SAT JUNE 18th
We left Puerto Lapice Saturday morning, driving on virtually empty roads thru Ocana, around the south and east of Madrid, having decided not to do cities while we have Blue. Roads very quiet compared to uk. Stopped in a very modern suburb to shop at Lidl, on again past Guadalajara, now almost deserted roads, following the railway to
MEDINACELI. Roman settlement beautiful place to overnight, fabulous views, peace and quiet, cool before 10 and after 6, plenty of shade, a village now of around 900 residents. The houses are gorgeous here, they've been repaired and upgraded with no expense spared, and the iron work is just lovely. There is a chemist and a small supermarket, lots of bars and restaurants, a museum, an exhibition centre, lots of information placards, a lovely walk by the old, mostly damaged now, walls, an abundance of wild flowers growing everywhere, with a grassed playground and football field in front of the line of bars next to the car park. Very popular with local people, we didn't hear anyone speaking English the two days we spent here. We had a few walks around the town exploring the cobbled alleyways and nooks and crannies with Blue. Had a few coffees/drinks at bars, Blue always made welcome. It was very busy from lunchtime til after 7 pm, when all the buses and cars had gone, then it all seemed to shut down and peace reigned over the hills for the evening. 6 of us the first night, 3 the second.
From Medinaceli we headed north again, thru Soria, wonderful route, stopping at the Mirador in Sierra Cebollera for lunch. Onwards to Logrono, then the next 20 miles were incredible with weird rock formations, like you would see at the Grand Canyon but in miniature, but they were big enough, vultures, kites and eagles too numerous to take in... We stopped at a village called S.VICENTE de la Sonsierra, an Aire by the river Ebro, lots space, only one more m'home, which left shortly after we arrived. There was a Medieval Bridge in great condition, lit up at night, over which we walked Blue after a cuppie, saw huge catfish jumping out of the water. It was about 35° here and Roy turned the Lady to be out of the sun, but it was still hot until gone 7pm. Music instead of tv, as that had hit the power badly the previous 3 evenings. Traffic on the overhead bridge woke us at 7 am, so we got off to a good start, aiming for Vitoria, to find a Lidl again as we discovered both bottles of fresh milk had gone off, despite being dated end of June. They must've left the whole palette load in the sun too long. Found Lidl easily on the outskirts, took the ring road onto the road to Pamplona. This road is much busier, but we chose it over the one to San Sebastian as we know it's the quieter option. From Pamplona, again we'd like to revisit sometime, towards Bera and Hendaye. Stopped for lunch, as brief as possible, it is very hot again today. On way again, decided to be brave and go via Bera to COL D'IBARDIN 2 years ago we were here and came up from the Urrunge side, not easy by any means, and we were in the smaller Bus. But we saw lorries coming from here so it must be ok. Must admit I'm very apprehensive, looked on Google and decided last night we weren't going to take it, but we're nearly at Bera now, so .....
Made it, mostly behind a fit cyclist so slowly, but safely, the sheer drop on my side (it's ALWAYS on MY side !!) was scary at times but not as bad as some other roads we've been on. The Aire is only quarter full so we've got the position Roy wanted, pretty level, at the entrance facing out so we can leave easily. The shops - that's all there is here, tax free shopping and restaurants, plus one garage, are on a very steep hill, you're in France one side, Spain on the other, so you climb to the very top, window shopping, have a rest and a drink on a cafe terrace, admiring the incredible view, then do the serious stuff on the way down. The more dedicated shoppers amongst us ladies have the sense to ask the assistants to keep our purchases until our men folk can collect it for us!! Cuppie ready now, we've opened all the windows away from the sun, it's 35° even up here, the hot air streams in on the sides not sheltered, as the sun is so high there's very little shade, and it will stay hot till evening. Probably won't hit the shops till morning, but you never know???
It's 36° in the Lady, 36° outside too. There is no shade at all here, and no electric so can't have air con on or even a fan. I keep putting ice cubes on Blue's head ears and paws, he doesn't object!
Temp. stayed same till after 10pm, but wasn't too bad all night.
Wednesday morning began the same, very hot, but a slight breeze got up so it was only 34° today. Enjoyed looking around and being in the air con shops. Too much to do in a morning, so had 3 visits, leaving the very top of the hill till last. Roy and Blue stayed at home had a short walk in the shade of the forest. At 5pm we took Blue for his evening walk, it was still 35°, somehow we ended up doing a long walk very steep down from here, then back up to similar level then up thru forest to come out at the highest point of the mountain above and beyond the shops, full sun all the way back down from there home, all 3 of us totally done in after a 4 mile walk in this heat..... Blue lay in the shade after drinking lots, I cold- showered after drinking lots, Roy just drank lots, beer after the water!!! Tomorrow we head for Zarautz, then on to a rural camp site north west Spain, which will have electric, internet, a pool and lots of forest walks, hopefully in the shade.