View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

April Expenses - pretty much on budget!

The month of April took us from Seville to the northern coast of Spain. It was actually a great month. And, we fully expected it to be a fairly inexpensive month. At the end of March, I mentioned that our planned budget for April was $1,380 CAD ($1,018 USD).

That's not very much money nowadays, and while we were ambitious with that goal, we came pretty close!

Max almost got hit! I had to lean on the horn...

Saturday was another dull overcast day. Supposed to be like that again today, but clearing on Monday. Many of you might be hearing on the news how hot it is in Spain, but that's really only south of Madrid. Here in the north, it's actually about normal, with today's high forecast to be 17C (63F).

And we're quite fine with that. And even though it was overcast, it didn't rain on us so we went out with Linda and Steven to do some more exploring of Santander.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Wandering around Santander, Spain

We walked into Santander with Linda and Steven yesterday. It's a bigger city than I thought it was, with a population of about 180,000. 

Interesting that Santander has no medieval central area, despite having a history dating back to the 12th century. That's because there was a massive fire in 1941 that totally destroyed the center of the city.

Friday, April 28, 2023

A nice hike, then into the city of Santander

We really liked the area around the Erbo River Valley, so we wanted to do one more hike before we left. But we still had some driving to do as well because we were meeting Steven and Linda in Santander later in the day.

We set off at 10:00am planning to do a 10 km (6 mile) return trip to a viewpoint. But we changed plans once we were at the top, and made it into a circular route that ended up being 13 kms (8 miles)!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

What a cool little village!

Had a nice peaceful night by the castle just north of Burgos. Then we headed further north towards Santander along a route recommended by friends Glen and Steve who had done it within the last couple of years. 

There's a little village called Orbaneja del Castillo that is nestled on the side of a canyon formed by the Ebro River. What a cool little village!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A quick stop into Burgos for another photo match up

Some of you were curious as to what it was that brought my father to Europe. He did two trips, one in 1954, and one in 1957. I'll tell the story based on my memory of events, although I might get some figures wrong. I should probably ask my mother for clarification if she remembers, but here it goes...

His mother (my paternal grandmother) came from the northern part of Czech Republic, close to the German border. She arrived in Canada by herself sometime in the late 1920's, met my grandfather, and my father was the first born (in 1929) of six children. I think the fact that his mother was from Europe probably instigated some of his ambition to see that part of the world.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Another photo match, and another fantastic overnight spot

Headed a little closer to Burgos yesterday. Made a stop along the way to see the town of Tordesillas and to match up one of my dad's photos there. Then carried on to bypass the city of  Valladolid and found a great overnight spot just east of Palencia.

So, first stop was in Tordesillas. The main road goes right by the single photo that Dad took there.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Planning for Ireland

We do the 30 hour ferry crossing to Ireland in two weeks... May 7th, to be exact. So we've been doing some planning. We're going to be there for probably two months, although we've got some flexibility. If we want to stay longer, we certainly can. From there, we'll go to either Scotland or Wales. We haven't decided yet, and it can be a last minute decision depending on how long we stay in Ireland.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The cheapest fuel in Spain!

We actually had a fair bit of rain on Friday night! Haven't heard that noise on Max's roof in a long time. I think we had a few drops the last night we were in Morocco, but that was just spitting. This time it came down fairly hard for a few hours.

But at least it was overnight, and by the time we got ready to walk back into Salamanca it was clearing up.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Salamanca is worth a visit!

We are parked just over 3 kms (2 miles) from the city center of Salamanca. We set off at 10:30am to walk downtown, do some exploring, and try to match up three more of my dad's photos.

The first one was taken from the south side of the Tormes River looking towards the cathedral.

Friday, April 21, 2023

An update on our Schengen visa problem

First off, some of you may have missed yesterday's post due to a technical error. The problem is now solved, so if you didn't see it yesterday, you can read it here now...

Yesterday, we drove the rest of the way to Salamanca. When we arrived, we got sidetracked by a big Walmart style store, and Ruth needed some new walking shoes and a few other things. So we went and did some shopping. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The walled city of Avila, Spain

We left our nice spot by the stream as soon as we got up at 7:30am. It was only a short drive to the small city of Avila, and we were headed to a laundromat that opened at 8:00am. We figured if we got there early, we could get laundry done while having breakfast, then go explore the city.

Found a great parking spot right by the laundry, and close enough to the center that we could walk in.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Police in the middle of the night

Another gorgeous day in Spain. We left Max in his spot by the dirt road, and set off on a morning hike. We didn't really have any plans, but there are so many different trails that we figured we would just choose something and make up our route as we went along.

Didn't really plan on doing 13 kms (8 miles), but that's the way it worked out!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A gorgeous free camping spot

Our friends Glen and Steve had told me about a waterfall near the village of Riofrio where there was a difficult to access, but beautiful overnight spot. 

It turned out that we couldn't access it all, but we found an even better spot nearby!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Drive through the mountains

Sunday was a day of rest, but we did do a 50 km (30 mile) drive through a mountain pass just for a change of scenery. I had read of a couple of vans that had done the drive, but no motorhomes. The only problem would be the width of having to pass someone coming the other way.

And it was only 50 kms (30 miles) but it took an hour.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

We hiked 19 kms (12 miles) to see a tree!

And of course we saw thousands of trees along the way, but this one tree is special.

It always makes a hike better when there is a destination of some kind... a waterfall, a cave, or maybe a viewpoint. But I'm not sure we've ever done a hike to see a tree!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

We finally made it into the mountains!

Mostly cloudy yesterday as we made or way into the mountains west of Madrid. We ended up at the town of La Adrada where they have a motorhome service area to empty and fill our tanks, and somewhere to park for the night.

The parking isn't ideal, it's in a kind of a residential area. But the area surrounding the town has so many hiking trails and walks that we can do that without having to drive anywhere that we'll probably stay put for another night.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Sidetracked by a castle

Our original intention was to get into the mountains for some nature and peace and quiet after having spent too much time in cities. But we stopped for lunch in the town of Escalona, and decided to spend the night.

But along the way, we stopped in the town of Torrijos to do some shopping. They had a Lidl and a Mercadona right beside each other with easy parking for a motorhome.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Photo matching in Toledo, Spain

For those of you new here, my father had done two extended trips to Europe in the 1950's, one in 1954, and one in 1957. He took a lot of photos in slide format, and Ruth has digitized them and we have them on our laptops. So when we are in the same place as he was, we try to match up some of those photos by standing in the exact same spot that he might have stood almost 70 years ago.

We were pretty successful in this exercise here in Toledo, Spain yesterday!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

We're actually a little ahead of schedule

Yesterday. we did the drive to the small city of Toledo, located just south of the big city of Madrid. We don't have to be at the ferry port in Bilbao until May 6 which is still three and a half weeks away.

So we're actually a little ahead of schedule. If we drove directly there, we're only 500 kms (300 miles) or so from Bilbao, but we've got quite a lot of things to see along the way, plus we're going to do some zig zagging to get up there. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Castle and windmills in Consuegra, Spain.

There's been an odd haze in the air the last couple of days. It's the Sahara dust again that finds it's way drifting across the south of Spain a few times per year. It was pretty bad yesterday morning, but seemed to clear up a bit by the end of the day, and this morning it seems we have our nice blue sky back again.

We went for a short walk before we left the hill behind Piedrabuena, then headed for the town of Consuegra.

Monday, April 10, 2023

A visit from the park rangers...

We had a totally peaceful night, and woke up to see that all of the crowds of people had disappeared. Surprisingly, very little trash left behind despite the fact that there are no trash bins. 

I went for a walk around to see which spot by the river looked easiest to get Max moved to. Such a nice spot, and a few walks we could do in the area so we planned to stay a least one more night, possibly two.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

We arrived and it was busy with crowds of people picnicking!

We tried to get an early start. We went to the laundry in Pozoblanco first thing. In fact, we were there by 8:30am, and we found a parking spot right out front. It was kind of odd because it was on a residential street. I should have taken a photo. Only two washing machines, and one dryer. Everything really clean. Half an hour to wash, and the machine automatically supplies the soap. Then twenty minutes to dry. 

From there, we went to the Mercadona grocery store.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

We haven't got very far!

Not that we're in a rush. But since we arrived back in Spain it kinda feels like we haven't got very far. I've included a map for you below. We don't need to be at the northern coast for our ferry until May 7th, so we've got another month or so yet.

And it was just a short drive yesterday as we made our way to the town of Pozoblanco. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

Back in the countryside

We enjoyed our four days in Cordoba, and our three days in Seville before that, but after all of that city time we were overdue for some countryside!

Thursday, Friday, and Sunday are all national public holidays here in Spain. The main road leading north from Cordoba was pretty busy, so we were happy to get onto a quiet side road.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Andalusian Horse Equestrian Show in Cordoba

We had bought tickets online to the Wednesday evening Andalusian Horse Equestrian Show at the Royal Stables in Cordoba. There were two choices of tickets... regular and premium.

My mother gives us some birthday and Christmas money each year, and we still had some left over from last year. We usually use that money to so something we wouldn't normally do on our travels. So we decided to go to the horse show, and splurged on the premium seating.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Easter in Spain

Semana Santa is the name of the Holy Week celebrations that take place in Spanish speaking countries. It's a big deal in many communities, and in fact it's a big tourist draw for some of them as well.

Cordoba, Spain is one of those places where there is a lot going on. We didn't plan to be here during this time, it just happened to be a place we wanted to visit, and coincidentally we arrived here this week. We're really lucky to have a free parking space for Max that's really close to everything that's going on.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

As expected, we're getting the runaround...

One of the main attractions here in Cordoba is the Mosque/Cathedral. 

Originally built as The Great Mosque between the years 785 and 958, it was converted to a Catholic Church in 1236. The current Cathedral, built in the center of the Mosque structure was completed during the 1500's.

Monday, April 3, 2023

From Seville to Cordoba... and Max gets a bath!

It was after 10:30am when we said goodbye to our new friends Lucy and Ben. Sometimes you just know that you'll bump into each other again, you just don't know when or where! 

Anyhow, we weren't in a big rush because Cordoba is less than a two hour drive, and the location we were going is better arrived at later in the day due to car parking from the nearby zoo. I had read that by the end of the day, most of the cars have left and there is more room for the motorhomes.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Another day wandering beautiful Seville, Spain

We set off walking with our new friends Lucy and Ben at just before 11:00am. Another gorgeous day here in Seville... sunny skies with a high around 27C (81F).

Heading to the central area, we had to pass right by the beautiful Plaza de Espana on the way, so we couldn't help but go see it again.

March Expenses

March was another expensive month!

We spent a total of $4,987 CAD ($3,689 USD) for the month.

But while we really did spend that much money, it didn't feel that bad because much of the expenses had been paid in previous months. For example, we spent $2,567 CAD ($1,898 USD) on the airfare to fly daughter Lindsey and the grandkids to Morocco and back from their home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

A visit to the police in Seville

I had read that the motorhome parking area in Seville can get really busy. So we got an early start, hoping to arrive there before noon to give us the best chance to secure a spot. The one we stayed at when we were here in 2017 is now closed, so this is a different spot. 

A little further from the central area, but still walking distance.