Dune du Pyla and Cap Ferret

13.07.2013

Also this night was very calm. The rubbish collection came in the morning, direct next to us of course. Then the Mc Donalds opened finally and we could get breakfast… coffee and a cheeseburger for me and 2 hamburgers for Julia :)

Around 10 we packed together and was ready to go… but just around the corner, to the Lidl next to it. Here we filled up our stocks and went back on the street, in direction to the Dune du Pyla. It was still 200 km to drive.

The route was leading us through all the little villages there. And every 500 meter a roundabout. Roundabouts are a great invention, but when there is one every 500 meter then is it annoying. It was going on like that for the next 40km. Until we reached the freeway finally. Now we could travel faster again.
Just a few kilometers later we were in front of a tollbooth. But it was forbidden for Inge to lead us via toll roads. I guess they were rebuilding a freeway into a highway with toll and Inge didn’t have it in the system yet.
Ok, 1,80 Euro are still a good price and we could travel faster. Later we had to pay again 1,80 Euro. Therefore we were in 3 hours at the Dune.

On the access road to the parking we could get a small view on the 100 meter high sand dune. The Dune du Pyla is the biggest shifting dune in Europe. Over 2km long, 500 meter width and over 100 meter height. It’s shifting around 1-5 meter every year.
We parked the Kangaroo on the parking and went straight to the dune. It’s amazing to see such huge pile of sand. So much sand and no sand mold… :) (It’s a saying)

The stairs to the top of the dune.There are even stairs up on the top. We went up the steps (it’s really exhausting) and was standing a few minutes later on this sand hill and had a great view around, the bay and the rest of the dune. The dune looks from the top like a small desert. Just the temperature is more pleasant. :)

Gordon on the duneWe was sitting (and lying) at least one hour on top of the sand mountain, before we went back down. But this time we was running the dune down… in the sand. One time running down a dune… fun, fun, fun! :)
After viewing the dune we went souvenir shopping. What else? :) We found some special postcards, which look like a bottle message. Practical, especially here. Because it is great to fill some sand in it and to send it then. :) But these ‘postcards’ are expensive, so just my most beloved people will get one. :) I was sending so many postcards already, I can’t see postcards anymore…

Actually we also wanted to eat an ice cream there, but be was wasting too much time with other things… the ice cream house was closed already.
So we went to a parking place, which 2 other camper, which we met on the dune, recommended to us. After all the usual camping places shall be a place which is free of charge. When you drive the street parallel to the Dune du Pyla, then you will pass 4 camping places. 2-3 km after the last camping place you’ll see on the right side a place with several campers. That is the place. Not far from the beach, with (dirty) toilets and some restaurants near to the beach.

We met the both people from the dune again here and parked next to them. A father and his daughter. They also make half a Europe trip, just the other way around. He is German and his daughter is half Sri-Lanka and half German.
We were talking with them for quite a while and went then to bed. … Before 12, premiere for us :)

14.07.2013

We slept until half past 10 today. Another premiere. But it was really good. Fresh and well rested we started in our day today.

And the whole day went like that. We didn’t left the place today anymore. The whole day just relaxing. I wrote a bit for my blog and Julia relaxed in the hammock. Like that we wasted the whole day. Another resting day where we could relax.

In the evening we invited Amanda for a BBQ. Amanda is the lady which we met the day before on the dune. Together with her father. Amanda is just 17, be we hit it off. She is a beautiful young lady, without being smug and also with brain. In this age is that combination rare. So we decided to spend some time with her, that she can experience something without her father. To do something with ‘young’ people.

One hour before sunset we packed the BBQ stuff together and went to the beach, to make there a nice pick nick with BBQ at sunset. Very nice!
On this day was also a national holiday in France and everywhere we could see, far away, some fireworks. One of it last for at least one hour. It wasn’t ending anymore :)

Around midnight it became a bit cold at the beach and we went back to the cars. We brought Amanda save back to her ‘home’ and went then also to bed.

15.07.2013

The night was ending at half past 9. Of course we wasted time, arse around till 5pm. I was talking with Amanda and Julia went away with Friedrich somewhere… for around 2 hours. We was worried already. But when I was looking after them, I found them just around the next dune and they were talking and talking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome when they came back. We said good bye from both and went to the Dune du Pyla another time. We had to collect sand for the ‘postcards’. :) After we went to the café again and was finally eating our ice cream. Ok, I had a discussing Cappuccino and a Crepe with Nutella.
After it we went to the other side of the bay. It was good 80km to the Cap Ferret. On the way we stopped for 2 hours at Mc Donalds. I published quickly another article. The one for south Portugal. Slowly I start to be long behind with the articles. But what to do? I don’t want to spend all my time just to write and translate my articles. Then I’ll not do anything else anymore.

After Mc Donalds we went to the Cap Ferret, to the other side. It was almost dark when we arrived at the end. We got a quick view on the Dune du Pyla from the other side.
Here was a restaurant, which was just closing. But luckily it has an open WLAN, which was also on in the night. So we converted on the parking and used this free service for a while, till we fall asleep some when.

16.07.2013

P1000856 (Kopie)We got up very late today. Around 10 maybe. It was already high life at the Cap Ferret. A lot of people were there already. We went first of all to the restaurant and ordered a coffee. Ok, Julia a cacao, because she don’t drink coffee.
The coffee was 4 Euro (even it was better than the one yesterday).

After we went to the beach and had a look to the dune by daylight, from the other side. From here it looks much smaller, as if you are standing on top. But still big.
A boy just brought a huge jellyfish on the beach. That was another highlight, even a sad one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe packed our stuff and went back. I needed urgently cigarettes, because my one finished. But that is not that easy in France. Just special shops are selling cigarettes and they are well hidden. We was asking in the next village for such a shop and they was sending us through half of the village… but we couldn’t find the shop. We drove further and I found one direct on the street. 6,70 Euro per package… there is it better to stop smoking. … I bought 2…

Half a chicken we bought as well… we were hungry.

Then the big question… what to do now? Actually we wanted to go straight to Paris, to visit a friend from Julia. But during a phone call yesterday we got informed that the friend will be first in 5 days in Paris. Now we have 5 more days to fill up in France. What to do?

We decided to visit a small island in the north. I wanted to go till the Bretagne, but this detour would have been too far, said Julia. The tires are at their limit already, from the profile. So, the island.
I told Inge where do we want to go and she was calculating the route … and we started. But first to the next Lidl… our drinks was almost empty. We needed urgently supplies and got them. Actually we wanted to try a local store… again not. Next time.

Inge told us the way… until another bay. But suddenly we found us in front of a ferry, instead of a bridge. And they wanted 29,50 Euro to bring us to the other side. To drive back was not a solution, because this bay went down till Bordeaux, where we just came from. And to drive 300km back cost the same then the ferry, at the end.
So we had to pay the 30 Euro and went with the ferry. Again something new… but too expensive for our budget.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally we arrived and could drive on. Until the bridge to the island. Now they wanted again money, for the usage of the bridge… 16 Euro. They are really mad. This time we turned around and didn’t drove on the island… and didn’t pay. Just before the toll house we turned around and went to the next camping place. But it was full. Not our day today…

But the nice lady from the restaurant was so friendly and let us takes a shower and we bought therefore a cacao and a glass of wine. But a wine on an empty stomach is not a good idea. So we are now on the parking place of the camping place and will stay here for the night. We got also this permission from the nice bar lady, even it is probably not in her authority. But it doesn’t matter for us. It is a great place to sleep.

Best wishes
Gordon


Größere Kartenansicht

Nature protection reservoir in north Portugal and Santiago de Compostela

09.07.2013

The morning started relaxing like always. The sun was high on the sky already, but with the wind from the sea was it still nice. We opened the sliding doors on both sides a bit and had a nice draught.

We was very lazy today. No mood for nothing. And the best was to make a lazy day again. Especially with this nice beach in front of the door and the internet. Like that I could write a bit more for the webpage and we could relax. Sounds strange, but when you are every day somewhere else, then is it also exhausting. And I am always the driver, on top.

Gordon at the beachIn the afternoon we even managed it to go a while to the beach. The weather was good and the sea… sorry, the ocean, looks really nice here. Unfortunately is the current also very strong here and the waves are strong as well. Just Julia went full in and I was enjoying the surf. It’s anyway cold in the Atlantic.

There is nothing else to tell about today :)

10.07.2013

What can I say? We got up today… like every other day as well :) Maybe a bit earlier today, then usually. Our nice lady from the tourist office, Ielva, was sending us a SMS that we definitely have to visit the nature park. We had a look where it is… and it would be direct on our way to Santiago de Compostela. So we decided to check it out. Maybe it could save Portugal from its ‘boring’ status.

I was drinking again a coffee in the café, 10 meters away (also to use the toilet). And then we started the engines. :) First of all we went to the next post office. We still had to send our postcards, before we could leave Portugal, which would be the next day. Inge was leading us, in the next village, to the local post office. But I couldn’t see any post office, when we arrived. I just saw a pharmacy. Maybe the post office is in it. So we went in and asked if here is the post office. No, around the corner. Ahh… ok. So we Post office in Portugalwent around the corner, behind the house. There was a DIY store. Hmm… we saw a tiny sign with ‘Correiro’ (portug. For post). Okk… we went in the store. Looked like an information stand in a DIY store… in which was no light. The both guys in there were talking to each other and one was typing something.  They didn’t deigned to look at us… for minimum 10 minutes. We felt a bit ignored. We wanted to go already, as we got finally a bit attention. Julia was waving, a bit pissed off, with the postcards, in the hope that they will understand what we want. The lady, which joined the scene, took the postcards and started to read them… the addresses and the messages… we didn’t thought we become mad. Then she started calculating and the man, who had to translate, because he spoke a bit English, said that we have to pay a little amount, because we used the wrong stamps. The ones we used where only for Portugal. Interesting… someone was cheating us. But what could we do. So we paid another 5 Euro for our postcards… which went hopefully on their journey. So, who gets a postcard from Portugal, please let me know!

Nature park in GeresAfter that experience we went further to the north. To Geres. Here starts the natural protection reservoir (or it is already in it). It starts already with a nice lake, on which they offer even water sports. We stopped quick for some snapshots and went straight further to Geres. But we went also just trough, on the way to the next camping place. I wanted to see how the prices here are. We reached the next camping place, which was easy to find, by all the signs, very adventurous. The surrounding here looks really like a nature protection reservoir. The nature is very lush, in compare to the rest of Portugal (but also south Spain or Cyprus). Many trees, hills, fern and so on. And of course mountains again. And almost no traffic, which is good with this narrow streets here.
The way to the camping place was leading us down from the tarmac, on a country road. We had to drive over a wooden bridge, crossing a river… I was a bit worried. :) And further on a ‘field road’ to another bridge. Here was a Stop sign (on the bridge) and we could recognize a camping place. A young man came and took the sign away, to give us the way free…

We went first of all to the reception and asked for the prices. 3,50 Euro per person and per car. So, 10,50 Euro for one night for us. Very nice prices.
But it was just noon and we wanted to have a look around. Julia was asking the guy what we could see here. We were especially interested in waterfalls. In a bad English/Portuguese mix he tried to answer our questions (very friendly and helpful). We bought also straight a map from this area. So we could check on the way also where we are and what where is. Our navigation systems wasn’t helpful here. Inge had at least streets here.

The first point was an allegedly a great waterfall (we saw a picture in the office of the camping place… looked great). We had to went up the hill. Via small, narrow roads and many curves. The slopes we could drive mostly with not more than 30km/h.  But it was ok. Like that we could see more from the park. And we can also slowly arrive at our target.
We reached finally the point where the waterfall is supposed to be. But there was no waterfall. Instead of the waterfall we found … well, a small waterfall and a natural pond in front of it. That looked also very nice… for the first time. Just the parking was around 300 meter up the road. I could convince Julia to a small walk and we were walking to the pool. It was a bit lower located and the decline was a bit complicated… but it was worth it. There were a lot of people already. Mostly young people.
The water was crystal clear and chilly as well. Actually exactly as we needed it. And as I said already, with a small waterfall.
Of course I didn’t go there without my diving mask. And we went straight snorkeling a bit. We was a bit surprised to find small trouts in this little pond. They were swimming there happy between all the people.

We stayed there around an hour and enjoyed the atmosphere of the pool. :) Then we went back to the car. The map was showing more waterfalls. We wanted to try another one. The next one was 10km away. We had to drive back to the camping place, from which we started. Inge doesn’t know waterfalls, of course and so we told her to lead us to a small village behind the waterfall. This one she knows.

Unfortunately we was probably on a point where she was a bit confused. So we made a victory lap on one of the most plunge road I ever drove. I have no idea how many percent the descent was… I would guess around 30%. And the with curves and narrow roads through a village. We made it without any accident… luckily. And came back to the same point where we started. We took a wrong turn. So back again and now the right turn.

We went some more kilometers through this beautiful nature and landscape. Lonely streets up the hill and down again. I can count the cars we passed on one hand. Partly we got a view from the hill over the whole valley and Geres. Amazing beautiful. And the forest looks partly really like an enchanted forest… here is Portugal’s true beauty hidden.

We had to take a turn, on which the road ended and a sand trail started. It was leading us to a bridge. From here we had to walk to the waterfall. But it’s just a few minutes by walking. He is just around the corner. This waterfall is already more impressive. He has 4 levels. From the top is the water falling into a pool, approx. 8-10 meters deep. Then the next fall into a pool, 4-6 meters deeper. And then the big fall to the bottom, which is approx. 20-30 meter. From the 4th to the 3rd floor was just climber busy with abseiling. It also looked like that a cave is in the 3rd level. At least I believe that I saw stalactites and I couldn’t see the end of the cave. Now I am curious of course :) But I think I will never know it…

It became late slowly… what to do? After a bit watching around, we found not far a parking with view. Just made to sleep there :) We parked there and made a BBQ (with a common grill of course). It was a great day and a great evening. :)

And the best was, after we converted the car, the light was off and the night came. I never saw such a clear star sky. I could see clear the Milky Way. A dream (just hardly to ban it on a picture or video).

11.07.2013

It was again a surprising morning. We woke up from very strange, very close noises. Like a jingle. Goats? … Goats! … What now? Julia opened carefully the door and we got a very … strange view. Direct next to our car was goats walking. But not just 5 or 6 … dozens.
A goat is looking in the car.The goats didn’t feel bothered by the car. Not even as Julia opened the door and we was starring out of the car. They just passed by, like here would park every day a car and strange tourists would stare out of it.
Just 2 or 3 stopped for a moment and was gaping inside like we were gaping out… and continued walking after a few seconds.

But suddenly one young ram felt bothered from our car and attacked the kangaroo. We, still inside, could hear how it was hitting the bumper with its horns. Julia tried to banish it from inside by calling it. But it didn’t work out. Finally she got dressed and went out of the car, to stop the ram. Actually we didn’t want to present us to the shepherd, because we were still in a nature reservoir and he shouldn’t really now that we are in the car.
But Antonio, this was his name, wasn’t interested in it. Julia caught him quickly in a ‘conversation’. If you can call it like that. Antonio didn’t spoke any English and we don’t speak Spanish. But somehow we understood that his name is Antonio and he takes care of 500 goats… which just passed us. His shepherd dogs were small… I mean really small. I have no idea what race it was, but they were mini. But they were 2 and very agile. They were good after the goats.

We packed together, after this interesting start in the day, and went to the next highlight of the day. A shower under the waterfall or at least in the pool in front of it. The waterfall was just 100 meter back the way we came from. So we was rolling down the hill and parked the car a bit below. We packed our stuff… diving mask, snorkel, GoPro and swimwear… and started. On The pool at the waterfallthe stony riverbed in direction to the waterfall. We reached a pool which we couldn’t pass without swimming through it. But we couldn’t see the waterfall itself yet. It was around the next corner. But the pool looked also very nice. So we changed and went carefully into the water. The water was again crystal clear and a bit colder. Also here were small fishes inside. But I don’t know which race.

We relaxed here for approx 1-2 hours. It was a beautiful place. Quite and calm. After the swimming we laid down on a big stone in the sun.
Julia found in the pool a bottle of beer. It was still closed and good. It will sweeten one of my next evenings. :)

Some when we realized that we still have a long way in front of us today and that we should better start. The target of the day was Santiago de Compostela. The end of the Camino de Santiago. It was still 200km to drive. It doesn’t sound far, but without a highway it takes it’s time.

We had to drive through the whole reservoir again. A very beautiful place and the most beautiful in Portugal, which we saw here. Just here I could spend weeks, to go on photo tour. The reservoir adjoins in the north to Spain. We left the park direct to Spain.

Cathedral of Santiago de CompostelaAround 5pm we reached Santiago de Compostela and walked straight to the cathedral, of course. Santiago has a very beautiful and old city center and the cathedral is really not bad. Old… and she looks like that. But it has its own charm.
We needed also postcards. So we checked first only the opening hours. The cathedral itself is open until half past 8pm. So we had enough time to go to buy postcards and some souvenirs. The streets around the cathedral are full with souvenirshops and cafes. We bought some postcards, stamps and souvenirs and went back to the cathedral.

Basically is it very simple. No paintings on the walls, no marble… but 2 things strike the eye immediately. The organ with its tubes, which are hanging into the room and the huge golden altar. And you can go in. Below are catacombs, which are also partly open.

For our surprise they started a mess at 7:30 pm. No camera and no video were allowed anymore. And being quite was requested. Julia wanted to stay, I am not really a friend of this things. But ok, in this special cathedral… an exception. :) So we sat down on a bench and I hold my camera shut.
A nun came on the microphone and said something in Spanish. She finished her speech and the organ started to play and she started to sing… breathtaking! She had an amazing voice and with the acoustic in this place… amazing.
Then someone else was speaking and in between she sang again, from time to time. And then came the best. The filled up the incense holder and moved it… and how they moved it! I really thought it will fly out of the window in a second. At this point I didn’t know the whole cathedral and didn’t know that there is another hallway to the left and right of the holder. The people who were sitting there must have got the whole incense load.
After one hour was the mess over. Of course I made secretly a movie with my GoPro. I had to record the nun. I hope the sound is good on the movie, I couldn’t check it yet.

We continued to have a look around, after the mess was over. Until we got kicked out, not even 10 minutes later. And really kicked out. A guy was running around and told the people very rude to leave the cathedral.
We decided to have a look into the city center and then to walk in direction to the car. Behind the second corner we heard suddenly music. The sound was very interesting and it was anyway on our way. Around the next corner was a place. And in the middle of the place was technique and between was musicians sitting. An orchestra… wou. In front of the orchestra were stone steps.
Concert on a city placeWe stopped and listening to the music. Really nice music style… and the acoustic on the place… just great. We decided to stay longer and sat down on the stairs, in front of the musicians.
We sat there at least one hour and listened banned to the music. I can’t say which style it was. It wasn’t classic. At the end they were playing something African style.
I made videos. So you need to wait until it is uploaded. ;)

We stayed there until the concert was over. It was already half past 9 and we had to go back to our Kangaroo. It was in a car park and the clock was counting. We had to pay 5,70 Euro.
Then the question of every evening: Where will we sleep. We decided to drive a bit further and to see where we can find a nice place to stay overnight. The next tour will be long anyway. Good 950km to the Dune du Pyla in France. We are slowly running out of time. We have just a few days left and have to cover the distance. 2 Points are still on our list. The Dune du Pyla and Paris. Those are our last targets and this time without wasting time and stopping 5 times somewhere.

It was already dark and I don’t really love to drive in the dark. It is very exhausting for my eyes. But we could still make 160km. But only because 90km was on the highway. Later it became suddenly foggy (very foggy) and curvy. We reached probably the north of the Pyrenees. Some when at 1 in the night wasn’t it possible to drive anymore. Luckily we found a cemetery with a huge parking place in front of it. Here will nobody bother us and we were converting the car in the rain. I think I never fall asleep so quickly

12.07.2013

The place was holly quite. :) In the morning we heard an electronic car driving over the parking place and later a tractor. But nobody bothered us. We go up around 9. After a while we had a look to the cemetery. Very strange thing. Julia was calling it cupboard cemetery. I have no idea how I would call it. But you can imagine it as cupboard. With many small, but (obvious) deep, holes. There are the dead bodies in it. 4-5 ‘levels’ on top of each other. Very… unusual. But space saving.

We packed our stuff and went back on the street. The weather wasn’t the best today. Cloudy and foggy. For us very nice travel weather. We had to be the whole day on the street. 750km to be exact.
And so we was driving the whole day trough the landscape of north Spain. First we had the luck that we could use the A8. Later we had to continue on the N634. The fog stayed the whole day and converted the landscape into a mystic view.

One stop we made finally anyway. Of course at Mc Donalds. To do something against the hunger, a (more or less) good toilet and Internet :) We are junkies!
Ah, and we had to write and send the postcards from Santiago, before we could leave Spain. We still had many Spanish stamps.
We spent again 2-3 hours in our favorite restaurant and had to go afterwards into the city center, to the postbox. And then back on the road. Further trough north Spain… which reminded me totally on Middle Germany.

It became dark again… surprise, surprise. :) Inge said that it would take until 2.30 in the night until we would be at the Dune du Pyla… still 250km.
 We made it until the French border and just stopped on the next Mc Donalds parking. The restaurant was closed already, so nobody could bother us anymore. We converted and fall asleep. The day was tiring. Driving makes tired as well, especially driving in the night.

Best regardsGordon


Bigger Map

The south of Portugal

05.07.2013

The night was not so great. Even we was parking direct next to the sea (just a few small houses between us and the sea) it was hot like hell in the night. We had to open the doors 3 o’clock in the night, to get a small breeze in the car. We was sweating like hell.

In the morning was it better. We had a look to the beach, first of all. A huge nice beach with wonderful sand. The kite-surfer was on the water already. We saw on the beach even a whole school class with surfboards. Little Portuguese with small surfboards. :) The ocean itself didn’t look very inviting. It was dirty (from the sand or sediments) and the waves were heavy. We decided not to go in. Who knows how the current is.

We went back to the car and packed our stuff. But before we left, we went to the next café, next to us, and drank a coffee. And I realized that ‘coffee’ means also here Espresso. I got a wet spot coffee with the caffeine of a whole cup.

Then we went off finally… further. We wanted to go this day till before or after Lisbon. Direct in the city was not our goal. We didn’t wanted this stress as well. I don’t like to drive in big cities in general. Too much stress.
I found, in Inges maps, a nice place at a big bay and told her to lead us there. It was good 300km to this point. A while to drive, without highways.

And then we went in the Pampa of Portugal. And it was hot again. In the car partly 45 degrees and even outside not less. The wind was also not refreshing, because it had the same temperature. Even in Cyprus is it not that hot. Like that I would imagine the desert. Hot and without any possibility of cooling down.
And in this heat we saw now again huge gatherings of stork nests. And also here there was building their nests everywhere, like a few days ago in Spain. It seems like they don’t care about this heat.

The landscape was passing in this hours. Personally I don’t really like Portugal so much. Until now is it the most flat country, we passed… except some small hills. It is hot and the vegetation is there, but not really unique.

We stopped somewhere at a supermarket to get some cold drinks. But nothing more happened this day… expect the street.

We reached the place early. It was still bright. We had a look around. Here was a torero school before. But the owner died, as we got told later, and now is it closed and rots.
In front of us was a lagoon, which goes a few kilometer into the country. The water is brown dirty. So dirty, that I can’t see anything anymore in a depth of 2cm. On the other side of the lagoon is the next city.

We just wanted to convert the car, as a van stopped next to us with 3 men inside. They got out of the car and had a look around. We was wondering already what that for men are and what they want and was waiting what will happen. But they didn’t left again. They started to put things out of their van… fishing ropes. Ahh, fishermen. So, better then murder. :)
After a few minutes, one guy was holding a bottle of beer in our direction and said something, which we didn’t understood. So we got out of the car and went to him. He offered us a beer. Julia tried to explain that she don’t drink alcohol. But Juan, that is his name, didn’t understood or didn’t wanted. I accepted a bottle and said thank you :)

We started a chat. Which brought out that Marko, one of the men, is working since 8 years in Germany. I haven’t understood it in total, but as it looks like from time to time. So sometimes he is in Germany and sometimes in Portugal. He spoke even very good German. Juan is also working sometimes abroad. In Germany and Switzerland. But he spoke hardly German. And from the other Juan we didn’t got much information, he was very quiet.

The guys took care about us with beer and even invited us for BBQ. It became a very nice evening with the 3 guys. We was talking a long time, but usually with Marko, because he spoke German. It’s easier. Juan was trying from time to time to talk with us something in Portuguese and sign language, but mostly we didn’t got what he was trying to say. Pity actually, even he didn’t looked like, was he probably a really nice and friendly guy, like the other both as well.

After this unusual evening with the 3 Portuguese Fishermen, we went to bed. The guys wanted to leave next morning around 5-6 o’clock. So we said Good Bye before we went to sleep.
In the night the same game like the night before. It was hot like hell in the car in the night. But we couldn’t open the doors this time. This place was full of mosquitoes. We closed Julia’s window with a mosquito net and could open at least this small window.
I had slowly also an idea why it is always so hot in the night, even it is much colder outside and we also had the doors open to aerate. I think the source of this problem are the liquids in the car. This liquids heating up during the day. Up to 40-45 degrees, like outside. And in the evening they give it back… into the car. We have some liquids in the car. 13 liter in the toilet, several liter drinks, 10 liter in the washing canister. And these are just the big amounts. Plus the fridge, which is cooling from time to time and gives back the heat.
I think here is the source of the heat in the night in the car. We just can’t change it. We need the drinks, the toilet and the water for washing.

Well, we managed it to fall asleep.

06.07.2013

As expected was the night very hot. I woke up several times and was sweating like hell. And outside it became also hotter already. The sun was shining on the car already. The fishermen were also still there. The night wasn’t successful for them and they continued to catch something.

We packed our stuff quickly, said Good Bye again to our friends and went further. Further to the next Mc Donalds, which was in the next city. Which we saw on the other side of the river already in the night.
When we arrived, we realized that there is no Mc Donalds, or if, than is it inside of a shopping mall… without good parking places. Also was some festival in this village on this day. Half of the city was closed for traffic. So, we went to the next Mc Donalds in the next city.

The next one was just 10km away. Luckily in the right direction… to the north. We reached this Mc Donalds around 10 o’clock. They opened at 11. Luckily was the umbrellas and the tables outside. So we could sit outside and write a bit and using the internet already, until they opened at 11.

11 they opened finally and we could move inside. We was looking for a place with socket and we connected straight the junction box and connected everything we had to charge on it… laptops, batteries, camera batteries (I still don’t have a 12V charger for my pocket camera). Of course we used also the toilet there :)

Interesting was here the difference between the inside and outside temperature. Inside was it so cold that I was freezing. And when I went outside, to smoke one, the heat was hitting me in the face, so warm… hot was it. The car was showing an outside temperature of 45 degrees and the inside temperature was out of scale.

We spent again half a day at Mc Donalds. First at 5pm we left the place. We wanted to drive at least a few more kilometer, that day. And we did it. Till a forest lake somewhere in Portugal. We had the hope that we could go swimming in the lake, to get a shower as well. Unfortunately was the water here as well totally brown and dirty. Direct next to the lake was a picnic place, which was even at 10pm quite busy. But the last people left a few minutes later and we had the place just for us. Beside of a few fireflies. Really cool things which I never saw before.

We converted our car and went to bed. It was again great hot in our private sauna…

07.07.2013

The night was ending early. But this time not because of the heat, more because the picnic place became busy in the early morning again. The picnic places was quite full already, when we took a look outside around 9am. The first people carried BBQ stuff already on the place and occupied the first places already. Within minutes new cars arrived. They was building up a football field and 2 piglings turned over 2 huge BBQ grills. … I guess we missed some Portuguese holiday.

We converted the car before it became too busy. After a short walk on the lake we left the place. Of course was the technique not working again. It took Inge and the GPS tracker many minutes until they were working properly.

Also we still didn’t had a shower or a bath and the hill with the dirty clothes was also growing. We needed urgently a launderette for our clothes and a shower for us. My solution idea was to stop at a camping place. They have usually both of it. A launderette and a shower. To find a shower is not that hard, but a launderette is harder.

We stopped at the next camping place and asked them if we can take a shower and if we could use the launderette. The lady said, after a lot of thinking, that she could let us in as daily visitor. That would cost 3,75 Euro per Person. Ok… We asked for curiosity what it would cost to stay for one night, with 2 people and a car… 12,50 Euro. Well, we didn’t thought long about it and stayed there for a night. For this little amount of money…

The camping place was ok. Unfortunately a bit less shadow, in the Portuguese sun. But we found a place. Under some trees and direct next to the washing houses. So we had the whole evening shadow. It was just 5pm.

First of all was putting the dirty clothes in the machine and went then to the beach. It was 200 meter away from the camping place. By feet to reach in a few minutes.
A huge beach. For sure 50 meters wide. It was Sunday and the beach was packed. Many people took a sunbath. But funny was for me that many people was standing direct on the waterline. But they was just standing there and that’s it. In the water was just 2-3 people. But direct in front of it were around 100 standing. It looked like they were waiting for something… but on what… I don’t know.
We was also standing there for a few minutes to observe that a while. But nothing. The people was just standing there, but nobody went in. Very strange…

We was sweeten the way back with an ice cream from the kiosk. The best you can do at this heat. The wasching machine was also almost ready. We had to wait 10 minutes and then we could take the clothes with us to the car to hang them up there. Then was it our turn. Taking a shower… always an experience… with these showers here. But at least they had normal valves and not this push-valves, which close the water after 10 seconds again. Like this I could take a nice long shower.

And then the highlight of the evening… BBQ. The first time on our tour we was trying Julia’s great mini-bbq-grill. On the way here we stopped at Lidl and bought BBQ meat. This ended up now on this little grill. Ok, partly a bit dark at the end… but it was anyway very tasty :)

After this great evening we went to bed. The washing we left this time on the lines, that I can dry more over night.

08.07.2013

Finally a night I could sleep through the night. At least until the morning, till the sun was shining at the Kangaroo. Then was the cool time over and the car was heating up within minutes. But anyway was it a good night. Finally sleeping through the night.
And we started slowly in the day. Nice relaxed.
Slowly taking of the clothes from the lines, converting the car and more relaxing.

After we went to the bar, where they had internet… and a coffee. Later we decided also to eat something there. But it took longer than we thought and we left the place a bit late. At 1 we had to check out latest. Half past 1 we checked out. Luckily we had no extra payment to make. We paid our 12,50 Euro and left. Today in direction to Santiago de Compostela, this is in Spain already. That we will not manage the long way today was clear. But the direction was right already :)

And there was already again something… we haven’t sent a single postcard from Portugal yet. We didn’t even saw shop yet where they sold postcards. Somehow strange here in Portugal. In every country you get bombed with postcards and souvenirs. But in Portugal you have to search for them. And we will leave the country in 200 km already again.
An idea was to stop at a tourist information. They should have some or at least know where we could get bloody postcards. And so we stopped at the next tourist information. That was in Povoa de Varzim.

We explained the nice lady in the tourist information that we need urgent postcards and if she have an idea where we can find some. She didn’t had any there in the moment, but explained us where we can find some and gave us also a city map in the hand. Also we could leave the Kangaroo on the parking space from the tourist information (there is 1 free parking for the tourist information) and went into the city. First was it an unsuccessful search. In one shop we found 2 ugly postcards. In a bookshop then the first findings. Later at the beach we found even a better range. And straight we bought some cards, who knows if this is not the last shop with postcards :) Portugal is the most important point on our travel. It is the point where we turn around and heading back in direction to Germany. It’s not possible to move futher to the west. The Atlantic is in the way. So we travel from the south to the north and then back to the east. Via north-Spain through France back to Germany. Maybe 1-2 days Luxemburg and Belgium.

But now we had finally postcards from here. We found on the way then even a souvenir shop, in which we spend 30 minutes, at least. Looking here and there. Well…
After our shopping tour (for tourists) we went back to the tourist information. Ielva, the nice lady there, found also some postcards in the meantime for us. We made it us cozy there and wrote the postcards straight in the tourist information, that we could send them straight away. We also had now Portuguese stamps and had to send them now from here.

As we finally finished all postcards, it was almost 7 pm. And at 7 the office was also closing. But somehow we was talking so much with Ielva that we forgot the time. As some other tourists came into the office, we realized that it was half past 7 already. But it was nice to talk with Ielva. A very nice and interesting woman. We swapped our contact information.

It didn’t made sense to drive much more at this time. We was looking for a nice place, just 5 km further, and stayed there. It was a lonely place, luckily. Here is a hotel, but it is more closed then open. The beach is also huge here, but not full at all.
We was watching the sunset on the beach… beautiful. How the sun is set blood red in the sea.  Unfortunately is the sun in Limassol never going down in the sea.

And we also went to the hotel, for a coffee… and the WiFi password. :) And now I am writing here while Julia is sleeping well already. :) … Which I will do as well now.

Best wishes
Gordon


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Tarifa

03.07.2013

The alarm clock was ringing a few minutes before 8 am. Diving is a great hobby… but the early morning times are really bad. We managed it somehow to get out oft he bed in 15 minutes. I had in mind that the guy from the dive shop said that weg o at 9:30 am. At 9 we was still not ready and I was calling the guy, that we come a bit later. But he said that they start at 10. Ohh… then I had it wrong in my mind.

We arrived around half past 8 finally at the dive shop. Here was it busy already. We was the last ones. Quickly looking for the boss, to saying hello. The people here was (like all divers) very friendly and gave us a quick overview. Then we had to fill out the usual papers (dive checkup, health overview and signing that – in case that something happens – the dive shop has no responsibility). Then quickly getting the equipment ready and getting changed. They was waiting already for us… :)

We went out with a small boat. We were approx 8 divers and 3 instructors. We got Moritz. Moritz, approx. my age and originally from Switzerland. We was very glad about it, so we could get the instructions in German. Of course we didn’t went to the wreck, as the man on the phone, the day before, said. We went to a dive spot from which I forgot the name already again.

P1000701 (Kopie)We arrived at the dive spot on the south side of the island.
I had problems with equalizing again and had to go down slowly, to equalize properly. Julia had a totally different problem. She had not enough weight on the weight-belt and couldn’t submerge. Moritz had to drag her down. But then, after maybe 10 minutes, we were all down.
The visibility was bad. Everywhere sediments, which was reducing the visibility down to 10 meter. Maybe even less. And the water was cold. 17 degrees down and 18 on the surface. Atlantic is not the Mediterranean anymore. Well… it is half / half from both here. Of course I didn’t take gloves and hood with me. But I was brave :) And after a few minutes was it ok.

We went down to the depth of the Street of Gibraltar… well, at least to 30 meter (of max 1000 meter) :) But we didn’t saw a lot. Just almost the same fish as in Cyprus, but bigger. We saw 2 (scary) huge crabs and some fish. That’s it.
The dive incl. safety stop was 44 minutes. Disappointing.

We got back on the boat and then back to the harbor and dive shop. We didn’t had much time to relax. Just a few minutes and then we were starting for the 2nd dive. In the meantime I’ve checked when we will be back from the second dive and booked us in for the 5pm tour whale watching.
I just finished it and had to go back on the boat straight away. This time we drove more around the island, on the west side, to the Atlantic side… luckily the water wasn’t even more cold on this side… but more warm also not.

Moritz said that we will see maybe now a wreck of an old steamer boat. But just the boiler are left, he said.
So, we went back to the water. This time we had strong current. We had to get used to it first of all, but then we could use it to drift and it was cool. :) I saw this time a big octopus (the other both just swam over it and didn’t saw it). Plus a few (different) snails and fish again.
But the wreck we didn’t reached anymore. 2 dives without any wreck. :(

Back at the dive shop we used first of all the shower, which are there in the shop. A dream! And they provide even soap and shampoo dispenser. This service does worth a mind. We could even finally take a normal great shower. And on the other hand is a hot shower after a dive in the Atlantic ocean also great. Fresh it could go to the bad part on it (for us)… paying. 37,50 for one dive and per person. Actually it is a good price (incl. equipment). But for low-budget traveler like we are… is it a fortune. We also bought straight a few diving postcards (and got some for free on top.. with advertising of course). So, I lost 80 Euro for half a day. But… I was diving in the Street of Gibraltar. :)

I can recommend the dive school Yellow Sub in Tarifa! The people there was very nice and friendly, they spoke good/perfect German and English. The equipment was good and they was always behind us to help us. Pity that they couldn’t hold their promises with the dive spots. That was a minus for me, because I love to dive at wrecks (the landscape is everywhere similar, but wrecks are the real treasures). An exception is dolphins and whales, of course.
But in general is this dive shop good. Especially the possibility to take a shower is a huge plus!

We went back to the car, after everything was done. Changing clothes, grabbing the cameras and taking out the dive stuff. And then we had to go already again, to go Whale Watching with Firmm. But before we went out with the boat, they made half an hour an information round to the subject. I liked it a lot, even I couldn’t get many new information. The introduced the local species of dolphins and whales and said a bit about then. The Common Dolphin, the Striped Dolphin, the Bottlenose Dolphin, the long-finned Pilot Whale, the Orca, the Sperm Whale and the Fin Whale. That is a lot more than I expected. The lady said to every species a few words and I also liked a lot that she also spoke about why Dolphins are not made to live in capacity. Pity that this subject was just mentioned ‘beside’. But better than nothing.
Of course was she also introducing the foundation and said a bit about the Street of Gibraltar. That the meeting of the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean produces a very seldom current, which is the base of best conditions that the food can grow, which they eat. She said as well that the tuna is passing the street to spawn in the Mediterranean sea. The Orca is following them, he loves the tuna. But the tuna get also caught by the fishermen… en masse… before they can spawn. And for whom? Yes, for the Japanese market (for sushi e.g.). So the tuna get caught before he can multiply. Japan… there it is again. That reminds me on the Japanese Whaling fleet in the Arctic and the probably most known village in Japan (for me and many Dolphin friends), Taiji. Every year they kill there thousands of Dolphins… to get some Dolphins for dolphinariums and for… nothing. Dolphin consists higher doses of quicksilver and it is dangerous to eat it.

After the information round we went on the boat. I don’t know how many people we was, but some… 50 maybe.
I wanted the place direct in the front. At the bow. I didn’t wanted to stay somewhere in the middle of a group of 50 people, in case that there would be a Dolphin or Whale. I wanted to see a Whale and not the back of the head of the guy in front of me. One of the crew member gave me a sign that it is possible, but later. After we left the harbor, I saw the reason. We drove first against the waves. The spray made even the back part of the boat wet. If I would be out there on the bow, I would be wet in seconds. So we was waiting patient and was watching the landscape.

Then, finally, the captain turned the boat to the south, to Africa. Now we could go out, in front of the boat, and I caught my place in the front. Great view. But still a bit wet. I just took out my camera, with the big 300mm lens, as a big wave hit the boat and… *patsch* everything was wet.
I was putting it quickly back in my backpack and just kept the GoPro in my hand. The GoPro is at least waterproofed and can’t get damaged from water. Would be bad if I would kill my good camera now.
And then we had to wait, to search and to look… on the water.

We got really close to Marocco… Africa. Very close. That was Julias target. Being close to Africa. I didn’t cared about Africa at all. I wanted to see a Wale. As bigger and more impressive as better. I was standing in the front and observed the sea. 2 crew member from Firmm was standing lookout and was searching from there (I am sure that a few passenger was starring as well on the sea). 2 hours was we searching and searching… till the captain finally changed the curse to the north, in direction to Tarifa. I’ve known that he is heading back to the harbor now. Now or never… and I was still starring over the wavy sea. Africa behind us, on the left side the sun deep on the sky and mirroring in the sea, on the right side the Mediterranean sea with some huge container vessels and in front of us Spain. The waves was hitting the boat, partly so strong that the spray came over the whole front. I was long time wet already. My trousers, shirt and the backpack were dripping. I didn’t care, I wanted to see a Wale today… or at least a Dolphin. But more likely a Wale. Even with the fear to get sick, which wouldn’t be so nice on the trip, didn’t had any influence on it.

Approx 20 minutes later came the guy from the stuff again and have me a sign to come in (I was longer already alone there in the bow). We arrived a few minutes later in the harbor… without seeing anything. Which disappointment. :(
Of course is there no guarantee. It’s never there, when we try to see animals in their freedom. And I like it more not to see animals in freedom then seeing them for sure in captivity. This point of view was helping me to smile again. Partly I was standing there, on the bow, and was smiling to myself… Because I didn’t saw Wales and/or Dolphins… this means that they are free!
A discord, I could say. Sad and glad in the same time, that I didn’t saw the beloved Wales.

We went back to the ‘base’. The foundation gives, in the case that we see nothing on the trip, free tickets for another trip. Money back was unfortunately no option. But we had to leave the next day and a free ticket was not an option for us. Especially because they would go the next day from Algeciras, at 3pm. It would be a detour as well. But we took the tickets anyway. You never know. Maybe we could sell them.

After the tour we went back to the car. I needed to get rid of the wet clothes, before I really get sick. We decided that we wanted to go out to eat something and to see if we get internet somewhere. We choose a little restaurant opposite the harbor. They didn’t had internet, but something to eat. Not a big menu, but better than nothing. I’ve chosen the Gnocchi again. They was tasty.

After a while came 2 Austrians on the table next to us. Julia asked them if they would like to have the tickets for the Whale Watching maybe. They would have liked to do it, but they was also leaving on the next day. It was a nice couple, middle 20s, from Vienna. They offered us straight a sleeping place in Vienna, in case we would pass by. It was a bit strange to offer a stranger straight a couch… but sweet as well. We was chatting a while, till I became sleepy. I wanted to go back to the car. Also I think it is impolite to talk to people while they are eating.

We went back to our Kangaroo. … What a day.

04.07.2013

The night was quite and like that was also the day starting… quite.
First of all we had a walk through the city on the plan. We had still 3 tickets for the Whale Watching to sell. Our travel budget would be glad if we could manage it.
So we went to the town center. Most of the bars and restaurants was still closed. First station was the Post office. Here should be a Deutsche Bank (according to Inge), even if ATM. So we went to the desk. Unfortunately was it a branch of the Spanish German Bank, it is not possible for Julia to get money here… funny, hmm?
Well, we went to the next café with internet. It was working more bad then well. But ok, better than nothing. 2 more chanced to sell the tickets failed as well. I was checking how my financial status is and was more than surprised. I was spending more money than I thought/hoped. Actually I was already at the limit of my travel budget. Expenses, which were not directly connected to the trip, not included (like the solar system). So, I had to be careful with my expenses now… and even more need now to sell the tickets. But nobody wanted them :(

On the way back we passed the harbor again, where the office from Firmm is. Maybe exactly now are some tourists there which would like to make Whale Watching. But unfortunately nobody was there. But at the dive shop, next door, was it busy. So I went there and asked Moritz if he know maybe someone who would like to have the tickets… and I was lucky. Moritz itself took them. He wanted to go anyway soon again Whale Watching with his girlfriend. Great. So we was helping him to get cheaper tickets and he was spending money for our poor traveling fund. Mission accomplished. :)

We went back to the car, was packing our stuff and drove. In direction to Portugal, the west end of our trip. I found a very nice place for the night, at least on the map. Faro. Here are some lagoons… many lagoons. At the most end point I expected a very calm point. I told Inge to bring us there.

The way there was hot. We drove first of all to the north, in the domestic of Spain. Till Sevilla and then to the west to Faro. We never had such a hot day on our trip like this. The thermometer in the car said 45 degrees in the car. To open the window was not helping anymore. The wind had the same temperature. We died.
Therefore we saw something wonderful. In the middle of this hot hell were storks. On almost every single pylon was a bird-nest. On the big electricity pylon was sometimes 4-5 nests on one single pylon. Next to each other, above each other… as there was place. We saw even road signs with stork nests. That was great to see.
I can remember that in my childhood was a (single) stork nest in my home town. A stork family was breading on an old chimney. But one year they didn’t come anymore. And some when was the nest not there anymore. Now I don’t even know if the chimney is still there.
But here… here they are in masses. And that is somehow wonderful. So many storks in one place. It’s really cool.

We drove the 400km this day and arrived in the evening at the place I’ve told Inge to lead us to. Unfortunately is the place not that quite as I hoped. This spot was also explored by the Portuguese people and they was building a lot of holiday houses there already. It was late already. So we was looking anyway for a parking place. We found one between all the other cars. Only Portuguese car signs, so no tourist holiday houses. More for locals.

We went to a café and I was drinking a beer and we enjoyed the great night view. In front of us the lagoon, in which the lights of the airport were mirroring, which is behind.
After we just went to bed.


Größere Kartenansicht

Gibraltar

30.06.2013

The night was not so good. It became really busy in the night. Till in the morning 6-7 o’clock was the teenager screaming and listening to loud music from the cars. I slept not much this night. Always listen if someone is doing something on our car. But luckily is everything ok. At 8 was our alarm clock ringing. Just I don’t wanted.
In the morning was the parking empty… till noon.

I started to translate the next article for my webpage. It took me till 3pm. Then I finished the translation finally and connected with the internet, to save it. I clicked the button to save and the webpage was refreshing and… everything gone. Gone… the last 5 hours of writing… gone. Just gone. I thought I’ll die. 5 hours just gone. What I could have done in 5 hours…
But nothing I could do anymore. We packed our stuff at 5 finally and went to the border.

Crossing the border was simple and without problems. We was showing our passports and could pass. Maybe they saw that our Kangaroo was fully packed and they wasn’t in mood to check everything :)

We went straight through whole Gibraltar, till the end… to the Point of Europe. From here you can see Africa. :) And also the rest of the view is nice.
Me at the lighthouseFrom this point is also a bus going to the city. Because of the bad parking situation in the city (not much space there) we took the bus to go into the city center. Actually we wanted to make just a roundtrip, just to have a better imagination of the town. But we had a ticket problem again and had to leave the bus in the city center (one way ticket… they call it again single ticket) and was walking through the city center. On a Sunday is everything closed of course, except some kiosks. But it was interesting already to walk through Gibraltar and to see some things already.

We went back around 8, with the bus again, to the parking place. We eat something and was converting our sleeping car. A few teenager had some fun in the evening on the parking. But soon they left and we could finally sleep.

01.07.2013

Around 10 we finally got up. The first way was leading us direct to the tourist office, which was straight next to us. We was took a few information and maps. That we will went on the rock, was clear. Actually I wanted to go with the cable car. But then we would had to walk to the sightseeing places. And the rock isn’t that small. On the other hand has it an advantage to go by car. 29 Euro Euro for 2 people and a car and all other entrance fees (for the sightseeing things) would have been included.

St. Michaels caveFirst of all we was visiting St. Michaels cave. A very interesting, but small cave. It is partly converted to a concert cave. In 15 minutes we went through the cave.

Around the cave entrance are the first monkeys. On the rock of Gibraltar are the only monkeys in Europe living. They are Barbary apes. And they are cheeky! When we arrived and didn’t know that they are there, we had the windows from the car open. Before we could realize what is going on, we had already on in the half open window. Luckily on Julias side (I would have probably made an accident). She was so surprised about it that she was hitting him out again. We closed quickly the windows and drove further to the parking.
An apeOn the street there, around the cove, was around 20 apes. They wasn’t very interested in humans probably. Only when a car with open window is passing. One guy they stole very quickly a bag of crisps… out of the car. To feed the monkeys is strictly forbidden and is sued with a fine of 4000 GIB (Gibraltar Pound).

After the cave visit we went to the other end of the rock. To the ‘Great Siege Tunnel’. A defending tunnel which they were digging in the rock, as defense in the siege in the 17th century. Here we saw as well some ‘big Bertas’. The big canons from this time. It’s very interesting to see these tunnels. Even they are prepared for tourists.
The Siege tunnelsIn the rock of Gibraltar are tunnels with a total length of 50km. I would have loved to see more of it. :) But like that we had a small view in the history of the country.

Here is also a view point with a great view of the north part of Gibraltar and behind Spain. Also on the airport with its runway, which is crossing the only entrance street to Gibraltar. If a airplane is arriving or departing, then they close the street and nobody comes in or out of the country :)

North of Gibraltar

After the tunnels we went back down of the rock. Actually we wanted to see the ape rock as well, but that are all one way streets and we passed the apes rock already and couldn’t go back not.

GibraltarWe went back to the parking at the Europe Point, where we was standing the day before already, and drove by buy into the city center. The most uncomplicated and relaxing way. It was already half past 5, as we arrived in the town. Luckily are the shops open until 7 in Gibraltar. We went in the shopping street and had a look around. The shops remembered me on Andorra. Some are a mix between phone, computer, jewelry and souvenir shop. Beside a few shops which was selling tobacco and alcohol. We was reading in the internet that Gibraltar is supposed to be a tax and shopping paradise. But we couldn’t find that part. Technique cost the same as everywhere else. Cigarettes and alcohol is cheaper, yes. And petrol is also cheaper. At the moment around 1,30 Euro for 95er. But the rest… the same prices.

Mosque by nightWe had a look around, but couldn’t really find something interesting. We bought some souvenirs and postcards. And of course I bought a pack of cigarettes… and a pack nicotine patches.
But that’s it.

The shops closed slowly one by one and we went back to the bus stop. Our bus was there already and made a break. We took this one straight away and went back to the car at the Europe Point.
I was translating the article again, which got lost last time.

02.07.2013

The day of leaving Gibraltar. But first of all we went to the café there and used their internet. :) I was finally publishing the article about Barcelona and wrote a bit more on the current one. Also postcards we had to write. :)

Some when around 2 we left finally. But first of all in the city again. The only postbox we known was in the city. We was looking for a parking space. In the city is everything to pay. I was feeding the machine with 2 Euro and we could stay for 2 hours.
Julia wanted to buy some more postcards, at the next kiosk. I had the spontaneous idea to buy also another postcard and send it to someone totally unknown. :)

We decided to go to an Indian restaurant, from which we saw the advertising board the day before. So, we was looking for the restaurant. It was a small one, in a small side street.
Julia ordered a mango shake… it was very tasty. Something like mango mixed in yoghurt. To eat we had chicken in 2 different ways. Also tasty.
PostboxAfter our lunch was it time to write postcards. Luckily we got the WiFi password from the restaurant. So I could search for an address for my surprise postcard. I’ve opened the online phone book and then I had no idea how to find 1 address from 80 millions. Julia mentioned that I could search for my surname. Maybe I could find someone and it would reduce the results a lot. So I was looking for my surname and really, just 9 result pages.
Then I saw on the first page the entry of an owner of a flower shop. Katrin Zube. I liked it (mostly because of the flower shop) and Katrin will get now a postcard from me. :)

PostcardsAfter all was done, we went back to the car. Of course passing the postbox, where we was sending our postcards on its way. Back to the car we almost got a ticket from the police. The woman was already writing something in her machine, when we was screaming, from far already, that we are leaving now. She smiled and say friendly ‘You are going NOW?’ … ‘Yes, yes… NOW’. She put her machine beside and just said again ‘You’re lucky’… :) Friendly police here :)

Apologizing from GibraltarWe stopped as well at a petrol station, on the way out of Gibraltar. We couldn’t miss it to refill our Kangaroo for 1,31 Euro per liter. And then we went to the border. That are no distances here. Parking, petrol station, border… all within 2 km :)
From this side of the border was the row extremely long. We was standing there in the line, in the heat, at least half an hour (they even have 4 lines, to save space). Then I saw the signs on the side, on which the government of Gibraltar is apologizing for the waiting and is explaining that Spain is trying to put pressure on Gibraltar with this circumstances. The political situation is not very good between Gibraltar and Spain. Spain would love to get Gibraltar.

We drove further in direction to Tarifa, the most south point in Spain (they say even from Europe, which is not true… the most south point is Limassol… reg. Akrotiri ;) … really!).
View to AfricaThe way was leading us on a hill. On the highest point of the hill-road was a small restaurant with a viewing point. We stopped. The air was clear and we had a great view to Africa… well, Morocco. We was relaxing a while and enjoyed that amazing view. But Tarifa was calling, from the bottom of this hill. So we drove the last kilometer down the hill and arrived soon in this – more or less – small fisherman village.

First stop: LIDL. We was almost out of drinking. But even more we was out of money. So we was spending our last few Euros for 2 packs of ice tea and toast. We urgently need a cash machine.

After we refilled our storages, we went into the town center. I told Inge to lead us to the most south point and was hoping that there is again a nice parking place. But unfortunately was the last end closed for cars. We parked instead close to the beach, on a free parking place, and walked to the most south point. It is a small ‘half’ island. Just with a small walkway connected with the mainland. But also the island itself was closed for the public. The interesting part is that this walkway is separating the sea. Left the Mediterranean and right the Atlantic. That is at least what the signs are saying. But hey… we shouldn’t question everything. :)

On the way back I saw some advertising from a dive school. To go diving on the most south point of Europe… well, at least Spain. :) In the street of Gibraltar. That would be a highlight of the tour.
I called the number of the advertising and tried to reach someone. It was already 8. But really someone picked up the phone. They will go on the next day at 10. To a wreck, he said. That sounds gooooood. And he spoke good English as well. That would be then our plan for the next day.

We decided to have a walk through the town center. We both was still out of money and for the next day we would need money for sure. We was passing some shops and saw suddenly one which offered Whale Watching. To see Whales… my dream… even my dream is more to go diving with them… but it would be a nice start to see them at least already. The shop was still open and we went in. We had a long chat with the nice lady in there, in German… Seemed like we have a lot of luck, because today was the first day they could go out with the boat, since 2 weeks. Before was nothing possible because of strong wind. And on Friday comes again new strong wind, as the weather forecast says. So, now or never.
But because we wanted to go diving tomorrow already… we had a small time problem. First diving and then Whale Watching? We will see.

We went further through the city. Here we found a post (Julia is customer at the Postbank), but they didn’t had a cash machine. And from all other ATMs she didn’t got money. So, I took money from the next ATM we could find and I got (luckily) money. Tomorrow will be an expensive day.

Back at the car we just converted it and went to sleep. Direct there on the parking. We was totally tired and I didn’t wanted to move at all anymore. On the other hand we had to get up very early next morning.

CU soon
Gordon :)


Bigger map

At the Hippies in Beneficio

27.06.2013

Our sleeping placeThe night was quite and relaxing. :) The fisherman, which was fishing around the corner, was still there in the morning. The bushes around us protected us a while against the sun. So we could sleep a bit longer… but Julia doesn’t bother about the sun in the morning anyway. I do.

We packed our stuff, after we got up. Our target was Beneficio. The Hippie village which was not in any map. We had an approx direction. In the village Orgiva we had to turn in direction Bubion and after to Cannar.
We found it so far. But then, they said, we have to take a turn to the parking of Beneficio. The road sidled up the mountain. After a while we reached a viewing point and we stopped, to have a look and saw in they valley some strange houses and a way. If this could be it? We turned around and tried our luck. And really was it the way to the parking of Beneficio. In Orgiva we saw already some Hippies (easy to recognize :) ). Direct in front of the parking we met 2 people, which confirmed that after the next rock will be the parking place and that we are right here. So, we drove further and saw straight the parking.

Beneficio ParkingWell, ‘parking place’ are maybe to nice words for that. It was a dirty place. Everywhere dirt and rubbish. A few caravans and self-made houses. We was at the right place. We was reading before in the internet that it is not save on the parking for the cars. People are stealing. So we didn’t wanted to leave the Kangaroo uncontrolled.

We decided finally at least to have a quick look together in the village. It is located a few minutes by walking, in the forest. We started and after 10 minutes by feet we reached the main tipi.
P1000545 (Kopie)The people here was watching us and we probably looked even more curious.
We got a bit closer and Hatidscha welcomed us and invited us in the ‘living room’.
We had to leave our shoes outside of the tent, of course. In the middle was a big fire place, in which was 2 big pieces of wood burning. Around the fire place was some carpets. The tent was so smoky that you could cure a ham within a short time.
Julia had a chat with Hatidscha and I was listening a bit and had a look around. Hatidscha was probably end of 50 and comes from Marokko. She spoke French and we guessed that she is from France. I had a very strange impression of her… I guess she was a bit (more) gaga. There was 2 more men in the tent. The chief and another one, which was just chilling around. They spoke just French and Spanish, as far as I could understand it.

We had to leave the tent after a few minutes. Our eyes was burning and we smelled like smoked meat already. We said Good Bye and continued to explore the village.

Further up the hill, deeper into the forest. Then we saw an advertising from a bakery… painted on a piece of wood. That is something we didn’t wanted to miss. We crossed the small river on a self-made bridge and came closer to the next house, in which we expected the bakery. We got welcomed from a big, wild balking dog. But nobody else seemed to be at home. The dog seemed to be a good strong dog… so we decided not to come closer and to turn around (it was anyway nobody at home).
We went back and continued to follow the path. Passing huts and many different building styles and made of different materials.
P1000556 (Kopie)They used everything. Stones, wood, plastic… everything which was available. Some looked better and others really bad. The last house was, for me, the most impressive. A round stone house, which looked solid. An addition to it was painted purple wood. The house had the biggest property, which I saw there. Direct at the river. In the garden was hammocks hanging, flowers was planted and it looked at all very cozy. That would have been something for me :)
We heard the owner was Baba, which is here the spiritual guy. And like that it looked somehow… spiritual. The way is splitting here into 2 even smaller trails. We guessed that this is the end of the village and went back to the parking.
We saw everything basically and wanted to leave again. I wasn’t impressed from this first impression (especially with meeting the people at the main tent). Julia thought the same and was also ready to leave again.But we decided to wait for the 2 people, which we met at the beginning, before we reached the parking. We liked this both somehow a lot already and wanted at least to have a chat with them.
They wanted to walk to Orgiva, that is what they told us. It’s a little long walk. We heard that today is market day in Orgiva and that most of the people of Beneficio are in Orgiva today. That’s why we didn’t saw many people in the village.

P1000566 (Kopie)We made everything ready for chilling on the parking.Took our chairs out. I had finally time again to read my book, which I bought at the beginning of our trip. From time to time was some people passing us, which came back from Orgiva. Everybody was friendly greeting with ‘Ola’ or ‘Hello’.

Almost all people here have a rasta hairstyle. But from all other aspects are the people very different here. Some skinny like hell, others normal (no big). Men, woman and children. All kind of ages.
But it strikes me also that many people here look dirty. That is not so nice and a bit … deter
Some came by feet back from Orgiva, others with the car (which was packed and old).Somewhen, after hours, came also our friends back. They was walking. We intercepted them straight away and started straight a chat :)
They was very likeable for us. They was not dirty, clear in their mind and we liked them (sounds strange, but it is like that :) ). They said that they are just 4 days here in Beneficio. They are traveling with a camper.
Nice camper. A Peugeot J5. 20 years old, but nice. Bedroom, bath, kitchen and living area. Well, a normal camper. In which they are also living in Beneficio, till now at least. He is Spanish and she from UK. Unfortunately I forgot always their names. Julia as well :( We was talking a longer time and decided then that we just park next to each other and that we stay over night on the parking place. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about the Kangaroo. And we could talk today a bit with out new neighbors. We did it exactly like that.

We converted our little camper as well and continued our chat with our friends.
Another guy joined us and also his name I forgot. But we baptized him later Einstein. Because he had already, for his young age, many grey hair and even looked a bit like Einstein. He was also German, from Berlin. Einstein was living since 4 weeks already here in the village. He have a tent near the waterfall. The both guys was playing a round chess and Julia was socializing with a girl from the other car.
Later we had all together a chat and around midnight we went to bed.

28.06.2013

The big advantage to park in a valley is that the sun is not shining straight away on the car in the morning. I could finally sleep relaxed until I woke up by myself, not because it is hot like hell. That was great!
I don’t know exactly when we got up… around 11. We started very relaxed in the day. Till suddenly a Police car stopped in front of our car. Julia was still in the bed and I was sitting next to our car on a chair and reading my book again. The was pointing on the camper next to us (from our friends) and asked if it is my car. I would have likely answered ‘Yes, I like to sit beside another car! ^^” … But said instead just ‘No’. Then came our friend already and they started to talk in Spanish. After they finished the Police drove slowly to the end of the parking space.

We asked our friend what it was. He said that the Policemen said that it is forbidden to camp here and anyway it is not allowed to stay here, because it is a national park.

PoliceThe Policemen came back and wanted our personal data and they made pictures of our car. They said if we are still here next time they come we will have to pay a fine.
That didn’t sounded very nice. Especially that nobody know when they will come next time. And it would have been stupid to ask it.
In the meantime a few people from Beneficio arrived as well on the scene. A big chat and discussion started. Generally they are right, but just half. It is allowed to park there, but just on one side of the road. Because the border of the national park is exactly on the road. It looks like the police dramatized the fact a bit to get the people away there. And the people there can’t prove their fact, because of lack of money.
They said more interesting facts, which would be to much for here.

But they said as well that the Police comes every 1-2 weeks. That calmed a bit our worries. But we was anyway thinking to leave. Because a fine of 300 Euro would be very bad for our travel budget.
It was just noon and we didn’t thought that the police will come back straight away. So we decided to stay at least until the evening. Also I could say that we are just visiting the national park and that I am photographer and nature friend. :)We wanted again in the village. To the bakery and I wanted to had a shower under the waterfall. Never done it to take a shower under a waterfall :)

The horse riderSo, back to the bakery with the big dog. Today was someone there. Our both neighbors was there already and some other people. The big dog was more or less lovely today and just snarled short, when we arrived. Later he even loved to get stroked. :) Even the horse war there.
Earlier, on the parking place, came someone with a horse. On the horse was a beautiful woman riding. It looked amazing. She was wearing a white dress. Looked liked in a story. And the horse belongs to here. The bakery son is the owner and the girl, which was riding on it, is his girlfriend.

But there is no bread today. He could only offer us a goat cheese. 5 Euro per piece. That is a lot. But the fact that it is handmade and from Beneficio… I bought one. Better leaving 5 Euro here then anywhere else. (And as we found out was the cheese a dream of a cheese!)

We had then a longer what with Peter, his name. A very interesting person. His parents are separated. His father came 8 years ago, from Slovenia, to Beneficio. Originally was he Sheppard. But here he was raising his own small farm and is baking now and makes cheese and is selling eggs. The eggs come from his approx. 30 chicken, which live here. He is buying the milk for his cheese. Beside the chicken he have also 2 geese and 5 … something, 1 dog and cats.
Peter came 6 years ago and was living until a few month ago in the village. Now he is living close in his own thing (don’t know if flat or house). He couldn’t stay in Beneficio with the horse, he said. And it sounded like he have ene more animals.

Peters houseThen he was showing us his old house in the village, which is on the same area then the one from his father. A round cottage, made of bales of straw. Inside plastered with cast. The diameter is approx. 6-8 Meter. Inside a kitchen, corner to sit, stove and a bed in a drop ceiling. Everything in the house are things he found. The building costs for the whole house are 500 Euro, he said. The rest came from the forest or things which other people was throwing away.
The house looked dirty. Things which people through away… No proper building materials. No construction which makes it easy to keep it clean. Everywhere can (and is) be dirt and dust.
But as longer we was in the shack and as longer Peter was talking about it (and himself) as more cozy it became. This shack has a soul. It was stable and it was visible that it was build with love. With things which was available.

He told us also that he is living as less as possible from the society. Meat and fish he is hunting by himself. He is eating what he was killing. I like it.

After the long conversation with Peter we went further. To the other bakery, to try if we get bread there. Here is a woman baking. We saw here already on the parking. Stefania, a thin Italian lady around 40. Stefania is living already 16 years in Beneficio and is earning her money with bread and making pipes out of ceramic.
She was just outside the house and we was asking her if she made bread today. She said it is just in the oven and it will be ready in one hour. Great.

The hour we spend down on the parking again. I was still thinking about the shower in the waterfall. If I really should do it… naked and without shower gel. :)

After one hour we went back up. The bread wasn’t ready yet. We went with her into her kitchen and was talking a bit more with her. She said that she is living already 16 years there. She have 2 children. 6 and 10. Both grown up in Beneficio. But they went to the school in the neighbor village. Then there was problems with it.
Her house is also very interesting. The many tools on the one wall got my attention first. The sleeping places looks like small caves. Of course a kitchen with an oven, to make the bread.
Then was our bread ready. She apologized and went in front of the door. Then we could hear a loud yell… I couldn’t understand what she was screaming, but the whole village must have heard her voice. Bread is ready… :DWe remembered that we still wanted to go to take a shower. So we left our bread with Stefania and went for a shower. The waterfall was a bit more up the valley. Actually it is not really a real waterfall. Here is an approx. 10 meter high wall, where the water flows over. But the wall is angular, so the water hits the wall already a few meter down again.

Waterfall in BeneficioI was the first one. Dropping the clothes and then slowly stepping forwards, with the flip-flops. Because of the falling water I couldn’t see what is in front of me in the water. But it was ok… no deep whole or something bad in the water.
The water was a bit… fresh :)
I made it quick. Shower gel or Shampoo is not allowed of course. Logical.
It was an interesting experience. Would do it again :) And I was – more or less – showered.

After the shower we was passing the spring. The Stefania was asking if we can bring her water from the spring. The drinkable water comes here from this spring, direct out of the stone. Impressive. A mini cove in the rock, from where the water comes out. In front is a small reservoir, in which the water gets collected and from which it flows in a big reservoir (which is used also for a bath… and in which swim even gold fishes). On the overflow from the small to the big reservoir is it easily possible to catch the water in bottles. There I was filling the bottle from the baker woman.
Back she was happy about the water and we about the bread :)There was news already again, when we came back to the car. Seem like here are always news. Unfortunately not good ones. Gandalf, the dog of our new friends got bitten from another dog. There are a lot of dogs around. Also many stray dogs. Gandalf is a beautiful dog. He had some smaller wounds around the eye. That was not good and the both wanted to park their camper somewhere else on the parking, to be further away from the other dogs.We was thinking what we will do. To leave straight away. Who knows when the Police will come again. It was already 7pm again and we didn’t expected the Police to come anymore this evening. Tomorrow morning maybe…
We decided finally to park again next to the other both and to stay until next morning and then to leave early. And that is how we did it. We was parking at the beginning of the parking space. It was quite here. Not many other cars was parking so far away from the entrance to Beneficio.We made the car ready and went soon to sleep.

29.06.2013

The night was ending again with my alarm clock. In the night was someone else parking next to our car. The other both also just got up, when a left the car.
In the car next to us, I thought it is empty, was also movement suddenly on the back seat.
Also the Germans on the other side seem to wake up. Someone was looking through the curtain. But it seemed like they needed more sleep :)Even our small cat came, to say Good Bye. Julia invited her even to come into the car, to cuddle.
Then we packed slowly our stuff and said Good Bye to our friends. This Good Bye was the first on this trip which made me a bit sad. I liked this both very much. At least we shared our email addresses and Facebook.

Another damThen we started to go back on the road, without any other meeting with the Police.The street down to Orgiva again and this time to the south. On snaky roads (again) through the hills… till we passed a dam. We stopped to make some pictures.
Then further on the freeway to Gibraltar. We left the freeway at San Roque and had to continue on a normal road till La Linea de la Conception. Here is the border to Gibraltar.

Unfortunately didn’t told me Inge that I have to turn soon and to change the lane. Later wasn’t it possible anymore to change the lane and I had to make a big round… which didn’t happen anymore. Because on our was a Mc Donalds…
Yes, we stopped and got stuck there again. We could see from the parking the rock of Gibraltar already. But we got the permission to stay on the parking of Mc Donalds over night… what we did. I needed to write a bit again.

Best wishes
Gordon


Bigger map

From Barcelona via Granada till the reservoir

20.06.2013

Hi all together,

we spent the night on the camping place. It just started late. The articles for the blog kept us away from sleeping until 3 in the night. Even Julia had to help me this time, that it goes quicker. I need to write less. :o

Today in the morning we went with the free shuttle bus at 11 to Barcelona. The shuttle bus is provided by the camping place. The bus brought us till the Catalonya square. Just the sight seeing places are spread in the whole city. Julia wanted to see the Sagrada Familia church. I had no idea what to see here anyway. So, we went to the church, which was 1,5 km away. On the way wasn’t many interesting things. We passed some shops. Nothing Hugo is looking after my Paleaspecial. We became hungry and stopped at a Spanish looking restaurant for a Paella. I’ve ordered the only Paella without fish, Paella de Carne. Julia ordered the black one… with Octopus and the rice is cooked in the ink of the animal. That’s why the whole Paella was black.
My one was very spicy/hot. But mostly the chicken.
We realized then that the restaurant was owned by Chinese people. So, Paella in Spain, made by Chinese. Anyway it was tasty.

Sagrada Familia in BarcelonaAfter we went to the Sagrada Familia church.They started to build the church in 1882 and didn’t finished it till now. They expect to finish it in 2026… we will see. It’s not that long in future :)
The outside looking is very interesting. It has it’s totally own style (you can see it on the pictures). But the entrance of 13,50 Euro per person was to much for us. That is expensive to visit a church. So, we just checked it from outside.

Because we didn’t wanted to walk the 1,5km again, we was choosing the subway. 2 Euro for a single ticket. The next subway came after 1-2 minutes. In the front of the train was the number 524 (but the 5 could have been also a ‘S’). But we was waiting for the train ‘S5’. So, we didn’t took it and was waiting for the next one. This one had the number “512”… or “S12”. Slowly we got the idea that it could be the right one. And it was the right one. Why that strange numbers… no idea.

We had to change the train after 2 stations. We left this train on the station “Verticale” and went to the platform for the other train. But here they didn’t wanted to let us in again. ‘Ticket not valid’ said the revolving door. (Here you need to put your ticket in a machine and you can pass the revolving door… if the ticket is valid. We asked a guy who spoke English, what the hell is going on. He explained us that a single ticket is for just one ride. If you want to change the train, it is a new ride and you need a new ticket. … Great!
There are also daily tickets for 7,50 Euro and a 10er ticket for 10 Euro.
We was walking again…

We arrived a bit earlier at the bus stop and went to Mc Donalds again, for an ice cream. (I we get soon discount as best customers in Europe?) Internet we didn’t need this time. By the way, in Barcelona is a free WIFI in the whole city. Very nice.
That is all what we saw from Barcelona. The Sagrada de Familia and the way there and back (plus a bit subway). But for me it was enough. Barcelona is a really stressful city. I didn’t needed more of it.

My first try with my new hammogAround 6pm we was back on the camping place. For me was clear… I just want to relax the rest of the day. Nothing else.
I took the time to try finally my new hammock for the first time… a dream! Such hammock is a wonderful thing to relax. :)

Tomorrow we go on to the west. :)

21.06.2013

We used this day again for relaxing. From time to time you need time to relax on such a trip. It shouldn’t be forgotten.
We switched off the alarm clock today and slept until we woke up by our self. It was some when in the noon.

And again we haven’t done much this day. We went snorkeling on the little beach near the camping place. It is good for snorkeling, but not good for swimming. A lot of stones and rocks under water.
As souveniers I took 3 golf balls with me, from the ground of the sea in Mataro. Julia took straight a whole signal rocket. We disposed it quickly again… bit dangerous this stuff.

Then we used the opportunity to wash our dirty clothes and did nothing else then relaxing.
We had to leave the camping place at 8pm. And we did it. Exactly 8 pm we left the place. But we had still one point on the list for this day. We wanted to visit the fountain ‘Font Magica’ in Barcelona. A very famous fountain, as Julia said. It plays with colors and the water to music… lets see.

Font Magica in BarcelonaWe arrived around 9 there. It was still bright, but the fountain was already playing music. Looked like the light is on as well already, but we couldn’t see it yet. It was still to bright. :)

We stayed until it became dark and as more dark it became as better it was. Absolutely amazing… a must see! Of course I made a lot of videos :)
We stayed there until 11pm and was watching the game of the fountain. But then we had to go. We still had to find a sleeping place for the night… outside of Barcelona.

So, back to the car and checking in the navigation system where the next good place to sleep would be. We ended up on a wild camping side somewhere outside of Barcelona. We just checked quickly the surrounding, converted the car and went to sleep.

22.06.2013

The night was good, but too short again. We got up around 9 and had a quick look at the beach, which was in front of us. Then we went back on the street. Today we wanted to travel the longest distance till yet. Our target today was San Pedro, a hippie village, or whatever. We had not really an idea what we can expect there.
We just known, because Inge told us, that it will be a ride of 700km.Thanks to the Spanish freeway we could make distance very quick, even without toll. We really arrived, with one hour delay, this day in Las Negras. There shall be also the hippie village San Pedro somewhere in this area. But there were no more detailed information about the position of the village on the map and also Inge didn’t know it.So we stopped on the first parking in Las Negras and asked some punks, which was also on this parking. They spoke just a little bit English, but they’ve known ‘San Pedro’. They just said ‘Down the road, then left and then straight ahead.’. … Ok, we was following this instruction and ended up in the center of the town… but no San Pedro.

On the way to San PetroWe drove a bit trough the streets until we saw a sign with ‘Beach San Pedro’ on it… that way. We was following this and the following signs until we came on a crossing without sign. Here we was now… standing stupid around and didn’t know where to go.
Julia asked a guy who was walking around there. His name was Manfred, around 50 and from south Germany. What an coincidence. Manfred is living since 6-7 years in Las Negras already. Before a while in San Pedro, but that wasn’t the real this for him and they had fights in the village, he said. Now is he living somewhere in the desert around Las Negras, in a house ruin, which he inherited from the guy who was living before there.
Manfred explained us what San Pedro actually is. An old, abandoned village or fortress, which was ‘taken over’ 30 years ago from hippies. Since this time are around 20-30 people constantly living in the fortress, the old houses, self made caves and tents.

This area there is actually a nature reserve. But as they are anyway illegal there… And the locals of Las Negras make also good money with the hippies. For example go every day several boats from Las Negras to San Pedro, to bring a lot of tourists there. And for one tour (there and back) it cost 12 euro per person. San Pedro is not reachable with the car. Just by boat or walking (60 or 20 Minutes – 2 different ways). It’s a bit complicated.

Moon in Las NegrasWe decided that it was to late to walk there. And for a boat was it to late.
All we could do is to find a nice place for the night and to go to sleep. That is what we did. We tried the last street on the map. It was behind the last houses. Lonely. Wonderful. That was our place for the night. On the one side the back of the houses and on the other side the half desert.

23.06.2013

The sun woke us up in the morning again with her unbelievable heat. Around 9 was it not possible to stay longer in the car. We converted the car and went to the beach, where we informed us about the boat trips to San Pedro. The first boats was gone already and we had to wait for the next ones. We spent the time with a coffee in one of the beach bars. Then we went back to the car, packed some stuff, reparked the car and came back to the meeting point for the boat trips.

The next boats went half an hour late. Antoino, the driver, spoke not a single word English. Some Spanish girls, which also wanted to drive with the boat. He was asking for 24 Euro… Hää? 2 persons and straight there and return fee. But we wasn’t it even sure when (and if) we want to return. But we had no chance, we had to pay. So we told him that we come with him back at 7pm. Then we would have 8 hours in San Pedro.

San PetroAnd then finally we started. It was not far with the boat. Just around the corner, in the next bay. With the zodiac was it a ride of just 10 minutes. It looks a bit strange when you arrive from the sea side. From far you can see already, on a small hill, the defense fortress from the 16th century. Looks like a small, rotten castle. The walls and the tower are still there, but it’s slowly falling apart. Then a few old houses become visible. They look like nobody is living there for ages already. But also the solar panels shine from far away already. On the beach are tents and everywhere self made houses from… what the people find.
The beach is surprisingly full with people. Mostly tourists.

We sit down directly on the beach and try to get in used to this place. The sun is burning and soon I start my first snorkeling trip. The water is very clear and here are more fishes as on every other places I’ve visited yet. It doesn’t mean as many as in Egypt (e.g.)… just bit more than usual here. :)

We took a good sunbath, Julia went snorkeling and I had a look around. Here is no dress code. Here are in general no rules. Everybody is doing what he wants. Some are nude, some are topless. Surprisingly many young people. Actually here are almost all people young.
San PetroBehind us is a stand with self-made trinket. I have a look at it, searching for a souvenir for Anna. The saleswoman, who is just working at the next piece, came and we had a little chat. She is from Sweden and her boyfriend from Argentina. They live already several years in the village.
Many German people shall also live here. But I haven’t met anybody yet.
Here are 4 fresh water springs in the village, which support the people with drinkable water. Electricity comes from the solar panels. Here is even a bakery and a pub.

We had a look around in the village. First of all we went to the spring which is close to the fortress. To the spring we had to walk up through the bushes. We pass some other ‘home’ on the way to the spring. Again build with everything they could find. It looks more like an junkyard then a village.
The spring is a usual (cement)stone with a hole in it, where the water comes out. Passing the spring we came to the fortress. Suddenly we could hear music and was afraid to enter a living room from someone. We got slowly closer and said ‘Ola?’… until a big, older, half naked man, with tattoos, looked around the corner. He looked a bit scary. But he invited us to come closer. Soon we found out that Flockie is from Berlin. The first German in the village. And Berliner is he still. Even after 16 years in the village.

San PetroWe had a longer chat with Flockie. About the village, which was build in the 14th century. The fortress against attacks from the sea (even a canon was found recently not far from the shore). Flockie itself is living in a cave, not far from the fortress. The cave is already 800 years old. I need to say that it looks really cozy. He even have a microwave and a TV inside (be couldn’t believe it until we saw it). He have some solar panels and a windmill for the electricity support. And he is the man with the bar here… with an amazing view!

After our chat with Flockie was it almost time already to go back. We was just back on the beach as Antonio arrived with his zodiac, to collect the 7 o’clock people. The trinket saleswoman also came to ask if we stay overnight. We couldn’t say it. We would love to. But this day is national holiday in Spain and all Spanish people get drunk. And our Kangaroo is direct on the beach… we was worried. We had to go first back to the car for sure.

We did it like that. On the way back I even saw 2 big stingrays in the water. Wonderful. I never saw such big and beautiful stingrays. Unfortunately was it just a moment. :(

Back in Las Negras we went first of all back to the car. Luckily it was still there and in one piece. We put everything back in the car and thought about what to do now. We would love to sleep both in San Pedro. But we couldn’t leave the Kangaroo alone in this village with all the drunken people. Julia made the offer that I can go alone to San Pedro and she stays with the Kangaroo. I was not very convinced about this offer, to leave them alone.
After a lot thinking about it, she could convince me, to go alone back to San Pedro and to leave Julia, Hugo and the Kangaroo alone with the drunken guys.

Julia drove me to the place where the shortest way starts. From there it should be just a walk from 20 minutes. It was late already, around half past 9. The sun was behind the mountains already.
On the way to San PetroThe way went through the real half desert. Vegetation was basically not existing anymore. Ruins of old houses on the trail. After a few minutes went the trail to the sea. From the mountain on the sea. It was the blue hour. The hour between the sunset and darkness. After a few more mountains and  curves I saw finally San Pedro, in the bay in front of me. The moon was raising blood red, at the end of the bay, direct next to the rock. A fantastic view. A moment you can’t save on camera. It takes me another 10 minutes, till I reach the village. I guess it took me around 30 minutes to get to the village, not 20. But I did it before it became dark.

But it was not very bright anymore and I couldn’t see much anymore at the beach. The trinket saleswoman wasn’t there anymore and I didn’t know anybody else. I was looking for a cozy place for the night. I found a place between 2 tents and without stones. After a small snack I was watching the moon how he was raising behind the mountain. It was full moon and in the moment, in which he came out behind the mountains, it looked as he want to see what we are doing on the beach. Genius.

I got in contact with the people in the tent next to me. 2 Italians, which live since 5 in Barcelona. Or he lives there since 5 years and she came 2 years ago for him also there. They come every year here for one week camping. But mostly the people here stick with their groups.
That is also what I realized here. Groups like always. Everybody stays with his group.

Some people made a bigger campfire at 1 in the night. The group of people around the fire became bigger and bigger. I went also there after a while, to see what is going on there. :)
One guy was playing guitar and sang Spanish songs. Some people in the round sang with him. I am not… my Spanish is limited to some simple words.
But it was interesting. The smell in the air contains basically 3 notes… burning wood, fish (which was cooking in the fire) and Marijuana. Mostly the last one.
The people around the fire was mostly Spanish, as far as I could see it. A few woman was dancing hula hoop.

I am sleeping on the beach in San PetroI got really sleepy around 2. The crowd became also smaller already. I went back to my sleeping place and wrapped myself in the blanket. I wanted to kick my own as, that I didn’t took my sleeping back and/or tent with me. It became colder than I thought. Luckily I took my long trousers and jacket with me. I tried to make everything as draft proof as possible and wrapped finally even my feet in a towel.
I needed a long time to fall asleep. This unusual way to sleep and the bright moon.

After half an hour, I was still not sleeping, I opened my eyes again. The moon was so bright like a energy saving bulb. When I lifted up my head a bit, to see the sea, I saw something beautiful. A girl was dancing silent on the beach with a hula hoop. She was, from my point, direct in the mirror-light of the moon in the sea. So I saw just her silhouette… and how she moved her beautiful body to keep the wheel alive. You can imagine it like a shadow dancer… just without the shadow wall… and much more beautiful.
I was staring at her for a while… until she didn’t wanted anymore or… noticed my views.

I think it took another half an hour until I fall finally asleep. I think I slept a few hours, till I woke up again, because my back was hurting. I went on my side and fall asleep again. It became bright already, when I woke up again, because my side was hurting now. I turned back on my back, watched a bit the morning and fall asleep once again. But just soon later I woke up again, because the sun was raising and the first sun rays was hitting me… over the sleep. But ok, like that I could start the morning very early. Early but relaxed.

24.06.2013

Actually I wanted to stay longer in San Pedro, but my stomach made problems. I don’t know if it was the cold night or the last sausage in the morning. And I didn’t wanted to be on a place without any normal toilet with stomach problems. So, I packed my staff and left San Pedro earlier as planned. :(
Also the way back was very beautiful. An impressing way back over the rocks at the sea.

Unfortunately was the communication not working. Julia didn’t got my message that I am on the way back. I had to walk all the way back to the parking space. At least I knew the exact place where she was. Anyway it was around 10 kilometer. I was so angry…

She had bad news as well. They stole our hubcaps and the front wiper. Great.
So our first way this day was to the police. The policemen was very friendly, even a bit slowly. But we had time. I think inside he declared us for mental, that we bother him because of stolen hubcaps (that the wipers was also stolen we realized first later).
GrenadaAfter this highlight we went further to Granda. Here was Alhambra waiting for us. The probably most famous Moorish fortress. At 8 we arrived in front of the fortress. They just closed it. We checked shortly the surrounding and went then back to the car. We found a parking without paying, but wasn’t sure if we can stay there. But for the night it looked alright. We went to sleep.

25.06.2013

In the morning was the parking full. Not even one space was free. We was thinking again if we could stay here or not. We asked a taxi driver and he told us that we can’t stay there. This parking space is the parking of the authorities, and they will tow away our car. Ups… We went quickly to an official parking around Alhambra. They charge exact to the minute… maximum 18 Euro.

We parked our Kangaroo and straight to the ticket shop. First of all we had to stay in the row. After 15 minutes it was our turn. 13 Euro for one person for all areas. Well, for such important building… what can we do. Our visiting time was from 2 to 8 pm. It was just 12. We had a bit time till we could go in.
We went back to the car to relaxed 2 hours.

At 2 pm we started finally to Alhambra. You can imagine it like a big fortress. A big wall around and inside the things to see. Alhambra is also known for it’s beautiful garden. We went first of all to the palace, because for the place we got a separated visiting time. Probably that not to many people enter the palace in the same time.

AlhambraThe palace consists of several buildings, which have the most ornaments. And it’s the most renovated part of the fortress. After it we went to the palace of King Karl. Looks like a Colosseum. Just smaller and somehow empty. And now it looks like a stage for something. After the both palaces we went to Alcazeba. The defence place of Alhambra. Of course with the highest towers and the best views. :) At the end was just the Generalife left. Here was the general life :) With beautiful gardens.

AlhambraThen it was 8 and we had to leave. Actually a very short text for such important building. But I think everybody should see it with its own eyes. And I was not very impressed of Alhambra. Maybe it is the best to rent such audio guide, to get more information about this stuff.
It was good to visit it. But one time is enough for me.

Then again the every evening question… where to sleep. And like always… first of all to Mc Donalds. :) Internet and then we will see what we will do. This evening we didn’t went further at all. We stayed overnight on the Mc Donalds parking. Julia was asking the manager, if it would be ok and they said yes. So, we stayed at the source. And the parking was empty anyway.

26.06.2013

Even at the next morning the parking was empty, except of 2-3 cars. The morning shift was probably wondering why there is a German car was parking there and why there come people out finally. :) But nobody said anything and was friendly when I bought my morning coffee (the 2nd time that I got a coffee in the morning :) ).

We had a look where we can find a DIY market and a swim bath in Grenada. Ah yes, I haven’t told you yet. On the way to Grenada we almost lost our exhausting pipe. The rubber, who is holding the pipe, ruptured. Luckily we realized it by chance and fixed the problem provisional. But we need to fix it professionally, not provisional. (We also still needed wiper)

So we went first to the next DIY market. It was located with some other stores together. But first of all we went to the DIY market. We needed some things. After it we went in the sports store. I needed bathers, flip flops, water boots and a towel… bit more then planed.

After the shopping tour we went to the swim bath of Grenada. Our last shower was already a while ago. :) And swimming was also nice. They even had a Jacuzzi. :)
But after one hour we left already again. Not before we took some Oranges from the tree in front of the bath. :)

Then the question what to do next. To the Hippie village or not. We wanted both to go there. But we read that the parking isn’t save. Steeling and so on. Here we was back at the security question. After a lot of thinking about it we decided to go to Orgiva. But first of all we still needed a garage. We still needed to fix the exhausting pipe and to buy wipers.

Unfortunately nobody spoke English in the garage… not to talk about German. With a few words Spanish, hands, feet and drawing we could tell somehow what we want. Somehow we bought the right wipers and one of the mechanics was crawling under the Kangaroo to fix the exhausting pipe. They didn’t had the rubber we needed, but they had better tools to fix the provisional solution more professional provisional.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo we went further with new wipers and a higher exhausting pipe… on the highway in direction to Orgiva. We left the highway and was looking at a dam. It looked interesting… we didn’t arrived in Orgiva that day… :) We are now at the shore of the dam and enjoy the evening. ;)

All the best
Gordon

Our route:


Bigger map

St. Tropez, Marseille, Andorra till almost Barcelona

16.06.2013

Hi all together,

We spent again a good night. (Slowly it becomes boring to write always how good we spent the night, or?)
The parking place was filling up already. Around 9 we went finally to buy a parking ticket for the parking place. A young blond French lady was greeting us on the little house for the parking tickets. She said something in French… I understood only ‘Bonjour’ and replied it. Gave her 3 Euro for the ticket and said fine ‘Aurevua’ (however it is spelt). I could listen to this young woman the whole day… her voice and the French language… hmm… :)

After it we went to the beach. At least me, Julia hat to go somewhere. As she came back, we went finally in the water. Not much to see here. Like in Cyprus. Just the visibility was worse. The swimming area in France is ending exactly at the break water… the most interesting part, because here are mostly the fishes. Anyway, I found an octopus, which was hiding in a stone, and a few small fishes.

We went out after our small snorkeling trip. The water was still chilly here. A few minutes sun bathing and trying our self and then back to the car. It was already early afternoon and we had still a longer way in front of us. First of all to St. Tropez. The famous village in the Cote d’Azur.
It was just a few kilometer in front of us. And it is not really a village… more a small city.
My grandmother was watching always the soap opera ‘St. Tropez’, that’s why I’ve heard already about it. :)

Ahh, not to forget the I have up the steering wheel the first time since 3000km to Julia. To drive every day is really tiring. And now I am passenger and can write while we are driving. Is also great, saves my time in the evening. But I am afraid that I will write now even more… and then translating again :-/

Even before we arrived in St. Tropez we had  a little confrontation with the police. Not really confrontation… they blocked a road (for unknown reason). The funny thing is that they blocked the road before a crossing and was redirecting the driver to the right street. But the other directions was open. So, everybody turned around and just drove from another direction to the same crossing and could enter St. Tropez. Totally senseless action of the police.

In St. Tropez we found straight an Mc Donalds. We was a bit hungry and they have mostly good toilets. After we checked that, I remembered the Internet in Mc Donalds. And yes, there was Internet and even free. Not fast, but better then nothing.
Just the Chicken Burger was a bit spicy. Not really as I like it.

St. TropezAfter Mc Donalds we went finally in the city. We used the first parking at the harbor. So, the first we saw, on our way in the city center, was the huge yachts. In the main harbor we saw the big sailer and heard that we just missed a regatta, which was this weekend. (Later I was reading that the regatta went on still the whole week.) Great… we missed it. The crew was just cleaning the boats.
We went on, walking a bit through the city. I needed cigarettes. France is a good country to stop smoking. You can buy cigarettes just at tobacco shops… and they are hard to find.

It seems like that St. Tropez is, beside the harbor, an artist city. On every corner you can find an atelier of an artist. I mean I can understand it well. This area is so inspiring (beautiful). The mountains before St. Tropez was, till now, the most beautiful ones I saw. And we passed a lot of great landscapes already.

After our round trip through the city, we walked back to the car. Finally we found even a tobacco shop (finally). Till now the most expensive cigarettes I bought on our trip. A normal package for 6,10 Euro. And I smoke already cheap ones.

Our thermometer in the car told us “HH.h”… which probably means something like “Hot like hell!”. Ok, the car was the whole day in the sun. We could just open the doors and wait. And then we went of to the last target today: Marseille.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMarseille is again around 130km away from St. Tropez. It was already late afternoon and I didn’t had hope anymore that we will arrive that day in Marseille.
Inge was leading us again over country roads, passing huge wine fields and trough hills (with even more wine), till we reached Hyeres. Hyeres is also a bigger city, through which we had to drive.
Julia took somewhere in the city a wrong exit in a roundabout and we ended up in front of a toll house of a highway. Turning around wasn’t possible. Great… well, we had to use the highway now.
We had no idea how to use it and stopped at the biggest house, in hope that someone is sitting there. But it was also just a machine, which was ‘asking’ for 1,30 Euro.  We gave it the money and it gave the way free. We was on the highway now.

From now on we could drive faster. The way just passed. Inge and Uschi told us always to leave the highway, because we told them not to use the toll streets. But we went on… till the next toll house. This one was asking for 2,30 Euro. Not always the same amount… ok. We paid and could go. It is always important to have coins in the pocket, if you want to use the highway ;)

We drove the whole rest of the way on the highway. It was nice fast. We arrived in Marseille after just 2,5 hours.
I was programming Inge to the yacht harbor. She said there are 2. I was choosing the north one. And she was leaving us in Marseille to the position of the harbor. But as we saw an parking place, we ignored her and just stopped.
It was a beach. Very nice. With restaurants, a big wheel and beach plus sea ;)
Marseille from the big wheelIt was almost sunset and I wanted to drive with the big wheel… which we did. Marseille at sunset. But we missed it. We went to early to the big wheel. Anyway was it great. My first ride with a big wheel and then at (almost) sunset in Marseille. Amazing! :)
After the big wheel we just walked around a bit to locate some internet network. And we found it.

The big wheelAfter a bit dinner with cheese sausages from Lidl, we was getting ready for the night. I’ve checked on the map where we really are. And I found out that we are in the south. Kilometers away from the city center. But it was fine for me, in the north of the city is the highest crime rate in Marseille… which is not low here. I felt better in the south.

17.06.2013

It seems like it was a good decision. Nobody robbed us in the night. We all woke up in one piece in the morning. Julia, Hugo, the kangaroo and me.
I wanted to use that we have internet and publishing another article in my blog. It cost the whole morning. From 9 till 12 I was just typing, translating, selecting pictures and reformatting. But then it was ready. And I was ready to go. It should go on… but to where… we didn’t know really. Andorra, that was clear.
Before we had to find a post again. We had again postcards with French stamps (from St. Tropez). So we needed a French post, before we enter Spain.

But Julia wasn’t ready yet. She still needed time. Some when around 4 we was back on the street. Highway in direction to Spain, with stop at the last French post office… or at least post box :)

And we found another specialty. There are 2 different toll systems on the highway. At the first one you pay first at the machine and you can drive. At the second one you get a ticket first and you pay when you arrive at the next toll stop or when you leave the highway.

We left finally the highway, for the last post box… and got some trouble with Inge and Uschi. They didn’t know the streets there and we got lost in an industrial aria. But luckily they had a Mc Donalds there. Our new favorite fast food restaurant. :) In France with WiFi inclusive. :)

We spent a while here. Checking this and this. Then the question, driving further or sleeping right here… on the parking of Mc Donalds with WiFi. It was also dark already. But Julia said that she still can drive.

So, we drove on, in the dark to Andorra. We also decided to stop at another post, to drop our post cards into a post box. And so we drove through the night, to the city with the post box. Around 11 we reached this city and the post box. No one was left on the street. We left this ghost town quickly again, in direction to the village Lliva.
The way was leading us in the Pyrenees. In the dark is it really scary to drive there… especially with strong fog. But Julia drove carefully. I am looking forward to see the movie. :)

Our sleeping place in LliviaAround half past 12 we reached finally the village Llivia, which is around 1500 meter above NN. We found quick a place to sleep. One street was ending in a dead end, with a turning loop. Here, behind the last houses, we stopped. Direct next to a cliff.
We just was building up our bed and went to sleep.

18.06.2013

Yet another good night’s sleep. I set the alarm at 10 for today assuming Julia not to be up and kicking before that time. Nonetheless I woke up at 8, but decided to snooze for a while. Finally, we both got up and prepared the car to be ready for the ride.

AndorraWe headed for Andorra, that wasn’t too far anymore. We had roundabout 60m to go for Andorra la Vella, the capital of the micro-state called Andorra. We drove through the curvy Pyrenees. Today, at daylight, we finally could see and enjoy that magnificent landscape… well, what can I say… I probably shouldn’t say a word. :) (It was just wonderful.)

You probably whouldn’t believe it, but there is still snow lying around here. Besides of that the landscape it greenish, but poorly vegetated. Andorra consists of lots of rocks, mountains and valleys. Things are somewhat extreme here: the mountains are a little higher and the valleys a little deeper than elsewhere.

After a couple of kilometers we passed the border. They seriously have a real border here, with border patrol and whatever belongs to a real border. But we did not have to stop, they just let us go. Yet another “tiny country” to check out! But this one is the largest of the tiny countries we had visited so far.

After a few kilometers we had to pass a long tunnel, probably something around 3km long. Straight behind that tunnel we were guided to some toll station… surprise surprise… we were asked to pay 6,60 Euros toll fee to contunue our trip. And it wasn’t even for a decent highway. It was just the same road we’ve been on for the last hour – so I quite didn’t get the point of paying the fee. But what else should one do? Well then, we paid and went on.

We literally curved through the landscape until we found some houses. The first village. They had a petrol station here (1,25 Euros for one liter of 95 Super gasoline!!!… yuck… we’ve been just filling up in france for 1,66 per liter…. damned!), and a supermarket. So we hit the brakes and checked out that supermarket. What a strange place!

Right behind the entrance whole legs of some unspecific animals were hanging around as ham – next to extra large bottles of vodka and other liquors as well as wine from the wood. There were “extra large” portions of just everything. The “supermarket” consists of 3 floors. First, we went to see the upper floor. The 2nd. floor contained odds and ends for home decoration. There were clocks hanging next to destillators (no joke, they had functioning destillators standing around), steam-powered flat irons as well as piles of other junk goods. What a cool crap! If I could, I would have bought some of the stuff straight away! But considering the limited space of our Kangoo camper… :(

Then we went up to see the 3rd floor. Here, I finally noticed the price differences to the rest of Europe: A bigbox of Pall Mall cigarettes for only 25 Euros. Seriously! As if there was no VAT to pay at all.

Compared to a regular duty free shop there virtually is no tax… smokers know that I mean. At a regular airport duty free shop you can also get the bogbox for 25, but the till girl will surely ask you where you’re going to “import” there cigarettes. “Ah, Berlin… so the bigbox costs you 39 Euros, tax included, now..”. Here things are different, here you pay only 25 Euros for the carton of cigarettes.

The basement was reserved for the food. Not much food was offered there. Some wild pig sausages here, some sweets in giant packages there… and souvenirs next to the pay desk.

After our shopping trip we went further to the main target: Andorra la Velle. It wasn’t far anymore. 10 Minutes later we’ve been in the middle of the city. A parking house opposite Mc Donalds (…) was housing our Kangaroo well and Mc Donalds itself was spending us internet… like always :)

Andorra la VellaThe city is very compact and the houses high. Partly it looks like they are build in the rocks. A house with 5 floors who has on the one side the entrance in the 1st floor and on the other side on the 4st floor. Very strange, but interesting :)

The city center is, like almost every city center, full with shops. The difference is that the shops are strange here. You can find a lot of small shops who offer all the same range of products. Basically: Softair weapons, knifes, laptop/tablets/mobiles and accessories. Beside a few perfumeries, clothes shops and from time to time also normal shops. But especially this all-around shops attract the attention, because they are so many and unusual.

I found an ‘all-around photo store’ and was asking spontaneously for a travel zoom lens, which I was wishing for this trip (Zuiko 18-180mm). Surprisingly they had this lens, which is not easy to find new. But the price of 500 Euro killed quickly the hope to buy it. (Even lenses are not cheap at all… but at ebay I could buy it for 350 Euro).

We walked a bit around the city center of Andorra la Velle. Had a look into some other shops, but didn’t bought anything because of lack of money and space.

Back to the car was it 5 pm already. How to pay our parking ticket was the next question. There are no machines to pay, but signs that we have to (obviously). We asked another person, who was there with his car, and he told us to go in an office and there we have to pay. Strange… But we really found an office (not really close to the cars) and had to pay our parking ticket there.  8,80 Euro for 4 Hours approx.

Next question: Where to sleep tonight.?

On the way to the city we passed a good place to sleep. A parking space on a mountain with great view. That would be a great place to sleep. The direction was also the right one, for the next day trip to Barcelona. So, we decided to go there.

Uschi wasn’t cooperating with us and lost always the satellites. And Inge don’t have maps of Andorra. Good that this country isn’t very large and doesn’t have much streets. We could follow the signs.

Suddenly we saw a red van on a mountain crest and got curious. I thought ‘If this is a parking space, then it will be great.’. And it was a parking space. We turned around and had a closer look on it. A really nice parking place with a great view from a 2400 meter mountain.
Here we will sleep.

AndorraJust the weather wasn’t the best. It was raining partly and stormy. The Kanguroo was shaking partly a lot. I was a bit afraid that it will blow us down the hill… but the wind will be not sooo strong… was my hope.

After an hour, we just wanted to convert the car, came the police for a visit. We was already afraid that they will shoo us away. But they just asked if we are ok. We said that we are fine, and asked also if we can stay there over night. They said ‘Yes, we have no problem with it.’. Then they drove off again. Very kind and friendly.

And now we go to bed. :)

19.06.2013

What a night. How to describe that. Imagine you park on a mountain crest. Ok, shortly before. Just a approx 30 meter higher hill approx. 20 meter behind you is the real crest. Behind it and in front of you is a valley. You park with your car on a plateau… the parking place. It is dark and late. Maybe around 12. You went almost to sleep in your car, just watching the car lights crawling up the hills. Outside you can hear the wind whistle around your car. Sometimes quite, sometimes in real squalls, that your car starts shaking. You need to go out of the car (for smoking or whatever) and the wind is almost blowing you away. You get in your mind that it was maybe not a good idea to stay there.
You go back in your car, you remove the gear (I let always a gear in, when I park the car) and you release the hand break… to see if the car is moving forward at the next squall… towards the cliff, which is 5 Meter in front of you. The squall comes, the car is shaking… but nothing is moving. Seems to be ok. Has to be…

You move in your bed and you close your eyes. 10 minutes later you’re asleep. The day was tiring.

Some when later you wake up. You don’t know how late it is. The voice next to you is asking ‘Could you feel that as well?’… you don’t even know in the first moment where you are and what happen. You can hear rain… heavily pushed against the car. The wind is like a storm now and is dragging on the car. You can feel it well.
Then you remember the cliff in front of you. You don’t even move a millimeter, to feel if the car is moving. But it doesn’t. It is just shaking in the storm. But does the wind have to power now to move the car?

Exactly that happen last night. I was seriously thinking to move the car backwards to the hill. Further away from the cliff. Ok, it wasn’t a deep cliff, but around 7 meter to the meadow below. It would have been enough to kill the car… at least.
But we converted the car already. In this stage isn’t it possible anymore to drive the car. We had to go out to reconvert it again… in the storm and heavy rain.
We was waiting… After around one hour became the storm more calm. The rain stopped and we went finally back to sleep.

The morning was totally opposite. There was nothing left from the storm in the night. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the temperature went up to 6 already… in the night was it maybe 1-2 degrees.

We reconverted the car slowly and went off to our next target. Barcelona was it today. Inge was leading us back trough the Pyrenees, the same way we went in to Andorra yesterday. We spotted between all the mountains and valleys a lake. One of the 80 lakes in Andorra. Of course we had to have a visit.
We parked our car and walked a bit through Andorra. It wasn’t really far. Maybe 1 kilometer from the parking. At the moment is still the snow melting. Here is really still snow. Not much, but a bit. And the melting of it feeds a lot of small rivers, which are also crossing the ways. We had to be careful not to get wet feet. :) But we reached the lake with dry feet. I was seriously a bit thinking of jumping in the lake. But after I put some fingers in, to feel the temperature, I forgot about this plan quickly. :) We just enjoyed the landscape, took some pictures and went back to the car. It became also cloudy again.

Through the south of the Pyrenees we went in direction to Barcelona. We crossed France again, till we reached Spain. The Pyrenees are a really beautiful mountains. A very unique mountain and valley formation. Great also for biker ;)
As we left the mountains, we ended up straight away on a Spanish motorway. A highway without toll. Made for poor people like us. :)

The first Mc Donalds was ours. What else? :) We needed again a place to sleep. Julia wanted to go straight in the city of Barcelona. I wasn’t very happy about this plan. When I see the size of Barcelona on the map… So we checked out the camping places in this area. There are a few. But no one direct in Barcelona. Just in the area around. I choose finally the camping place Camping Barcelona in Mataro. Also almost 30 Euro per night. But therefore with shower, wasching machine, WiFi and shuttle service to Barcelona for free. That sounds good. Then we also don’t have the stress to drive in the city of Barcelona.
Julia was not very happy about 30 Euro per night… but finally we anyway ended up there.

And here we are now. Fresh after the shower, laundry is done and tomorrow we go with the shuttle bus to Barcelona and have a look there.

I’ll write about it :)

Best wishes
Gordon

PS:I just saw that I published a few picture of St. Tropez already in the last article. I get confused with writing and publishing already. :)

Our route (please hold the right mouse button to move the map until it fits):


Larger map

West Italy, Monaco and the Cote d’Azur.

13.06.2013

Hi together,

yes, we stayed for one more day. The internet, the shower, toilets and a bit relaxing was a good argument. We did nothing the whole day… except of swimming in the sea in the afternoon.

Camping placeThe camping place Campo dei Fiori was not direct on the sea, but just a few hundred meters away. We drove to a closer parking place and went to the beach. Of course I had my mask and my snorkel with me. :) And then we went straight in the water. It was warm already. We had to walk a while till we reached deeper water, which was straight cooler. And there was nothing to see. A few mussels, crabs and little fishes.
After the swim we took a sun bath and relaxed again.

In the evening we had disco again in front of us. :(

14.06.2013

P1000336 (Kopie)Today we planed to drive further finally. Next target: Monaco.
We wasted the time like always. A bit more internet usage and there a bit playing around. And I tried this strange squat toilet… well, unusual. But it has also advantages. No disgusting toilet seat, where who know who was on it before. You don’t spend, unavoidably, hours on toilet. :) It’s not so possible to make a ‘mess’. And still it is not that uncomfortable as I thought.

It was almost 11 when we finally left the place. Quickly payed our charges. 38 Euro for 2 days. That was ok. And Inge told us then where to go. First of all to the last post office in Italy. Because Julia needed to send postcards and she had still stamps from Italy. That wouldn’t work in France anymore.
And then the surprise, Inge told us that it would be still over 400 km to the French border and the estimated arrival time would be 20:30. It was clear that we wouldn’t arrive in Monaco today anymore.

Somewhere in ItalyIt became even worse as the streets was crowded and the estimated arrival time was calculated later and later.
Genova was really stress. Inge was leading us always through the middle of the cities… always. Through every town we had to go. But on the other hand we saw often also the sea and I think I don’t need to mention: The landscape was very beautiful.
But especially on the upper west coast is one town to another town. It’s basically just one big town there. Which also means always a speed limit of 50 km/h. Now it was clear why the estimated arrival time was so late.

In Genova we had to refill our Kangaroo again. I stopped at the first available petrol station. 1,81 Euro per Liter was written on the sign. Expensive… but I saw it a few times already in the last days. The owner came and was filling our car with 40 Euro, as told. I payed with credit card and back in the car we realized that he charged us 1,86 Euro per liter. I thought already that he was cheating us. But we got told later that in Italy they charge 5 cent extra per liter when you use service. Great.

Night view from our sleeping placeAround 9 we started to watch out for a sleeping place. As we didn’t found anything till 10, we just drove up a hill, in the hope to find a pleasant place with view. It was ascent sharply and with sharp curves. Finally we found a small cemetery. In front was already a car parking. A small camping car … from Germany. Surprise. :)
3 guys from Garmisch had the same idea as we had. They wanted to stay here over night. We started a chat and found out that we almost have the same routing. Strange where you find people from your country which have the same idea as you have :)
We will stay here tonight and hope that nobody will shoo us.Tomorrow we will head forward to Monaco. We will see how long we will need for the last 30km and how it will be in Monaco…. at the pretty folk. :)

Best regards
Gordon

15.06.2013

Hi all together,

and I can straight continue. :)

We had a good night between our new friends and the cemetery. And nobody came to shoo us. We came good out of the bed. I think short after 8 was it. We drove before the guys, but which was already half past 10. First of all we needed a cafe, that Julia can write her postcards, to send them with the Italy stamps.

We went to the last cafe before the French border. Close to it was also a Post office. To write the cards needed also till 12. Then quickly to the post office. I could get finally some money again (again is good…) and Julia could send the postcards.
Just a kilometer further was the French border. But except of the customs office is nothing left from it. We just passed it and that’s it, we was in France now. But our target was another country, which is just a few more kilometer behind the French border: Monaco.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere was just a small sign on the street: Monaco. That’s it. We crossed the border to this small country. I almost didn’t realized it, with this stress on the street. But it is easy to realize that you are in Monaco. The first building which I saw was a pompous casino. A curve further we was in the middle of Monaco. It is hard to describe how it looks there. I would say all is more beautiful, bigger and pompous. … And more expensive.
We drove first just through the streets. Inge had no maps and Uschi (Julias navigation system) doesn’t have POI’s and does not know parking places or anything else.

MonacoFinally we ended up in a parking house. There was even maps of the city for free. We ended up at the wrong end of the city. Well, wrong is maybe not the correct word, in a country which you can cross by walking in a few hours. Just at the end where nothing goes on. So, we walked in the right direction. It was just 2-3km to the interesting part. We passed on the way another pompous casino, several (fuckn) expensive shops, passing the harbor, in which are the yachts of the rich folk. After a cappuccino for 3,50 Euro (small one of course :) ) and an ice cream, we went back to the car.

It was around 5pm. The parking ticket was 10,40 Euro (was ok) and then back on the street in direction to St. Tropez. We found a cheap petrol station on the way and filled up the Kangaroo for 1,56 Euro per liter. In compare to the last Italy petrol station for 1,85 Euro was it really cheap.

Sunset on the beach before St. TropezWe was following the coast – more or less – and came through Nice, Canne and some other cities on the coast. Again stress on the streets (especially Nice and Canne).
Also the technique was not working as expected. The GPS tracker on my mobile told me that it is working, but it wasn’t. Now are many points missing on the route. Also Inge was not working well today. She lost always the GPS signal.

But finally we arrived somewhere. We are now on a beach somewhere before St. Tropez. The beach is direct on the main street and the parking is during the day fee-based. But now is nobody there to charge us.
But here are still people running around. It looks like a varied mixture. Young couples looking for privacy, fathers which looks after their daughters and families with children. Plus a few bored teenagers. I am looking forward to the night.

Best wishes
Gordon

Our route (please move the map with pressed left mouse button till it fits)::


Larger map

San Marino – Florence – Siena bis Castiglioncello

I am sorry, but the translation takes always a lot of time. This text is mostly translated by the Google Translator. I know the translation will be not the best, but I need to save time. I hope you’ll understand it.
Cheers
Gordon

09.06.2013

Hi there,

sometime in the morning we came out of the bed. By 13 clock we had to be gone from the campsite. I once again enjoyed the beautiful shower. Then packed stuff and just looked again over the internet. To item 13 clock we went off and paid our bill. Almost 90 euros for 4 nights. With us one night when our car just stood there, was also adopted.
But we stayed for a while in the visitor parking area and have set ourselves again to the restaurant. Julia has not seen what the internet and I’ve been drinking a cappuccino.

Gatteo Mare Then we was on the road to the south. Along the Adriatic Sea. The goal was Gatteo a Mare. A small coastal town that Julia knew from before and wanted to visit again. In the meantime, however, the place has developed over the last 10 years into a tourist site. A hotel at the other. And where no hotel has space, there is a gift shop or other business with junk. We went short down to the beach. Julia was brave and is with her feet in the water. I once touched it with the hand. Is quite enjoyable. But we had no time for swimming. The water had not a good visibility. It wouldn’t be great to snorkel in it. Then we turned a lap time in the village, eaten an ice cream and left the village quickly again. The aim of the day was finally San Marino .

San Marino, a fly s*** on the map. Approx. 30km from Rimini and in the middle of Italy. It did not take long until we were there. And like it has pushed us to the mountain titanium. Here is a Giant fortress on the mountain. In this even today people live and of course also many souvenir shops, restaurants and other tourism industry is based. But authorities are also located here.

Sunset view from San Marino We have reached the place shortly after 7pm. It was still a little light, and so we had a quick look around. Then the search for a nice place to stay over night. We found a car park nearby (P8). Which we liked. Front view of the country and right behind us the huge city walls. Totally awesome, again :) At night also no parking fees, so we left it to chance. If nobody is telling us to go away then we were lucky again and a great place to sleep.

10.06.2013

Hi there,

we was lucky. No policeman shooed us away at the night. Julia am still concerned with regulations a parking ticket at 8 … and then we have continued to sleep. :) At 10 was the parking ticket expired and we needed a new one. Then I also got up and we started to explore the fortress / city.

San Marino First, we was in the souvenir shops. Buying Postcards of course. :) Then again run through the streets. Look here, look there, uphill, downhill. In a cathedral, we looked inside and then came a short rain shower.
At the end of the tour we visited the Museum of Torture. Real sick shit …

In between times we talked about anything and there came somehow this “Your mother” jokes in my mind. It then came to me, “Your country is so small …” come to mind are … this time we were constantly busy to invent “Your country is so small …” jokes. Such as
“Your country is so small, that the tourists have to stand on the border in a waiting line.” (San Marino has an area of ​​60 km ² and 32,000 inhabitants.)
Or
“Your country is so small, that the neighboring countries have to donate the view” (60 km ² … from the mountain you can see more Italy than San Marino ;))

Sorry Love San Marino citizens :) But there are still more small countries (by which we are also still get through). Lichtenstein we already had, San Marino now. Come Monaco, Andorra and Gibraltar (although I’m not sure yet if that is a separate country).

After the city tour we went on towards Florence. Inge again refused the service. But it was because she had no maps of San Marino. Later she took over the leadership again and led us along country roads towards Florence. And through beautiful countryside, again. First through a valley and then back again into the mountains. I made videos of it, but I can edit only after the trip, as I have no equipment for it at the moment. Anyway, we drove on a small road through the mountains.

Cathedral Florence After a little eternity we left the mountains and came to Florence. It was now almost dark. Our goal was in the middle of downtown. Actually, even in the pedestrian zone. The museum Ufizi. Where the famous painting “The Birth of Venus “ by Sandro Botticelli is. This is a highlight of the trip, which Julia wanted to see.
I’ve just drove as Inge told me. An mistake. She led me directly to the city center of Florence. Not a good idea! Traffic-calmed zones, small mini lanes, pedestrian, darkness and no plan where to go. Pure stress factor.
And then we couldn’t find any parking space. Back again and still found no parking outside. Taken a wrong turn and we’re back in the middle. All one-way streets. No chance to escape.

Cathedral Florence After a Perceived eternity, then we have found a place in front of a hotel and get hold of a car park there. We decided to go to visit the city center by night. If we’re here already, after all the stress.
So we were still quite a large round through the city, down to the river. We passed also already the museum and knew where to go next day.
On the way back we got ourselves a pizza to go, just before the restaurant closed. Back at the car we then eat the pizza and talked a bit. After that we wanted to build and stay in the same place too actually, even if the place was in the middle of downtown – more or less.

But then Suddenly a police car came. Shortly thereafter, another team transporter. The police was just standing around. Somehow they did not seem to really know what to do. We were a little confused now, waiting and see what happens. To park there is not forbidden.
Then 2 police cars came and stopped right in front of us. And suddenly there was a squad of about 25 police officers in front of our car … and ran over and behind us into the next street side. :o … We are waiting. And Julia fall asleep in the passenger seat.
After about 20 minutes they came back and said goodbye to each other and one by one car drove off … until all were gone. What they have done we don’t know. We then built on, however, and finally went to bed around 1:30.

11/06/2013

Hi.

Unexpectedly quiet we slept in the middle of Florence. In the morning, the place was, as expected, filled with life. The bus had a stop directly in front of us and many people (most probably tourists) ran through the streets.

We joined them soon. Again through the streets we was walking yesterday night already. Today, however, in the light and with a lot more people in it.
I realized much again from the time when I was here on completion of the classroom before. Also raises a few old memories that were long disappearance.

Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence We reached the Uffizi Gallery very quickly and had to quickly find here a huge queue in front of the the entrance. …. Like in front of almost every attraction in Italy But since we really wanted to come in here, we presented to us. The display told us that we will queue for about 2 hours. Great!
So I quickly ran again through the streets in search of a restroom and found it finally in a restaurant. Back Julia was still in the same place in line. Nothing had moved. Only every 15 minutes they let purely a few visitors in.

Then I sent Julia going on, so she could see a little of the city and I waited in line. It could still take some time.
In the end we got away with just over an hour wait. Then we went – after a security check like in the airport – finally into the Uffizi. Who does not know this … it is a huge and famous collection of paintings and statues. Photographing strictly prohibited. Each room was guarded by 1-3 guards.
Within the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. The work for which we, especially, were here. In addition, many famous paintings of Italian and International painters and all kinds of statues.
We spent in the art exhibition around 2 hours, before we were through and had seen everything.

Then we went on – more or less – a direct way back to the kangaroo. It was still there and in one piece. Good! :)
After another sweaty journey from Florence out we went on to Siena. Here is a cathedral which Julia had also visited many years ago. It is completely striped black and white.

About 18 clock we reached the small town on the west side of Italy. Again, these mini lanes, but not so crowded as in Florence … fortunately. We found a parking space right at a roundabout in the city center. But there was nothing going on. We went for a walk, to find the Cathedral already and visiting it in the evening. After 10 minutes of walking through the city, we then found it. Is indeed difficult to see such a huge cathedral. Moreover, a black and white striped. :)
Of course it was closed. From 10:30 to 19:00 it is open (for 6.50 euros). Unfortunately, we were there only 19:30. But even if we had previously been there yet, we want also still have to watch a bit of time.

So we are back through the city back to the car. We went in a supermarket (Conad) shop that was near the roundabout. It was now about 20:30, but it was still open. So we are pure and have looked here and there which added to the cart. Until eventually the man ran out of the information by the market and told everyone that she has yet ready to close the market now. We were almost through already. Just quickly wrap up drinks.
At the checkout, the cashier asked me in Italian if I want a bag (which are there not around, the cashier has it). I have not understood the same and he asked me again in English. I told him yes, two please.
Then he whispered something to the other cashier and finally came the type from the information to the conversation and chimed in with a. They were all grinning and the whispering. Julia told me later, when we were outside, they have blasphemed through us. He had to make us several times pointed out that the market does close and we still continue shopping. The cashier said that we are a little handicapped. This kind of rudeness … I have repeatedly noticed in the last few days in Italy, even without understanding what people are talking about. Sometimes it’s just rudeness, sometimes it borders on racism and sometimes both. Of course, not everyone is so, but some here.

We are then back to the car. In the parking lot we could not stay overnight. So new car park for the night. Although we had seen on the way a nice one. However, it was something outside of the city and without any Wi-Fi. We tried our luck at a McDonalds parking lot. Of which we had heard that they always have Wi-Fi for their guests. In Italy, unfortunately, not really. There was free Wi-Fi, but that was with a login. To get the data, you have to register with an Italian SIM card (mobile phone). We have not. And so there was no internet for us at McDonalds. So we then drove to the parking lot which we had previously seen.

A nice big parking lot just outside the gates of the city, coming from Florence.
There were already two campers there (from Greece). We simply placed behind it, about in the middle of the parking lot. Building up our car and Julia fall pretty soon asleep. I had to write a few lines finally about the trip. I haven’t done it for days already.
Just before I was about to go to sleep, I’ve smoked one. And just in time, the police came and placed himself under the nearest lamppost. What now? Since they do not come over, I just got back in the car, lights off and waited a few minutes. Maybe they just did just break. Eventually, I just closed my eyes and fall asleep as well.

12.06.2013

The night was not good. Because of the police I slept in full gear. Eventually I woke up because I was sweating. Back asleep and later woke up because I was freezing. I felt in the morning like a piece of…
Julia had already come rather out of bed and came back from somewhere and said “Overnight, they have set up the signs ‘campers 20 Euro’ in the night ‘, ticket booth, and WC”. Of course they have not. Last night was it all already there. We have not seen it on the huge parking lot. Especially since it was on the other end.
I then booted again to the newly discovered outhouse. Then we have Mined and went. There are fortunately still 2 other exits without ticket booth (otherwise we would have seen it in the evening). Moreover, we are anyway not a camper, but a van. :)

Then we went back into the town center, on a parking space. And that was a cramp. Worse than in Florence. A small town with a few parking places  for to much tourists. We finally found a place in a private car park. 1.80 Euro for the hour the price was still good. When I remember of the EUR 7 per hour in Munich …

Cathedral Siena From there was it again about 15 minutes walk to the cathedral. This time, the ticket office was open and we set off immediately. The cathedral is very impressive. As I said very black and white striped. All walls. Hard to believe when you can not see (see photos below ;)). We spent about 2 hours in the cathedral. Of course, many photos. Some I’ve attached below.

After the visit to the Cathedral, it went for a coffee (and a good toilet) in a cafe and then back to the car. We wanted to continue to Castiglioncello, close to Pisa. Another place to Julia would like to attend. On the way there we drove through the beautiful Tuscany. Really (and again) a very beautiful landscape. And I wondered how hilly / mountainous Europe. Until now, anyway. Almost every day we drive up and down mountains. And usually with a beautiful landscape.

Cathedral Siena We then arrived right early in Castiglioncello. We went to first parking lot and went straight to the beach. He looked a little … concreted over and over. Hardly you can find beach, lots of concrete. But not so much hotels as in Gatteo a Mare. It is also only a small village by the sea. To sleep we found nothing and unfortunately reminded us that we didn’t had a shower since Venice. So I asked Inge for nearby campsites. (As an Inge is worth real gold!) 7 km away she was showing me in an area equal to 4 at one place. So we went off.

  The first ran. 8 EUR per person and a car for 6 euros. Would then 24 together. But first we had a look at the campsite. Situated on the seafront. Once we have looked at the place. Looked good. Directly behind the beach. WiFi was also available. So back and booked directly … until the lady said the price of 32 euros. Why this now? Since we would sleep in the car, the car would count as caravans. Hmm … that was not the plan and not in our budget. So we are to the next, here’s the same game. Then, the 3rd. A bit into the country side, not directly on the beach. This effectively. Here we have really paid together only 18 euros. And except beach was also all there. Toilets, showers and free Wi-Fi. This, however, only near the bar. But just what was free.

TuscanyWe liked the campsite also very much. A bit in the trees (even squirrels jumping around here). We have the feeling to have landed here a bit at a hippie place. But totally cool. When we asked when we need to be off the next day and the long-haired young man at the reception said ‘actually at 10, but there is just nothing going on … does matter. And if you leave in the afternoon, it does not matter. ‘… Take it easy :)

The only thing that bothers us here is the bar. In the evening is apparently disco doing here … and we are right next to it … But otherwise great visit here :) Our next campsite. Tomorrow we may continue to Genova or we stay here. We’ll see.

Greetings
Gordon

Our route (hold the left mouse button to move the map a bit to the right):


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