Monday, 1 April 2019

Spanish Winter Tour Roundup!

Monday 25th March - Monday 1st April 2019  -  Mostly ⛅🌞⛅🌞⛅🌞⛅⛅⛅
Mileage 21 from Cabourg to Ouistreham (25th March)
Mileage 206 from Portsmouth to Swanwick (Home) (26th March)

Well, that's it - We're back  'home' on our regular and lovely little Caravan and Camping Club certified site - Butterley Bank - which can be found about half way between the towns of Ripley and Swanwick!   

'Home for the next 6 weeks'
But there is still a bit of catching up to do about our recent tour because my last post finished just before we crossed back over to Blighty.  

We spent the night of the 24th March in the free and very popular Aire in the pretty coastal town of Cabourg, and when we arrived we were quite lucky because I think we sneaked into one of the last available spots!  And at that point our choice was either to stay there for 2 nights which would have resulted in us having a 21 mile drive to do very early on the 26th, or just to stay one and then move to another Aire at Ouistreham which is right next door to the port.  In the end we chose the latter, but that still gave us the morning and early part of the afternoon on Monday to explore Cabourg.  

Cabourg lies on the coast of the English Channel at the mouth of the river Dives, and the town's lay out is quite a unique fan shape which was used during World War II (on 5th/6th June 1944) to guide a mission to secure two bridges at Benouville.  The aeroplanes came over towing a glider carrying British soldiers and equipment, and the sighting of the town provided an excellent indication to the pilot so he knew when to release the glider to ensure it landed in just the right spot!

Cabourg Prom

Cabourg Marina

These days the town has a fantastic sandy beach with a super long promenade which we walked along, it has a marina, it has loads of very 'French' looking hotels and it also has large areas of gardens that were beautifully planted with spring flowers. 

But despite all that loveliness our decision was very firmly to move on to Ouistreham so that we'd be within spitting distance for our 8am ferry from Caen to Portsmouth on the 26th. But by doing so we more or less sentenced ourselves to staying with our van in the Ouistreham Aire because the town is quite renowned for it's large migrant population and problems that go with that!  On the + side, when we arrived we found the entrance barrier to the Aire had been removed so our need to pay the €10 parking fee was also removed.  On the minus side we didn't really feel safe to leave the van because of the risk of a break in, but it didn't really matter because we'd already had a good walk earlier in the day, and therefore by the time we arrived (4ish) we were quite happy just to settle in for a quiet afternoon.  

Unfortunately, the night wasn't quite so quiet, mostly because of generators running all night in the port, but we did also wonder if someone had been prowling around the Aire because at around 4 am the dogs in the van next door added to the noise levels.  However, at 6.30 am when we got up all seemed well and it didn't take much longer before we were queuing on the quayside waiting to board our ferry.  Then once on board our first 'task' was to indulge in a full English πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹ all of which had been consumed even before our late departure around 9am, and after that we 'enjoyed' a very boring 5 and a half hour crossing on a mill pond sea!  Next came a quick refuel (there was very little difference in the price of fuel between France and England) and then the 206 mile drive back to Ripley with just a quick stop for lunch and another as our journey neared it's end to collect some essential equipment (generator, levelling ramps and ladder) from our daughter's house before we finally set up camp back at Butterley Bank.  

This will be home for at least the next 6 weeks and during that time T4rdis2 is going to have some essential mechanical maintenance done (brakes, filters and cam belt), and also some work so that we can be 'up plated' to enable us to carry more weight, and thus lots of little luxuries that we've been doing without up to now. 

Our time here will also be spent being reunited with all our family and friends, and I expect some of it will also be allotted to deciding what we'll do with our summer!  However, this little 'mess' called Brexit is interfering with us making any concrete plans, but 'Hey Ho', we often make them and then change them anyway so really nothings new in that departmentπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

And just before I go here are a few facts and figures about our recent trip!

Days away = 139 - We left on 8th November 2018 and returned 26th March 2019.
We travelled 3,251 miles in total and that equated to 81 hrs driving time.
T4rdis2 managed 28.5 miles to the gallon so in total we used 114 gallons of diesel
Fuel in Spain was around €1.20 (£1.03), in France €1.50 (£1.29) and back here £1.30 ish. 
Camping was an average of £13.50 a night and for most of the time that included EHU
Food in Spain was much cheaper than the UK but in France it was more expensive

But having said all that, I we don't expect anything to put us off doing exactly the same for next winter - the only difference may be that we'll spend more time touring and less standing still on campsites.

So until we're back on the road I'll say Goodbye πŸ˜™πŸ˜™πŸ˜™