggs with prawn followed by chicken kebabs. All washed down with a customary beer and glass or two of vino tinto.
Tordesillas Main Course
Where’s the chocolate
Profiteroles were a little weird.
Our stocks of food, beer and wine in the caravan are just fine.
Still, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stock up on some fine Spanish wine and replenish our somewhat depleted stocks in blighty.
We visited Rueda which is central to the wine growing region we are in and visited a place called La Cuba De Rueda which is a kind of wine wholesale operation stocking wines mainly from the local bodegas. There was a huge selection of wine and we were encouraged to taste as many as we wished.
La Cuba de Rueda wine purchase
We naturally left with quite a selection of half cases – not all of which we had tasted.
I’m certain we were their premier customers of the day (if not week) judging by the first class treatment we received.
The deals seemed good but how does one know it isn’t like shopping at a farm shop in England where more oft than not, the similar quality if not same product is available at a fraction of the price in a local supermarket… It’s not as though any of the wines purchased were household names. Still, it was a lot more fun than wandering around Sainsburys looking for half price Wolf Blass Yellow label.
The afternoon was a trip to Leroy Merlin – a DIY Hyperstore. I had a few things I wanted to buy for my computerised irrigation system in England (prices are a fraction of what they are in the UK) but sadly the primary items I wanted were out of stock. We’ve been away from the house a long time now and it will be interesting to see how many of our plants have survived. Still, next time, the raspberry pi linked to weather forecasts ought to do the trick.
Evening was a meal at the Campsite restaurant which was very good and of course reasonably priced. We ended up eating in the bar as an early evening thunderstorm or two were brewing. That’s when we realised the European cup final was taking place live on TV and we watched our first television since departing our green and pleasant land.
El Astral – Camping and Restaurant
Time to move on again and this time it’s a 420km journey from Camping Los Batanes to Camping EL Astral in Tordesillas.
Pitch at Camping El Astral
Much of the day was therefore spent travelling and setting up at the new site. The pitch itself is huge and first impressions of the campsite are that we’ve chosen another gem.
Kayak rental today from restaurant Los Alamos in close proximity to Camping Los Batanes.
Through the canyon
We kayaked around Laguna San Pedro and through a narrow canyon to the next lake upstream.
Mo didn’t fancy navigating through the small cave. But relented anyway – either that or swim…
Like most people we have met here, the chap with the Kayaks was most helpful and friendly, doing his best to speak in English. Wish our Spanish was as good as his English.
Camping Los Batanes is changing again before our very eyes. Folks have been pouring into the site all day and everything is busying up again for the weekend. Spent late afternoon people watching, particularly a Spanish family who arrived shortly after lunch. Perfect execution of manoeuvring his van into position until his wife returned from the café, marched across the campsite and remonstrated that she wanted a different pitch. He duly obliged (how sad is that!).
The influx of people did have its merits in that the local Pizza restaurant was open again thus solving the dinner dilemma.
Camping Los Batanes at night
The site looks terrific in the late evening. Such an extreme of temperatures here. The daytime high of early 30 degrees occurs around 5:00 pm and yet just 12 hours later, the mercury falls to some11 degrees, ensuring a good nights sleep (for everyone), without the caravan windows remaining open…
Our sixth or so day here at Camping Los Batanes and we are starting to understand how things work around here. In particular, don’t try to find anywhere nearby for dinner because you won’t. The Spanish left on Sunday and the site has been almost deserted and also the gaggle of restaurants are closed. Lunch is possible though and we revisited the restaurant we had located on our previous hike. I don’t recall the name but turn right out of the campsite and then first left. It’s situated right on the lake and the food was excellent.
A three course meal with beer and wine for two totalled around 45 Euros.
Fish around 60cm
In the morning we had made a short walk around a section of the Laguna and spotted some large fish – possibly carp – and around 2 feet in length.
Mo woke up with a migraine this morning so we spent a quiet day around the campsite.
Later in the day we visited Castillo de Penarroya
Castillo de Penarroya
which is situated next to the final Laguna which would perhaps be better described as a reservoir as it’s been created courtesy of a huge dam.
Two things underline the sheer remote and unspoilt aspect of Las Lagunas de Ruidera. Firstly, we wished to visit a larger supermarket to stock up on provisions. A 50 mile round-trip was necessary to find the equivalent of a small Lidl.
Secondly we needed diesel so pulled up at the local Repsol in Ruidera. A sign said something like “servicio asistido” which we assumed was “we serve you”. Anyhow after 5 minutes no-one appeared so I slotted 60 Euros worth in the tank. Went indoors to pay but not a sign of anyone in charge. A full 10 minutes later before a lady turned up and took my Euros – I wonder if she worked there?
We hiked a good 8 miles around a number of the Lagunas near to Camping Los Batanes.
Laguna San Pedro
Nice paths around the lovely lakes which would also be suitable for cycling. We headed north of the campsite today but no internet access seems to mean no MapymyWalk so we haven’t got a decent record of where we went. Maybe when I have some proper internet access, I’ll try and input some kind of manual route.
We stopped off at a rather nice bar restaurant for a couple of drinks and a “service” call – the food really looked rather good so we will be eating there one night this week.
It’s Sunday lunchtime and right now we should be enjoying Kingsdown beer with our dear friends at the Bell in Aldworth. Instead, desperate to ensure our loyal blog followers aren’t disapponted we have driven to a one horse town about 10km away from Camping Los Batanes which proports to have a bar with Internet access.
The one horse in this case is the Texas saloon and yes, this might well be the wild west. A quick speedtest indicates Internet access at 0.1mb which is about as fast as we used to get with dial-up. It could be a long afternoon with my new friend, Mahou (Cerveza Especial).
It has been a long afternoon. One picture uploaded and the outstanding blogs written but not published due to lack of pictures…
Mo insisted that this will be a rest day as she appears to be struggling with the pace of the trip. Not least nearly falling off her bike yesterday for the second time in two trips! I think though she may well be on driving duty by the time these posts have uploaded.