Well the biggest perk that comes with writing the blog is that I get to go on loads of holidays. In fact, I am writing this from Laredo in Northern Spain. Laredo has a long promenade, a fantastic beach and is very un-commercialised – just the sort of place we all like. We are sat in a bar (or rather, outside); Mum & Stacey have cups and saucers but Dad has a glass with San Miguel on it! I'm not sure what it is but he won't let me taste it! The worst bit of this holiday was the journey over – 27 hours in my travel cage on the ferry, left in the car. They did leave me plenty to eat and drink but they weren't allowed on the car decks to come and see me! Still I guess it was worth it for a 9 week holiday in Spain! I survived the journey and slept a lot (a bit like those cats at home!). We are getting acclimatised gently with temperatures about 23-25 degrees centigrade. Dad says it will gradually get warmer but I think I can cope with that!
Well that's all from Laredo as we are about to return to our temporary home at Noja. I will keep adding to this and every now and then will persuade Dad to upload it! TTFN!
Well now we’ve moved to a site near A Coruna which is the very North-west point of Spain. It is a convenient site but not a very nice one! True the Wi-fi works at the caravan but the pitches are so crammed in with absolutely no space between our awning and next door’s awning! Would be a fire risk in the UK but here in Spain I don’t think they worry about those things. We are here for 10 days so will have to put up with it! The nearest decent place to where we stayed is Sada. Mum & Dad say we’ll spend a lot of time here. It’s got plenty of sea-front parking, is wheel-chair friendly for Dad, has a beautiful promenade and beach, a lovely Marina (where the rich hang out!) and we’ve found a lovely bar that does great free Tapas! What more could Dad want?!
Well we’ve spent a week here now. A Coruñia is nice but very hard to park in! The whole coastline near here is beautiful and the temperatures are still in the high 20’s so quite pleasant. I haven’t seen a cloud since we got here. Stacey flies home in a few days and then we are off to Porto in Portugal where Adam will join us. Dad says it will get hotter there. Well I’m getting used to having my sun cream put on – it’s the spray to wash it off at the end of the day I hate but I always hate showers!
Well here we are at Vila Nova de Gaia near Porto on the Atlantic coast of Portugal. Adam has joined us. This is a much nicer site though VERY dusty and sandy. It is just across the road from the sea! Wi-fi only works in and around the bar but it is a lovely bar with plenty of outside seating and plenty of sun shades. As Dad said, temps are in the mid-30’s. It is a bit hot around lunchtime but in the afternoon an on-shore breeze gets up and it is more pleasant. There is a lovely surfaced footpath and cycle path for miles and miles along the sea-front here with occasional bars for refreshment! It is great for Dad’s wheelchair and nice and smooth for me! We are here for 2 and a half weeks and as Porto is such a wonderful place, we will spend a lot of time there. Porto is on both sides of the estuary of the River Douro and it is a really great place! We are sharing our time between Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia and the River Douro and, I have to say, we are all very happy to be in Portugal! Everything here is great with just one exception – there is a funicular railway to take you from the river to the old town of Porto. Oh come on, they said! It’ll be fine they said! So we boarded the funicular railway and off it went. The trouble is, it goes faster than Dad walking up the stairs. I am used to sitting on Dad’s shoulder while he walks up the stairs but when this carriage started accelerating up the hill, I couldn’t work out how I was travelling so fast without flapping my wings! So, I started flapping my wings. Now I know I can’t fly and Dad knows I can’t fly but it just seemed the right thing to do! Dad cuddled me and tried to hold my wings down; I tried to flap; Dad was comforting me and then – and then we went into a tunnel! Now I’m not used to tunnels so I was very perplexed but soon we emerged from the blackness and I wanted to flap again. After what seemed like ages we arrived at the top and I could relax again! Hmm! Never again, I thought! What do you mean, we have to go down again?! Well Porto has loads of steps because it is built on a steep hillside and steps are no good for Dad’s wheelchair. Mum or Adam offered to walk me down but there was no breeze and with temps in the higher 30’s I thought it was a bit unfair so I did endure the return journey but I have to say, it was an experience I will be happy NOT to repeat! Porto has a tram system and some of them are vintage trams for the tourists but we didn’t go on them as Dad couldn’t take his wheelchair! I can’t say I was disappointed! Apart from my funicular railway experience, I have to admit that, although not wheelchair-friendly, Porto is a lovely city and one everyone should visit in their lifetime! Throughout the Porto area and especially in Vila Nova de Gaia there was a lot of Sugar Cane being grown but Dad didn’t have a knife to cut me any :-( . It looks like it grows wild along the coast as if it was to be harvested, it would have to be done manually. Not very cost effective in today’s world! Well that’s Porto. Soon we move to near Madrid where Dad say’s it will be high 30’s without the breeze! Oh well – here goes!
We have arrived at our next site near Madrid. It is near Escorial where there is a famous monastery. It is a HUGE site with hundreds of pitches but, thankfully, by no means full. We are right opposite the Toilet block to save Dad walking but a long way from the bar where the Wi-fi is! On our first morning we went to Escorial for a wander and found a nice bar. Not only was it a nice bar but it served free Tapas :-) . Not only did it have free Tapas but it was cheaper that the site bar! Not only was it cheaper than the site bar but it had good Wi-Fi (the Wi-Fi on site was useless!), so you can guess where we spent a lot of time and made lots of visits. This was a lazy fortnight as Mum & Dad had been to this area before with Kenny & Sydney a couple of years ago. Still, I enjoyed visiting the places and I could talk to Kenny & Sydney about them when I returned home. Madrid is unusual in that it has an extensive M-Way system, a lot of which runs underground in the City itself. As if that wasn’t enough, you get M-way interchanges all done underground in tunnels – incredible! We made two visits to Madrid. The first one we parked on the edge of the city centre in a park where squirrels and Quakers abound! Neither took any notice of me, nor I them, but it was fun to watch them and under the trees it was a tad cooler. We then went to see the Cathedral and the Palace; had lunch in the Palace Gardens and then wandered through the more modern town until Adam led us back through a large community square, to the park. Madrid has some stunning architecture! We went on Sunday as parking is considerably easier and also free. Our second visit on the following Sunday was to a large park. Dad said it is a bit like New York’s Central Park. There were cyclists and joggers and walkers and paths and tracks and bars and restaurants and lakes and ducks and birds and musicians etc etc etc. It was huge – so huge we spent all day there! It was a tremendous day and one which I will always remember as I am never likely to go to Central Park although I guess a lot of my cousins do! One of Mum & Dad’s favourite places from before was Rascafria. To get there it involved travelling up through the mountains and down the other side. The mountains were absolutely stunning! We went up from 600m to 1400m and the views at the top were out of this world! There was a cable car at the top to take you even higher but Dad remembered by trip on the funicular railway and, thankfully, declined! We went on down through the thick forest to Rascafria which Kenny & Sydney will remember from their holiday near there. At the end of this fortnight it was time to drop Adam off at Madrid Airport for him to fly home for Results Day with his kids and we packed up ready to move to the North Coast.
Well here we are on a beautiful site near Deba on the North coast of Spain just east of Bilbao. For those of you who have sailed into Bilbao you may recall seeing the steep cliffs to the east. Well we are on that very cliff filled coastline but there are bays and beaches scattered around all along the coast. The scenery is stunning! I keep nagging Dad to do his photo’s and then I can include some in my blog. Mum & Dad say we will spend a lot of time in Deba. It is a small town with a good beach and is sat on a beautiful river estuary. Also there are a couple of supermarkets there and a very helpful parking attendant told us in Broken English where we could park, largely for free! To get here from the caravan site involves a drive along the top edge of the cliff with several viewing places and then a steep drop down into the town itself. Another place we visited several times was Laranga. Again, a trip along the cliff edge and the road around Laranga was still quite high up with a very steep and winding road down to the harbour – and what a picturesque harbour it was! Laranga was definitely another one of our favourite places.
Another place Dad loves is San Sebastian or Donostia in Basque. Again we went there several times as it is such a beautiful place. I will try and wait for Dad to do his photos before I post this because you really need to see some of them to get an idea of just how beautiful this area of Spain is.
Well after another 2 weeks it was time to board the ferry for our sailing home and my 27 hours of sleep catch-up! It was mid-afternoon when we boarded and the sun was hot so Dad managed to get them to let him park as much in the shade as possible which helped me keep cool. After 27 hours (but this time Mum came to check on me several times) we docked in Portsmouth and had the evening drive home arriving about 23:00 hrs. In summary in 9 weeks we had seen rain on 2 days and even that didn’t affect us very much! As for clouds – what are clouds? I’ve forgotten! Dad says now we’re back in England I will soon remember and I’m sure he’s right! So, home at last and all was fine…………….until tomorrow! More of that in my next blog!