Well the adventure got off to a poor start with the van not starting!!.
Our good friend and mechanic Dominique, worked on the problem for several days till he and I were satisfied that we could, with confidence, set off for Spain and Portugal
We finally got things shipshape, or perhaps that should be van shaped after a few days and the van was stating first time and purring sweetly after that. We spent a day packing the van then unpacking all the stuff we did not have room for, then packing back up again, what joy.
We set off on Wednesday 8 January at 10.30 heading for our first stop at Nersac near Angouleme. Good six hour journey, Gladys a little fazed by the whole event but settled down and eats a hearty meal when we stopped. There was only one other campervan when we arrived at the designated campervan halt, saw lots of them on the way by the way. After a couple of hours two new ones joined us for the night.
The stop at Nersac. A great night’s first sleep, very quiet and peaceful halt, good place to exercise Gladys and a bonus of free electric.
The next day, after a visit to the local market just by our parking place we headed for the west coast at a place called Andernos les Bains, right on the beach. A slightly scruffy site but level and with a decent services and the bonus of being directly on a glorious beach. Andernos is famous for oysters and the beach front is littered with huts selling and serving oysters.
The beach at Andernos at sunset, just for Marco. ciao
After another good night’s sleep we set off in the morning for Anglet just a short hop from the Spanish border. The designated stop for camper-vans was a huge car park above another glorious beach.
What kind of strange Jurassic creature made these prints?
A great beach to play on with Gladys
What amazed me and continues to amaze me is how many other people are doing what we are doing in January, in this car park at Anglet there were more than fifty camper-vans all heading south or heading home, and the French seemed to have embraced the whole camper-van thing, all the sites are well signposted and the services in good order and plenty of them. I suppose I am used to the canal facilities and Halte Nautiques, but to be honest the camper-van crowd seem to be better catered for.
Saturday morning arrived with a warm day in prospect and the sun in the heavens and us heading for Spain and our first campsite of the trip at Zarautz. This campsite was recommended to us by Mark and Celia who were supposed to be joining us for part of this trip but have been delayed in the UK and will not be heading south for a couple of weeks. Anyway the campsite was a great recommendation and the boss man put us in a wonderful spot overlooking the fabulous beach and bay. We are staying for two nights to get some washing done and charging the phones and Kindles, before heading down into deep Spain and away from the coast.
Teresa enjoying a chill out moment overlooking Zarautz
Yours truly enjoying his chill out moment in the camp bar
Thoughts so far are this is a great way to spend some of the winter, the weather has been great, we have slept very well and doing lots of walking with Gladys and no telly which I missed for two nights but now glad it’s not available.
Final thought we met a Dutch guy at one of the halts who said ‘are you a snowbird too?’ Not sure if I heard him correctly I answered ‘Snowbird?’ Yes he said ‘you are flying south for the winter just like the snowbird’. So now the van is ‘Me Van Oui, Snowbird’
This post was written by Terry Barrett
Photographs by Tes