A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: InvictaMoto

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 16 Part 1

Zaragoza to Haro

Part 1

Yesterday was quite cold and soon after we arrived at the campsite it began to drizzle. It rained more later. This wouldn't usually be a problem but we have the insulated windscreen cover that goes on the outside. It will be wet through when we are packing up.

Today we continue up the N232 towards Logroño and then to Haro. One road and two days on it by the time we arrive! It looks from the map that it finally ends up north of Burgos where it meets the road to Santander.

The Mercadona is definitely shut. I checked opening hours and it showed seven day opening. So I asked a question on their Google map entry. Conflicting answers. Then I saw they had updated the opening hours to show it closed. Bummer.

With it being a holiday I guess we can expect more people on the road. Yesterday there weren't that many until we got near Zaragoza.

The route is in the satnav. Maybe I am expecting too much to hope that the LPG Repsol station on the way to be open. Just maybe though... Or wait until we are back in France.

Diesel Fuel in Spain is cheaper than France and with the 25¢ discount at the till it brings it down to around €1.50 a litre. At the current exchange rate that's around £1.29 a litre. Or a saving of 60p plus!!!

Part 2

A very cold night. I thought we might experience EHU rage. We are plot 82. The power box is clearly marked which plots use which socket. When we arrived 83 was obviously too lazy to use the point with his number so used ours. I then used 112 that backs on to us. Then someone arrived. A little Spanglish later and all settled amicably. All due to dumb ass next to us...

The overnight rain has finally stopped and there's a vain hope that it will stay dry today. It needs to be dry for us to wrestle the insulated cover back into its bag!

The plot surface here is very sandy, although compacted, but it sticks to the soles of your shoes. So we have been brushing the floor constantly.

We need to be away soon. EHU disconnected. Gas off... 😁

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:56 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 15

rain 6 °C

If anyone is reading the blog entries. I hope they aren't too boring. I actually write them as reminders for myself and Claire of the trips we've done, and for friends and relatives to know where we are. If anyone else finds them interesting, then that's great....

Today was the day we finally turned north. From today it will be ever northwards until we are home.

Once the chores were done we paid the final bill. Because it was so cold we had used 13kWh of electric. We had 8kWh included in the overnight tariff, leaving 5 to pay for a 45¢ per kWh. Not too bad.

The route to our overnight stop at the municipal campsite in Zaragoza was to go about 5 miles and then turn onto the N232 all the way.

The first stop was Morella where my brother Neill and I stayed in September. I missed out the free Aire and parked by the aquaduct. Of course getting Reggie to walk anywhere was impossible. We set off and then gave up.

Wiki entry on Aquaduct

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Back on the N232 through mist and then sunshine as we entered Aragón. A stop at a roadside café for coffee and a donut 🍩 and we were off again.

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As we approached Alcaníz I thought about stopping at Motorland. A photo opportunity not to be missed.

We made a stop by the lake for a Reggie pee-break.

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Next stop Motorland. Not the way they forced bikes arriving from the south into some back roads, but the way we came out.

The barriers were closed around much of it but it was open on the parking where we parked for MotoGP. I went in there and parked by the wall. Every other section has Motorland embossed into it.

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A few pix and we were off again. We could have had lunch here, but instead headed back to the N232. Looking for a place we came across the parking Bajo Aragón. We had past it in September and hadn't stopped

I had to make a U-turn into it and park up. It looks as though it's actually the old road. It's very muddy on the right where trucks have churned it up...

More photo ops here for both phone and Canon.

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Once lunch was over it was the run up to Zaragoza. We arrived at the campsite around 4pm. Setup. Leccy works again!

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Then a walk up to the onsite bar to give Reggie a walk after his tea and for us to have a drink. Beer 🍺 for me and coffee for Claire.

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The temperature was down to about 6 °C and it is due to get colder as the evening progresses.

Tonight we will have chicken korma and rice. We bought some chicken pieces and have a jar of korma. Should do two nights.

Tomorrow is a public holiday in Spain and so we may have to rely on what we have in case stores are shut. The Mercadona across from the campsite is closed. Probably others will be as well.

One more might after this in Spain and then we are back in France. Tomorrow we head for campsite in Haro in La Rioja. It's another dog-leg of a trip but many of the aires on the more direct route from here didn't look that nice and open campsites seemed very rare.

Bed made up...

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Posted by InvictaMoto 17:02 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 14

sunny 12 °C

Today is the end of the second week away in France and Spain.

To mark the event Reggie decided that he would ask to go out around five times during the course of the night. The site here in Benicarló is well lit. So it makes it easier to walk around. As we are nearby to the footpath leading out to the road along the back, there is s CCTV camera. If they check the footage they will see me out at regular intervals.

I didn't get up until nearly 11am. I was shattered. Reggie though can sleep at any time!

Before breakfast I took him for a walk to the beach. It almost to the beach. He was happy enough for the first part but then dug his feet in and refused.

A bit later we popped to the shop and bought some sauce to go with the chicken we bought yesterday. Another RidgeMonkey cooking session coming up! We also bought another can of dog food. Once we get into France we can locate a Picard for Dogador!!

Until then it will have to be tinned dog food and a handful of biscuit added into it

Another walk on the beach with moderate success. We set off down the path. Here the sea has eroded the edge away and the steps have collapsed. Getting down the four feet drop is by precariously placed bits of rock and concrete.

We set off towards Benicarló and got about half way, then he decided to go no further, his tail between his legs! Once turned around he was scampering around and tail up. Mmmm.

The weather looked iffy and there was rain 🌧️ earlier on, but with the sun out it was quite hot.

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Another trip to the shop and we bought biscuits! Plus a photo opportunity.

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When we got back I dug the satnav out to programme in tomorrow's route.

Google shows the shortest and quickest route from here to be via the N232 from Vinaros to Morella and then into Aragón and then cross country to Monday nights stop at Calamocha.

It looks like going two sides of a triangle. The most direct route is to stay on the N232 to Zaragoza.

With it being Sunday, making a change to tomorrow's overnight isn't that simple.

We'll have to see what happens during the day.

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:46 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 13 Part 2

sunny 12 °C

Once we had settled in and had a walk along the beach and back we went across to the restaurant to have our free drink. Never ones to give up a freebie.

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Whilst we were there we had some tapas; patatas Brava and boquerones. Large portion and very nice.

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There is a comprehensive menu to choose from and we will be back tomorrow to try the paella.

Communidad Valencia is the home of paella. We've not seen the rice fields but some of the comments on the various motorhome forums and site apps mention them and mosquitoes a lot.

Here is Benicarló we've not seen one, or rather heard that irritating buzzing!!!

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:38 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 13 Part 1

Today was packing up day at Playa Romana. We had made a start yesterday and today there was less to pack and load up. It was around 10.40am when we set off to go around the block to drop the keys through the reception door. As it is closed there is a slot in the window and a cardboard box to catch them!

Our first stop was at Consum. We needed some stuff for the weekend for ourselves and for Reggie. We had run out of Dogador ages ago and he has been eating raw beef mince with added carrots. He has also eaten his way through a large 1.2kg tin of Mercadona dog food. Today I bought some dried biscuit food as a standby in case we run out of raw.

I also bought a bottle of Horchata! I don't know if other areas have it but this one is a Valencian version. I used to drink loads of it when in Murcia.

On the exit to Alcossebre I turned on the Chinese go-pro copy camera to see if it would work. It was on for a while and even during the fuel stop at Alcala at the Repsol garage. Diesel here is €1.759 a litre and then there is 25 cents off per litre. Maybe if it will work in the laptop I can share some boring YouTube footage

We were only coming about 25 miles to the north in any case. We arrived at Camping Alegre del Mar a little before 1pm. Checked in and set up camp. In our case putting the insulated cover on the front screen and trying the EHU. It worked! Maybe the problem that plagued us in France after the first day wasn't at our end! Fingers crossed. We are here two nights.

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We had a walk on the beach. It's about 50 yards away. A bit dodgy getting down to it and it looks a bit rough! Reggie alternated between excited and refusing to move!

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Once back we decided to put the van on the levellers. The spirit level showed the front needed to come up a little. It's the first time I have used them. Seemed easy enough.

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We had lunch. Later we will go and check out the bar. We have a first night free drink.

The rain forecast for the last few days arrived. Not enough to wet the entire windscreen.

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:50 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Summer Sun 2023

Ferry booked..

I took the opportunity to book the P&O pet lounge crossing using the Black Friday 25% off offer. The dates will be late May 2023 after the football season is over, returning two weeks later.

Now to decide where to go?

Posted by InvictaMoto 00:27 Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 12

sunny 14 °C

Another "at home" day with the exception of another walk to Alcossebre and lunch at Restaurante Valentin. The third time we have been there! There are other bars and restaurants and they are all close together. We prefer it as the host is very funny and friendly.

We both opted for salads. Mine has the massive tomatoes!

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Today we walked along the beach in both directions again. There was less of it due to the tide and we had to miss a section out as it was still under water! This area is very nice although in the summer the apartments would be full to bursting.

Once back we decided to change the plans for tomorrow and look for a camp site rather than the Aire I had booked. Reggie is becoming less confident and somewhere less like a car park would be better. We will lose the £4 deposit but it can't be helped.

So instead we are heading a mere 38kms north to Benicarlo and a site there for two nights. I might even try the EHU again! It will mean that we will save about 200kms this way. The distance to Monday nights Aire at Calamocha is about 200 kms. Tomorrow it would be 208!

We have plenty of time to get away from here and get some shopping done.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:24 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 11

sunny 15 °C

Amazingly Reggie had a good night and slept through until around 7am. No middle of the night wandering around the deserted resort for him and me.

After breakfast we decided that as it was sunny, with a forecast of rain later, that we would have a walk along to the marina at the other end of the town.

Although the signs say "domestic animals" aren't allowed on the beaches, there are loads of dogs being walked. So we joined them. Reggie wasn't happy until we got onto one of the boardwalks. I guess you can take an elephant on the beach here!

Our walk along the beach t least gave Reggie a chance to be less stressed. He seems to have got worse with age. He's 12yo now and will never get any better.

Our first stop was Restaurante Valentin again. The guy there is a character. He speaks all the languages and has a joke with everyone. We had coffee and cheesecake!

To walk that off we headed for the marina. It's always nice to see all the boats that we could never afford! But before he got there Reggie put the brakes on and we started to walk back. Pretty much the same way. Once on the beach, his tail came up and he was happy running about and sniffing. He does a lot of sniffing.

We had lunch when we got back and then some reading as the sun came round to our patio. It's a little chilly though until the sun arrives. Across the way, they get it all day!

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:02 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 10

Almost the halfway point!

sunny 18 °C

Today we were up earlier as we wanted to be out before the cleaners arrived! At this resort they come on a Wednesday. There can't be many apartments to clean as there is hardly anyone here. I doubt they clean the privately owned either. So far we have only seen one other ground floor apartment in use, across the pool from us, and last night there were lights on in an upper floor apartment to the right of us.

We therefore decided to go to Peniscola. This keyboard doesn't have accented letters but in any case, all the sign posts are in Castilian Spanish and Catalan. So Peniscola with no accents is right!

We went into the centre just under the old city and parked by the port. All the parking ticket machines were blanked off with heavy metal covers. At home they slide a bag over them! We saw some other camping cars and I reversed into a space next to them. Careful not to park in a "bus" marked space.

We had a walk on the beach and then around the curve of the beach to a café for a coffee. Very nice it was. In fact finding one open seems a miracle for this area in November. God only knows that December will be like!

Reggie seemed unhappy again and so we decided not to drag him up to the old city but go elsewhere. He perked up a bit on the beach and I took a series of photos on the Canon.

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We packed up and decided to head south again to Oropesa del Mar where we went yesterday. Another stop at Mercadona for some stuff we forgot yesterday and also to buy something for a picnic lunch.

Not before a look at the old city from the other side. This beach was used in the "El Cid" movie.

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On the way down from Peniscola we had been taken by the satnav to Benicarlo and the the AP7 to Oropesa. One of the highlights was passing the Benimar motorhome factory. There must have been hundreds of new ones parked up outside!

In the end I parked opposite where we were yesterday and we took a walk along the promenade and found a bench to eat. For those that are interested we had a small slice of pizza on bread and a spinach empanada. Both very nice indeed.

This was followed by a walk on the beach and a look into the rock pools formed where the rocky end to a (currently) dry river meets the sea.

I tried to get a video but have no idea if it actually worked!

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We then set off back to Alcossebre up the N340.

Claire took some photos on my phone on the N340. This used to be the artery up the Mediterranean coast. Now bypassed by the A7 and AP7. Many of the "Routier" style places have closed down. Many of them are still open as evidenced by the number of trucks filling the massive parking areas.

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Once back at the resort, it was R&R time. Claire did a little clothes washing and I tried to stop Reggie barking at the resort staff and of course the cats that prowl around all day!

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And of course R&R includes beer and snacks.

IMG_20221130_174716157_HDR.jpgThe real taste of Spain!!

The real taste of Spain!!

Tonight? Dinner. Eat in again. The rest of the "Spanish Omlette" tortilla I expect. Tomorrow? Who knows! Depends on the weather.

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:50 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 9

Another day in Alcossebre. We had a lie in today. Once again we were up with Reggie during the night. Being away seems to have put his systems in a bit of a spin.

We had decided on a bit of a lazy day. After all we are on holiday.

So it was rather late when we decided to find the Mercadona supermarket in Oropesa.

Claire and I stayed there quite a few years ago. Since then it seems to have grown much bigger.

The run down the N340 avoiding the motorway was relatively traffic free. Before motorways this road ran from the border with Portugal to the border with France. All along the Mediterranean coast. I rode most of it back in the late 80's from south to north.

As we only have the van we took Reggie. So to give him a walk once we had shopped we parked near the sea. Not the best beach here, but after November 1st dogs are permitted on them. A shame Alcossebre doesn't adopt the same idea!

The hotels and apartments are set back with a wide promenade and grassed areas.

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Once Reggie had had enough, we retraced our steps back to Alcossebre. Of course, no trip here would be complete without the satnav taking us through the least main parts of town! There must be a direct route into the town!!!

So tonight. Dinner. Watch another movie on the laptop downloaded from Amazon?

Tomorrow? The cleaners are due in and so we need to be out. Maybe desayuno where we found them open yesterday? Or maybe Peñiscola?

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:11 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 8

I’m going to do this early. There is no WIFI connection here and so I am using a mobile hotspot on my phone. The phone alternates between 4G and 5G as it feels like it!

Another strange night with Reggie up and about every few hours when he hears a noise. Of course we then had the toilet problem with the missing flush button. We reported it to the reception on our way out for a walk. We also mentioned the cockroach visitors! Luckily we got rid of them on Saturday and they haven’t returned.

Our walk was into Alcossebre itself and along some nice boardwalks that kept us away from the traffic. We were looking for somewhere open. At last we found a couple of bars that are open for breakfast as well as lunch. Restaurant Valentin was very good. A bit of banter with the owner who speaks all the languages.... We’ll be back later in the week! Not tomorrow as they are closed.

And that is about all we have done today! The guys turned up to fix the cistern, you may have seen the photo in the previous post. If not. Here it is again! They went away at lunch time and came back about 3pm. I am writing this at 4.43pm and they are still on it.

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We need to get Reggie out for another walk to hopefully get him to sleep a bit more tonight. Dinner? Could be albondigas and rice or maybe tortilla? Who knows at this stage!

Tomorrow, after two days not doing much we need to go and maybe see if we can get some LPG in the van and maybe some diesel.

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Posted by InvictaMoto 15:47 Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Photos from Canon

So to see if the pages are properly paragraphed and lines are ended properly as well, I have decided to try and use Outlook Mail from my MS Surface! From the phone none of the lines fold correctly and so here we are. A full width screen to type into.

(Update - page width worked but the inline photos are shown as markers but are all lumped together at the bottom I ned to edit online to sortt that out.)

Firstly Amboise on the day we arrived.

Next Amboise the following morning.

[cid:image011.jpg@01D9033C.97F383E0][cid:image013.jpg@01D9033C.97F383E0][cid:image015.jpg@01D9033C.97F383E0] - this is the photo link left in Outlook.

Next we jump forward a few days to the Cite de Carcassone.

And lastly to some I took today at Playa Romana Park where we are actually staying in the timeshare apartment in Alcossebre. The last photo will show the loo! The flush button disappeared and the guys have been in to fix it.

This brings us up do date as far as photos are concerned!

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Posted by InvictaMoto 15:20 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 7

sunny

The idea was that today was supposed to be an R&T day. After six days of driving from home to Castellò province.

On top of the hassle getting the key and apartment details yesterday we had a further problem. Cockroaches!

Yes the apartment was home to a few. Some mysteriously already dead, others were (past tense) alive. Not any longer. All removed and so far no further visits.

The apartment is quite basic and the furniture not up to IKEA standards. It will suffice.

When the reception opens tomorrow we will be bringing the 'roaches to their attention.

So today we had a broken sleep. Reggie wanted to go out about 3.30am and again about 7am.

After breakfast we decided to have a walk along the beach. Unlike at home where dogs are banned at most beaches from Easter to October 31st, it appears it's all year ban. However, Playa Romana across the road had people walking dogs.

Playa Romana

Playa Romana

There is a fenced path that runs in both directions when we emerge from the resort. Today we decided to go right.

The beaches are made up of smaller bays this way. The rock undercut by the sea. On one of the smaller ones we had a walk right down to the waves crashing onto the pebbly beach.

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It's also the first fully sunny day we have had. Temperatures rose to around 18 °C. Plenty warm enough for me!

Once back and after lunch Claire did some washing and we read our Kindles. Nice to do nothing.

I also got caught up with entering the fuel stops into the Fuelly app. If bbcode works there should be a photo below showing the average mpg since we bought Suki!

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Tonight Consum lasagne and peas for dinner!

What will tomorrow bring. I guess we try the walk to the left?

Posted by InvictaMoto 16:50 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 6

The end of the week is here with Day 6.

Today we left the camping car aire in St Cyprien Plage and turned south into Spain. Not before we had done a little housekeeping, emptying the toilet cassette and waste water (me!!) and half filling the fresh water tank - joint venture.

It was around 10.05 am. The route took us to Argèles sur Mer and then across to le Boulou.

I decided to get to Spain quickly I'd plump for the toll A9. On the way there were were directly aiming for Mt Canigou.

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Once on the A9 I set the cruise for 90km/h and we were on our way.

Through the old border and into Spain.

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The satnav decided rather than tell us how far it was to Alcossebre as well as the arrival time and journey time, we only needed to know the latter.

The autovia AP7 is now toll free and we were on it for around 300kms. We stopped twice for pee breaks and once to get the Spanish Michelin maps out.

Eventually arriving right outside the apartment complex's reception building.

As it is closed at weekends (!) we had been emailed with acode to open a key box.

It didn't work. I called the emergency number and a lad arrived on a bicycle. He tried. Couldn't get it open. Called his Dad who came. Same result. He called someone and then went and got some pliers and belted it until it opened...

By now it was after 6pm. We checked out where the apartment was and set off for the nearest Consum supermarket. We need to eat over the weekend and it looks as though this place is dead as a dodo. Loads of bars and restaurants. All closed.

By the time we had shopped and unloaded the van it was gone 7.30pm.

Beer o'clock. After a long drive and the tenseness of not getting in here, I needed a drink.

Dinner was cassoulet with fresh bread and some Saint Nectaire cheese.

Early night tonight.

Some pics whilst we waited for the key...

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Tomorrow. Sunday. Hopefully doing nothing much.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:13 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Awaycation Winter 2022 - Day 5

What can I saw about the Camping-Car Park Aire at Castelnaudary?

Firstly, it's in a great place almost by the Canal du Midi. Secondly, it's not far from the town centre and its bars and restaurants.

Thirdly. It's bloody noisy! Not from the campers but from the road alongside. Traffic eventually stopped around midnight and started again about 4.30am.

So we were already awake when the alarm on my watch tinkled quietly.

We wanted to be away earlyish as we had a visit to Carcassonne to squeeze in before visiting friends John and Ann in Moux between Carcassonne and Narbonne.

They have lived there for 14 plus years. It must be 18 or so since we had a few beers when we both worked in Islington.

Anyway. We left about 10.10am. It was of course raining when Reggie had his morning constitutional and when I had to empty the toilet cassette.

So far it has rained every day.

The drive to Carcassonne was easy enough. Finding the Camping-Car spaces in the new city was impossible. I'd almost given up when we were heading out and could see the Cité off to the right on top of a hill.

I reset the satnav and off we went. Despite signs to go straight on where it was signposted Cité I allowed myself to follow Ohrex's instructions. We weaved through what looked to be a recent housing development only to encounter "route barrée"! Retracing our steps to follow the signs we arrived at the bus and Camping-Car parking. Just to the left was the other end of route barrée!

We had an hour or so in the drizzle in the magnificent old city. There was hardly anyone about which made it easier with refusnik Reggie.

I only took one photo on my phone, the rest on the Canon.

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The Camping-Car parking seems to allow overnighting as it charges by the hour upto 24 hours. It is also huge.

We arrived in Moux about 1.45pm. John was waiting and we parked up. The house is really nice in a converted barn with huge garage alongside. Ann made a simple lunch and it was really nice. Some two and a half hours later we had to leave.

Tonight's stay is at the municipal owned camping-car aire in St Cyprien Plage. I hadn't booked. As we were so late we decided to take the toll motorway from near Moux to south of Perpignan. It was quicker than the non toll route.

It was actually sunny as we headed south from Narbonne towards Perpignan. The mountain in the distance is Canigou.

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Traffic was heavy from J42 on the A9 and it was past 6.35pm when we arrived. The machine on the gate worked well and we were in and parked. There are loads of vans in here. All a bit closer together than on a site. But this is costing €10.10 for a night including EHU I can guess why it's packed.

We had a walk around the adjacent marina. Ordered pizza at a little shop nearby. Reggie was once again not happy walking about.

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Pizzas were absolutely wonderful. I can thoroughly recommend Papy Pizza!

Some reading listen to the wind getting up! It's supposed to get up to about 70km tonight...

Tomorrow we head further south into Spain and the timeshare apartment in Alcossebre.

It will be the longest single days driving of the entire trip. The sooner we get away the better. We can't check-in until 4pm and I don't want to be driving all day with nothing to break up the driving.... I think it's about 400 Kms.

Posted by InvictaMoto 19:12 Archived in France Comments (0)

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