Saturday, 22 August 2015

Sunshine and rain clouds.

 Today has been eventful, the weather was forecast to be less than brilliant so I considered that a good day to cover some miles. Whilst many miles were covered, I managed to get far more damp (it rains in Spain, who'd of thought it?!) than I planned, climbed a mountain to be greeted with a view of fog and not a lot else, got the Mini very stuck and required a tow, oh… And I knocked my exhaust off. Anyway, more on today, later!

Just chillin'

Last post I made on here was 4? (I think?) days ago whilst on the ferry from Portsmouth into Santander. Once in Santander I made the mad dash out of the port town to anywhere new. It’s a strange feeling, for me atleast, getting off a ferry in a new country… I was excited mostly, but yet there was an element of nervousness (Is that a word?) Not necessarily over anything major, but its more anticipation… Everyone fears the unknown, and after a while when travelling that fear mellows into intrigue and anticipation, however, that can take a few days!

Packed in like Sardines, all rearing to go!

Out of Santander, I drove the 60 odd miles to ‘Camping de Cabuernigas’, in a town called Sopena, just east of the Picos De Europas. After doing the obligatory drive past whilst trying to not look lost, I turned around and found the site. Definitely one I’d recommend, and whilst I wasn’t there long, I wouldn’t hesitate to revisit if I should be in the area again. Smart, friendly and quiet, with most importantly some lovely scenery surrounding. I cooked up some chow, and got some well needed rest after not sleeping all too good on the ferry the night before.

 Not a bad setting for the first night.

The next morning we were up and away fairly early, had a shower, struck camp and headed off. The night before, whilst I was only slightly geographically disorientated, I noticed a very cool looking road on the sat-nav. By ‘cool’ I mean a road that climbed quite rapidly, with plenty of twists and turns, I followed two bikers up it, one on a big BMW and another on a Ducati Multistrada… I drooled a little as the big twin throbbed off into the distance. They soon left as they carved up the road ahead and I settled into a more gentile pace… It was only the second day, I didn’t want to overstress the car too much! Or me for that matter….

 Have missed waking up to a different view each morning.

As the road crested I spotted a gravel track that disappeared off into the distance, I drove past and turned around and headed on down it, it twisted and turned and climbed higher and higher, getting pretty gnarly in places. I loved it. Tim sliding about on the gravel just enough to keep things exciting whilst I kept speeds sensible enough so that we didn’t go toppling over the edge! 

Hmmm, wheres that lead?

Let's find out...

 Heck of a view at the top!

 Grubby Mini!

Wasn't until afterwards i realized we'd effectively crossed part of the Picos de Europas, off road!

After a few hours and taking plenty of photos the off road section for the day came to an end. Due to us playing about in the dirt we hopped onto the autovia to make up for some lost time, headed west towards Luarca.Arrived at a very pretty little site a few hours later, right on the cliffs of Saint Martin, near Luarca, Camping de Tauran I think. If you’re in the area, go, you won’t be disappointed. Simple set up with all you need, but you can camp literally on the cliffs. Awesome place.

 Our wee pitch.

And the sunset view behind the hedge.

Ended up spending two nights there, with yesterday spent chilling in the sun (this is a holiday as well!), I walked into the town of Luarca which was very pretty. Spanish fishing village, with the whole town laid out in a horseshoe built around the cove. Very cool. There was some kind of festival going on in the town that I didn’t really understand. Music and atmosphere was most definitely bi-lingual though! Later found out from a Spanish couple travelling from Barcelona that it was to do with the towns government or something. Yeah I don’t think they really got it either! Later on I walked down into another almost deserted cove, the path/track headed down was very steep and pretty tough, so I was surprised to see the Nissan parked at the bottom! Credit where its due!

 Playa de Tuaran.

 These were steeep! Down into Luarca.

Hundreds of people in the square. Music playing, great atmosphere!

 The harbour.

 Selfie-sticks are taking over!

I have no idea how this place was still standing.

And that brings us up to today! Weather was due to be pants, and it’s a Saturday, (which I was blissfully unaware of until I looked at my phone this morning. Wonderfully easy to lose track of time!) so the roads would be quieter. Headed west on the Autovia for a few hours just to munch up some miles. Stopped for fuel and then went in search for some more interesting sites. Just outside Tordoia it started to rain, properly rain. So much so that at one point I pulled over to let it ease off, Tim was doing fine, it was me that was struggling.

Set wipers to warp speed...

Rain eased up, and a few miles later I pulled off into a side gravel track to make some lunch. Pulled down the track no problem, went to turn around in a clearing, reversed up near to a bank and BANG! The bank was not a bank, it was a ditch about 3 feet deep, and Tim’s rear wheels had just fallen down it. Bugger. He was beached up to his rear subframe and his front wheels just couldn’t quite muster the traction needed to pull himself out. Then it started to rain. Double bugger. Sand ladders came off the roof to not much help, I jacked the front up and placed them under his wheels and he still couldn’t get out.  Wheels started to spin and not wanting to make a poor situation worse, I grabbed the tow rope out the back and walked back to the main road.

20 minutes later and I managed to flag down a Spanish Lexus and persuaded him (in broken Spanglish) to give me a tug. I almost felt sorry for the guy, his new shiney Lexus being brought down this rough gravel track because of my idiocy and lapse in concentration. Tow rope was hooked up and the big Lexus pulled us out as if we weren’t even there! Phew. Note to self, pay more attention when reversing when off road!


 Failed attempts. Double bugger.

 Mucho Gracias Senor Lexus!

Aaand we're out! Phew!

With the roof loaded back up and me now considerably soggy we continued west until we hit the town of Carnota and then Ezaro. Had travelled here to see the famed Cascada de Ezaro, one of the few waterfalls in the world that empty’s themselves into the sea, I was pretty excited! We took the track up to the Mirador, for anyone visiting, be warned, the road up to the top features a 34% gradient! So don’t stop until you reach the top.

 Ezaro itself looked pretty.

Now I’m sure the view from the top is amazing on a clear day, however, today was far from clear. 20 feet visibility was being generous. Bit of a disappointment but alas, its somewhere to come back to next time!

Less than impressed!

After that, a quick search for a campsite brought up a few in the area, planning on heading into Santiago de Compostella tomorrow so en route I have stopped at a convent site in Muros. Nice place, a little busy but no complaints, plus i'm stealing there wi-fi, bonus! Tims exhaust had taken a few knocks during todays exploits, so that was something to keep me busy when we arrived. All sorted now!

So yeah, that’s pretty much it, sorry for the lengthy post, but thought I’d fill you in on anything vaguely interesting. Enjoy the photos, mixture of iPhone shots and SLR goodness.
For more frequent (smaller) updates, follow us on facebook at ‘Small Car Big Adventure’ or me on Twitter ‘@theleatherneck’. Heck, do both!

Peace and love, Joe.

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