Well, my life has been a tad hectic of late but we had the most amazing three week road trip to Southern Spain in September. We left England on the 04.09.15 & came home on the 26.09.15 without being high-jacked, mugged or murdered along the way! I was very paranoid about all of this and we paid around £50.00 more for the travel insurance ‘just in case’ – what a pillock.
Our journey started in the early hours at 5.30am & my first encounter with the Channel Tunnel. I was a little panicked and did not enjoy my time stuck in a 4X4, in a tunnel surrounded by water with The Husband laughing at me. I did survive though, if only on the desire to go on holiday and see that beautiful place in the mountains again.
Our first stop was Bordeaux, we picked a hotel just on the outskirts for ease. We were knackered after 9 hours driving, we arrived at 7.30pm and couldn’t wait to eat and stop….unfortunately, our first hotel was more like a hostel, it was very basic and on the edge of an industrial estate. After all that driving, The Husband had to get back in the car to drive to a nearby shopping type centre that had a Mcdonalds and a Pasta place, we were not impressed I was hoping for some exotic French food but instead we had a plate of spaghetti & were unable to have a ‘drink’ drink due to driving the next day. The best thing about the hotel / hostel was that it had a bath which was amazingly clean and deep, we don’t have a bath at our new house so we were able to enjoy that at least. The Husband opted for a below standard breakfast at the hotel / hostel & a note to any fellow travellers: hotels abroad do not have tea or coffee making facilities in their hotel rooms aaarrrggghhhh.
So after our lovely stay in Bordeaux we headed for our next destination Toledo in Spain, we had around 6 / 7 hours to go. We left early morning and found the day to be long and tiring, the motorway just seemed to go on forever, but then we saw Toledo on the horizon. It was so picturesque we could hardly believe our eyes. The hotel was amazing, very grand and marble, we loved it (twin beds though lol).
We went out to sight see and had a wonderful time, it was very busy but delightful at the same time. We had a couple of beers and came across a restaurant down in the dip below a bridge that was still offering menu of the day at 10 euros per head. We decided to give it a go, it was amazing we were very nervous because they put a whole bottle of Tempranillo on the table, we expected to be charged for the bottle but it was a grand total of 20 euros. It was a two course meal, starters: Paella / Gazpacho, main: Quail / Squid & Chips. It was delicious and our first try of Gazpacho, I really liked it and choose it several times throughout the holiday but no other restaurant could beat the taste of their Gazpacho. We had breakfast here and being typically English we went back for a coffee or two or three and maybe a bit more breakfast! The Spanish disapproved of this and we were frowned upon – at least we were full and caffeined up! We didn’t have to leave until 12.00 noon so we had a leisurely breakfast and a long bath before we headed off to our final destination.
We left Toledo at 11.45am and arrived at our little place of heaven at 5.30pm for 17 days of nothing but ‘such fun’!
We travelled 1377.6 miles to get to this beautiful place, we chatted with our wonderful host for a good half an hour and then went into the apartment, found the necessary items such as our first beer…we stepped out on the balcony and F*** me if it didn’t actually tip it down, torrentially, as we stepped out of the balcony door!!!! The rain did stop and we went to the Piano Bar, this is a ten minute slow stroll from the apartment, we had a pizza, I don’t eat pizza but these are awesome and made fresh to order. One pizza is called ‘Don’t kiss me in Altabeiter’, it is basically a Garlic pizza but is amazgog.
The following day we woke to torrential rain, fortunately, because we were travelling through France I packed (go me!) my brolly, rain coat and some boots! The Husband had to wear jeans – unheard of before in this place. The storm was quite scary because we are so high up it seemed too close for comfort.
The rest of the holiday was filled with delights such as:-
Supermarket shopping in Pitres – mainly of booze
Watching Bee-Eaters from the balcony, three landed on a wire, right outside the balcony, such a spectacular sight. When they were flying above the balcony there were around 50, such a sight and sound, it was truly amazing and memorable.
Walking – mainly up & down zig zag former mule paths, these were hard work but the sights are very picturesque. We saw the seven whitewashed villages of La Taha, Pooh bridge (The Husband!), Trout in the River Trevelez, Frogs jumping, one rather embarrassed naked English girl having a dip in the river (not picturesque but funny!), various types of massive Eagles, Buzzards, Wild Boar, Deers, Goats, Iberico Goats, Golden Orioles, Woodpecker type bird, Kestrels, Swifts, Swallows, Alpine Swifts, Bats, flocks of Starlings, Hummingbird Moths, lots of species of butterflies, Hornets (Yuck trying to get in the apartment), snakes, lizards, massive green locust, the biggest black squirrel / cat creature we have ever seen, it had the tail of a squirrel and a cat / squirrel face, shooting stars (at night!)
Drinking – lots of Cerveza, many glasses of red wine – house wine in Spain is amazing compared to the s*** you get in England, both drinks were around 1.50 euros each. Nightcaps of Whiskey and Vodka not mixed, we had a ball!
Eating – lots and lots of yummy tapas, pizza (not Spanish but so good), homemade ‘cook up’ dishes of home grown produce (from our lovely host), rice and chorizo. We ate out several times, our first meal in Toledo stands out in my mind along with a menu of the day that we both had in Trevelez, The Husband had knuckle of pork – it was actually a huge bone smothered in perfectly cooked meat. I had my first ever Spanish desert at this place and it was the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. Unfortunately we didn’t get time to go back to this place – the cheesecake was The Husbands, I swapped with him! Their house wine was one of the best I had tasted all holiday and it all came to under 25.00 euros with a coffee at the end!
Rudeness – shhhhhhhhh
Then the day arrived to head back, we both wanted to go home in a strange sort of way, we wanted to stay but needed home comforts and to see our dogs – sod the kids!
We decided to take the scenic route back and have three overnight stops. Our return end mileage was 1589.4 – Llllllloooooonnnngggg!
So off we headed to our first destination Xabia (Javea) in Spain. We went here to reminisce because this is where we took our first foreign holiday together. It didn’t disappoint. We arrived in fairly good time, the room was magnificent:-
We totally enjoyed our stay here, the bed was massive, there was a patio out the front which was a nice place to sit. We went out for dinner only to find we were not actually on the sea front and it was little too far & late to walk. We found a fantastic place called Don Antonios:-
The owner / chef was dressed as a chef (amazing that) with a big hat on and made you feel welcome, we had pasta dishes which were delicious and a few drinks. The following day we did a bit of reminiscing and went and had breakfast on the seafront. It was lovely, the beach bars and everything were as they were all those years ago without much change. Lovely place.
We arrived at our second hotel: Hotel De France
My goodness doesn’t it look picturesque??? (You will have to click the link, we didn’t take any pictures) How wrong could this have been. It was a very dated although comfy hotel with a lift from perhaps the Adams Family haunted house. There was no parking at all and we had actually parked in a Government space next to the hotel, we were told to move it immediately and we had to pull up in front of the hotel to check in. We were told by the French male receptionist that parking wouldn’t be a problem and we should just go here, there and EVERYWHERE! In reality it took us around 45 minutes to park the car, lots of one way systems, no parking spaces & lots of impatient French people and one fed up Husband. We finally parked the car on the edge of town in a parking lot that wasn’t secure, we were both nervous about this, due to all the items we had purchased on our travels, mainly the booze admittedly! We then trudged back to the hotel with some of our precious belongings. The room wasn’t too bad, we had a bath and then headed out to dinner, this was another shock it was so expensive in comparison to what we had been paying and nothing looked that welcoming or appetising. We walked round and round & finally settled on a pasta restaurant. This was actually the best part of Perpignan including the service, the meal was excellent and the waiter looked like Robin Williams. The wine was yummy too. I think we were both shocked and appalled at the amount of people that were around us, we had basically been on our own for 17 days away from the world (just how we like it). We headed back to the hotel hoping to rest our weary bodies after the long day we had. However, Perpignan doesn’t seem to go to sleep, I would never have believed the racket and commotion that was going on outside, there were a lot of people around, lots of them merry & awful with alcohol, the people in the room next door actually had a fight at 2.00am and continued on like this for a good hour, it sounded like four men. Once the people had actually crawled into their pits, then came the delivery drivers, road sweepers and buses. We bathed, packed up and got out of there as soon as possible. We thought Perpignan was going to be in the middle of nowhere in a picturesque village – you would think that looking at the picture – note to self: More research into area before booking. We will never return to Perpignan again, I would rather fly with Easy Jet and believe me that is really saying something!!!
So, we had our final day ahead of us, we were off to Pontaubert. We were a tad nervous about our last hotel after Perpignan. The scenery hadn’t been all that and despite our efforts the sat nav avoided Paris and drove through Lyon instead! Not very much fun. The Husband started to resemble the Incredible Hulk again. However, we continued on our merry (undrunk!) way and the scenery started to change into spectacular views of the beautiful French countryside. We could hardly believe our eyes and felt that we were being fooled and our last day couldn’t be magical could it??? Then we laid our eyes on the Hotel Moulin Des Templiers:-
This place was absolutely charming, the room was tiny but it was perfect. The bath tub was hilarious and my Incredible Hulk looked rather funny in it, it was half the size in length of an average bath but twice as deep, with a raised part at the back as a seat. I was in heaven.
We had a delicious meal and two carafes of house wine (The French lady next to us found this amusing and pointed laughing because we had a second – I expect she was sayiny ‘ oh z drunk English look at them!’. She was a big lady and laughed a lot, they arrived at the same time as us – much laughter came from their room – we believe it was the bath as they were a large couple).
We woke the following day to a crisp morning, it was 5 degrees the coldest we had felt for weeks but we wanted to take a walk along the river, so we did. It was so so so so cold after 25+ degrees but it was worth it we saw a Deer stroll across the river in front of us, it was very graceful until it saw us. It was a truly amazing sight.
The funniest part about this hotel was that it didn’t have the electrical power to charge my hair straighteners, it had one of those old hair dryers from the 70s with a plastic tube, but I didn’t care that I looked like Sandy from Grease all day because I had a wonderful time – Imagine if I had decided to wash my hair the night before!
Unfortunately, that was it we were done and bound for the ferry and cold damp England. All was well and we got back safe and sound. The dogs went bonkers and we had a Chinese for tea…how very English of us. The kids do not live with us (Thank god) so we had a perfect welcome home from the doggies!
It was an amazing experience and we dearly want to do it again, my advice to you is ‘go for it’ & don’t go to Perpignan!
Thank you Hulk for a wonderful time xxx
(For some reason the pictures are in order but back to front – if you know what I mean!)