Friday, 16 March 2018

Cortes y Graena

It seems the best of the weather lies in and around Murcia so we set off in foul weather to get there

Turbulent skies and very windy conditions play havoc with street furniture
We saw numerous lorries and vans stuck in mud in the fields and side roads

Cortes y Graena and atop the dam for a couple of nights. How we didn't get blown off it the first night  I don't know!

Somewhat different to the 35 deg heat of last spring

The roads here are spattered with the rocks brought down in the overnight rains and we do our best to clear the larger ones from the tarmac on a big walk the next day

The walls left after excavation look really dodgy to me having seen the landslide at Pomarao last year

Undercut nicely by erosion and made of thick rubble/clay

Not a place to hang around in....

Dry stone walling Spanish style

We escaped this lot thankfully

La Peza, the nearest village, proved to be a big hit at lunchtime where we found a very nice bar doing 'Walkers Food'

Thursday, 15 March 2018


En route to Portugal we stop off at Gibraleon for a night and only manage a walk to the local Mercadona and a very cheap gin joint...

Quite a few vans at 'Pom' so we move on down by the river in to a very peaceful spot on our lonesome

With a nice view of the Guadiana river

Looking skywards...

We've come here solely to meet up with Ean, our friend who's been coming here for many years and can remember a time when it was unknown to the travelling motorhome fraternity

The guy is of a certain age at which he prefers to slip in to anonymity and keeps just a few friends anywhere near close to his thoughts so no photos of him or his 'Rig' are allowed and we respect that
(Russ & Lynne will no doubt chuckle)

Every day is spent ambling to his favourite spot under the rubber tree in the local cafe at 4.30pm and its from there that the fat is thoroughly chewed

The days are spent walking the local tracks

Our nearest hamlet

One of just a handful of residents

A friend of Ean joins us for an amble in the hills in search of this place

The small village of Picoitos yielded a tiny bar ran by a very old guy and we were so grateful for the beers he sold us

Further down the Guadiana, and back in Spain, lies Sanlucar and after a shopping trip on Max we call in and have coffee overlooking Portugal 

An hour back in time...

The weather is set to turn alas and Ken bids farewell to us all to relocate down on the coast
This is his Triumph Thruxton which fits nicely in the garage of his van

Time then to have a belated birthday lunch at the Cafe do Cais with Ean at which we try out this Portuguese speciality of clams and pork

Having said our farewells we give up on the idea of progressing further northwards in to the Portuguese interior as the weather is set to be poor with much rain for several weeks so relocate down to Sanlucar

We manage a short ferry trip across to Alcoutim

The view of Sanlucar with those clouds forming ominously

Its at this time that news of an 'Arctic Britain' reaches us and the poor weather expected here is part of the weather system affecting Blighty

We are saddened at changing our touring plans but intend to visit Northern Portugal one autumn when the weather is guaranteed. Walking in rain and temps of less than 10 degs is no fun TBH so we turnabout and head for what we now know to be the most reliable area of good winter weather in Iberia, namely South East Spain...

Wednesday, 28 February 2018


We arrive near to Seville and settle in at the Hidalgo Motorhome dealership some 20km from the city and go in to recharge mode again
(If it has a battery on board it gets charged)

The weather is just dandy so we Max it to the centre of the city and go on familiar manoeuvres
Hotel Alphonso Xlll provides the backdrop here

The very familiar Parque de Maria Luisa

Waiting patiently for those oh so necessary tapa

The evening is spent wandering the old part of town, people watching from various bars and touring those shops that the girls love so much...
Not a power drill or rotivator in sight!

Next morning we make ready for the off and service the van only to find that we have a warning light blazing away on the dash....
'Check Engine' it states...
Yep its there!
Alas the last time this raised its head was a few years ago which signalled the end of life for the turbo
Our collective hearts sank...

Thankfully we were close to a Fiat Professional garage that we'd used on several occasions before and having had the diagnostics done that day the computer said.."New differential pressure sensor required"
So thats the whole of tomorrow set aside then for a return trip to the garage in Seville
Great service I suppose but not what we wanted TBH

On our 'down time' next day ambling the district near the garage we saw this Kenworth beast

With this unlucky client attached
Ours seemed a minor issue at this stage

Here's the electronic plastic thingy
Only €417.00 fitted...Bugger!

With the light extinguished finally we lick our wounds and head for Portugal..

Wednesday, 21 February 2018


Just a short drive up the coast lies Chipiona & Rota
We service the van at a Repsol garage (with listed facilities) in Sanlucar and park up with quite a few other vans, mainly Spanish, in a car park near the marina in Chipiona
We've seen this site many times before and knowing Alphonso's site in Sanlucar would be either full or very busy we opted for three nights here this year

With Max as our steed and a very long promenade to walk we had all bases covered
To top that the weather was bang on!

We arrive on day 1 of the Chipiona Carnaval
That explains all the Spanish vans then...

We are soon off to our favourite seafront bar and enjoying a huge brandy and obligatory coffees
Only our Chums missing....

Chippy lighthouse in all its glory

Probably eighth on the property wish list but Nina wants it anyway

We were treated to a fine sunset, that and every night

Boots on and off we go next day (via the cafe of course)

The afternoon was spent amongst the heaving populous in the crammed side streets of Chippy enjoying the festivities

The theme here we guessed was 'Post Surgery Blues' but they still sang about their 'Cosmetic' woes

We tumbled in to this bar with surely the loudest music we'd heard in years..

We also got mobbed by Javes and his chums from Seville on our way back to the van who insisted on buying us beers 

A sobering ride next day to Sanlucar and a visit to the town square for those oh so tasty 'Tortilla de Gambas'

The late afternoon was spent further south in Rota where, can you believe it, yet another Carnaval was in full swing

Take off and landing may be an issue here...

Her face haunts me..
Defo a Cher looky-likey

Very 'Dastardly'

We wake up to fog on the last morning so go get provisions from downtown Chippy
These oranges are gonna hurt when they fall off..

Guess where next!