Andalusia to Algarve and back

Wow! Where to start – so much has happened since the Tarifa stay.  The stretch from Tarifa to Ayamonte, where my brother lives, is in an area called Andalusia, which covers quite a large chunk of Southern Spain.Screenshot 2017-12-27 21.20.58                                                                                   It’s a great area and the drive from Tarifa to Ayamonte was super. In Ayamonte it was OK to park Rayquaza on the street outside my brother’s place, and no-one bothered us there. I kept on making good use of this over Christmas and well into the New Year even. After a few days though it’s good to have a drive to re-charge tbe batteries.  (of Rayquaza!)

We took to exploring the area around Faro on the Portugal side a bit more and ended up staying in a super campsite (Camping Olhao). It’s a very large campsite and packed with sun-seekers from Norway, Sweden, France, Germany and the UK, all sitting like lizards outside in the sun in the day, and drinking/eating in the superb little on-site restaurant.

There is plenty to do around here, and Faro itself is a short train ride away.  The food in this area is also great and especially fish is a common meal, in some restaurants even BBQ’d right in front of you, and as tasty as you can imagine. I will certainly go back!

A drive further up the coast of Portugal was also great and we ended up in Porto Covo, a small but really quaint holiday town with amazing cliffs and views out to sea. Wild camping here was spectacular and will feature in a properly edited video at some stage….

For Christmas I went to my brother again and we enjoyed the silence 🙂 Had a good meal with local friends and then I had the McArdles – Edd, Kinga, Dominik and Dylan visit for a week of fun in the sun and stayed in my brother’s house.

It was a busy, hectic time with the kids but they loved every minute of it. They’ve all gone back now and Olli and I have been preparing to leave and find a camping spot in the sun for a month or so, to serve as a base, before we will head back to England with a stop at my storage in Barcelona, over February.

I have a ton of video footage but need to find the time to produce a “winter in Spain” video. In the meantime, you’ll have to do with the pics and one short unedited clip. (this being from a spot at a nearby beach at Isla Cristina where we went with Rayquaza as our base and spent the day there.)

For now, greetings from sunny Andalusia in Spain.

Woodbridge to Huelva, without much indication

So I set off to first Barcelona, to visit my storage space, and then on to my brother’s place just outside Huelva. As I left Woodbrige, I picked up an issue with Rayquaza’s left hand indicator, in that it came on, and did not want to turn off.

I had a guy come to the roadside to have a quick look, but he was convinced it was the actual stalk in the steering wheel column, that was worn (apparently a common issue) and went back to my spot in Woodbridge, tail between legs.

But…drumroll, next morning when I wanted to take Rayquaza to a local mechanic, the problem was gone! Go figure. Luckily Eurotunnel is quite flexible in situations like these and I could get a train crossing a bit later that day. However, 5 minutes from reaching the check-in, the problem started again. And this cycle of events repeated itself, all the way to the South of Spain. I’ll spare you all the incidents but let’s just say I had plenty of people flash their lights at me (to tell my I left my indicator on) and I became really good at removing the light bulbs in record time, driving for 10 minutes, and putting them back, which seem to solve the issue. It’s still not fully resolved but it’s clear it’s an electrical connection issue rather than then switch in the steering wheel column.

Apart from that, Rayquaza drove like a dream, provided great heating at night and the new table layout works a treat!

Anyway, the journey here. I had a stay over in Calais which I won’t talk about but wow, from there I could make it to sunny Santa Susanna after a roadside stay over in France.

I absolsulely love the campsite I use at Santa Susanna. I’ve been a few times but you can literally camp about 3m from where the waves crash onto a golden beach. Short unedited, no sound video:

Even better, the environment to run there is just perfect and I did some of my best running for a while.

After a quick stop in Castelldefels (just parked near my old apartment) and visiting some of my friends and getting totally depressed at the state of my storage space (and all the cr** I have in there!) I set off to my brother’s place just outside Huelva, in the very South of Spain, a 2 day trip. On the way there one passes some barren spots, but it did make for great sunset/sunrise scenes. Here’s a spot where I pulled over for breakfast.

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In the end, broken indicator or not, it was a good trip and the roads where quiet, and the company great – thanks Olli!

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Here in Andalusia it’s absolutely perfect winter weather and we’ve done bike rides to Portugal for lunch (!), and plenty of running, including some challenging hilly runs.

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I’ve literally parked in a quiet side street outside my brother’s place and interestingly, have been using Rayquaza solely on 12v (topped up with solar during the day) and gas (for the fridge and heating at night) and it’s been absolutely fine. Wild camping is no problem!

And so it’s time for the next chapter in my, Rayquaza’s and Olli’s life – we’re getting a new permanent resident later this week!

Oh my. But that’s news for the next post. Till then, safe travels!

Italy to the UK

I left Andrea and his wonderful town of Pieve di Soligo and routed through the Austrian alps to Germany.

Wow. What an amazing routing. I’ll simply have to come back and do this at a far more leisurely pace as clearly there is plenty to explore.

The scenery was stunning and I can imagine the drone footage to be shot here!

On the Italian side, I stopped at a petrol station that even had a dedicated area for motorhomes complete with electricity (seemingly free) and some lawn space. I’ll write about this as a review but it’s the first time I saw something like that. Certainly very easy to sleep over there on a longer journey.

I made my way to Germany where I paid a quick visit to my friend Kiki, and it’s obvious I’ll have to go back and properly explore the beautiful town of Rottweil. (this is becoming a theme, clearly, wanting to go back to places…)

Then a stopover in Menz, France, using the superbly located municipal campsite there.

Before the crossing on the very efficient Eurotunnel, I usually stay over just outside Calais, and was greeted with a superb farewell sunrise this morning.

Farewell to the Continent for now, I’ll be back soon. For reasons other than just scenery, let me assure you.. Portugal beckons! 💘

Leaving Eastern Europe

The summer in Europe is coming to a quick end… All of a sudden you need to put a jumper on at night.

But what a summer. If you saw my video featuring some scenes from Lake Balaton you’ll know I had an amazing time.

That was however nothing compared to me ending up hopelessly in love with a rather special guy from Portugal, and me concluding my summer with a visit from him and the subsequent wonderful realisation that I’m now in a relationship. Which if you know me, is a very rare situation for me to be in.

He’s back in Portugal now but we are working on some options. I suspect however Rayquaza will be touring in Portugal more than initially planned!

I’ve now left Hungary and stopped over in Maribor on the way back to Pieve di Soligo in Italy, to visit my friend Andrea again and have some more tweaks done to Rayquaza. From there I plan to visit my friend Kiki in Germany, and eventually head over to the UK, where I will be based over September and October whilst doing some international travel.

The campsite I’m staying at in Maribor is one of my favourites and I’ll post a more detailed review of it soon.

The Balaton life

It’s been a month since I posted on here but that’s me keeping to my previous post’s promise that I’m here to take some R&R here at Lake Balaton, in Hungary. And that I did, though there’s been plenty of work and I’m pleased to say my running has received some very serious attention – I managed more than 240km in July alone, averaging 10km a day, six days a week, and making sure the 10k’s come in ideally under 50 mins, but given the heat, in most cases around the 54min mark. I’m well pleased with that.

Olli and I also had some serious bonding time, and he’s thoroughly loving the Balaton visit again. He is now better known in the campsite than me – he’s made a lot or friends.
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I’ve also had plenty of trials with my DJI Spark, a drone which I had my eye on for some time, and made the swift decision during an unplanned trip to Sofia to get at Munich airport. I’m well pleased I did, and shout-out to Till Carlos (and thanks for the visit!) who pushed my decision on that purchase over the edge. He’s patiently waiting for my first video, but I’m still learning the ropes with the drone. And I’m not ready to upgrade my WordPress plan just for the preview videos!

The bike + trailer I got has turned out one of my best buys ever. I’ve now done more than 550km in it and it’s superb to transport Olli over long distances, or do the shopping (or to Olli’s dismay, sometimes both). I’m up north now near where Edd and family is staying and could do a 20km there / 20km back trip to them without much fuss. It’s fantastic. The little electric engine in there just gives me that bit of extra assistance with the trolley – you still have to peddle hard – but it helps and I’m well pleased with it.

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The buggy is also a great basket for Olli if I’m stopping somewhere where he can’t come in, and it’s well ventilated on all sides. Best of all, it folds totally flat and is quite light, so perfect for Rayquaza!

I’m staying at Balaton till end August when the work gets back to full swing and I’m kicking it off with a quick work trip to South Africa then, out of Budapest. Then I’ll route back to the UK via Italy again and will be UK based, but traveling out to Asia and Australia via air during October. Till then, the R&R continues, ideally!

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#IAmLucky #AlienInEurope