30 June 2016

Customer Travel Blog

Our Trip back to the South of France via Santander Spain

After travelling back to the UK via Calais at the end of February from the South of France to visit family and friends and have some upgrades carried out to our Chausson Best of 10 Motorhome by the excellent team at TC Motohomes in Herne Bay, Kent. We decided to try a new return route this time. After calculating the return costs of fuel, aire’s, tolls, and the Channel Tunnel crossing it seemed just as cost effective for us to try the Brittany Ferries route from Portsmouth to Santander. It also meant we could miss out the worst of the winter weather in Northern France that we had encountered on our return and hopefully head straight for the sun, taking in the new experience of Spain for us on the way.

Brittany Ferries crossing from Portsmouth - Santander

As we had brought our dog ‘Pago’ with us we were extremely lucky to find a cancelation of a ‘dog friendly cabin’ at the beginning of April. These cabins are obviously booked well in advance so will have to plan better next time!

The crossing times were ideal, starting at 5.30 it left us time to get to get Pago settled in the cabin before dinner. Brittany Ferries even supply a dog kit of a bowl, treats and rope toy in the cabin which we thought was a great touch.

With Pago suitably settled we booked ourselves into the a la Carte restaurant which for us ended up being the highlight of the crossing. For the cost it a great meal from start to finish, with fast and friendly service from the excellent Brittany Ferries staff.

After a good night’s sleep and a relaxing cruise the next day we arrived in Santander the following evening thoroughly relaxed and ready for our Spainish adventure. As I have written earlier it was the first time we had used this service and we will certainly be using again.

Spain Day 1

With the ferry arriving in the early evening into Santander we decided to stay somewhere locally overnight. As we spend most of our time in France we usually use the French Aires, but as this was our first time in Spain decided to use our CampingCard which is perfect for out of season and selected our first campsite just off of the A-8 near Islares. Having turned up we learnt our first lesson, check the app or book first to make sure they accept dogs! Luckily just next door to the campsite was a fantastic bay with a car park which already had a couple of Spanish Motorhomes so we settled in for the night. Sometimes these places are the little gems you never find if you stay in campsites. It had a beautiful view of the bay, a bar next door, and a site which was obviously very popular with surfers.

CampingCard ACSI

If you haven’t used Camping Card before then it offers great campsite discounts all over Europe, with this trip a saving of anything of up to €20 a day in some cases. I had downloaded their app for iPad and Phone this time which allows you to download the area’s / Countries you are visiting, and review the campsites offline, adding ‘hearts’ to the ones that take your fancy. One the Ipad it works very well and allowed us to pinpoint certain areas / campsites of interest in advance.

Spain Day 2 - Valencia

After spending a night in a car park near Islares, Day 2 was designed to do some miles and head towards Valencia using the AP-68 to Zaragoza, and then heading to Valencia via the A-23, a drive that was designed to place us on the coast in the area we wanted to tour and to make our way slowly north back to France. As usual with our travels we never seem to end up where we intend to go but will come to that later. The drive is a long and boring one buy Pago the dog was happy to sleep and we came across some interesting cars on the way down. The main benefit was also to see the temperature rising from 17 oC in the north to 23oC which was a big plus and the main reason to come to Spain after a chilly month in the UK. We had looked again going to a campsite but by chance came across a great little Aire run by a very ‘happy’ couple who charged €11 a day, ideal. It was clean and after a long drive was ideal as a stop over, time to get out the bottle of Spanish red, olives and enjoy the evening sun, and decide where we would go the following day.

Area Campingcar La Marina

Spain Day 3-10 - South not North!

For many years I had always wanted to tour Spain, especially Andalusia and visit the city Seville. My interest to visit was initially inspired many years ago before we even had a Motorhome by reading the blogs of the SoulTrvellers3 -  http://soultravelers3.typepad.com/soultravelers3/spain/index.html who toured Europe at the time and spent their winters in Andalusia, and subsquently by reading the blog of Adam and Sophie from http://www.europebycamper.com who went on to setup the business of http://www.motorhomewifi.com. We are in Spain, why go north back to France, but head south and enjoy. So south we headed, next stop the town of Xàbia!

We chose our first campsite experience of Campsite Jávea in Xàbia mainly because of the reviews and it’s location. Situated in the middle of the town and close to the sea it had everything we needed in order just to relax for a week before we moved on again. We arrived just after Easter and it obviously a very popular campsite for people to spend the entire Winter in. As usual quite lucky to get in as the week before had been fully booked, as not only populated by the ‘long termers’ but also the Spanish who fill the sites at Easter.