I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Spain 2023 - The Journey

Spain has beckoned us for a 6th time.  I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Wednesday 1st February

We finally got away after another aborted trip this year. This time it was Muffin, well I suppose my fault really. I sent Muffin’s paperwork to the Vet who was going to organise his Animal Health Certificate and she noticed that his rabies injection had expired back in September. It was then a quick visit to our vet for an injection and then having to wait the statutory 21 days. Fortunately, it only delayed us by six days. But it did mean cancelling our ferry crossing and going via the tunnel instead.

Photo from the Beachborough Park website

We left home about 2:30pm and had a good journey down to Folkestone where we were staying at Beachborough park as we did last year. It really is so handy for the tunnel. We went to the Gatekeepers Inn in for dinner and had an excellent meal. Back in our room we watched TV for an hour before trying to get to sleep.


Thursday 2nd February

The alarm was set for 5.15am on Thursday but we were both awake before then.  We were ready to leave at 5.50am and set off for the Tunnel.  Beachborough is only about 5 minutes from the terminal.  Once there we found the Pet Terminal and checked in.  Muffin’s Animal Health Certificate was in order, thank goodness.  Last year it cost us £250 but we found a vet who only does the certificates who charges £99 😊 

We were early arriving at the tunnel, so we were able to get the 6.20am train instead of the 7.20am one we were booked on.  That was great as it gave us a head start in France but not good as it was too early for the shops to be open!  But before we could get on the train I had to collect my duty free that I had ordered.  2 litres of gin at £10.99 for a litre.  I looked in Tesco the other day and it was £22 for a litre.  You can only take 1 litre of spirits into the EU but can bring 4 litres back!

Our car was completely loaded up, there wasn’t a square inch left.  While we were on the Shuttle there was a car in front of us with Mum, Dad, son (about 15), daughter (about 13) and another child in a car seat.  Dad opened the boot and there were two medium sized suitcases flung in there, one change of clothes I guess.  I would have thought that maybe they were going to their own holiday home, but Dad was putting his UK sticker and headlamp deflectors on which made me think otherwise.

We have some friends, Pat and Bob, who were also travelling on the 2nd.  Of course, we should have been sunning ourselves in Spain on the 2nd, but instead we were on the road.  It turned out that they were also on the 7.20am train and had also been moved forward to the 6.20am train.  How coincidental?!  We hadn’t long been driving in France when Richard noticed that they were in front of us.  A few messages later and we were drinking coffee together outside a service station (outside as we both had dogs with us).  They are staying near Torrevieja and we hope to catch up with them somewhere before we go home.

We stopped for our picnic lunch and it was chilly, 7°, and as we were leaving it started raining.  We didn’t use the toadstools! 

We stopped for some fuel where there were four lanes with four cars filling up, a French, a Belgian, a Dutch and us Brits.  Very multi-cultural!

Our hotel for tonight was Le Domaine where we had stopped on our way home last year.  We were greeted like old friends which was so lovely.  We had a different room this time but it was just a mirror image of last year’s room.  There was one other couple having dinner with us. Tracy was British and Hans was Dutch.  They were on their way to their holiday home near Roses.  It was lovely to chat to them and discovered that we had a lot in common.  The meal was excellent, Sophie is a very good cook. 

Friday 3rd February

Last year when we were at Le Domaine we woke up to snow in April, but none of that this year thank goodness.  

We had a lovely breakfast but then had to say goodbye.

We managed not to get lost in Lyon this time, but it is a nightmare of a place.  With the city being in a hollow between mountains there is nowhere for a bypass to go, so it’s under the city for quite a long way.

For the first time I had to wear my sunglasses, new ones for this year!  There were so many lorries on the roads, but not one British one.  Brexit??

We stopped for lunch at an Aire and discovered it was the same one as last year! 

We had a rather nasty experience which could have so easily ruined our holiday.  We were overtaking a lorry which was in the middle lane when a black Mercedes came haring along on our inside and pulled out in front of us to overtake the lorry, how he didn’t hit the lorry we will never know.  He then pulled in front of the lorry, into the inside lane to take the exit.  If he had hit the lorry, he would have hit us too.  It shook both of us up.

The next excitement was finally arriving in Spain. 

We hadn’t been in Spain long before we came across a traffic jam.  I guess it delayed us by about 30 minutes and at the end was a very mangled car.  That could have been us if the black Mercedes had been a split second later.

The road round Barcelona was very busy but it was 5pm on a Friday!

As the sun went down we seemed to be driving straight into it most of the time, strange as we were driving south and the sun sets in the west! 

We arrived in Reus and went to McDonalds as usual (this was our fourth visit to Reus).  The McDonalds restaurants in the EU always seem to have more exciting burgers than in the UK.  However, there was a children’s party going on and the noise level was exceedingly high!

We checked in at the hotel and went to our room.  We both read for a while before Richard said he was going to bed, he was asleep by 9.15pm!

Saturday 4th February

We had a good night’s sleep even though the bottom pillow was like a brick!  We had breakfast but it wasn’t up to yesterday’s standard at Le Domaine!

This was the view from our room. 

We left about 9am and the roads were so quiet up until about 11am when people started moving around on a Saturday, but there were hardly any lorries.  We finally saw our first British car, well except for Bob and Pat. 

We stopped for coffee and there was this pretty arbour in front of the toilets.  Shame about the bin! 

We arrived in Mojacar and stopped to buy milk and frozen peas then drove up to the villa.  We had left the villa last year looking very sorry for itself after the calima.  It was orange as were all the other white buildings.  But Casa Noott had had a make over and looked better than ever.  The owner, Amanda, had also done lots of other improvements but the main one was a brand new kitchen which has made a big difference.  We felt as if we were coming home 😊

We did the necessary unpacking and left the rest until the morning.  I heated up a lasagne that I had bought in France (we do have a cool box in the car!) along with the frozen peas.  We were both shattered and managed to watch half a film before going to bed.

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