We planned to leave the UK in mid October via Eurotunnel and travel south, hoping to get to Morocco and to be back in time for Issey and Ame’s baby, expected in mid November.
We spent our first night at Le Mans where there was some kind of gymkhana event going on. There were several very fancy horse boxes travelling with us on Eurotunnel and I assumed we were mistaken for one of the horsey folk because the man in the check-in booth politely enquired whether we had any horses on board. “No, just the wife!” quipped Tony. Hilarious, huh? Tony thought so.
As we travelled south, the day time temperature was getting quite warm (20°+) so we decided to spend a couple of days on the Ile de Ré near La Rochelle. It had rained all night but the sun shone during the day and we enjoyed cycling around the island, sitting outside in the sunshine and having some delicious oysters for lunch.
We continued driving south as the weather broke on the west coast of France and it was still raining as we passed Bordeaux and on into Spain. We stopped over night at Orio and strolled into town about half past seven, hoping to get some supper in one of the excellent restaurants – but we were far too early, restaurants in those parts didn’t get going until 9 pm. We were hungry as we hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast so we retraced our steps and grabbed a quick meal in the café next to the campsite. It turned out to be an excellent meal and cost €25, including a couple of glasses of rosé wine.
One reason things happened so much later in Europe was that it was an hour ahead of the UK – GMT+2 meaning that in October the sun actually didn’t rise until almost 9 am and set soon after 7.30 pm. The clocks were due to move back the following weekend, which would make it a little easier to synchronise our British body clocks with European time.
Our next stop was Tordesillas and, again, we walked into town in the early evening just to stretch our legs. We had a beer in the central square enjoying the evening sunshine before returning to the campsite to cook supper. Overnight the wind changed and blew from the north and when we woke up the temperature was only 4°.
As we drove south the thermometer had climbed to 27°. We settled in a sunny pitch at the camp site in Cáceres. It was a lovely site, each pitch had its own shower and toilet BUT . . . it was full of Brits and we could not but help overhearing everyone else’s conversations.
We cycled into Cáceres (sounded like Cather-ez) for a cultural tour which consisted of a swift view of two churches, a beer in the sunshine and a climb up a tower. By this time we were ready to retire to a restaurant for lunch.