The Ottawa River west of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Photo taken April 24, 2017.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are they going next? Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Arrive April 27th.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Do you remember Expo 67?

Our daughter Lindsey lent us her car, and we drove up to Ruth's dad's yesterday. On the way, we stopped at a Walmart to pick up a few things. One of those things was a new battery for one of Lindsey's key fobs. These new cars don't have an ignition key. Simply a thing (called a fob) that hangs from your key chain, and so long as it's in the car, the car will start with the push of a button.

But, these fobs won't work when the tiny battery in them goes dead.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What have we been up to...

We finally had a nice spring day. Yesterday was up to about 20C (68F) and mostly sunny although there was a bit of a wind. You can tell that winter is over in this part of the world, but April in Ottawa is a bit of a wildcard. Sunny again today, but only a high of 11C (52F).

Saturday morning, Ruth and I took our grandson Cameron out for his birthday.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Another update from our friends Volkan and Heather

It's been a while since we've had a guest post from our friends Volkan and Heather. They had sent us an update on their travels while we were away in Europe, but we never got around to publishing it for you.

They recently spent some time in New Zealand and wrote to tell us about it...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What does it cost for five months of travel in Europe?

Well, it's not as much as you might think.

We spent $14,000 CAD ($10,800 USD) for the six month period between November 1st and now. An average of $2,333 ($1,800 USD) per month. That includes all flights as well as our return trip back to Canada at Christmas time.

That total also includes all of our expenses, because that's the only way that it's meaningful to anybody. It even includes our new Samsung smartphone. Yep. Everything.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Too many rules!

We've just been spending time with our daughter's family these last few days. Grandson Cameron (6) is in grade one, so he's gone to school all day. So granddaughter Sadie gets a lot of our time.

She sure is a character!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Could we live there?

Well, we sure did have an interesting winter, didn't we?

Certainly not a "normal" winter for us. Sherman the motorhome remains parked up here at our daughter's house where he has been since last October. And he'll be sitting here for a while yet because we have no plans to move him until October of this year!

And, we have now visited 33 different countries. We've been in 12 different countries in the last six months alone! Wow!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Body Bark

A company we had never heard of sent us a couple of t-shirts last Christmas. They simply asked us to try them out, and write about them if we liked them.

We're always willing to offer our opinion, especially on a product that can be related to our travels. And most of you know that we travel very light. So when we did some research about this lightweight, comfortable, easy to wash and dry clothing, we took them up on the idea!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not a bad deal on a Canadian SIM card...

On the way up to Ruth's dad's place yesterday, we stopped at the off leash dog park. This is a really popular place for dogs to be running around loose and playing with other dogs. I'm pretty sure that many people come here every day to give themselves and their pups some exercise.

It was a little chilly, but after all it is only mid April...and we are in Canada!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Introducing...Chester!

A bit late getting started this morning! We wanted to come up to Ruth's dad's place fairly early for Easter Monday, so today's blog post had to wait until we got up here.

Our daughter Lindsey and son in law Justin had a spa gift card from his work that they wanted to use up, so they took advantage of the fact that Grandma and Grandpa are now here visiting. And that was fine with us, so we spent the day looking after Cameron (6) and Sadie (3 1/2), Boy, they sure are growing!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Back in the motorhome!

Yes, we slept in our motorhome last night! Felt great to be back in our own bed again, even if it's only for a few nights.

It was a long travel day yesterday as we flew from Barcelona, Spain to Montreal, Canada and then Montreal to Ottawa.

Here's the whole story...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

One night in Barcelona

We were up at 5:00am Friday morning! Probably could have slept until 5:30am, but this way we didn't have to feel rushed. We were outside at the corner waiting for our pre arranged taxi driver at exactly 6:30am.

But he wasn't there!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting ready to go home...

Writing this Thursday evening because we will be up at 5:30am Friday to get on our 8:30am flight from Tangier to Barcelona. Then one night in Barcelona, and Saturday we fly back to Canada!

We had booked the overseas flight a long time ago...back in early September of last year! So I wasn't really paying attention at the time that April 15th was in the middle of Easter weekend. And that Easter holidays are a big deal in Spain.

We had a very successful day!

We planned an afternoon trip from Tangier to Tetouan, a small city near the east coast here in northern Morocco. But first, we had to figure out how to get there. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a whole lot of detail online, so I'm going to include those details here for the benefit of future travelers.

Unless you hire an expensive guide and private driver, there are only two choices of transportation... the bus, or what they call a "grand" taxi"!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A good hike, but with some obstacles...

Another beautiful day here in Tangier, Morocco. So we decided to go for a hike. We had wanted to take a coastal trail all the way to the Cap Spartel lighthouse that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of about 12 kms (7.5 miles), and then take a taxi back home.

But we encountered a few obstacles!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'll bet not many Americans know about this...

We had planned to do a couple of day trips during our four full days here in Tangier. But so far, we haven't got any ambition to sit on a bus for any length of time. One of the day trips we had planned is to the popular "blue town" of Chefchaouen, or simply "Chaouen" as the locals call it. But it's 3 hours each way by bus! Apparently it's slightly quicker in a collectivo van, but we're still not ambitious.

Another is to the beach town of Asilah. It's only an hour bus ride away, so we may still do that.

Anyhow, yesterday we just wandered around Tangier. There are a few interesting things to see here, and we managed to (almost) match up a couple of my dad's photos from his visit here in 1954.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Made it to Tangier, Morocco!

We didn't have to rush yesterday morning because our train wasn't scheduled to leave until 12:30pm. And so we finally got caught up on our blog posting and photo editing from our three days away in the desert without internet.

We said goodbye to our AirBnb hosts Jamila and Mohammed. They were really good hosts and we're glad we found a common ground communicating in Spanish. That wouldn't be the case with our next host!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Exploring Rabat, the capital city of Morocco

We planned a long walking tour of Rabat, leaving from our AirBnb apartment at just before noon. Clear blue sky all day, with a high around 28C (82F).

First stop was the nearby train station where we bought two more rail tickets for Sunday. We fly out of Tangier next Friday, so we decided to head directly there for five nights and do some day trips from Tangier.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Marrakesh to Rabat train ride

This is the second post for today as we get ourselves up to date. If you missed it, you can go back and read the earlier post here.

We were up and out by 9:15am Friday morning and on our way walking to the Marrakesh train station. We had tickets for the 10:45am train to Rabat.

Avoid the Marrakesh street food market!

Still getting caught up on our blog posts after our three day desert tour. So this post details our day on Thursday the 6th.

We stayed in the room all morning, getting caught up on internet and sorting through photos. You have to take a down day every now and again, and we were certainly due for one. But, we had to get to the train station to buy our tickets for Friday so we were going to have to get out and do that.

Besides, we just can't sit around doing nothing!

Friday, April 7, 2017

We were dreading the long ride back

This is the third and final post regarding our Sahara Desert camel excursion.

We were up right at 6:00am as the desert guide had told us. They had said to get up, watch the sunrise, and then we would be hopping on the camels and returning to where the van was and having breakfast.

We climbed the big sand dune and watched the horizon for the sun to appear. And then we heard a voice yelling at us.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Camel riding in the Sahara Desert!

This is the second post of the day as we're catching up from our three days without internet. So you might want to start with the earlier post if you don't want to miss anything. You can access it here.

We were up bright and early Tuesday morning and arrived at breakfast right on time. Apparently breakfast in Morocco is typically bread, crepes, two different types of jam, and tea and coffee. Oh, and olives.

This tour reminded us of why we don't do group tours!

Well, that was a pretty wild three days. As always, we're going to write  it up as three separate daily blog posts, so if you're just reading this one now... stay tuned because another one will be posted later today! Hopefully we'll be all caught up and back on schedule by tomorrow.

Okay, so we had booked a 3 day 2 night group tour to the Sahara Desert. We don't often do group tours because we like to make our own schedule. And we haven't done a group tour since we were in Iceland in the fall of 2012.

This tour reminded us of why we don't do group tours!

Monday, April 3, 2017

You may not hear from us for a couple of days...

We're up early this morning because we're heading out into the desert for a three day/two night getaway. No idea what kind of cell service we'll have where we're going, so you may not hear from us for a couple of days. I'll try and do up a blog post when we can, and worst case scenario you'll hear all about it when we return on Wednesday evening.

But, we still have to tell you about our day yesterday!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

March Expenses

Wow. March was a great month, wasn't it?? We were in six different countries... Spain, Italy, San Marino, Monaco, France, and Morocco!

We had a fantastic time, and we pretty much did it exactly as we wanted to. But, it came at a price. Definitely one of our higher months for expenses. Italy is certainly not as cheap as Spain! We spent a total of $2,448 CAD ($1,836 USD) for the month.

(The following figures are all in Canadian dollars. For U.S. dollar equivalent, you can subtract about 25%.)

We like to try and blend in...

Many women in Morocco wear a head scarf...or a "hijab" as it is called in Arabic. Hijab is actually just the Arabic word for "cover". It's a tradition related to the Muslim religion, and it essentially is a means of displaying modesty.

I say many women, because while Morocco is a Muslim country, it is not an Islamic country. There is no law here saying that women have to wear a hijab, and it is not necessarily expected. While in Islamic countries (such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran) it is a different story.

And so here in Morocco, many women do not wear a hijab. It is a personal choice.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Every few steps there is something interesting to see...

We were sitting having our morning tea and hot chocolate (no, we don't drink coffee) when our host Marco came downstairs and offered to take us out  for breakfast. Sure, we're up for that thanks! We explained about our gluten intolerance, and he said he would do his best to ask about the ingredients.

And off we went on the busy inner streets of Marrakesh.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Why don't we just walk to the airport?

"Well, because people will think we are truly nuts!", says Ruth.

After all, who walks to the airport with their bags? Especially when it's 9 kms (5.6 miles) away. Apparently we do.

From where we were staying, I figured it was a 9 km walk. And either downhill or level the entire way. And, it was a beautiful day and most of the walk was on a paved path that follows the beach in Nice, France.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Monaco...country #32 for us!

If you're staying in Nice, you can't help but want to visit Monaco...the second smallest country in the world. And fortunately, there's a very inexpensive bus service from Nice to Monaco.

So yesterday morning we walked the 2.5 kms from our apartment down to the bus stop at La Port. Buses leave for Monaco every 15 minutes and cost only €1.50 ($2.20 CAD, $1.70 USD) for the 20 km (12 mile), 40 minute trip.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We made it to France!

I can't believe it took us 55 years to make it to France! Country #31 for us. Now, we're only going to see a tiny corner of the country so we'll have to make it back for more at some point. But at least we're here!

The day started off in Savona, Italy. Our train didn't leave until 1:30pm, so we did some computer time and then went for a walk along the waterfront in Savona.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We finally managed to have pizza in Italy!

Travel days are always interesting. You just never know how smoothly things are going to go! And we had quite a lot to accomplish. First, we had to return our little red rental car. We had picked it up at Bergamo airport exactly two weeks ago at 10:00am, so we needed to return it by 10:00am.

And that meant getting an early start.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Crawling across the top of the hiking trail...

First on the agenda yesterday was to get down to the main grocery store in the nearest large town about 4 kms away. We were originally planning on walking down, but with the time change here in Italy early Sunday morning, we were late getting started. The grocery store  closes at 12:30pm on Sunday, so we packed a  lunch and hopped in the car to make that our first stop.

When we had come through this town on Saturday, it was the middle of the afternoon and things were very quiet. So we were surprised to find it very busy, and we even had a hard time finding a parking spot.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It is definitely spring in northern Italy...

Well, our time in Europe is quickly coming to an end. We fly on Thursday from Nice, France to Morocco...Northern Africa. So we're making our way towards Nice. But first, we have to drop off our rental car Monday morning at Bergamo airport. So I found us a place to stay about half way to Bergamo.

So we did that drive yesterday. And we could have taken the toll road almost the whole way. But the more direct route was through the mountains on a narrow curvy road! That sounds much more interesting, doesn't it??

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Walled City of Lucca

With a decent weather forecast for the day, we headed off down the mountain to go to both Pisa and Lucca. We decided to take the toll road, figuring that it wouldn't be too expensive. Plus, we had a lot to see at our destinations so didn't want to waste our day driving.

When we got off the toll road after a distance of 70 kms (42 miles) and the bill was €8.30 ($12.20 CAD, $9.00 USD). Hmm. Expensive enough!

Friday, March 24, 2017

More travel plans confirmed

We woke up yesterday morning to rain...buckets of rain. It was pouring! And the rain continued on and off all morning. So we stayed put and got caught up on some internet stuff. In fact, it's quite a lot of work planning our onward travels, and so it has to get done sometime.

It might as well have been yesterday. We've now got all of our accommodation booked right up until and including our March 30th to April 3rd stay in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Castles and Yachts

We set out yesterday morning with plans to go to both Lucca and Pisa. But we got a bit of a late start. It was just after 10:30am when we set off down the hill. We got to the valley where the road heads to Brugnato, and sure enough, the "road closed" sign was still there.

So, just like we had to detour the day before, we now had another long detour to contend with.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Detour!

After our long hike on Monday, we were pretty happy just relaxing indoors yesterday morning. Besides, the weatherman was once again wrong, and the sun didn't look ready to make an appearance. So it's not like we were missing a beautiful day.

But we just can't laze around all day, so after lunch we decided to go into the nearby town of Brugnato (pop 1,270) to pick up a few supplies and just wander around.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A long day at Cinque Terre National Park

We had been waiting for a nice sunny day to do the popular hiking trails along the coastline in Italy's Cinque Terre National Park. It had looked like either Monday or Tuesday was supposed to be half decent, because they are forecasting clouds and rain after that.

So we set off at about 8:20am to do the 50 minute drive down the mountain to the coast.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hiking up in the clouds

We like this area so much that we've extended our stay. We were supposed to leave this coming Thursday, but now we're here the whole week. We'll move on Saturday the 25th.

One of the things we like here is the number of different walks we can do right from the village itself.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Grocery shopping in Italy

We woke up yesterday morning to a heavy wet fog. Quite a change from all the sunshine we've been enjoying for the last several days. The forecast said it was supposed to burn off within a couple of hours, but by 11:00am we still felt like we were up in the clouds,

So we decided to go into the city of La Spezia (pop 95,000) and do some stocking up on groceries and maybe have a walk along the waterfront.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

We're pretty sure the whole village must know about us by now!

We love to travel, but moving around all the time can get tedious. So we were really looking forward to staying in one spot for a whole week. And yesterday morning, we did nothing but relax indoors, despite the fact that it was a gorgeous day and we really should have been outside doing something.

We made up for it in the afternoon though!

Friday, March 17, 2017

After yesterday, we are not in the mood to drive anywhere!

Yesterday was a pretty busy day, mostly because of the long drive we did. And driving in Italy is not what you'd call relaxing. By the time we arrived at our destination, I felt like I had just finished a NASCAR race!

We were driving from Rimini to the mountains near La Spezia. Clear across the country! We drove right by Florence, and didn't even stop. Who does that?? But the problem is, there is so much to see in Italy that we have to pick and choose what it is that we want to see. Especially when we only have just under three weeks.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Welcome to the Ancient Land of the Free

The Republic of San Marino is the 5th smallest country in the world. It is only 24 sq miles in area, and has a population of under 35,000 people.

An official Republic since 1600, San Marino remains the oldest constitutional republic in the world, almost twice as old as the second place United States. It's been an independent neutral country since the year 301 when it was founded! And, it's a really fascinating place to visit!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Long driving day!

We left our Airbnb host Fernando at 8:00am when he was ready to leave for work. We had a long driving day ahead, so we didn't mind getting an early start.

We were driving from Bergamo to Rimini...a distance of 335 kms (208 miles). Definitely a long day for us, but even longer because we wanted to stay off the toll highways.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I drive like I'm in a Ferrari...

First order of business yesterday was to get us some wheels. I had booked a super cheap car rental, but we had to go to Bergamo airport to pick it up. We were prepared to take the bus to get to our 10:00am appointment, but our Airbnb host Fernando insisted on driving us.

I booked the car through a rental car reseller...in this case, www.economybookings.com. They don't have a good reputation because they are very strict on the rules when you book. And, you have to pay in advance and there are fees if you cancel.

But, if you follow the rules, and you don't need to cancel,...you can get a great deal!

Monday, March 13, 2017

When in Rome...

We haven't had a "do nothing" day in almost three weeks. And even on our last "do nothing" day, we had still gone for a walk. So, after trekking more than 24 kms (15 miles) in the previous two days, we both agreed that yesterday would be a day of rest.

So we stayed in for the morning and had some computer time and reading. The computer time was productive though, in that I got some more of our future travel plans set into place.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We thought we were going to Milan!

When we first started looking at visiting Italy, our place of arrival was determined by cheap airfare! The flight to get here from Alicante, Spain was on sale, and I booked it without doing much research. In fact, we originally thought we were coming to Milan. The airport was listed on the Ryanair website as Milan (BGY).

So based on that, you'd think you would be flying into Milan, wouldn't you? But, you'd be wrong!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Great first day in Italy!

We woke up yesterday morning to a clean blue sky, sunshine, and warmer than normal temperatures. It's usually a high of around 16C (61F) at this time of year in Bergamo, and they were calling for a high of 22C (72F).

So it didn't take long for us to decide we were going for a hike up the mountain behind us!

Friday, March 10, 2017

We made it to Italy!

We left the apartment in Alicante at about 10:50am. The bus stop for the airport was only a 10 minute walk away, and a bus comes by every 20 minutes. We arrived at the bus stop, and the electronic sign said the airport bus would be there in one minute! Perfect timing!

Sure enough, the bus came by and we paid €3.85 ($5.60 CAD, $4.20 USD) each for the half hour ride to the airport.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Enjoying our last full day in Spain.

I took advantage of our good unlimited internet here in Alicante to do some onward travel planning. We don't tend to book very much in advance, but one of the places we're wanting to visit in Italy is the area in and around Cinque Terre National Park and the five villages that exist on that rugged coastline there. As well, of course, as the hiking trails that link those five villages together.

It's a popular tourist destination, and so I figured I'd better get something booked for us. And because it's popular, it's also quite a bit more expensive!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Missing camera bag!

Had a nice sausage and egg breakfast with Tana and Graham, and then Graham drove us to the city of Alicante (pop 330,000). It was about a 45 minute drive to where we had an AirBnb room booked close to the downtown area.

Alicante is a popular tourist city, and so we didn't have high expectations. And I think that because of our low expectations, we were pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lots of ways to organize a motorhome trip to Europe if you put your mind to it!

It was close to noon by the time we finished getting Louis all cleaned up and our stuff sorted. So we had an early lunch and then at the last minute we got a note from fellow Canadian travelers Dwayne and Lyd who wanted to meet up with us as it looked like our paths were going to be crossing.

And they did!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Our last night with Louis

Yesterday, we drove from Huercal-Overa to an RV park just north of Totana. The drive was only 77 kms (48 miles) and most of it was going to be on a four lane highway, so we decided to go for a hike in Huercal-Overa before heading out.

There was an old watch tower on a hill on the other side of the town. About 4 kms (2.4 miles) each way, so that was a perfect distance from the motorhome aire where Louis was parked.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Nice to have your ducks in a row...

Hit the road about 10:45am yesterday, again headed east towards Torrevieja. We figured we'd put in a little longer driving day on Saturday to allow for two shorter driving days on today and Monday.

Definitely a little more activity on the roads on a weekend. Spain seems to have a lot of active cyclists, and there are even signs on the roads that are popular with recreational cyclists.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Our two month motorhome adventure in Spain is almost over!

Another mountain drive yesterday as we made our way slowly through the villages on the southern border of Sierra Nevada National Park in Southern Spain.

We only did 64 kms (40 miles) from Mecina Bombaron to Canjayar, but it took us almost two hours! The roads are narrow and curvy, although with a nicely paved surface.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Back to the mountains

We headed inland yesterday towards the Sierra Nevada National Park here in Spain. Lots of beautiful views, and again, a sunny clear blue sky.

And along this drive, we didn't see a single motorhome until we arrived at our destination and even then, it was only one other rig.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Free beach camping in Spain

We said goodbye to Paula and Jerry just before 10:00am. We were headed only a few minutes down the road to meet up with Carol and Roelof, blog readers who we had been in contact with a few times over the past couple of years.

We met them at a nearby Lidl grocery store since they usually have sufficient parking for a motorhome, plus we had to pick up some groceries anyhow!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February Expenses... Spain is pretty cheap!

It was a bit of a mixed up month for expenses, because we were part of the month in our motorhome exchange RV, and part of the month in other accommodation where the cost was being shared with Ruth's cousin Helen and her husband Tony who were visiting us for the last two weeks of the month.

And, we bought a new smart phone, the cost of which was a big percentage of our overall expenses for the month.

Goodbye to some friends, and hello to others!

We were all up at just after 6:00am in order to pack up Louis and leave the apartment that we've enjoyed over the last week. We had to get Helen and Tony to Malaga airport for their 10:45am flight back to England.

On the road by 7:30am, and it was almost a two hour drive to do the 115 kms (71 miles), but we did stop to fill the fuel tank along the way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Living life on the edge!

The Caminito del Rey is a path that was built along a cliff face and gorge high above the Guadalhorce River in order for workers to maintain a hydro dam water channel that ran through the gorge. The original path began construction in 1901, and was completed in 1905.

The original path was constructed of concrete and rested on steel rails supported by bars built into the rock face. It deteriorated over the years and there were a lot of sections where part or all of the concrete top had collapsed. By the 1990's, the result was that large open-air gaps were bridged only by narrow steel beams. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Really looking forward to this!

Yesterday, we drove about 38 kms (24 miles) north to the city of Osuna (pop 17,800). It had been recommended by our AirBnb host as a daytrip. We did some research on the internet, but it didn't appear to offer much of anything special. Still, we headed on up there to wander around.

We got there around lunchtime and parked at a grocery store on the outskirts of town. In Spain, the majority of stores are still closed on Sundays. So parking at a grocery store for a few hours is no problem at all.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Another great day in Spain!

We relaxed for the morning, and did some computer work. We didn't have a good signal when we arrived here, but the other day they installed some better wi-fi, and now it's working great! While I was doing the blog write up, Ruth walked with Helen and Tony to the grocery store in town. While there, they found out that last night was the big carnival celebration parade in this little town of 1,400 people.

So we made plans to go to the central plaza at 6:00pm to take part in the celebration!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The cave houses of Setenil...amazing!

Definitely better weather yesterday. Not a drop of rain, although there were still lots of clouds coming and going. We packed a lunch and left around 10:30am headed for the town of Setenil de las Bodegas only about 37 kms (23 miles) away.

And we had bypassed the town of Olvera the day before, so the plan was to stop in on our way home if we had time. But, there is just so much to see!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The magical town of Zahara...in the rain!

Not the greatest weather yesterday, but there's too much to see in this area so we're not going to waste any of it sitting inside waiting for blue skies that may or may not come.

So yesterday, we drove over to the mountainside town of Zahara de la Sierra to do some exploring, and despite the weather we are really glad that we did!

Spain Never a Dull Moment on your Trip!

Discover the most enchanting Spanish cruises for their gentle pace and tropical year-round weather. Taking a river cruise is a great way to get a feel for the natural beauty and rich culture of Spain, amidst the unique chance to discover Andalusia. Seville from a different, privileged perspective on board, river cruising along the River Guadalquivir. Also, enjoy the River Guadiana, Spanish-Portuguese border on the coastal bay of Cadiz meets other travellers in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Smoke in the air

We first noticed it the day before we visited the Cathedral in Seville. A little bit of a haze in the sky. It was worse the next day, and then yesterday it was actually quite bad. We think it's smoke from forest fires, and yet we can't find very much info on the news.

Yesterday was a badly needed day of rest. Although, you know us...we can't sit still for very long. In the morning, Tony went out with the girls for a walk around the town while I caught up on some computer work.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Everything went according to plan...and then some!

Wow...busy day yesterday. Sorry, this is going to be a long blog post! But, entirely worth it because you get to see what we saw.

We had a lot to accomplish. First, I wanted to go buy a new smart phone. Then, we were going to meet Helen and Tony where we would all tour the fantastic Seville Cathedral, then back to Louis the motorhome in order to head to the outskirts of town to do a big grocery shop, then a two hour drive to a small town in the mountains to an AirBnb accommodation where we will spend the next week.

Let's see how smoothly that all goes...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shopping and exploring in Seville

We're not big on shopping.

While I don't mind shopping online, and we don't mind shopping for groceries, going shopping for anything else is not our idea of fun. But, we need a new smart phone, and to have to buy one while in Spain is a bit of a pain.

So in between exploring, if we came across a store that sold cell phones, Tony and I went inside.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Phone problems!

Yesterday, we drove across the Portugal border back into Spain. I hadn't mentioned it previously, but I've been having problems with the iPhone. This is an older model 4s that our son had donated to us when he upgraded.

It's been suiting our travel needs just fine until we arrived in Barcelona January 2nd and I tried it out with a local Spanish SIM card. At the time, I had to mess with some settings, and got it working. And when we crossed into Portugal, it worked fine there too for several days...until one day last week when it simply wouldn't connect to the internet, and then it wouldn't even receive a signal.

In the market for new luggage...

We're tossing around the idea of getting some new travel gear, and one of the websites we're looking at  is www.eaglecreek.com. Our old wheeled backpacks are still doing fine, but they're looking a little worse for wear. Also, new materials and new designs have made the new wheeled backpacks even lighter and more durable than what was available five years ago.

Given that we're doing more flying on discount airlines here in Europe, we need to be able to stay below their weight and size limits to avoid paying extra.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A much better day!

We didn't have a long drive planned, so before we hit the road we decided to search out the rocky coastline that we originally came to the Albufeira area for. Helen and Tony had checked their photos from when we were here ten years ago, and we managed to find the road that led down to the beach where the trail was.

The beach is called Praia dos Aveiros, and it's just a tiny beach, but it leads to the path taking you to a larger beach to the east.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Not one of our better days...

It was pretty much 10:30am by the time we left Salema Eco Camp and headed east. We had made a rough plan to drive as far as Albufeira. Not for the touristy town itself, but for the rocky cliffs that we remembered exploring when we were all here ten years ago.

But apparently our memories aren't very good!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Portugal's rocky Atlantic coast...

We took Louis for a drive yesterday to explore the Atlantic coast a little bit north of here. It's in the natural park area that takes up much of the south west coast of Portugal, so there are a lot of areas to hike and we were looking for a decent walk.

First, we stopped for fuel and put in just enough to get us back into Spain. Portugal fuel is about 10% more expensive. Ruth and Helen ran into the grocery store to pick up a couple of things, while Tony and I parked Louis across the road.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The seaside town of Salema, Portugal

It didn't turn out to be quite as nice as what they were calling for, but still a decent day and we did see some sunshine and blue sky, with temperatures of around 18C (65F). But it was a little bit windy too. Still, a nice day to go out exploring, so we walked down to the seaside town of Salema.

This is the second blog post today...if you missed it, you can see a tour of our friends Glen and Steve's motorhome here...

http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2017/02/showing-you-another-european-motorhome.html

Showing you another European motorhome

There are a lot of differences between European motorhomes and American motorhomes.

Last month we showed you a short tour of what we're driving over here. Yesterday, our friends Glen and Steve opened their doors for us to be able to show you their motorhome. Instead of taking a bunch of pictures, I figured we'd do a couple of video clips.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

We're taking a vacation!

We had to get to Faro airport by 9:30am or so to pick up Helen and Tony. We had been parked for the night only a half an hour away, so we planned to leave around 8:30am. But we had a lot of rain again overnight, and we were parked in an area that got quite soft when it was wet.

We were a little worried about getting out okay!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The campgrounds are busy!

Only about an hour's drive yesterday as we slowly headed down a mountain road towards Portugal's Algarve coast. We wanted to be somewhere close to Faro because we're picking up Ruth's cousin Helen and her husband Tony from Faro airport this morning.

We had a couple of campgrounds to check out in the hopes that they had decent bungalow accommodations available for Helen and Tony. Unlike last April when they visited us with Sherman in San Diego, we don't have room for them here to stay in Louis with us.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Well, at least we got out for a walk...

Woke up yesterday morning and it wasn't raining any longer. We had heard it on and off over night, and this was just a little break because they were calling for it to continue after lunch.

We took the chance of heading out for a walk and into the village of Ameixial, and ended up not getting too wet!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The interesting town of Mertola, Portugal

Well, we're working on a very weak cellular internet 2G signal, but at least we have internet. Sort of. But, it's working...so let's see how this goes.

We packed up yesterday morning, ready to move a little further south towards Faro. We pick up Helen and Tony at the airport there on Tuesday morning.

Made arrangements with Glen and Steve to meet them at the little village of Ameixial where there was supposed to be two different free RV parking areas...both with free electrical hookups.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Exploring a bit, and time to carry on...

We woke up to sunshine, but we knew it wouldn't last. The forecast is for more rain on and off through the weekend, so when we saw the sunshine we figured we should go out for a walk and check out the area some more.

So we set out to go see the old mine. And then sure enough, the clouds moved in again...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Here's where we are parked up....

Thought we'd show you a little more about the space we're parked in right now. It's really just a car park at a small municipal beach in town. But because this is low season, the town allows RV'ers to park for free at the car park. But the way the car park is designed, it almost looks like a campground!

And a half a kilometer away there is an RV "service station" as they are sometimes called here. It has a fresh water supply, a toilet cassette dump, and an electrical outlet if you should need it. It's all automated for a charge of €2.

Travel Money Companies in the UK and How They Work

Recently in the UK (as well as in Australia) has been yet another addition to the global online financial industry. The recent addition was the travel money company. Travel money companies are sensational because they offer another way for consumers within the UK to get the desired amount of currency that they need available to them when they are traveling.

What travel money companies essentially allow UK citizens to do is to purchase multiple currencies on a single pre-paid debit card with the most competitive currency rates. Consider the recommendations below about how to take advantage of this new service and why it will end up being an essential consideration for you each and every time you travel from the UK to an exotic international locale.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hello Portugal!

A bit of a longer drive for us yesterday. We had originally planned on doing it over two days, but decided to go meet up with Glen and Steve a day earlier than planned because the weather forecast for Friday through Sunday isn't looking great, and they told us it's a really nice spot and we wanted to enjoy it with some sunshine.

So we said goodbye to Bonnie and Dave, with the hopes of bumping into them again along the way.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A stash of 1,700 year old coins

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Seville is a great place to spend your birthday, and we had a great time exploring and celebrating.

Once again, the weather helped out a lot. It's been perfect here in Seville, although we did get a little shower go through late yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Seville, day two...The Alcazar

Arguably the top attraction in Seville is The Alcazar (The Royal Palace). We knew there would be a lineup, and we knew it would be pricey...but we wanted to go. And, my Dad had visited The Alcazar back in 1954 and we had several photos that we wanted to try and replicate.

So, we headed over that way. We got there just after 11:30am, and stared at the lineup. Yikes. I hadn't expected that much of a lineup. In fact, it almost scared us off because we hate waiting in line with all the tourists.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Wow...impressed with Seville, Spain!

We packed up and left the campground yesterday morning just before 10:00am. It had rained a little bit overnight, but the skies were clearing and it was looking to be a nice day. Got the holding tanks emptied, and the fresh water tank filled, and we were on our way.

Heading for the city of Seville. I have to admit, I had done very little research on Seville. Most people have obviously heard of both Barcelona and Madrid, and of course we knew of Seville, but I think it flies under the radar compared to the other two. We are impressed with Seville!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bicycle ride to Sanlucar

When Louis's owners were getting him ready for us, they asked if we wanted the bicycles. They explained that they're old, and not in the best of shape...but we figured we might use them so we said yes. Well yesterday, we used them for the first time. The campground we're staying at is located right on a cycling path that runs between the towns of Rota and Sanlucar.

We're only about 7 kms from Sanlucar, so we took the bikes off the rack and got them ready.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

No wonder people can't find the place!

Yesterday, we drove from Cadiz to Chipiona...only about 56 kms (35 miles) up the coast, but we had to drive inland in order to do it. That's okay, because we got to drive across the new La Pepa bridge. I say new, but it actually opened in September of 2015.

Other than the bridge, it was an uneventful drive. Until we went to find our campground. Then it was a little more interesting!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Our own private band concert...

It rained on and off most of the day yesterday, but that didn't stop us from doing more exploring. Besides, the things we wanted to see were mostly indoors anyhow. And Ruth has a raincoat with her and there's a couple of little travel umbrellas in the motorhome.

So a little bit of water didn't bother us too much.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Lots to see in Cadiz, Spain!

Yesterday morning we moved from our beach camping spot near Roche to the ancient port city of Cadiz (pop 124,000).

Along the way, we stopped in at a huge Carrefour grocery store and did some stocking up. They had some good specials on, including some "buy one at regular price, get the second at 70% off" deals. These are especially worthwhile when they apply to the already cheap booze!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What does it cost to RV in Spain for a month?

Well, we had a kind of a relaxing day yesterday so we'll mix our daily post together with our expenses for the month of January.

If we have proven one thing, it's that doing a motorhome exchange is a very economical way of exploring another country.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Almost beach camping...

Went for a walk around the town of Conil de la Frontera before heading out. Glen and Steve are staying there another night, while we scout out on ahead to see if there's a better spot for us.

Not much to see in the town of Conil, even though it's been settled for a long time. There's a couple of old houses from the 15th century, and a tower that's been there since the 12th century.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Back to the beach!

We took our time leaving the campground yesterday morning. Filled the fresh water tank, emptied the toilet cassette, paid the bill, and we were on our way just before noon.

First stop was to get fuel...filled up with 63 liters (16.6 gallons) of diesel at €1.169 per liter (about $4.90 USD per gallon, or $1.68 CAD per liter). So we've spent €123 ($178 CAD, $133 USD) on fuel and we've done 1,116 kms (692miles) so far in three weeks. Not bad.

Then, it was off to the beach. We had been in touch with friends Glen and Steve and they had themselves parked up beside a tidal river in the town of Conil de la Frontera...steps from the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

63 years later...

One of the reasons we're in this area is because of my father's pictures. He had done a trip to Europe way back in 1954 (he would have been about 26 years old at the time) and he took a lot of slide photographs. Ruth had scanned all of those photos, and we have a file from the ones he took in Spain.

We're trying to find some of those locations to see if we can replicate the spot he stood to take those photos.

We found one of them yesterday, at the roadside village of La Barca de Vejer!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Our second Spanish campground

It had rained a lot Thursday night, and it was supposed to continue on and off for most of the day Friday. We were due for laundry and showers, and our battery was getting low as well. So I did some online research and found a campground in a forest near the town of Vejer de la Frontera.

Many of the campgrounds along the coast are quite expensive, and you're packed in like sardines. Not our style, and we won't spend more than €20 ($29 CAD, $22 USD) per night including electricity.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Back to the top of The Rock

We set out at around 10am yesterday morning, walking back across the border to Gibraltar. It's not that big of a place, and yet even after two full days of exploring there was still more that we wanted to do.

The main goal yesterday was to walk The Mediterranean Steps...a 1.5 km (1 mile) long hiking trail on the steep side of The Rock. It's a short enough hike...but it still took us an hour to do it!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day trip to beautiful Ronda, Spain

We had originally planned on taking the motorhomes up to the mountaintop city of Ronda (pop 35,000) but that was last week when they had an oddball snowstorm up there  so we never made it. But, we thought we might be able to head there on our way back through towards the end of February.

Instead, I saw that there is a train that goes from Algeciras to Ronda and the reports said that the train journey itself is quite scenic.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tunnels, monkeys, and caves...too much to see in Gibraltar!

We went back to Gibraltar again yesterday. We were a little later leaving than we originally planned because we've decided to do a day trip on the train to the mountain town of Ronda, and it's taking some planning.

So while Ruth and I went back to Gibraltar, friends Glen and Steve went into La Linea to find out the best way to catch the train to Ronda, which we will be doing tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day trip to Gibraltar

We left Casares fairly early Monday morning, and it wasn't a long drive. However, we were also looking for somewhere to recharge the SIM card for our internet, so we stopped at a big Dia grocery store on the outskirts of La Linea.

La Linea is the town located on the border with Gibraltar.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Griffon Vultures of Casares, Spain

Yesterday morning we waked into the town of Casares. It's about a kilometer and a half from where we were parked with Louis the motorhome. I recorded our tracking to see just how much we would walk around town.

Including the walk there and back, we did 8.4 kms (5.2 miles) in three hours!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Great exercise, and beautiful views!

Finished up our two nights at the campground. So yesterday morning we got Louis's tanks emptied and filled his fresh water. Also had showers ourselves. And we're taking off with a brand new fully charged battery. So, we're all happy campers!

Friends Glen and Steve headed off down to Gibraltar, and we headed inland to the mountain town of Casares. We'll meet up with them there on Monday.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Beautiful walk on the coast, and a new battery!

Woke up to a beautiful blue sky sunny day here on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

Our battery was scheduled to show up between 11 and 12, so we knew we had to be back for that. But then we received a phone call from them asking if it was okay of they didn't show up until around 4:00pm. Sure, that was actually better so we didn't have to hang around.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our first Spanish campground...

Lots to tell you about today. The big news around here of course was that cold weather front that went through southern Spain. They had predicted it well in advance, and the forecasts actually turned out to be fairly accurate. It's the reason we headed down to the coast earlier than we originally planned.

We heard the rain on the roof Wednesday night, and when we woke up Thursday morning there was snow in the hills behind us!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Not warm enough!

We specifically came down to the coast because of a cold front coming through southern Spain. Well it's cold down on the coast too, but not as cold as it is where we were inland!

The huge empty lot where we are parked for two nights becomes a temporary market on Wednesdays. We heard them getting set up before we even got out of bed!

Spain isn't Canada

Of course every country is unique.  Food, culture, scenery, prices, and languages. There’s something so special about each one.

One thing I find interesting about Spain is how old it is. Of course, every country on earth is old, but the culture is so old. Canada still retains a taste of the wild, of being a new country brought out of timber and mountains by settlers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Back at the coast to meet up with good friends!

It's certainly warmer down here at the coast, but we feel like we're not really in Spain any more! At this time of year there are more British people here than Spanish people! And most of the signage at the local businesses is in English.

So yesterday we drove down from the hills to the coast. We weren't originally planning on coming down here yet, but there's a cold front coming through and even here at the coast it's going to be a chilly high of 10C (50F) and overcast.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We cant get enough of this town. I think we could live there!

The reason we hung around another day at Doña Mencía was because we had seen a marked trail that went up into the park behind the village of Zuheros.

So Ruth packed us a lunch, and we drove Louis over to the trailhead at the base of the town.

Monday, January 16, 2017

5 mile hike to a 9th century castle

Before we left Ubeda, there was one thing we wanted to do. And that was to visit the Sinagoga Del Agua. (Synagogue of the Water).

We like history and this one included some Jewish history, with quite a fascinating story. Back in 2007, a property developer had bought a series of buildings in the historic center of Ubeda, and was going to develop them into apartments, shops, and parking.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A beautiful day exploring Ubeda, Spain.

Yesterday morning's project was to hook up our new inverter.

Louis isn't really really set up for boondocking (wild camping) the way we like to. They have a single marine style deep cycle 12v battery for the house, and of course a normal vehicle battery for the engine.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

First time emptying the tanks...

Everybody knows that the least fun part of the motorhome lifestyle is emptying the holding tanks. Well over here in Europe, it's even less fun! First of all, no campgrounds or aires (we explained yesterday what an aire is) have sewer hookups. And the motorhomes all have cassette style of toilets. So there is no "black" holding tank. Simply a small cassette that removes from the bottom of the toilet via an outside compartment.

We do have a "grey" water holding tank. It's actually larger than I expected, and it's located under the frame at the rear of the motorhome.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Free overnight motorhome parking...what a great concept!

There is a great system of free motorhome parking in Europe. The "Aire" system began in France, and has slowly expanded throughout Europe, and even into the UK.

The word "aire" means area in French. These free motorhome stopovers are called "Aire de Service Camping Cars" in France. Now, they are commonly called "Aires", even though there are different words for them in Germany, and Italy for example.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Boondocking in Spain again...never saw another vehicle the whole time

When we were up at the castle the day  before, we had seen a dam in the distance. So when we woke up yesterday morning, we drove over there thinking there might be a park or something. There wasn't, but there was a level parking area so we stopped there for breakfast.

It was a really pretty dam though!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

No idea where we'll end up tonight, just the way we like it!

No problems our first night in the motorhome. It doesn't get light until  almost 8:00am here in southern Spain, so we find ourselves sleeping in a little bit. Plus, we don't put any heat on, so it's a little chilly inside the motorhome at that hour as well. Putting the burner on to boil some water warms up this small space pretty easily though.

Speaking of chilly, there was a strong wind when we woke up. And we were heading up into higher altitudes with an expected daytime high of only about 13C (55F).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Our first night boondocking in Spain!

We moved all of our stuff into Louis the motorhome yesterday morning. Not that we have that much stuff...we actually have very little stuff! One trip for our bags, and then another trip for the food.

Did a walkaround inspection, then hopped in the driver's seat and turned the key. Louis has a 4 cylinder diesel engine, and it fired right up...he was raring to go!

Monday, January 9, 2017

We're hitting the road this morning!

Holy cow, we slept in yesterday morning. It was after 8:30am when we woke up! That sure doesn't happen very often.

Did lots of online research yesterday morning because when we hit the road we won't have an unlimited source of internet any more. We'll have to make do with our cellular internet most of the time. And even though it's much cheaper than Canada, we still want to be frugal with our usage.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Our home for the next two months...

Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day, with the temperature around 17C (63F) and no wind to speak of. We relaxed for much of the morning and made ourselves a nice ham and egg breakfast before heading out on foot to explore.

The apartment we're staying in is located about a five minute walk from the beach.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A very smooth travel day...and we met Louis!

Yesterday was a travel day, but because we pre-planned a lot, everything went smoothly.

Our motorhome exchange friends Tana and Graham live in Torrevieja, Spain. They are an expat British couple who have an apartment in Torrevieja, but also a small motorhome. For anybody new here at Travel with Kevin and Ruth, they came to Canada to use our motorhome back in June and July of last year. Now, we get to use their motorhome for a couple of months here in Spain and Portugal.

Our best option to get to Spain originally was to fly to Barcelona. But then, we had to make our way from Barcelona to Torrevieja, a distance of about 570 kms (353 miles).

Friday, January 6, 2017

Barcelona was great!

Hopped on the train again to downtown Barcelona yesterday morning.

The T-10 metro transportation pass has really been handy for us. For €9.95 ($14.50 CAD, $10.50 USD) you get 10 trips on the local transportation, and it includes the airport train. Our ten trips are used up as of our return trip yesterday but we'll be back in Barcelona for a night in April, so we'll buy another T-10 pass today and use the balance when we return.

We headed to the main downtown market, the Mercado de la Boqueria.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mystery solved!

Yesterday, we hopped on the train to downtown Barcelona. It's only about 20 minutes from where we are staying here at Badalona. We only have to take the one train from Badalona station to the Clot-Arago station at a cost of 1 euro ($1.45 CAD, $1.10 USD) each and then we could walk from there.

And walk we did! Whether it be London, New York, or Cape Town, we've learned that the only way to see a city is to walk it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Well, the day didn't exactly go as planned.

We were wanting to go for a hike in the hills overlooking Badalona. First, we slept in. It never occurred to us to set the alarm. But there is a room darkening blind on the window, and even at 8:30am it was black as can be inside the room. That, combined with a lack of sleep on the plane the night before, meant that it would be easy to lose track of time.

So it was close to 9am when we actually got out of bed.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I think we're really going to like Spain!

Went for a walk yesterday afternoon just to explore the area a little bit. The beach here in Badalona (just up the coast from Barcelona) is beautiful, but it's off season and of course it's not really beach weather, so there aren't many people out. We found a grocery store with lots of selection, and an especially good gluten free food section. It looks like it will be much easier for us to shop and eat here than when we were in Romania in November.

Monday, January 2, 2017

We are in Barcelona, Spain!

And we're a little tired. But, we are sooooo happy to be here. We're pretty much right on the beach in a suburb of Barcelona called Badalona. But, it's only 20 minutes on the train to get downtown. And the temperature is a very comfortable 15C (60F) and the sun is shining and there is no wind.

In short...it's beautiful!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! And, expense report...

A new year is like a blank book, and the pen is in your hands. It is your chance to write a beautiful story for yourself. 

Happy New Year to all of our readers! We certainly plan on writing a beautiful story for ourselves this year, and it starts today, because we get on a plane to Barcelona, Spain this evening! What a great way to start the new year!

We hope you follow along with us every day. It's going to be exciting as we start our two month European motorhome adventure on January 6th!