Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Poitiers to Oloron Sainte Marie, France, to Benicassim, Spain

Monday, 27th February 2017.

A dull and cool morning.

When we come to pay (it is all automated, ticket on the way in, present ticket to machine, pay on exit), we find the charging structure is not quite as we had been led to believe. We thought it was 7Euro for twenty four hours, but, it is 7Euro for the twenty four hours 08:30 - 08:30. We arrived at about 16:30 (part way through a twenty four hour period) and, we are leaving at 09:00, which is in the NEXT twenty four hour period, so, we have to pay 14Euro! For that price, we could have stayed on a site, with full facilities! I doubt we will be back.  

So we leave Poitiers Futurscope (N46 39.813' : E0 22.094'), 14Euro lighter, and head for Mont de Marsan (N43 54.146' : W0 31.186'), an Aire, supposedly with EHU and Toilets. Well, we find the Aire, but, no EHU, no Toilets and no water. 

Since it is "only" 14:00, we decide to head nearer to the Somport Tunnel and set the Sat-Nav for Oloron Sainte Marie (N43 11.032' : W0 36.511').

Approximately 280miles later, we arrive at Oloron Sainte Marie.

Fortunately, the Aire at Oloron Sainte Marie is exactly as described. 

Marked spaces for 7 Vans, (with a maximum stay of 48 hours) but, eventually with 11 present! Surprisingly. most of them are Brits. 

The Aire is virtually in the town, Kathleen has a break from cooking, and we find a little bar serving food.

Despite the fact the Aire is just off the road, and, is in town, it is surprisingly quiet.

Tuesday 28th February, 2017

A mild but dull morning.

We are away early, 08:00, the thought being to get along the much hyped approach to the Somport Tunnel, before the traffic builds up, with the intention of making Benicassim, today (approximately 340 miles).

What an anti-climax, true, the road is twisty and narrow, and, you have to be alert for the occasional articulated truck hurtling down the gradient from Spain, but, there are no difficult bits and no significant gradients. The road on the Spanish side of the tunnel is even better, almost motorway standard dual carriageway for most of the journey, and, very light traffic.

Plus, the road is almost empty, in both directions.

The Somport Tunnel is fairly new (built around 2003), and it shows, well lit, and well signed. According to Google, it is the longest road tunnel in the Pyrenees at 5.3 miles long. It cost 251Million Euro to build, which seems pretty reasonable to me, as these things go!


Eventually, we arrive at Bonterra Park, Benicassim, at about 17:00, a long day, but, the sky is blue, the sun is shining!

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