Iberian Virgins

Due to the lack of internet connection this blog is being posted rather later than planned. 

With luck it may get back on track in the next few days. 

16th March 2015.


It is a sunny Sunday afternoon and we are parked by the banks of the River Gironde 670 miles from home.

We planned to make a trip to get some sun, leaving in mid March or early April but the winter in England seems to have dragged on and on so after looking at grey skies for one day too many I decided that we should get moving. Inevitably there were things going on that had to be sorted out first but once they were done we were off.

As usual there was not a lot of detail planning involved other than ordering maps and an aires book for Spain and Portugal, both countries we have flown to for holidays before but never travelled to with the MoHo.

So, with Celine packed to the gunnels for a six week trip we left home on the first Wednesday of March amid the first real cold spell of the winter. The met men were predicting a cold blast from the Arctic right across Europe, including Iberia. Just what we needed in our quest for warmth and sunshine.

After our late afternoon crossing through the tunnel we headed the few miles north to the aire at Gravelines where we met up with fellow Carthago owners Neil and Caroline, plus Digger the dog.

We spent a pleasant hour or so putting the world to rights before retiring to our van for supper and a peaceful night.

Thursday morning we went south to our favourite aire at La Mailleraye-sur-Seine. When we arrived the aire was deserted but we were soon joined by a couple more vans. After two days driving we stayed put on Friday and just chilled, very easy to do at La Mailleraye and watched the ships go past and wandered up into the village for a few food items.

On Saturday we hit the road again with a long drive south west to an aire that had been recommended at Montreuil-Bellay, just south of Saumur and the River Loire.

Montreuil-Bellay Aire 4


The free are (GPS 47.13255º -0.15815º) is beside the River Thouet and is overlooked by the town and a magnificent Chateau perched on a crag. The view through the windscreen was amazing and the aire was as quiet as the grave at night.

Montreuil-Bellay Chateau 2

The Chateau


Montreuil-Bellay Chateau

Montreuil-Bellay Chateau

Montreuil-Bellay Aire 5

The view from the aire.

Sunday, like Saturday, is always a good day to drive in France as most of the HGV’s are off the road. Another fairly long haul but on good and quiet roads all the way down to Blaye, the famous wine town just north of Bordeaux.

Blaye Aire

The aire at Blaye.

Another free aire (so sorry to rub it in but the caravaners that read this get really annoyed) this time right on the banks of the Gironde and beside the Citadel and the town (GPS 45.12514º -0.66611º). Although there are no facilities for taking on water or dumping waste the position and view more than makes up for it.

The sun has shone for most of the day and with it streaming in through the screen we have been really toasty warm. A late afternoon walk around the Citadel blew the cobwebs away and stretched our legs followed by tea and tiffin back at Celine.

Blaye Citadel

The Gironde from the Citadel.

Blaye Citadel door

Kate inspects the doors to the Blaye Citadel.

After two days driving we may stay an extra day here and explore the town a little.



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