Calv managed to tear himself away from his new Bezzie mate in the next door van (he even went and sat in there for a while yesterday) long enough to get ready to move on!
First off for other travellers out there we used the N road today and it was wonderful. A little rough in places but loads of parking areas to pull off onto and have your lunch, unlike the road from Bilbao to Zarautz. We’re finding that the motorways have service areas that are often few and far between, and they’re usually not particularly good. I’m definitely learning to appreciate what we have at home in this regard!
Looking on the map we saw that Olite, as recommended to us by Jim yesterday, was just about an hour into our journey. We drove past about 3 signs for it before deciding to go and have a look. You could actually see this walled town from the main road.
We managed to drive past the Aire that was signposted (until the crucial moment when you got to it..) but, being January, there were plenty of parking spaces available for us. And also another British van parked just up from us.
Olite is a walled medieval town with a castle. It’s rather charming, but as we were on the way somewhere we decided not to go into the castle, opting to wander the streets instead. Who fancies taking their exams in this place??
We also found the main shopping street – everyday shops crammed into these medieval streets J
We got back to the van and started making some lunch when there was a knock on the door. It was the couple from the other van parked up who were going to head back down to the Aire (they’d managed to miss it too) to stay for the night. They were headed back north, going through France and via Versailles. They told us about a town about an hour further along where there were cave dwellings in the side of the hill – Aguedar. I had to see this place!
Sure enough it was about an hour further on and there was an Aire to park up in (not sure we’d have wanted to stay the night though. The dwellings were amazing; look at these pictures – there were people living in these right up to the 1960s! They weren’t small either, and you can see there are full kitchens in them, lots of rooms, doors, windows, chimneys and they were painted too! Amazing J
I will put lots more photos on the gallery later 😊
We chose not to drive round the national park that they’d also recommended, Bardenas, as it was apparently a 30km detour off route which we decided we didn’t have time for. We did have time to pull off the road again though when we saw some other cave dwellings just at the side of the road. They turned out to be more like storage units and as you entered them they were dug down into the ground. Some had a few rooms and some were just one room. There were 2 that had a thoroughly modern, locked, door as well! Obviously still in use.
It was then time to get a move on and find our next chosen site. We arrived there, I think, just before 5pm. I’m saying nothing more about this site except that we left as soon as we could (by 8.45am the next morning in fact). If you want to know by all means read the review I’ve done – Review of Camping Savinan
The evening that we spent at Savinan was spent frantically looking for our next site as Calv decided he wanted to go a little further than we had thought up to now. We eventually settled on a site in Cullera. Our drive here was uneventful (we just stopped for brunch – our first food of the day – at about 11.15am). There was lots of snow on the way though; however we were at altitudes up to 1100m and there were signs for ski resorts…
And then all of a sudden we were in sunshine and 19 degrees!
We are at Santa Marta Camping, which has an old (I think abandoned) bullring at its entrance. Our welcome couldn’t have been more different. The guy who booked us in was covering lunch and whilst he spoke hardly any English he did speak French, so that’s how we communicated!
He was friendly and welcoming and tried to explain everything we would need to know. I later saw the fulltime staff member who was also lovely. He’s helping me with my Spanish and I’m helping him with his English!
Jo, we’ve already had a couple of robins visiting us. They really are a very pretty bird. However, we’ve also had a black cat jump to look on our table and try to get in the van – clearly looking for food.
This is a lovely little site and at just 14 euros a night half the price that we paid for the pit that we stayed at last night. We have a walk up the mountainside to do 1 day to visit Ermitas Santa Marta, a cycle ride along the beachfront (Calv is very excited as he thinks it looks very much like Benidorm and he CAN’T WAIT to get to Benidorm!) and we want to go to Valencia on the train. We’ve just got to work out how to get to the train station – which is too far to walk (unless we could walk through the mountain), we don’t really want to leave the bikes there all day and we can’t see any taxi numbers. So we’re hoping for a bus but can’t find any details on timetables! Wish us luck… (update – I think we’ve decided to walk. We’re going to go on Monday).
Tomorrow however we are going to do very little. Well, I think I’m going to make soup, do a wash, do a few chores and, you know what? I might make some cakes J (update – I did all of this!)
It’s raining now but we’re expecting sun and 17 degrees tomorrow so we’re looking forward to breaking out the flip flops! (Update – have dinner all the above and sat in the sun for a fair portion of the day too).
Tomorrow (Sunday) we’re going to walk up the hill later in the day, but in the morning go exploring on our bikes – calv’s actually been out this afternoon so he knows where to go. Wet might even eat out again!
See you soon. Take care x