Wednesday 28th September
This morning was the first morning we hadn’t had to rush to do jobs etc, we were “free”, so enjoyed our breakfast with nothing on our minds!!!!!
One very useful advantage of staying in a “free” municipal motorhome site are the services it provides, toilet emptying facilities and fresh water etc., so naturally we took advantage of them.
Our planned drive today is around four hours, heading to Valladolid north north-west of Madrid, somewhere we haven’t visited before, so should be good.
Our uneventful 4-hour trip actually took nearer 6-hrs, firstly we stopped to make use of the municipal site facilities, then soon after starting it was coffee time and this was followed by a Diesel stop. Also Waze/Google Sat Nav are for cars and best will in the world, we can’t achieve their speed; Rosie does her best but unfortunately it’s not good enough 😢😢 and our arrival time gets further away. Madrid also contributed to our delay; driving the west side of Madrid the road spends much of its time in tunnels and of course the navigation system can’t hook onto any Satellite, we then missed our turnoff and ended up in Madrid!!! Fortunately the traffic was light and we finally caught up with the right road.
Leaving Madrid we headed up into the sierra de Guadarrama mountains passing the tomb of General Franco high up, and tunnelled by hand well into the mountain. This was his mausoleum but a few years ago his remains were moved elsewhere. This route was very picturesque and a good old fashioned mountain pass with hairpin bends etc. as we were descending we stopped for lunch also adding to our journey time.
We eventually arrived at the municipal site in the heart of Valladolid and found a space. It was a good job we weren’t much later as the place was already quite full but to our surprise we had to pay, 5 euros a night!!!!!
Dinner and a quiet evening followed, tomorrow we are off sight seeing.
Thursday 29th September
Woke up to a dull, and not so warm day but hey, never mind we’ll manage!!
Our first mission after breakfast is to find a branch of “Caixa Bank”, I have to complete the formalities, bloody Spanish bureaucracy; All I want to do is close my current account, how hard can that be??? Tourist information were very helpful, they gave us directions to the nearest Caixa branch and a map with all the places of interest.
We found the bank with ease, and completed our mission, helped by a very nice man with no queuing! I’m out of here now😀😀😀😀
After our mid morning coffee and yes you’ve guessed it, a Soberano accompanied by churros we set off and became a tourist and our first port of call, naturally the Cathedral. What I didn’t know was that Valladolid was the capital of Spain, home to King Philip ll (this was the same king who married our (bloody) Mary 1) and his court and at that time this city didn’t have a cathedral so one was commissioned. The plan was for the new building to be the largest in Europe as befitted a capital city. Best laid plans and all that; sometime in the 1560’s King Philip moved his court to Madrid and that’s when it became the capital. The upshot was the funds to build this enormous cathedral dried up and a much smaller one was built. Having been inside it hasn’t got the usual splendid gold guilted “everything”, in fact by normal RC standards it’s rather sparse, and the construction was more Rudimentary than most we’ve seen, still it was very solid, it’s not going anywhere. The plazas around were very decretive and sprouted many statutes etc. At the rear of the cathedral was one of the university buildings, a magnificent building with an equally magnificent stairway.
The tourist information highlighted many different buildings to visit and they all looked very splendid but information was hard to come by, everything in Spanish, perhaps Valladolid isn’t on the British tourists routes! Still it was a very nice place to wander around though being the end of September everywhere was quiet, even the main square, Plaza Mayor was empty, mind you the weather didn’t help!!!
Wandering around the historic part of the town we came across the statute of Miguel D Cervantes, the renowned early modern (1547 – 1616) Spanish writer best known for his novel “Don Quixote”
Eventually we headed into a restaurant just off the main square and settled on a nice bottle of “Vino Blanco” but time ran on and suddenly it was “menu del dia” time, so ordered another bottle and enjoyed, probably our last menu for some time😢😢.
Wandering back through the narrow streets and across the River Pisuerga the heavens opened so we sheltered in the entrance to a block of flats along with others until it eased.
Back in Rosie, wet and cold so we had showers but unfortunately the water wasn’t hot; most probably something we’re not doing right, after all this has been the first time we had a shower in her!!!
The rest of the evening was taken up with family chats, after all, everything happened so quickly at the end they all needed “up-dating”
Tomorrow we head to A Coruna, the most Northernly and Westerly point of Spain