Wednesday, 18 January 2012

BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN......

January 18th 2012

Now well and truly embedded at Conil after a fairly straightforward and uneventful trip. Left home on Sunday 8th for CC site overnight at Folkestone and Eurotunnel on Monday morning. Booked on the 07.50 but arriving at 07.00 caught the virtually empty 07.20 and therefore on the A16 in Calais by 08.00 or 09.00 as it is in Central European Time. Pleasant run down to Lemans and the aire at Suze s/Sarthe and by arriving mid-afternoon managed to get one of the 3 hook-ups thus saving gas on heating and running the fridge. Outside temp chilly overnight and fairly foggy in the morning.
Tuesday to Bordeaux in mostly sunshine and Acsi campsite on the lakes north of the city and just off the ring road. Site looking definitely sad and evidence of itinerants and migrant workers especially in the chalets.....lot of coming and going at 6pm and 8am. Still, the site is very handily placed.
Wednesday, a shortish run down to San Sebastian and aire on the university campus. Topping up with fuel at a Shell station in Bordeaux there was a problem with the card at the cash desk-not a card-only pump- when the machines appeared to have a problem. The terminal said "paiment accepte" then blanked out and repeated this message another twice..the managment was summoned and put the card through another machine much to my annoyance as I subsequently discovered that although I was only charged once for €59.80 a further 2 requests were left pending on the card (Caxtonfx prepaid card) and the 'available balance' is €119.60 lower than the actual balance. I specifcally avoid autopayment pumps for this very reason as advised by Caxton and did not expect to encounter a problem in a manned station. Phone calls to Caxton revealed that they could see the transactions but could only say that they should drop off the transactions pending radar within 16 days and the balance would be restored.....lucky that the card is loaded with sufficient funds to make this an irritation rather than crisis.
Arrived San Sebastian early afternoon, met a charming Spanish couple who gave us chapter and verse on buses into town etc and spent a great afternoon exploring a very nice & classy resort. Very similar to Biaritz and St.Jean de Luz with a very striking town overlooking a wonderful horseshoe-shaped bay with great beach.
Off early on Thursday down to Salamanca. Very easy run on nearly toll-free motorways (€21 to just south of Burgos then toll free). Mixed weather but foggy at first then sunshine after mid-day. Arrived Acsi campsite in Salamanca and plan was to spend 2 days and explore city. Temp -3 overnight and awoke to very thick fog. Waited till 10.30 but no sign of fog lifting or temp rising above freezing so decided to give sightseeing a miss as it would not be much fun even if we could see anything.....Salamanca is quite high...and head on to Caceres. Fog disappeared as we dropped down and blue skies and sunshine were order of the day as we arrived Caceres early afternoon. We stopped off at the aire here last year when the old town centre was having a makeover and we said we would like to return to see the town in its full glory . And very pleasant it is too. Aire again was overflowing.
Saturday was a beautiful day and the last leg to Conil, arriving at 3pm. Site very busy this year (there is a CC&C rally here for 2 months) but our pitch awaited us, next to Roy and Joy who have been out since November and Paul & Marianne who arrived the day before us having used the Santander ferry for the first time...still can't justify the cost personally. So many old faces here that it was like going back to school after the hols and getting settled took for ages as we kept stopping to chat. First stop was the van wash shed to hose the dirt and grime of 1500 miles in lots of fog
off the van. Then a few beers as we caught up on the news. It has been a good winter here with hardly a drop of rain and everybody looks tanned already.
Ate in the restauarant on Saturday night. On Sunday we got really settled and put the sun-lounge up which is just about on its last legs. Good job we did because then it rained for 24 hours and naturally everybody blamed us.
Monday night we ate in the reastaurant again with P&M as they had a Flamenco evening which was excellent and lots of alcohol was imbibed.
By Tuesday the weather was back to 'normal' with clear blue skies and warm sunshine. Cycled down to the beach which looks better than ever and walked on the sand for miles........

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