Well I can’t believe it – it’s nearly the end of our journey!
And I must say I am now really ready to come home. Living in our bus has been fun but I don’t know how we have coped for 9 weeks. Ok 8 weeks. 8 weeks!!!! Six of us and a stinky dog. We have coped with ants, bees, mosquitos and, my personal favourite - nits. Yay, nothing like having nits whilst in a small space with limited means to wash everything – especially upholstery. Woop woop for the nits.
We have, at times, lived in pretty squalid conditions – especially at those times with no laundry facilities!
We’ve survived tantrums and tears.
There’s been glorious, glorious, glad-to-be-alive moments, and days that felt like hell. And days that contained both feelings simoultaneously!
We’ve been in woods and on beaches, by lakes, by oceans and rivers. Inner city hell-hole suburbs, and cutesy upmarket bijou places.
We’ve been in wild beautiful quiet places and barely seen a soul, and been in really busy spots. Seen flamingos and eagles and vultures in the wild.
Been up tall buildings and monuments, and deep down inside caves.
Marveled at Roman villages and monuments. Been to a dormant Volcano.
Driven through ochre-red Sierras, along wiggling, winding ocean-facing roads, up and down snowy and green mountains.
Seen oranges in Seville and grapes in France.
Been to modernist edgy buildings and ancient ones.
Seen thousands of artworks.
We’ve met some funny people, some grumpy, some shy, some not, some extra-kind, some not so, some naked!
We’ve eaten like kings and queens on some days and like paupers the next.
And the last leg of our journey has been a slooow winding down, acclimatising ourselves, back to winter, back to the cold, back home. It has been a brilliant week but pretty trying at the same time. Let me tell you all about it.
So where did I leave off? I think we had left Tarifa and were in Ronda. Well Ronda was really lovely, all medieval charm and pretty cobbled streets. We thought it was chilly there – ha! That was nothing! But that’s to come.
First we went to Seville, where we stayed at a lovely campsite in a horrid neighbourhood - It was the only campsite in Seville so we had no choice, but it was easy to get in on the bus and it did not disappoint. Here we soaked up the autumn and enjoyed the orange trees around us, blue skies and crisp leaves underfoot.
We took it in turns to go into Seville itself and since it was a festival day on both days we went in, both parties got to soak up the atmosphere in town.
We felt pretty scruffy compared to the smart Sevillians out with their families but we didn’t care. There was loads of street entertainment and a Christmassy atmosphere so it was really lovely.
Moving on, we did a craaaazy journey! Leaving Seville at 11am, we drove till gone midnight to the North of Spain, pulling up at an aire in freezing fog, and slept in -2 conditions in the bus. (We have no heating on the bus at all) Actually it was ok. We survived. It was good to toughen up a bit after being down south and we knew we must get used to the cold to come back to England.
Next morning, we awoke and drove off into foggy mountains heading towards Santillana del Mar, west of Santander. After an hour of driving the fog lifted and we found ourselves in the most beautiful properly snowy mountains and little villages. It felt like we were in Switzerland, not Spain!
The north of Spain had been a blank to me ‘til then. I just figured it would be a boring version of the south, a little cooler in temperature and kind of bland in comparison. How wrong I was. This was SO much more beautiful. Wow. Wow. Wow! Eagles flew all around and above us as we drove towards properly snowy mountains.
We pulled over to go for a walk in the beautiful village of Salces, and walked around a woodland lake with a very special feel.
Afterwards we pushed on and arrived in the late afternoon at Santillana del Mar– a very, very, pretty medieval village with an Alpine mountain feel. We stayed here for a few days and walked into the village a few times and went to the local zoo where we saw lions, tigers, orangutans and bears. Not what we expected at all. And we slept in verrrry cold conditions again!
And as I write, we sail across the seas, homewards, homewards, home. Our crossing has been rough - poor Pete has been sick ten times, and the weekends ferry crossings have been cancelled because this is supposedly the last safe time to cross before it gets even rougher! He might "look like a long-haired Captain Haddock, but he's really a yellow bellied land-lubber". (In his words). I can't imagine it being any rougher - If Sean or Sara or Dave or Janine is reading this - it's been as rocky as our plane landing at New Year's but all night. Bleugh! Only a few more hours of swaying and lurching....
Yay for land! Yay for Eng-land! Yay for seeing our beloved friends and family! Yay for winter and Christmas and cuddles with babies and friends and neighbours.
Yay for the end of our trip!
We did it, we really did it.