SUNDAY 2nd October
An early start but first, as usual we serviced Rosie.
We set off heading for the “Tower of Hercules” but about 200-meters from our site, but the road was closed off. Not knowing why, we spoke to a fellow sitting at a bus stop and enquired. He informed us it was “marathon” day and the old town with the surrounding areas are closed off, and would be all morning. Knowing this we aborted our trip to the Roman lighthouse; another reason to return in the future. We headed towards Gijon and this route took us through tunnels, probably under the harbour and when we emerged, one side of the duel carriageway was also closed off, and then to our surprise the first, and fastest runners started streaming by; perhaps Mo Farrow was amongst them!!!
Heading out of town we noticed a Repsol petrol station that actually sold LPG; at last. Being a Sunday everywhere was quiet around this area, so the very nice forecourt attendant filled our gas and diesel tanks for us, he was most helpful. We knew Spain still applied a fuel rebate but we were surprised there was also a rebate on LPG!!!
Once fuelled up we headed onto the A-6, stopping along the way for a coffee break, “no Soberano”!!!!!
To our disappointment we arrived at the coordinates we put in expecting to be near the docks. Well we were well above sea-level and instead of “docks” we were at a Repsol “gas” terminal!! Still we took the opportunity to have our lunch.
During our planning stage, I remember noting a place by the beach in Gijon, so set about looking for it on Google Earth and eventually I found it. Having cleared lunch we headed for the site by the beach, found it and parked into a slot. We were surprised how busy it was being October!! Anyway, got sorted and headed for a walk on the beach and being a nice sunny day sat on the rocks for a bit.
Though we were by the beach and opposite the port entrance, the historic part, Camavilla was the other end of the bay, about half an hours walk and we had an appointment with Channel 4 again tonight, the Singapore Grand Prix so decided to add this to our list of things to do on our next visit.
Though we were parked up like “sardines in a tin” it was reasonably quiet and “free” plus it had the normal facilities.
Monday 3rd October
After a pleasant and peaceful night and after sorting “things” out, we emerged. Being after 1000hrs we decided it was a sufficiently reasonable time to put our generator on to boil a kettle, so we did. A couple of minutes before it boiled, there was a knock on the door and this “grumpy bloke” told me to switch it off as there were people still sleeping!!! I said I would in two minutes but he said now or he threatened me with the police. I played the age old card that I didn’t understand him which bought us enough time to complete the kettle’s boiling cycle so switched the generator off then. He was our next door neighbour and though there were folk all milling about, we could see in his door, “not a pretty site”, his “other” half wandering about in her dressing gown. So actually it was only his wife that was probably sleeping!!! Anyway after breakfast the bakery van arrived so joined the queue and he was there too, we spoke, he was all right; must have been his wife that sent him out on a mission!!!
After servicing Rosie we headed out of town and started the last leg of our journey to Santander, a trip of about 2-hours. There was no rush as Brittany Ferries had sent a couple of emails telling us the departure time had slipped; the last notification said 2315hrs departure so stopped en route and Christine cooked lunch using our brand new oven! Though we stopped at a service ares, we were actually in a very nice one, a quite and level spot with greenery, trees and mountains around us.
Back on route and soon diverted into Santander, filling up with cheap diesel as late as possible and of course claim our last rebate.
Being so early we half expected the entrance to Brittany Ferries to be closed, traditionally they open their booking kiosks about 3-hours before but with the inconvenience they caused everyone, I suspect they did the right thing, and open early. Anyway as we arrived they were open but what we were surprised about was how many vehicles had already arrived.
We booked in, collected our cabin keys and then the Guardia Civil did their usual; entered Rosie looking for stow-aways!!! None found so we drove up our lane and parked along with everyone else. During this time we watched some tv, played crib, read and had our tea and about 5-hours later we were called, great excitement until it dawned on us we were only going through emigration!!! About another hour later we were called again and by this time the docks were empty and we were the last few vehicles to get aboard, still we did and we’re on the truck deck; first vehicles off!!!
By the time we reached our grotty inside, not re-furnished cabin we only wanted to go to bed.
Tuesday 4th October
A very smooth “Bay of Biscay” crossing and being an inside cabin weren’t woken by light pouring through our porthole. We’ve used Brittany Ferries on numerous occasions, been on nearly all their routes over the years and never had such a grotty cabin. My last trip on Brittany, only a couple of weeks ago was an inside cabin but it was smartly decorated, had a tv and a simulated porthole giving amazing artificial light, it was so good it fooled me in the morning!!! This cabin is in dire need of re-furbishment + a tv!!! Christine thinks it was because we were very late “bookers’ on a very full ferry.
Anyway we found our way to the self-service restaurant and we were also disappointed there. The breakfast was cold, they fooled you on the menu and charged for most things individually. We “had” been told a couple of weeks ago that Brittany are struggling to crew up all their fleet, this May account for the poor breakfast but not the cabin. I feel a letter coming on!!!
The boring day was again taken up with reading, video and crib but at least we were by the picture window in the lounge, near the bar to tease me; no alcohol as we will be driving later this evening.
The good news broadcast over the ships tannoy system was that the arrival time had been brought forward by an hour and half, the Captain had obviously “put his foot down”, naturally this meant a re-jig of mealtimes.
The self service restaurant was the only place open, and bearing in mind our cold breakfast were determined to be at the restaurant door when they opened, and we were, but not quite first!!! The plan worked and we enjoyed a hot and tasty meal; that’s better Brittany, more your old selves.
We eventually docked and though not first off this time, we were in the early “trance”, and border control had opened every booth so we were through in fairly short order and on our way.
For a number of reasons we couldn’t stop at Hope Farm for a few nights, therefore had pre-booked into a certified caravan club location just a short distance from the house we have arranged to view tomorrow morning.
An hour and a half later and Christine was opening the gate and I was driving onto the field, our home for a few nights.