Friday, 25 March 2016

TRIALS & TRIBULATONS....Things don't always run smoothly

25th March 2016

The problem at Ribadesella was stopping at campsites halfway up mountains, which was then repeated at San Sebastian.  The first site had fantastic views of the the Picos da Europa, a rather striking mountain range close to the coast, especially from the pitches on the higher terraces. OK,  so I should have walked up there to check out the terrain and size of pitches but as the place was empty, having oly opened that day for the season I thought it would be fine to drive up. Big mistake. We're too long with too big a rear overhang, especially with the bike carrier to try negotiating tight uphill bends. When we got up there, the pitches were too small so I had to turn around and managed to crunch the front skirt when dropping into an unnoticed gutter whilst reversing. Not major damage but irritating damage just the same. We then had to find somewhere to park that wasn't too soft because it rained a lot and the ground was grass. Anyway we walked down to town on the sea which was pleasant but closed. Very striking houses on the promenade. Long walk back up to the site. Rained overnight and ground was v.wet so we decided to leave. Picked out a nice site on outskirts of San Sebastian without realising it was on steep side of hillside. Very tight access to pitches and unable to get van level as no room to manoeuvre onto ramps, resulting in the occasional problem of waste water from bathroom sink backing up into shower which is full of dirty washing bags and only rescued just in time. Spent some time under the van trying to sort the pipes out without success despite getting very wet from dirty water. Also discovered that I had managed to lose the locking water cap somewhere, probably not seating it properly and it working loose. Fortunately have spare emergency cap but not lockable. Weather ore cast bad so decided o move after one night, both feeling fraught.
So drove to St.Jean de Luz. Long delay at Spanish / French border with dozens of gun toting police strung across the road at the toll station which is the de facto border.......this was 10.30am Tuesday morning and 2 hours after the Belgian atrocity. The hundreds of lorries were being funnelled into one lane and stretched back for miles but they weren't being searched, just watched . Don't know what they were hoping to achieve........
At last a great site at St.Jean de Luz. Nice big flat,level pitches,  20m from the sea......high tide at 4am is very noisy, big rollers.  Another reason for leaving San Sebastian was the discovery that prices went to high season on 23-30 March ie from €17 to €35 per night. This site is €15 until July which might explain why it is very busy for easter. Lovely walks along the cliffs to town about 1.5miles  or towards  Biaritz the other way. Also a cycle path in both directions so staying here till after easter.


  1. Time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted...

  2. Von Clauswitz was never more accurate in his musings and I castigate myself for overlooking his wise words. A lesson (hopefully) learned.

  3. Actually, I think it is ' seldom ' wasted, but it may depend on the translator.

  4. I thought it was Sun Tzu from The Art of War - could be one of those quotes that's been attributed to everyone down the ages...

  5. Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”

    This quote has been attributed to the talented and successful German Field Marshal of World War Two, Erwin Rommel. Often referred to as ‘The Desert Fox’,
    Somebody called John Marsden also claims it.
    I still think it's Von Clauswitz

  6. This question will drive you mad. It is a quote or Maxim that all people in the Military are taught.

    There is no definite answer as to who first said this but there are two choices:

    Some people will accredit the saying to Sir MacPhearson (Mac) Robertson 1860 -1945.

    Lieutenant General Sir Henry Royds Pownall (1887-1961).

    Try them both in a search engine to see what you get.
    Nutcracker · 10 years ago

  7. And finally:
    Another great "Duke of Wellington" quote:

    Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington), Victor of Waterloo:

    "Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted."

    So as you so rightly said, everybody said it at some time or other.

    I still like Von C.

  8. Sorry, but I just found an attribution (?) To field Marshall Montgomery. He must have heArd it from Rommel in a bar in Cairo.