Portsmouth to Santander on the ferry

We have now spent our first night happily in Spain. I have now recovered from the nightmare crossing!!

This is the 3rd time we’ve crossed this way – twice to Spain and once home. We never intended to do it again after the last time, but of course we’re not allowed to traverse through France at the moment….

Our first crossing to Bilbao back in January 2017 was wonderful. We were confused as to what everyone was going on about when they said how awful it was. I didn’t have to retreat to the cabin once, except to sleep of course.

Our second crossing was 10 weeks later out of Santander. This time I managed a few hours out on deck before having to admit defeat as we navigated the bay of biscay. I then couldn’t get up for the rest of the crossing! Although I was able to eat a little and drink.

This time. This time…!! Wow. Well it was relentless almost from the start. Boarding just before 10.15pm I did actually see the public areas as we had a quick drink before going to bed just before midnight – I was already needing to lay down. And that was it tbh. I barely moved for the next 32 hours. Not because I was being lazy you understand, I simply couldn’t get upright, not even to sit! During those hours I managed to eat a quaker breakfast bar (it took me all day), drink half a can of coke, a cup of green tea and half a bottle of water. Heading to the loo was a bit of an issue as I had to be upright, obviously (sadly those bodily functions don’t shut down in times of stress)

Yesterday when we parked up for the night at Arando de Duero, I met a lady who suffered the same as me but was far worse off, only having a seat, not a cabin.

Calv said the boat was very quiet in the public areas and that the food was ‘okay’. I think this crossing was particularly awful due to the weather – when I snatched the odd 30 seconds looking out of our window – all I could see was high seas with peaks and troughs constantly roiling. The boat was beaten on all sides all the way – it was truly horrible. 🤢

There was a highlight. I managed 30 seconds of watching a large school of dolphins jumping in and out of those waves (before I had to lay down again) – that was a real privilege 😊

Anyway the conclusion is that I never want to do that crossing again, ever. So we’re really hoping that France will let UK nationals drive through by the end of March. Please, keep your fingers crossed for me! Thank you 😁


Travelling during the Coronavirus Outbreak – Our experience so far

By ‘so far’ I actually mean join us from the beginning of our trip!  We left the UK yesterday on a pretty empty ferry out of Newhaven, bound for Dieppe.  To all intents and purposes it would appear we left in the nick of time, as much of Europe is now beginning to close their borders. 

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Now before I go any further I do feel the need to defend ourselves for going ahead with our trip.  It’s not a decision we made lightly, but we don’t regret it for a second.  Even though we are fully aware that we are unlikely to be able to visit all the places that we were hoping to (mainly Croatia, but this entails a trip through Italy so fairly unlikely – although we do have 5 months, so you never know…),  we are currently heading down towards the South of France – where would you rather be stuck? Continue reading “Travelling during the Coronavirus Outbreak – Our experience so far”

Cornwall – the most beautiful place in the world :)

After Yorkshire we headed for Cornwall…  Yes, a slight deviation from our route around the coast, but necessary to attend my friend’s Very Important birthday celebrations 🙂  Louise had rented a house for the week in Rock where she was staying with her family, so we took the van and had my sister & brother-in-law to stay for a couple of nights + another friend and her husband in their tent for a couple of nights (as it happened due to the weather they put their tent away and stayed in the van with us for their 2nd night).

Now, I have spent a lot of time in Cornwall throughout my life and it remains my favourite place in the world.  I did think that perhaps I wouldn’t feel the same when I returned, what with all the wonderful places we have seen over the last couple of years, but no, as ever, it felt like I was coming home 🙂

On this trip we managed to visit 3 of my favourite spots in the county, Tintagel, Bedruthen Steps and Port Isaac.  Unfortunately we ran out of time and couldn’t get to Boscastle this time (if you’re visiting Cornwall for the 1st time it’s a must).  We also managed to visit several places that I’ve somehow missed on previous visits, although it’s always possible that I went to any of them as a child and have simply forgotten; Rock itself, Trevone, Trebarwith Strand and Port Gaverne – a short walk from Port Isaac.

Rather than write in detail about each I’ve simply decided to put pictures up!  They really speak for themselves 🙂


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We had such a wonderful weekend with the focus being on birthday celebrations.  On the Friday evening the ladies were all heading over to Padstow to eat at Rick Stein’s Fish Restaurant.  We went over on the ferry and came back on the water taxi (which you have to call, but is basically a ferry as well).

I have to be honest here and admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this particularly as I’m not overly keen on seafood, I knew it would be fairly expensive and, shock, horror, I’m not actually a fan of Rick Stein.  However, the food was exquisite, the atmosphere was very laid back and the bill wasn’t actually as expensive as expected.  On top of that, on discovering it was Lou’s birthday, an additional dessert was brought out with 6 mini desserts on a plate on which happy birthday had been written in chocolate 🙂

We had such a lovely evening, made even better when we received a text from Calv with a picture of the menu from the pub the boys had gone to in Rock (see below for extract!)


Also, here’s a picture of my dessert 🙂  Very nice it was too!


We struggled to get a taxi to take us back to our campsite 2 miles away from the house (as in, it was impossible!) so we had to walk back on both Friday night and Saturday night – after the barbeque.

As the bbq didn’t start until mid-afternoon those of us staying at the campsite headed out to Port Isaac in the morning after Emma and Chris arrived.  In fact they arrived before Debbie and I actually got back from our walk to pick the car up – we went the long way across the fields and the golf course so that we could have a look at the historic church that’s right in the middle of the golf course, St Endenoc.  This then took us across the dunes and down onto either the beach or into the car-park – depending on which of numerous paths you choose!


Watch out for the parking wardens – a ticket was received by 1 of the cars for being parked partly on the grass of the packed car park.  As ever Port Isaac didn’t disappoint and, this time, I walked up to the headland beyond the Doc’s surgery with Calv 🙂

On the road down to Rock there are a number of individual shops including a butchers and a bakers.  We used both of them and they were wonderful!  We also used the fish and chip shop on Sunday night when we headed again to the house to harass Lou and her family!  This was a bit of a special evening actually culminating as it did with a  sing-along with Lou’s grandparents; an amazing couple , married 68 years and still going strong 🙂

After a boules match, that saw both Calv and Debbie beat the mega competitive Chris (!)  Don’t worry I played him after Debbie and Paul left and I let him win….  Haha 🙂

We then headed off on a trip down towards Newquay to Bedruthen Steps, a beautiful beach with natural caves and rock formations, accessed by some brutal steps!  I was very happy the next day to find that I am obviously much fitter than I was 3 years ago when we first visited – in that I was able to actually move and walk the next day with no problems whatsoever (it took me days to get over it last time, and I struggled to get into and out of the van!)

On Monday we had to move sites (we were moving to a certificated site a mile or so away that was £13 per night.  In August.  In Cornwall….!)  Other than that we did very little apart from head into Wadebridge to do a little bit of shopping.  It pretty much rained all day.

Tuesday dawned much nicer and we headed back to Rock for a day on the beach with Lou and her brother & his family.  We took the kayak with us and the girls loved it!  Louise and I failed miserably at the first attempt of climbing the dunes – they were far too high to tackle in flip-flops…  We finished the day with a wonderfully competitive game of French cricket (proper rules!)

One thing we noticed both at Bedruthen and Rock were the number of jelly-fish washed up on the beach – they were everywhere!

On Wednesday we headed for Tintagel but took a wrong turn just before we arrived and found ourselves at Trebarwith Strand.  We decided to take a look which ended up with Calv going into the water to get a little girl out who’d slipped off the rocks, and was in danger of being swept away down the narrow channel into the sea.   All he got for his efforts was a deep cut above his eye and blood all over his face – no thank you from her father when he turned up….

As he was soaking wet and more than a little shocked we headed back to the van – Calv with massive pasty in hand.

We did make it to wonderful Tintagel the following day before we left for home, via Bridport.  Or so we thought…

We intended to stop in a free car-park by the police station in Bridport, but got there to find that the fun-fair had moved in for 3 days 😦

We stopped to try to find a motorhome stopover and found a pub, but on phoning them there was a problem with them enabling us to fulfil the condition of having a meal in the pub, so we abandoned that plan.  We eventually found a certificated site that could take us and headed there.  We missed the turn though so had to continue along the road, which took us past the pub we’d tried to get into (the car park was far too small for us anyway), but I realised that Lou’s nan and granddad actually lived opposite the pub!  Lou later told me that they were all eating in there that evening, AND, the site we ended up at was, quite literally, behind here mum and dad’s house!

1 final coincidence was that there was a couple in a motorhome on the same site as us that night.  We arrived late and only said ‘hello’, and they had left before we got up the next morning.  When we pulled up at Kia Ora, our ‘home’ site in Nutbourne near Emsworth, this same couple had just pulled in…  You couldn’t make it up!

We did notice that there were more foreign visitors in Cornwall than anywhere else we have visited (and there have been plenty).  All nationalities here as well, but lots of Italians for some reason…

We have just had 10 days at home and today have moved back up country – we’re just south of Sheffield.  Check back for my next post which will deal with a cycle ride along the Hayling Billy yesterday 🙂