I won’t promise a day-to-day journal, but here’s an account of our first day in Spain!
We embarked the Pont Aven ferry in Santander just after midday on Monday 25th September 2017. Vehicles with pets were last on & first off the boat. It was Rob’s birthday, but although he woke in the upper bunk smiling at this, that he was almost in Spain, due to worrying about the pets, I completely forgot until he reminded me!
We activated the European map on TomTom which prompted directions from Billy Connolly. He wouldn’t accept the full address of our accommodation, so we put in the general postcode & setoff. I had a road map so know the rough destination area, but as this was the first time driving outside the UK with a satnav, we thought that Billy deserved a chance.
The E8 west was free flowing, the weather warm (if cloudy) & after a short break to exercise the dogs (strange to think that everything we owned was packed into that blue Honda), we approached Villaviciosa.
Billy announced that we needed to leave the motorway a junction before I would have thought but, looking at the map, I could see an A road which would take us to to where it seemed we’d find our cottage. However, it wasn’t long before Billy determinedly sent us onto roads too small for my map. It was a very pretty, nearly single track road which wound up & down through small villages, orchards & green, lush farmland, nearly all having a hórreos (maize drying shed on legs). This was also part of the Camino de Compostela so there were numerous hikers walking their pilgrimage.
All of a sudden, we seemed to be heading in the right direction to pick up the A road once again, when Billy insisted we go left, up the hill. So, after reversing (as we’d overshot the junction) we did, on the winding narrow road to a tiny hamlet.
“You have reached your destination!” announced a triumphant Billy “You may thank me & remember without me none of this would have been possible, you would have been hopelessly lost.” he continued in his Scottish lilt.
“Billy – we are lost!“
We exclaimed in frustration & laughed at this first incident in our adventure. We turned Billy off otherwise he would have insisted we “turnaround, but the whole car, not just ourselves…”
I followed my nose & instructed Rob to “Head straight on.”
Wondering if we’d end-up in someone’s farmyard (it had happened before), he continued on to a junction next to a church which I recognised. Consulting our new best friend, Monsieur Michelin, we headed down the same hill we had a short while before, passing the same hikers in our distinctive long blue Honda estate with roofbox…
I managed to get us to the general area of our accommodation, but then there were so many roads criss-crossing the farmland, we went up & down each one as I’d no idea what the house looked like. The Air B&B description had said it was 1 kilometre from the beach, so we headed right down to Playa Meron.
For some reason, although I’d enabled data roaming, 3G hadn’t worked since landing in Spain &, very unlike me, I hadn’t recorded the host’s phone number offline. Watching Rob walk the dogs on the beach, I texted my daughter with my Air B&B login details asking her to login, contact the host Tilo & ask him to call me.
Examining the Google map printout (which I had thought to bring), we ascertained that, if it was accurate, the house must be 1km back up the top of the hill & drove slowly up. “Let’s try there” I pointed right to Rob, just as my phone rang & I noticed a guy in the yard of an orange building was holding his mobile to his ear!
A few hours later than expected & exhausted, but we were here, our home for the next 12 nights.