We made steady progress along the coastal motorway from Asturias to Galicia stopping overnight at a free place beside a reservoir in Overo. There was a big shopping centre just a few hundred yards before the thoughtfully provided motorhome parking so we popped in there to fill the fridge. This was the first really big shopping centre we had used since arriving in Spain and it took about ten minutes for us to remember why we prefer small ones. We wandered, slack mouthed and confused through acres of stuff we didn’t want and forgot what we went for. I remembered, rather sadly, that I used to shop for a family for a whole week without using a list. Now our combined brains couldn’t retain half a dozen small items from a list without constantly referring to it. Shirley was happy because she found a large motoring map book of Spain and Portugal and I rejoiced when I found some interdental cleaners for people with tiny gaps in their teeth. We know how to have fun.
We finally found our way to Atalaia Camper park in Foz, a small town on the coast. It had been recommended to us by the nice lady in Cobreces and has excellent facilities including showers, washing machines and pitches with water and electricity. It is, of course, a paid park and it really is excellent value and feels very safe. We came here to escape the sudden burst of activity in the motorhoming community as everyone who has a camper comes out to celebrate the Easter weekend. We imagined that this would protect us from the madness out there where people jostled for places to stop and parked close enough together to hear each other breathe – and worse. Unfortunately we had forgotten briefly that the Spanish really know how to party. Muncho, who owns this splendid park, puts people with dogs near the front of the park so that you have a better chance of getting out before the four legged friend dumps his intestinal contents on the immaculate white gravel. He also puts groups of families near the front so that the bottom of the park is quiet. We were in the very unfortunate position of having the dog but not the children and, perhaps worse, we were parked right next to the boules pitch. After a large group of families arrived on our second day and the parents sat outside chatting and laughing until the early hours whilst their offspring played football until after midnight we pleaded with Muncho via a translation app. He moved us to the quiet end of the park and we breathed a sigh of relief. This is a very beautiful camper park and we thoroughly recommend it but we realise now that it’s a good idea to ask to be lower down the park where a good night’s sleep can be found.
When the van’s rocking
A few days ago the temperatures began to rise enough for us to bring out the cropped trousers and the t shirts and put away the jumpers and jeans. The only thing that put us off initiating this process was the fact that the summer clothes were neatly packed in zipped up packing pouches under one of the seats. To get into the under seat lockers you have to remove all the seat cushions, find somewhere to put them and then reach in to get things out. To make space in the wardrobe the warm stuff had to go in the underseat locker where the summer stuff had been with all the backwards and forwards, shuffling and grunting involved. One afternoon while Shirley was having a shower, I hit on the idea of setting about the task. Premier furnishings have done a fabulous job of replacing our seat cushions and fitting them with extraordinarily strong velcro to make sure they don’t slide off accidentally. They therefore require a fair bit of strength to get them off at all. I was blissfully unaware of the noise and the van rocking I was causing until Shirley put her head out of the bathroom and said “What’s going on? Did a cat get in?” If the title of this paragraph gave a false impression it’s all down to your mind.
The beloved Asian supermarkets of Spain
In Spain and Portugal there are numerous Asian shops that sell all things domestic, crafts, DIY and gardening. We love them, You can wander for hours and find all kinds of thing you don’t need and occasionally find something you do. Here in Foz we found, to our delight, one such a shop just up the road from where we are staying. I had written a list of things we needed including a new circular bath mat for the shower, some disposable gloves, some small storage containers and a highlighter pen for Shirley to play with her new map book.
The shop was enormous – the kind that gets you up to your step goal for the day just wandering through it’s aisles. We started with the bath mats, none were round so we bought an oblong one with rounded edges and thought we could cut it to size. The containers were a problem because we hadn’t measured the little cupboards in the bathroom that we needed them for so we bought two different sizes and hoped for the best. The really important things were the disposable gloves. We use them when we empty the chemical loo and our last box that had lasted us two years was now down to three gloves (how did that happen when they are in boxes of 100?). We combed those aisles for at least half an hour until Shirley decided to ask an assistant using sign language. First she took us to the oven gloves, then the marigolds but finally, when Shirley said “plastic”, in a Spanish accent to assist understanding you understand, she finally understood and found them for us. The only thing better than finding an Asian shop in Spain is actually finding the thing you went in for. We were euphoric. The highlighter pen was easy, given that they sell every type of pen and pencil in the whole universe and we were soon on our way back to the van with our booty.
Back at the van we realised that the bathmat was useless because it had been rolled up for so long it was never going to lie flat and anyway I admit to wielding the scissors before I engaged my brain. The containers were too big but the highlighter pen and the plastic gloves are just right. Another Goldilocks moment for the memoirs.
Vacuuming with a loose bottom
Our little rechargeable vacuum cleaner lives in yet another underseat locker. It’s getting old and will soon need to be replaced, however given that it’s one of those famous ones whose maker’s name begins with D it was expensive so we’re trying to keep it going as long as possible. Usually I’m the one who does the seat demolishing to get the vacuum out when Shirley is out walking the dog but today, having spread breadcrumbs everywhere having our Sunday Bunday breakfast, Shirley could stand it no longer and got it out ready for action She was marching up and down the van using the cleaner and getting frustrated because it was just rearranging the mess when I looked, did a double take and pointed out that the bottom of the waste container was open. It was going in one end and out the other. Thankfully she saw the funny side of it and started again.
The pink flappy thing
This essential item of motorhomers kit should never be forgotten when going to sunnier climes. Its proper title is a fly swatter but neither of us can ever remember what it’s called when we’re looking for it, usually when a fly is zooming past our heads and putting up two fingers as it passes. We lost it several days ago and have been fruitlessly searching before resorting to the old method of tea towel flapping. Today we found it under Shirley’s bed. She claims no knowledge of putting it there. Strange …
We left Muncho’s lovely camper park in pouring rain after four nights of relatively restful relaxation. We had cycled around the district, found a beautiful beach at the port where we ate massive ice creams, cycled the long winding road to the oldest Basilica in the world and walked Poppy for miles on a nearby beach.
The weather had been kind to us for the whole of Easter weekend so we were a bit surprised to wake up on Easter Monday to torrential rain. Muncho had come to wish us farewell the evening before as he was going off duty after an incredibly busy weekend where he had managed, somehow, to keep everything running like clockwork. We really liked him and managed a few conversations using his rather clever translation app that translated his spoken words into a semblance of English and then translated what we said back again.
Our plan had been to drive up the coast to a cliff top parking that looked out over the ocean and was reputed to have the most wonderful sunsets. When we looked at the thick black clouds and the weather forecast we realised it wasn’t a great idea so we headed across country to a little town called Guitiriz where motorhomers are welcomed with good parking and a service point. The drive there would have been spectacular if only we could have seen anything. The road took us up to 700m above sea level and there were signs all the way warning of poor visibility due to mist and fog. In fact we drove up into the clouds and could see virtually nothing. The roads had lit markers that turned red if you were getting too close to another vehicle – a clever answer to almost nil visibility. We drove over numerous viaducts that would normally, we were certain, have given us splendid views. Heidi the Hymer chugged faithfully up steep hills and gave us no cause for concern at all. Eventually we went down again into the little town and settled in. We walked about, found closed cafés and shops then walked back to the van. It was mid afternoon and there was literally nothing to do. So we hopped back in and set off again, this time to the bigger town of Betanzos and here we are. This is a peach of a place for motorhomers. A good camper park with big spaces and an excellent service point. It’s an ancient town with narrow winding streets – a bit of a challenge as we came in – but at least it’s interesting. Best of all we are parked next to a dog agility park that is open to the public and this morning Poppy had her first attempt at the sport. She’s an absolute natural. She knew I had treats ready for when she did it properly so she looked up and with her eyes asked, “OK what do I have to do to get one?” then followed instructions without a problem. Watch her in action below…
Until the next time. Hasta la vista amigos.