The original plan was to stay in Spain and perhaps Portugal through the worst of the winter, returning home in mid February, when we had various domestic commitments.
What we didn’t build into our plan was the advent of a serious outbreak of flu sweeping round the world. Despite our flu jabs we both started to become unwell with what we first thought was a simple cold.
After only three nights and feeling a bit groggy we left Pinar San Jośe and drove east to Gibraltar. Heading for the port we stopped at the marina in La Linea where there is a very well located aire right on the quayside (GPS 36.15665º -5.35573º). With the imposing Rock of Gibraltar behind and the marina in front it was a pleasant spot for a night.
We had a walk towards the border but the traffic was non-stop, not our sort of place, so we retreated back to the MoHo and put the kettle on.
Next day we headed north, past the busy Costa del Sol, where we had last visited well over 30 yers ago. We planned to spend Christmas and New Year at Totana where we knew there would be a bunch of Brits so we were making our way slowly there.
Our next stop was another marina, this time at Almerimar, a few miles south west of Almeria.
Once again the parking was on the quay (GPS 36.69680º -2.79408º) so there were good views of the boats and across the beach behind. Had we been fully fit we would have really enjoyed that spot but by now we were both feeling rather wretched so we really couldn’t be bothered. We walked the short distance to a supermarket for urgent supplies of food but by the time we got back we were both exhausted.
After three nights we continued north to Totana and Camperstop Sierra Espuna (GPS 37.79397º -1.51099º). I had warned them that we weren’t in the best of health, we still thought it was just a cold, and they reserved a spot for us in the corner, our own isolation ward.
By now it was becoming increasingly obvious that we didn’t have just a cold and after a few days Kate decided that she just wanted to be in her own home. Just a few days before Christmas we started heading back to the UK.
Reluctantly leaving Totana on 22nd December we stopped overnight at Valencia, then took the long drive over the French border to stop at Gruissan, near Narbonne. Regular readers will know we very much like Gruissan and can happily spend weeks there in the summer. In winter it can feel a little bleak and windswept but on Christmas Eve the sun shone and, feeling a bit better, I even got the bike out and went for a ride. I only went a short distance but when I got back I realised how unwell I must have really been…….I was knackered.
Christmas Day was cloudy and breezy but we spent a quiet day and celebrated with a nice supper.
Boxing Day was back on the road and north on the A75, stopping for the night at Montpeyroux, just south of Clermont-Ferrand. The free aire (GPS 45.62465º 3.20044º) is close to the motorway but quiet and close to an interesting village. It was cold and getting dark when we arrived so we left the exploring for a future visit.
After overnight stops at Lamotte-Beuvron, La Mailleraye-sur-Seine and Cite Europe we finally arrived home on 30th December.
It was not quite the winter trip we had visualised. First the weather had been worse than we expected, then getting what we afterwards realised was probably Australian Flu. All in all a bit of a disastrous trip but hey, you can’t win them all.
My apologies to regular followers for my tardiness in updating the blog. When we first got home we just didn’t feel like doing anything but as we felt better other domestic things intruded.
On the bright side, the days are starting to get longer and spring will soon be here. The ‘itchy feet’ syndrome is starting to make itself felt and we will soon be back on the road.