By way of background, if it’s not already obvious, we have become completely dependent on Park4night as our inspiration for our overnight stops. After our first ever full week touring in Spain, this dependence has grown, because in rough figures, Spain has only 1/4 of the official aires that France has, and the same comparison can be made with Spain versus Germany.
Therefore, one needs to be creative if one is to avoid being shoe-horned in with lots of other motorhomers. Whilst we love them dearly, because after all we too are motorhomers, we do not want to live cheek to jowl with them.
Enter park4night, where all those of a similar persuasion to us post those places where they’re pretty confident or know for a fact that a certain parking place is acceptable.
Then, the most brilliant thing about Park4night is the the reviews. Users post their photos, but often they can look completely different and disappointing when you see them in real life. A bit like Internet dating must be, presumably. So down to earth, “it’s noisy”, “local youths turn up at all hours and play loud music”, “the police moved us on at 9pm” comments really put you in the picture.
I’ve explained the above to give the background for our stop last night. In a carpark designed for 79 motorhomes (not sure why it didn’t just say 80), we were the only takers. This is not uncommon when travelling slightly off season, and particularly in Spain so far. I wanted, but forgot, to take a photo of us from a higher vantage point to show how small and isolated we must have looked.
Anyway, after a week of being in Spain, we have become more relaxed with the place. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, it feels as safe as in France, and its very rare we ever feel concerned about any overnighting there.
Anyway, getting back to my point, the reviews of last night’s aire were very positive and we too have no material complaints. One review that did amuse us was the one that said words to the effect of “lovely place, just a shame about the cockerel that woke us up at 4am”. We were less amused when we too were awoken by this same bird, but at 4:30am.
After a while we got back to sleep until around 7:30, when I was awoken by chainsaws, and trucks towing trailers around just outside. This noise then carried on for the rest of the morning. Amazingly, Sophie had no idea about this noise and had slept right through it. As I dozed I thought I’d avoid waking “Sleeping Beauty” in the hope that this would result in longer better humour from her during the day. I think it’s been OK, and can only improve as the evening cools.
So a good day as it turned out. Late start and we headed off at around midday. After yesterday’s messing about looking for places to stay I decided to head asap to my next chosen Dorling Kindersley route, “Vineyards and Gothic Treasures”. Sophie has offered to apply some dark eye make-up to add to the effect. So it’s been largely motorway driving, with a few minor diversions.
Now, I’m not a great fan of motorway driving, but today’s drive has been inspirational as we’ve cut through mountain ranges, into vast plains, and have seen stunning geographical features.
First “drive-through” was Vic. We do “drive-throughs” when we’re too tired or can’t be bothered to stop, park, and visit a town properly. Sophie generally snaps the key features, whilst I most look forward to the point where we’re heading out of the town. I’m sure it’s lovely, but it was just another big town for me.
As we motored on along the motorway, we took a little diversion to an aire in a small town called Avinyo. In a country with an apparent lack of decent aires, although we’ve already had some great stops over the last week, Avinyo’s was great. Half a dozen motorhomes would be the limit, but it’s elevated position and great views were excellent. This was our lunch stop and Sophie treated us to day old bread with cheese and tomatoes, but delicious none the less.
As Sophie set about giving the windscreen the once-over before we left I pointed out the rather large birds that were flying past at our eye level. We soon realised that these vast birds were vultures, and they were magnificent beasts, and were passing by 2 or 3 at a time. Impossible for a simple photo to do them justice so we just enjoyed watching them.
After a couple of other less interesting, but practical, stops we headed on for our stop for the night which is Santes Creus, the site of a particularly large monestary. Other than Dorling Kindersley having this place on their “Vineyards and Gothic Treasures” route, the main attraction was this was about the only inspiring Park4night we could find in this immediate region. So tonight we’re in the large carpark in the village that serves the monestary.
I now recall that our good motorhome friends, Nick and Sal, told us that in Spain they often stayed next to old monasteries, so I now feel that we’re beginning to tour in their footsteps, which is encouraging because they have much more experience than our mere single week in this country.
Another night completely on our own, and a rural setting. Aperol Spritzers have been the main drink this evening, for me anyway, taking advantage of the excellently priced Lidl Cava (€1.85), and the German Lidl version of Aperol we brought along for the occasion. This may explain the typos in this email.
Progress so far: