Friday, 3 April 2015

Benicassim, Bonterra Park, Bonansa, Camping Baliera, Montrejeau, Camping Midi-Pyrenees (March 28th - April 3rd 2015)

Saturday, March 28th 2015

Another sunny day.

We have been let loose, after almost five days of being kept indoors, because of the weather.

Off cycling again, 14 miles along the coast to Oropesa.

The cycle track has re-opened, after whatever work it was they were doing, all nicely resurfaced.

It is an old railway line, which runs along the
coast, but with some stunning scenery, and a few tunnels.

Oropesa is the next "town" north along the coast from Benicassim.

It is more "resort style" than Benicassim, a bit tacky, in our opinion, but, different people have different tastes.

Back to the van, a late lunch, then Kathleen heads off to church.

It is the week before Easter, Palm Sunday weekend, to the un-initiated. The Spanish are beginning to arrive in force for their Easter break.

Lots of grumbling from the British OAP's near us, complaints about the Spanish and their noise.

It is true, they are a bit loud, but, after all, it is their country!

Plus, they are not really that much more load, than the complaining OAP's, most of
whom seem to be so deaf they can only converse at a shout.

No sooner than I have myself settled with a glass of wine to have an hours relaxation, whilst Kathleen is at church, and, she is back.

No Mass tonight apparently, so, Kathleen will be going tomorrow morning, 09:00, too early in the morning for a glass of Red however, even by my standards.

Clocks change tonight, move forward an hour, so, lighter nights.

Sunday, 29th March 2015

A leisurely day, well, every day is leisurely now, I suppose I should say "an even more leisurely day".

A walk along the coast for about 3.5 miles.

Lots of the bars and Cafes, which had been closed for winter, have opened up this weekend, so, we sample one for tapas and a drink.

My turn to cook, lamb chops grilled on my griddle, purchased from the Chinese Bazaar.

Snooze away the rest of the afternoon and another 2.5 mile walk in the evening, to wake us up!

Monday, 30th March 2015

Well, the good times are over, Kathleen has entered "going home mode".

Thoughts of weight gain etc.

So, a few new "rules":
  • no more crisps
  • no more biscuits with our morning coffee
  • no more snacks, ie nuts, olives, gerkins etc
  • no more lunch time beers
  • reduce alcohol intake
These of course are Kathleen's rules, but, to use that phrase so beloved of the female of the species, I am expected to "support", her in her efforts, which, in male speak means suffer alongside her.

I ask you, what fun is there in that?

For today, I have circumvented the rules, under the pretence of going for a healthy walk along the coast (2.5 miles) took her to lunch, ordered a bottle of wine before she could object.

Packing started, well, scooter loaded onto it's trailer and positioned ready for hitch-up.

Tuesday, 31st March 2015

A 4.5 mile walk along the coast to one of our favourite bars, for an Orange juice, I told you the fun  times are over.

Lie in the sun, pay the campsite bill and then complete the packing.

Wednesday, 1st April 2015

We leave Bonterra Park and Benicassim

Today, we are travelling approximately 230 miles north into the foothills of the Pyrenees to Camping Baliera, Bonansa (N42 26'21.8" E0 41'53.9"). An ACSI site, which is open all year around.

If you really want to see it, there is video here.

Looks like an ideal spot for outdoor activity enthusiasts, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking and, in season skiing.

Trying out this route, which misses out Barcelona, and the slog along the N340.

Although not designated as a major road, on the map, the road is excellent quality, very scenic, without being too scary, Kathleen even managed some photographs.

For most of the way today, we are travelling across a broad plateau, surrounded by hills.

Not too much traffic, and not too many slow lorries.

After Lleida, it becomes a little more hilly, and twisty, as the valley narrows, and, there
is a large man made lake on one side of the road (hydro electric scheme, I think).

Surprisingly, considering how far inland we are, and, how high we are, it is remarkably warm, a very pleasant 22C.

Thursday, 2nd April 2015

A very small "hop" today, just over 60 miles, through the Vielha Tunnel, and into France

The whole  journey, in approximately 10 minute clips is below:

The approach to the tunnel, going North, Part 1

The approach to the tunnel, going North, Part 2

Ascent and entering tunnel, going north.

Tunnel, exit, and descent, going North. (part 4)

Descent from tunnel, going North, (Part 5)

Descent French side, going North - Part 6

Entering France, not that there is a border, Part 7

N125 - Part 8

N125 - Part 9

N125 - Part 10

Montrejeau - Part 11

Montrejeau, find the campsite! - Part 12

We have become used to daytime temperatures of 25C, even in the early morning, it was typically 18C.

This morning is therefore a bit of a surprise, we are well inland here, and quite high in up, there was frost on the outside of the van when we woke up, and the outside temperature was -1C!

But, a beautiful morning.

It soon warms up, by 10:00 when we leave, it is up to 15C.

The climb to the Vielha tunnel on this (the South side) is nothing alarming a steady 7%, with no really sharp bends.

The Tunnel itself is no problem, just over 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), well lit, slightly downhill as you go north.

The descent on the South side, into Vielha town, is steeper, with more twists and a couple of hairpins, but, nothing to get alarmed about.

Soon, we are at Montrejeau, Camping Midi-Pyrenees, (N43 5'31" E0 33'14"). An ACSI site, which is open all year.

The site is quiet, with fantastic views, temperature is 25C by shortly after lunch time.

The church is found, Easter Services checked out, so, Kathleen is set.

Friday 3rd April 2015.

The morning starts cool, only 1C at breakfast time, but, by 10:30 it is a pleasant 15C.

We decide to visit St Gaudens, about ten miles away, on the scooter.

Kathleen is becoming blasé about riding on the back, she had forgotten to put her gloves on, when her hands become cold, her solution was to sit on her hands, which means of course, she was not holding on at all.

I did have spare gloves with me, and, I did offer to give her my gloves and use the "spares" myself, so, Dana, Claire, Phillippa, don't blame me!

There is a pleasant "medieval" centre, with the usual proliferation of bars, and cafes, and, of course, a church.

By lunch time, it is 21C, so, what better than lunch in the square.

One disadvantage of travelling on the scooter, we have to limit our alcohol intake, me, because I am "driving", and Kathleen because she is (supposed to be) holding on.

After travelling back to Montrejeau, Kathleen heads of to church, it being Good Friday.

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