European and UK adventure 2017
York, Broadway, Portsmouth, (Brittany Ferries), Santander, Burgos, A. Tordesillas, B. Salamanca, C. Toledo, La Mancha, Benidorm, Peniscola/Benicarló, Sitges, l’estartit, Trèbes, St Antonio Noble Val, Sarlat, Brantôme, Ile de Ré, Erdeven, Bénodet, Roscoff, (Brittany Ferries to Portsmouth), Lydford, Truro, Tintagel, Tiverton, Gowerton, St David’s, Harlech, Bury, York
We pack up early and set off by 11am. We only got charged 19€ a night on a lovely premium pitch! A short journey over vast plains and we arrive at camp site ‘camping don Quixote’. We get a great pitch to accommodate our large outfit, have showers in very modern facilities and then cycle into Salamanca. It’s just 6km along a river path right up to the Roman bridge where you can access the old city. Dam – we forgot the keys to lock the bikes and everything up. We had a quick look around the town, have a drink and tapas in the main square. It’s amazing and more!. We booked a table in the plaza mayor for 8.30pm (it’s mentioned in Michelin) and head back to the camp site to change and cycle back (how fit are we).
Back to the town it’s buzzing and cooler as the sun dips lower. It is lovely. We sit at our table and order – Mike a gaspacho and I have mixed meat for starters, both very good. I have lamb shoulder and mike a T bone. We have a great house wine (2) and desserts. Good job we’re meat eaters lol the t-bone nearly filled the table. Would have liked some vegetables though. 10pm arrives and the what look like gas lights turn on all around the square. 5 minutes later all the buildings are illuminated. Quite beautiful and worth having the meal and atmosphere beforehand. Good suggestion Mr and Mrs Gunson. A good cycle back on the cycle path (which was lit), then on in the dark to the campsite. It took 30 minutes. Well earned sleep.
A lazy morning then trip to lidl to stock up. We’re going into Salamanca later after we’ve eaten maybe visit a bar. Oo err. We do the rest of the tour from the book with a small detour to sample ‘car man bar’. We finish off with a revisit to the plaza mayor for the lights switch on. We heard about the Irish theatre bar, so we go and have a reserve bottle of wine from duero and sparkling water. Nice wine, nice atmosphere, very nice moment. I think we have discovered a new regional wine – ribero del duero. Really enjoyable cycle back. ????
We have enjoyed Salamanca a lot and decide to stay at the campsite one extra day. Uno dia más. A cycle in today to see the cathedral. It’s hot! A drink first next to edelweiss bar, then on with the visit. The new bit of the cathedral outside was so detailed and intricate but the inside was basically side chapels of varying splendour all needing a good dusting! The central dome was stunning with painted carved frescoes but somehow it didn’t have the effect that Burgos did. (Relics are not nice, one had a ripped off arm of a martyr in a box). The old bit was Romanesque and it’s age and simplicity more effective. The frescoes were simple and as this was nearly 900 years old as a place of worship quite awe-inspiring. The altar piece was impressive. We have a late lunch – pasta, but such massive portions. Down to the bikes where we go across the Roman bridge built in 100bc. I spot a heron catching fish. There were some large fish far too big for the heron to eat very close by.
Such a good cycle path back. We have chicken and salad with gin and the last of our diet tonics, then down to the site bar for a night cap..
We are having a lazy day. We will have lidl pizzas for lunch then into the town for one last enjoyable visit. We have to be up and off reasonably early to get to Toledo. We head off for a last night in this beautiful city. It didn’t disappoint. We had a great meal at restaurant Delicatessen Café (half the cost of the big one) and better food Calle Melendez 25 (for future ref). We finish off with a Ribera del Duero at the Irish theatre bar. Home so we are up early tomorrow.
We are packed up and off for 9.30.am. The journey was wonderful with huge views and vistas, very spectacular. We travelled 160 miles with hardly any civilisation. Spain is vast.
Arriving at camping el Greco after 4 hours. This is a very smart site with a grand tree lined entrance. Pitches were very tight but we managed some cute manoeuvring and a lovely pitch 53. Into town on the 8.10pm bus at 1.40€ each. (The bus stop is outside the main entrance).
Toledo is a mess as we wondered around, we had a drink and an ice cream then back to the site. Sat on the terrace with a view of Toledo, on the hill in the distance. Too many flying things and a wedding reception with kids everywhere. I need to escape ????. Raffis curry was good
We decide to give Toledo another try after our not so good impression yesterday. We set off to get the bus at 1.10pm. Just so we had change mike bought 2 lime calypso lollies. We arrive at the bus shelter and mike decides to roll the sleeve of the lolly and trap the juice which exploded over his lovely white top. So, back to caravan to sort out the disaster. We caught the 2.10pm bus. Eyewitness map photos stored in my phone and we are off. 2 minutes later we are lost. I hate this town. Mike to the rescue. Eventually we find touristy spots and join the melé of Spanish, Japanese and Chinese tours going around this place. Highlight today was the cathedral. Stunning. I loved the trompe l’eau ceiling in the art gallery and the beautiful el Greco. At the rear of the altar coming from the high a sculptured window creating light was truly beautiful.
The city grew on us a bit today. Back to camp site for meal on terrace with spectacular views and sunset. We ate too much again. Weigh in tomorrow.
We are heavy ????. Back to normal eating if we want to look gorgeous for the med. we have a lazy day and a trip to Lidl to replenish stocks. We finish the Raffi curry. I feel much better on a lower calorie intake. Tonight we walk into Toledo heading to the wonderful Roman bridge with great views across it. All the time we have swallows, swifts and bats gorging themselves on insects – swooping and darting around us. Walking over the bridge, then along the ramparts more great views. We had spotted an elevator on the bus journeys in, or to be more precise an escalator built into the edge of a cliff. It was huge and a design triumph. We travel all the way to the top and back down again. Then on to the huge gate guarding the city. Intimidating but so impressive. Mike had a problem with his toe but a carefully placed plaster and we head off home for a well deserved wine in the balmy air. Toledo scored some brownie points at last.
I decide to have a little me time today and head off to the town on my own to view the el Greco museum, I pack up a bowl of cherries and a bottle of water for the adventure, catch the bus and get off at the elevator we saw last night, quickly rising to the top. (Being eyed up on the way up I think). At the top it’s a different Toledo to our first night with a lovely café. I go into the Visigoth museum which was interesting but no English anywhere to gather information. It was only 1€ though.
Now to use the map to find the el greco museum. After a few attempts with the map rotated in various ways I actually found it! Interesting layout as it was one of the first to base an exhibition around a period house and setting. I enjoyed it but don’t like his style.
After 2 hours I reward myself with the cherries under a tree and then wander back for the 4pm bus. My treat was a 1€ ice cream from McDonald’s (offer of the day). We repeated our walk as last night finishing off with vino on the terrace.
European and UK adventure 2017