Well this post is devoted to Ducky, Jane and to me! We have been through a lot together already. Leaving behine the mountains, it was time to head back for the coast on Monday ( at least I think it was Monday!). I made one last trip into the mountains for a last look at the majesty of them, they are amzingle varied. The part I went to was very lush and green, a serious contrast to some of the other views I have had. After that, I headed towards the coastal town of Gijon - Richard you should be able to find this one on the map. Another lovely drive, through what look like mountains to me, the great thing is that uou just start to take it all for granted an dthen you round the corner and see something different and wel stunning ( sorry I think that could become an oversuded word!) This time the spectacular view was of the coast from very high up - I could see so far. I was lucky to spot a place to pull over and then I did one of the things that I like most about travelling in Ducky, I pulled over, went into the litchen and made lunch. A rummage in the fridge, a few crocks out and I was sitting enjoying a freshly made lunch and a cole drink whilst looking at this amazing view. If ever I work out how to load pictures without spending all day in a cyber cafe (not internet cafe here) I will log a set called nice views whilst eating lunch. After that another nice thing about Ducky, you can use a loo that is clean, has paper soap and a towel - sorry but these things matter and the Spanish do not seem to manage all these things in one place at one time!!
I stopped at Gijon - eventually. It is a biggish city with lots of high rise buidlings and the StaNav is useless, kept sending me in a circle, changing it's mind and generally spoling my day. I did park up, thansk to my own nose, not to Jane and could not believe the sight on the beach - it was shoulder to shoulder, very nasty. So I walked the length of the beach into the old town which was pretty, but not spectacular. After that I headed for my campsite in Cudillero 'unashamedly the prettiest fisihing village in Andalucia'according to lonely planet. The Spanish close raods quite often it seems, you can be driving along thinking it's only half an hour to where you are going when you just get thrown off the orad. There are no signs teleling you which way to go and I expected jane to really helpout, but when I asked for an alternative route I got sent round in abig circle and told to go up the blocked slip road - grrr. I asked again and went on the same circle and just started saying some relaly rude words when I got a different instruction, which I followed. I thought the raod looked a bit small for me but hoped it would be a short detour - fat chance. Lots of people in lots of villages looked in disbelief that a tourist was driving such a thing tjrough their village. The raod got very bumpy, and horrible narrow. It is no lie to say that for miles there was only enough room for one vehicle and there were no passing places at all. I was very lucky not to run into anyone else, very very lucky as I waved to a farmer at his gate just as he was about to drive down the hill I had been driving up and saw a van waiting to turn into the road just I turned onto a slightly wider road. I had hoped that was the end of my troubles, wider road, straighter so easier to see. Until I saw a lorry hurtling down the hill, using his side of the raod and abit of mine. I was Ok, moved over as far as I could and of course I was not sitting on the white line. As we passed, I saw that the back wheels of his trailer were locked and smoking furiously - he had the long drop next to him where I had a dirt bank, I wouldnt be at all surprised if he needed clean pants when he got home!
I have a lovely lovely stay in Cudillero including my first meal out, a huge platter of gambas a la plancha (big fat prawns)I scoffed the lot. Whilst eating I watched the locals and the waiter pouring cider the proper Asturian way, the arms are spread as wide as possible, the bottle high and the glass low, needless to say spilling some seemed a regular occurence, so I did it right (unintentionally) when had had siome a couple of days before.
I had a sleepless night before leaving Cudillero, convinced I had lost my passport. You cant check into anywhere without showing it and I wondered whether I would end up driving to Madrid in one go to sort it out. Out cam the Spanish books whilst I worked out how to ask the shopkeepers if they had found it and then to report it to the police - but the campsite office had it. Some of them do keep it, some don't, I had been sure it was handed back that time!
Although I had driven over 300 miles already, I hadn't really travelled far so decided my next move would be a big one. So now I am in Santiago de Compostela, which puts me in my third province, Galicia. It's quite different here, much flatter (well the drive was) most churches are white and most roofs on houses flat grey slate? (they were sandstone and lovely ridged terracotta tile)
So Ducky is just wonderful, easy to drive, comfortable has everything I need wherever I am, it gives me more freedome than I can remember having one a holiday before. Jane is a mixture of good and bad. The maps of Spain seem hopelessly out of date, I drive round junctions and roundabouts and on roads that are not recognised. They don't look like the dark gret of new roads to me, more that washed out patchy looking stuff that most roads are. And the mapping to campsites is still useless. Please do not buy a TomTom GO710 if it is primarily for Europe! And me - I have to say this week has tested my driving skills to the limit, what with narrow roads, overhanging rock and buildings, Ducky being a big beast rather unlike the cars I usually drive, I'm really quite proud that we are in one piece. Oh and today I heard that I passed my GCSE Spanish with an A-star - WOW what a week