Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Well, our time in Spain is now over and we are back in France (Roanne) and will set off on the boat again in a few weeks. don't know where we are going yet, maybe down the Rhone to the Med, maybe back up to the Netherlands. Time to get the map out and do some planning, I think.

Spain was lovely; it was great to have some warm weather and a washing machine (no machine on the boat, we are always on the look out for launderettes), but it was really quiet and we have got used to the social life in the port here in Roanne and also the constant meeting of new people that we have on the move.

Also, we are not missing Spanish drivers. There seem to be special rules for driving in Spain that we don't have in the UK:
  1. If at all possible, park on a corner. You should do this even if a space on a nice straight piece of road is available
  2. Use of indicators is entirely optional
  3. If someone lets you put of a side road, or similar, you should under no circumstances acknowledge this small act of kindness
  4. If you are on a dual carriageway and someone is coming down a slip road make sure you speed up to pull alongside them as they try and join the road. Do not allow a gap to exist that they could pull into either in front or behind you
  5. Speed limits - These are to be considered a minimum speed, not a maximum
We made the trip back over four days, making stops in Granada, Toledo, Zaragoza and Perpignon.

The Alhambra at Granada is amazing. I took so many photos, as I just love the carvings and the tile patterns. I spent the whole day looking at the tiles and thinking "I could make that pattern into a lovely tapestry cushion.

See what I mean?
The buildings are stunning. The carving is so intricate and in places you can still see the way it was originally painted. I was really luck that the weather was bright and clear for most of the day, so I also got to see the great views from the palace.

And here is an example of the carving:

Next stop was Toledo and a Fawlty Towers style hotel. It took about 10 minutes to find a staff member who could check us in (staff members kept arriving, looking at my booking confirmation, shrugging and wandering off), had a tiny rainwater filled swimming pool (so, think pond water) in the car park - which made reversing out fun, as there where no barriers around it! - but funniest of all was definitely the shower.

It was brand new and very clean and shiny, which is great. But soooo tiny! Stephen had to bend down to use it - and he's 5'4". Good job we are a family of midgets!

Toledo Cathedral
That apart, Toledo is a lovely city, we spent ages walking around, so much time in fact that we never actually made it to Madrid - something for another day.
On again, this time to Zaragoza. Sunday morning was bright and warm, so off for a walk where we encountered this colourful character at the local junk market.

Approaching Zaragoza's second best cathedral (their own description, not mine!) we realised it was Palm Sunday. I have to say their Palm Sunday services are like none I ever went to as a child.

Everyone packs into the Cathedral, chatting and laughing, with the children holding their intricately woven palm fronds, which are hung with sweets (like corn dollies on acid). Then the Bishop charges around splashing water on everyone whilst his assistants run around after him trying to keep up.

It all got a little bit more stately later on, as they all paraded up the road.

Last stop was Perpignon, but no pictures from there as we arrived in the dark, stayed on the outskirts and left first thing in the morning.

Our final drive was carefully timed so we could be sure of crossing the Millau Viaduct in daylight. It really is an astonishing piece of engineering; taller than the Eiffel Tower and finished in just three years.

1 comment:

  1. Bon vent, Alison & famille!
    Lovely blog; have so enjoyed the vicarious trip.