Well we made it, we have arrived in a not so sunny Benidorm. They have had a horrible winter here with torrential rain, buffeting winds and hail storms. Awnings have been ripped apart, windows smashed and leaks have sprung in caravans and motorhomes due to the horrendous weather. According to the long term weather report the sun is set to make an appearance this week. I am certainly looking forward to that as my legs have been encased in jeans for over 3 months and are looking very pasty and need to see the sun.
Before we left British shores we spent some time in Canterbury where we caught up with our friend from France, Keith. The three of us had a lovely day strolling around this historical town. In medieval times Thomas Becket was murdered here in Canterbury cathedral and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage for people from all parts of Christendom. The pilgrimage provided the backdrop for Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century collection of stories ‘The Canterbury Tales’.
Wandering around this interesting town we found an old pub, down one of the narrow back streets, that served delicious ploughman's lunches complete with great hunks of freshly baked bread and crumbly cheddar cheese. Also the sandwiches were the size of doorstops, so big my mouth couldn’t open wide enough!
Our trip over to France was as easy as usual with us driving onto the train and within 35 minutes we were driving along on the right hand side of the road through French countryside.
Driving south through France we passed through medieval villages of old stone cottages with wooden shutters, brilliant white lace curtains hanging in deep set windows, ivy clinging to bare walls and trailing over gutters and window ledges. Multi coloured lichen covered the terracotta roof tiles while winter pansy's flowered in tubs along the kerb. But you very rarely see a person out and about during the day.
The countryside through the centre of France is fairly flat with fields of winter crops as far as the eye could see. There are no hedgerows or fences, just coppices of trees dotting the horizon. As the trees are still bare you can see balls of yellowy, green mistletoe suspended amongst the branches.
We left the flat plains behind us and started the climb up and over the Pyrenees. The air got cooler and before long we were surrounded by snow covered peaks and that’s when Paul missed a turn. The snow, which sparkled and glistened, was a metre deep along the roadside so there was no way of turning around. We just had to follow the road as it snaked its way across the snow fields and into the Principality of Andorra, a monarchy of 468 square kilometres that is nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. 85,000 people call Andorra home but this tax haven has over 10 million visitors each year.
We were stopped at passport control and the police searched our motor home for duty free goods, mainly cigarettes and wine, but after checking all of the outside compartments, under our beds and the shower/toilet cubicle, they found nothing and we were allowed to drive on into Spain.
Once in Spain we made a dash for Benidorm and did the journey in 7 hours. We made camp in our favourite campsite, Villasol, and were made welcome by all our Benidorm friends. Its great to be back.
Hope all is well. Take care.
Liz and Paul x