Benidorm, big sun and a sober(ish) Snap-On!

On, on, and South-Central France beckoned. It was getting late, I was getting tired – and Steve was getting impatient to get drunk, so on arrival in (at this point it all becomes a bit vague – I’ve been drunk and slept a few times since, so my recollection is not perhaps what it needs to be…), we headed for the nearest Carrefour Supermarket car park and put the jacks down for the night.
Dinner was the first priority, so being in France we took the only logical cultural option: Burger King.
Dinner duly despatched, it was time to wet the auld whistle, so the nearest bar was sought out and glasses of cold (but very flat!) beer were consumed. Except the bars in the shopping centre all closed at around 8pm. Two beers later we were on our way back to Clifford for an early night, welcome from my point of view but not so much a la Steve….
The next morning, and on peering through the window, I discovered that we were just about the only vehicle left in the car park, and Clifford not being exactly small and inconspicuous, stuck out like the proverbial painful opposable digit! No matter though: wild-camping on this basis, whilst not encouraged, is not frowned upon in France either – as long as people don’t abuse the privilege and stay for long periods.
Breakfast wasn’t easy to find: BK hadn’t opened yet so I bought some croissants and coffee and headed back to Clifford with my spoils. At this point, had you been a casual bystander overhearing sounds emanating from within, you would have heard the dulcet early-morning tones of Steve: “What the f**k is that? Breakfast you say???? Don’t make me laugh!!!!! (It seems Steve is not exactly a fan of croissants!).
We hit the road again, this time looking to be in Spain by tea-time ish. The weather, which in northern France had been horrendous, was beginning to reflect our location, and jeans and fleeces were duly cast off in favour of shorts, t shirts and flip-flops. We were heading Southwest-ish towards Beziers, Narbonne and eventually Perpignon, and ultimately to cross the Pyrenees at a place called Le Perthus to cross into Spain. It was fervently hoped that this route would give Clifford the gentlest climb option over the mountains.
All went well and Spain was duly achieved: it was beginning to feel quite real by this time. The weather was glorious, giving us hopefully a taste of things to come for the foreseeable. Steve was (reasonably) sober and even making noises about doing a stint at driving. A feature of the trip up to this point had been regular stops for coffee, cold drinks and leg stretches, and we both accepted that if we didn’t make Benidorm today, well, we were not exactly pushed for time. The trip was a dream, Clifford was coping very very well and life was feeling sweet.
By tea time we were past Barcelona and once again looking for a place to stop for the night – Benidorm would have to wait til tomorrow. (This was perhaps a longer journey than most people would make or even want to. However, one of the main reasons was that I had programmed into the sat-nav and instruction to – wherever possible – avoid paying tolls, which on French and Spanish roads can virtually double the cost of the journey. For this reason we were regularly directed off the toll roads to avoid the “pay stretches” and then get back on at the next toll-free stretch: this invariably involved going through a town or two, which can kind of slow you down when you’re trying to manoeuvre a 33ft bus through the narrow streets!).
We decided to stop in a place called Tarragona, and found a delightful campsite which accepted the Camping Card ACSI, a Europe-wide camping discount card which gave pretty substantial discounts at participating sites. It was definitely worth the small charge we had to pay just to be able to get a shower! More cold (but flat) glasses of beer and then we bedded down for the night ready for arrival the next day.
Stay tuned, more to come. Next time: newly-christened Snap-On Steve takes us on the final leg of the journey….

Posted by sirrahna

  1. We express delight that it
    We express delight that it amuses, delights and occupies otherwise ill-spent time! The drinks are compulsory, I believe, as are the frequent stops for other refreshments….. More soon, I’m on a roll..


  2. French cuisine and hungry Brit’s a clash of clash cultures @BK
    Well dear friend it really didn’t take long, to immerse yourselves in the cultural wasteland of Brits abroad. I can accept the dichotomy of croissant and coffee being traded as breakfast, but please if we are to be identified as a mere satellite state of the US, use the BK app and get your gastronomic delight delivered.
    Good use of the sat nav to avoid additional costs, irrespective of additional mileage, Clifford’s well being one has to keep an eye on the cents provided by the meagre p*****n.
    You have made good progress, though the mind does often misrepresent the hours, planning and effort taken and whilst engaging in the imbibing the nectar identified throughout history and without physical boundaries, I raise a glass myself to the frequency alcohol breaks. Clifford must be well impressed with his new companions.
    having found the blog it provides a huge source of pleasure.
    p and a


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