Finally, we go out again

Finally, we go out again

January 3 till February 22 – 2024

It’s almost time to hit the road again with our RV.
Dick’s knee is much better and his physiotherapy ended so I am going to think about an itinerary. We still have some time because it is December 23, 2023 and our friend Hugo would like to see us working in the fireworks, so at this moment our departure day is set for January 3, 2024.

Our destination will be Spain. Not because it is so nice and warm there at this time of year, I have let go of that illusion, but because in 2024 I will walk another pilgrimage, the “Via de la Plata” and the “Camino Sanabres’” that runs from Seville to Santiago de Compostela and is 621 miles long.

Sevilla Alberque Triana

I will walk this Camino together with Netta, a women I met at the Dutch Society of St. James. We already booked the flight to Seville and also reserved a place to sleep in albergue Triana in Seville.
Now our itinerary will passes some places along this Camino. In this way Dick, but I also, will get an idea what this route has to offer. It’s quite a puzzle.
I completely forgotten how to make an itinerary.  In 2023 we only left home to travel twice a week with the RV. Finally I have an idea about the route to drive and just before we work at the fireworks our route is ready in such a way that I don’t have to do much about it anymore.

After greeting the new year it is soon January 3, 2024. Dick feels bad. While working with many people who were sniffling and coughing, he picked up too many bacteria. That’s why he doesn’t take the city bus to the storage but we drive there in our car. This is actually better because it is raining heavily.

Waiting for a new battery

Fortunately, there is not much traffic on the road on these first days of the new year, so we arrive at the storage at 9 am and have a chat with the employees. Unfortunately, our motorhome does not start, so after using an electronic starting aid we drive to our Fiat garage, two km away. After almost 5 years and a long standstill in the past year, the car battery has failed. The old battery may still last this holiday because we drive every day, but we prefer to be on the safe side. It will be much worse if we end up somewhere in a remote spot and cannot go any further. After waiting for an hour and a half we drive home with a new battery.

At home I load everything that needs to be taken into the RV, while Dick fills up with drinking water. Unfortunately, this does not work very well because this water leaves the watertank at the same speed through the bottom. No matter which buttons we turn, the water continues to flow away. Even a telephone call for help to our RV dealer offers no relief. Without water it is annoying to travel around, so when everything is loaded we decide to drive to Raema, our RV-dealer, and get help there.
Initially the plan is to drive there early tomorrow morning, but because it is dead quiet on the roads we may manage it today and yes, at 5 pm we drive onto the dealer premisses. Then it becomes apparent that during the annual camper service, buttons were opened that we did not even know, let alone that we ever used them. Half an hour later we can leave. We have a running engine and a full tank of drinking water.

It is dark now, but we only have to drive half an hour and then we arrive in Thorn. It’s 6 pm. It is pouring rain and water flows past the RV. So it is not surprising that no one else is parked here.

Ready to eat.

We stay close to the river Maas but assume that the dike will keep the water away. If a critical water level is reached (which is not unthinkable given the heavy rain that has fallen in recent months) we will undoubtedly be informed in time.

Thursday January 4 it is cloudy, but fortunately storm Henk, which has prevailed in recent days, has weakened. Following our itinerary makes no sense now because we are too far east and after consulting the map we leave. Our destination today will be Beauvais in France. A good choice because as soon as we cross the border, some blue sky appears and we bask in the sun’s rays. Normally we drive about  90 till 150 miles per day, but the chosen destination is a bit further away so we don’t arrive at the parking in Beauvais until 4.30 pm. We don’t feel like walking to the nice cathedral anymore, so when the RV is parked I walk to the large supermarket on the other side of the road. I love strolling around those big supermarkets. Dick on the other hand doesn’t like this so he stays in the RV. When I finally return it is already dark outside. Time to relax. When I try to open the bottle of wine with the lightweight corkscrew I just bought, it doesn’t work at all. The cork is pulverized. I can forget taking this opener with me on the Camino. But… we have another opener so we can raise our glass to a good journey.

The next day we don’t get up until 8 am. The sun is shining so it is wonderful to go out and buy a fresh baguette. We leave after breakfast. We soon notice that farmers are also protesting against agricultural policy here. The place name signs of every village and town we pass, have been turned upside down. A better protest than in our country where the farmers hang our national flag upside down. As we drive further south, the sky continues to close and becomes dark gray and soon we can admire beautiful rainbows. The vast farmlands around us are completely under water. Western Europe has been ravaged by rain for months.

Honfleur harbor

Upon arrival in Honfleur, the sky partly opens again and we are welcomed with some blue sky and sun. Unfortunately, after an hour and a half the sky closes again and it starts to rain. Fortunately, I put on a rain coat over my down jacket so when I climb the hills above Honfleur, I don’t immediately get soaked.
Dick stayed at home (read: RV-Frankia) because he did not want to attempt the steep climb over the bumpy cobblestones yet. However, I want to find the two geocaches that have been hidden here since our last visit. Fortunately, the rain stops quickly and I enjoy the view over Honfleur and the river Seine. I find the two caches quickly.
After I descend into the town and buy some groceries, I walk back to our Frankia and a little later I walk back again. “Our” kebab restaurant is open and we can’t resist getting food here. A good choice because the meal tastes delicious.

It rains on Saturday morning and because I don’t feel like walking into town, we eat custard and yoghurt and then we leave. Of course, after first dumping our gray and black water. We also fill up with clean water. The latter is particularly important because at this time of year the water is turned off at many parking for RV’s. Despite the fact that we drive 125 miles, we arrive already in Pontorson at 1 pm. After parking our camper behind the Carrefour supermarket, we walk to the “laverie” and soon the washing machine is running. Our bedding is not in the wash yet because we used it for only a few days, although, with all our sniffling and coughing, it would be better to wash that bedding too. Once everything is clean, dry and put away, I walk to the supermarket to get some baguette. Now we can eat that tonight with a cup of soup and the leftover meat. That’s nice because I am not really feeling well right now either I don’t want to cook extensively. Because it is freezing outside, we turn the heater on extra high. We won’t make it very late. Although Dick has improved a lot, he has not yet fully recovered.

We wake up on Sunday morning, January 7, when it gets light. At this time of year that means sleeping until half past eight. Unlike the previous days, there are no longer clouds to be seen. The sky is steel blue and the sun is shining brightly. Unfortunately, the thermometer gets stuck at 36 degrees fahrenheit.

Salt winning lakes Guerande

After a breakfast with fresh baguette we leave. Finally Dick managed to make me sick too and I cough and splutter like crazy. To those around me I am a walking bacteria bomb.
But the sun has a cathartic effect and as we get further south I improve considerably. At half past two we arrive in Guerande, the French region where seasalt is extracted.

Salt shop “Terre de Sel”

We stop at “Terre de Sel” to buy salt. Not regular salt but salt enriched with herbs. We buy three packs so, for the time being, Henk has enough for his pizza dough. Then we drive further between the water basins, in the full sun. We have to pay for the parking in Guerande and since we don’t like doing that, we decide to drive another 11 miles to Pornichet. There is a free parking near the horse race course. The parking is not really special and there are already many RV’s parked, but we still manage to find a spot. Because there are some caches around the racecourse and I also have to walk miles, I’m going to walk around a bit. Unfortunately, most horse races have already taken place. When I’m almost back home I see people walking to the stands. So there will probably be another horse race tonight. Since I am now thoroughly cold, I don’t want to wait for that and I return to our nice warm camper. Dick spoils me with a glass of red wine.

The cold remains. An icy wind is blowing on Monday, January 8.
We eat survival bread (long lasting bread) and then we leave. Unfortunately, the blue sky quickly disappears behind a thick cloud cover, so the view from the high bridge at St. Nazaire is somewhat gloomy. We stop in La Roche sur Yon to dump and then drive on quiet roads to Marans. Here we spend the night behind the supermarket and, more importantly, we clean our Frankia. And that is not superfluous with the heavy rain of the past few days. The outside is extremely dirty.
So soon Dick takes the high-pressure spray and I pick up a brush and together we tackle the outside of our Frankia. You see the dirt disappear and eventually we can drive a reasonably clean RV into its parking spot.

Parking in Marans

As soon as we have finished our well-deserved coffee, we put the insulation mat in front of the windshield. Not an unnecessary luxury because the temperature has now dropped to 36 degrees fahrenheit. Then I walk to the center of this town to buy cough syrup. In the meantime I am also looking for a geocache that I can just reach. On my way back it doesn’t work anymore. The water level in the river has now risen so much that the deck next to the quay is flooded and you really have to cross it to get the cache hidden in the quay wall. The high water level is not only here in France.
From Hannah and Henk, who cycle in the Netherlands, we receive pictures that clearly show how entire forest paths are flooded. Dick turned up the heating in the RV and the warmth is good for my numb body. The food in a Thai takeaway next to the parking doesn’t look very appealing, so we cook ourselves. The burger with lettuce and baguette tastes great.

After showering on Tuesday, we remove the insulation mat from the windshield. Again it was not an unnecessary luxury to have this in front of the window because last night it was only 33 degrees fahrenheit. Now we attached the isolationmat a few times, it works in no time and we leave. Soon we drive through the still barren vineyards of Bordeaux. At first the sky is gray, but soon the sun breaks through the clouds and blue sky can be seen everywhere.
We arrive early afternoon in Artigues pres Bordeaux and decide to continue driving. Not much later we drive through Les Landes, the vast plains south of Bordeaux.

Walking in Pissos

It is clearly the southernmost part of France and around us you can see many Spanish and Portuguese trucks, all returning to their homeland. We look for a new place to spend the night and after another stretch of narrow back roads, driving through endless forests, we arrive in Pissos.
It’s a small village where you can park behind the church. When we wander through town a little later, the only restaurant turns out to be closed, but luckily there is a small shop where we can buy food. So we don’t have to use our emergency food supply.

We light a candle in the church



After also lightning a candle in the church, to say thank you for life, we walk back to the Frankia.

Dick want to clean the windows and I want to look for a geocache, further on in the forest. Just before 5 pm I am back and we put the insulation mat on. Tonight it will not be warmer than 33 degrees Fahrenheit  and the exuberant sun this afternoon has now disappeared behind the trees.

 On Wednesday morning, January 10, I walk into church with my fresh baguette to lit our candle but it is already lit. Very sympathetic because yesterday it could only burn for a short time until the church doors closed.
After breakfast we leave this quiet place. Yesterday we drove a lot further south than planned so today we will drive shorter. The weather changed and it is foggy with little sun and every now and then some snowflakes. We drive for a long time on small tree-lined roads.
When we arrive in Irun, Spain we first look for a gas station. We are surprised by the low price of diesel. This is at least $ 1,35 a gallon below the price in France. Later this gas station turns out to be an exception because we only find such low prices every now and then. Given the low clouds and the drizzle, we are not considering driving over narrow mountain passes to park in a parking lot high in the mountains. Although I would love to spend the night in that spot, I discovered it while walking the Camino del Norte in May. Now we drive to San Sebastian where we look for the parking lot near the university.

Colourful fruits and vegetables

Although this is a paid parking lot, the location is more favorable than the parking lot at the arena on the mountain above town. After finding a spot among many other parked campers, we walk into San Sebastian. It is drizzling a bit, a cold wind is blowing and it is 37 degrees fahrenheit, but despite this people are sitting outside on the terraces in front of the bars that are everywhere. Wearing thick coats. That goes a bit too far for us, so we just look and continue walking. It’s surpising how many fruitshops we see. After 2 miles we call it a day and walk back.
Looking at my phone I see that the boulevard is not really far away, so I walk outside again. Now without Dick because he knows this boulevard and the sea from previous visits to San Sebastian.

Rough sea with big waves



Maybe he is right because when I arrive at the coast, the sky is grey and waves crash on the coast. Not really attractive. After founding my geocache (was also hidden here) I walk back.

“The Good Burger”








An hour later we go out again. We want to eat at the “The Good Burger”. Although we are alone, the food tastes good and the soft drinks with the menu can be replaced by a glass of wine so we can raise our glass of wine.

The next day it is still grey weather, it’s cold and drizzling.
We now have breakfast with Oroweat, multigrain bread that we have often bought in the USA, it tastes good. Then we dump, fill up with clean water and leave San Sebastian. Soon we are driving through the fog on a highway. Is this a toll road or not? Dick’s Hakuna wants to leave this road, my Hakuna wants to keep driving on it. And we both have set: “avoid toll roads”. Sometimes we see signs indicating that a toll must be paid, but this can also apply to trucks. We keep driving and climb higher into the mountains. At an altitude of 2132 ft the drizzle turns into snow. Now we understand the presence of so many snow plows everywhere along the road. They wait until they can take action. Before that happens, we have left this altitude and the highway and arrive in Vitoria Gasteiz.

RV-parking Vitoria-Gazteiz

One of our favorite places. Not only because of the parking, there is also a good supermarket and a “lavanderia”. However, today I will not wash our clothes. I feel miserable. Spent the whole night throwing up. Could the milk and custard, which were both expired, be the culprits after all? In any case, it wasn’t due to dinner because Dick has no problems, but Dick refuses to eat or drink anything that is out of date. Once we are parked, I go to bed and don’t show up again for the rest of the afternoon. Towards the evening I feel a bit better and together we walk to Eroski (the supermarket) to buy something easy to digest. It will be lettuce and baguette. Poor Dick, he will have to do with this meal.

We get up at half past eight on Friday January 12.
What I already thought turned out to be correct. I have a bladder infection. All symptoms point to it. Fortunately, I still have medication that I was given in case this happened to me during the Camino, so I can start with antibiotics. It brings immediately relief.We leave Vitoria at 10 am and arrive in Burgos 2.5 hours later. First we park at the large La Plata shopping center, but tomorrow morning there is a market so this parking lot must be cleared before six am. That’s why we park elsewhere and walk back to the shopping center. It is still cold, only 41 degrees fahrenheit, but the sky is steel blue and the sun is shining brightly. End of the afternoon we are back and enjoy the sun and strolling Spaniards. When the sun has set behind the surrounding apartment buildings, we apply the insulation mat and enjoy a home-cooked meal from burgers and bread.

To the “Lavanderia” in Zamora

We wake up on Saturday January 13th, the sun shines but it’s already half past eight. What a difference a little sunshine makes, it feels warmer. Unfortunately, we cannot enjoy the sun for long because when we are on our way to our next destination, the clouds take over and we are occasionally surprised with a rain shower. At 1 pm we arrive in Zamora. Here is plenty of choice for parking. Close by is a lavanderia, so after having a coffee, I collect all our clothes and bedding and we walk there with two laundry bags. Unfortunately, only one washing machine is available so I have to wait until the other machine is done but that is inherent to the washing process in the small lavanderias. Finally, thanks to the help of Dick who walks back and forth three times and folds everything, we are finished at half past four. Our bed is made and everything is neatly stored in the cupboards.

Castle in Zamora

Because it is still daylight we decide to explore town. After all, I will also pass this town during my pilgrimage. At the same time it offers the opportunity to try out my “Camino app”. We only see a small part of the old town, but it is enough to fall in love with it. At the supermarket we buy a pizza that ends up in the oven and offers us a nice meal. At night it rains for a long time, the temperature does not drop below 43 degrees fahrenheit.

Dumpstation Zamora


It is still raining on Sunday morning, January 14, so we really need our rain jacket when we dump and fill up with water. Fortunately, the rain stops when we leave Zamora and climb higher into the mountains. I soon see on my “Buen Camino app” that we cross the Via de la Plata. I manage to take some pictures of the paths that Netta and I will walk in April. Now Dick can see the landscape we will walk through. It is quite hilly. Dick is admirable because he keeps smiling despite the fact I keep pointing over and over again the paths where I will walk. At 1 pm we arrive in Ciudad Rodrigo, a beautiful old town not far from the Portuguese border. There is only one camper in the parking lot and again we have every choice to find a nice spot. While I make coffee, Dick helps the Spaniard of the other camper who is unable to get satellite reception. After Dick’s explanation that he really has to get away from the bare tree, he moves his camper and we get a happy face and thumbs up.

Narrow street in Ciudad Rodrigo

Because it is dry, we walk into the old fortified town. We have to climb a lot but all these old towns are built on top of the mountain and of course our parking lot is located all the way down. But we succeed and we arrive at the fortress around 2 pm. Unfortunately the church is just closing so we cannot visit it. Then it turns out that everything here is closed and therefore extinct. It is Sunday and only 55 degrees fahrenheit. After a long walk around the fortress wall and through the narrow medieval streets, we arrive at the Plaza Mayor where we have lunch in a restaurant. The menu is not bad but the fried eggs float in the oil and that bothers us for the rest of the afternoon. Back in our Frankia, our French propane tank appears to be empty. Considering the cold, this tank has lasted quite a long time.

When we get up on Monday, January 15, it is raining again. Not only the Netherlands has rain day in, day out, this region is also ravaged by it. But after the long hot summer, people are probably happy with it. Finally, the water reservoirs can be brought up to standard.
Once again we drive through dense fog and clouds. It is mountainous and the narrow countryside road climbs to an altitude of 3215 feet. Fortunately it clears up a bit when we drive past the large waterreservoirs. Thanks to my app I can discover the Camino paths I will walk. We are now driving in the Extremadura, climbing and descending constantly and only after endless descents we leave the mountains behind us and arrive in Merida.

There we quickly find the guarded parking lot in the center. We want to look around this old Roman town. Every street goes either steeply up or down. Dick’s knees take a beating. But there are nice streets and everywhere you see a history of the Romans.

Diana’s temple in Merida

The temple of Diana is impressive, the old Roman bridge is beautiful, but the old fortress wall of Al Razi brings you back in history. It is also noticeable that orange trees are scattered throughout the city, full of these delicious orange fruits. Of course my app picks up the Camino route again. Confusing is that the signs show the name “Camino Mozarabe de Santiago”. Finally, at the end of the afternoon, after a 4 miles walk, we return to the Frankia. There we chat with English neighbors who also have a Frankia camper. Just like us, they are very satisfied with it. For the first time it is pleasantly warm outside, the thermometer shows 64 degrees fahrenheit.

Tuesday January 16, it is already 57 degrees Fahrenheit even though there is a breeze. Unfortunately it is cloudy, but as we get further south the sky clears and the sun still breaks through. It is very hilly here so we climb and descend a lot.

Jambon Iberico – Monesterio



We turn off at the town of Monesterio. The town is famous for its Jamon Iberico and I would like to take a look at the Museo de Jamon. But no matter how we look, we don’t find this museum. There are buses everywhere, they probably block our view. So we drive on. I might take a look while I’m walking through here. After a final slope at 2200 feet altitude we start a steady descent to Seville. Dick, who always has a good sense of direction, drives flawlessly to the port area. I only recognize where we are when we take the exit to the parking of a car company. It’s busy, but luckily we find a spot. It is still dry when we make our way to the center, but then it starts to rain. At first it is drizzly, but soon serious rain falls. Luckily we put on a rain jacket.

Torre del Oro – Sevilla

We walk through picturesque streets towards the river and pass albergue Triana. When the door opens I can’t resist walking in and of course Dick has to enter too. We talk for a while and then continue. The airport busstop is across the river at the Torre del Oro. We just see it just leaving. It’s good to know that there is a bus stop here because when we arrive at the airport we can take this bus and walk to the albergue. Because the rain is pouring down now, we decide to walk back and after a 5.5 miles walk we arrive soaking wet.  Since we left it became increasingly difficult to open the side door from the outside, now it is no longer possible and we have to enter through the driver’s side door. Dick immediately turns on the heater and while drinking hot chocolate we warm and dry up. It has rained so hard that my rain jacket also shows wet spots on the inside. We slowly turn rosy and at half past nine we are already in bed.

When we get up on Wednesday, January 17, the rain stopped, the sun is shining and you can even see some blue sky. Still we’re leaving today. But first we want to dump. It is busy so we have to wait a while, but that doesn’t matter because it gives us the opportunity to talk to other people. There is a line of RV’s waiting to leave the site but also a line of trucks waiting to unload their cargo of passenger cars (which are parked here). The mystery of how the car company knows in this complete chaos whether all those departing RV’s have paid is solved when we see a van parked across the road at the end of the access road. He only clears the road after checking its papers.

Through the mountains to Ronda

The wind is blowing quite hard and there are still a lot of clouds, but it is 64 degrees Fahrenheit so we don’t complain. We drive straight through the mountains to Ronda. We leave civilization behind us and enjoy the high rocks that loom in the distance. Every now and then a bright rainbow shows that there is still rain in the sky. But through the heavy clouds the sun also shines. In Ronda it is very busy at the parking, but we manage to find a spot opposite the washing machines. Great, because now I can keep an eye on our washing process from the camper. The weather is nice and at least 66 degrees Fahrenheit, so in my T-shirt I walk back and forth between our Frankia and the washing machine.

Washing machine’s in Ronda

Because there is only 1 washing machine and 1 dryer and a Norwegian man spends a long time drying clothes, the process takes a lot of time. Finally, at 5 pm everything is clean and dry. In between Dick has vacuumed the Frankia. He does that much more carefully than I do, so I’d like to leave it to him. RV’s come and go all afternoon, but at 6 pm, the sign “completo” is brought out and the barrier no longer opens.
Threatening clouds have gained the upper hand and it start to rain. We have sauerkraut so we don’t have to go out to do any shopping.

After we get up on Thursday, January 18, I first cut Dick’s hair. This is urgently needed because he has now grown a lot of hair. Because we stay another day we have plenty of time. When Dick looks handsome again, we shower and during breakfast we overlook the bathroom opposite us. We are amazed of the large number of people who walk in, dressed in bathrobes. Strange because in a camper you have a bathroom and shower.

The famous gorge in Ronda

Once we have done the dishes (in the camper and not at the sink outside) we walk to the center of Ronda. The sun is shining and it is pleasant to be outside. The town of Ronda is divided by a deep gorge, which is beautiful to see. This time we arrive at a different place and walk along the gorge. Despite the drizzling rain we enjoy the deep and wild gorge. With all that walking around we have an appetite for coffee and at a bakery we also find a delicious pastry. We sit inside because the temperature does not exceed 54 degres Fahrenheit and we do not have the Spanish genes. After our 6.5 miles walk we are back and Dick says this distant is not enough for me. I have not yet reached the required number of walking miles, so I leave again. This time I walk to the Lidl. I saw this supermarket in the distance and want to take a closer look. It takes some effort to get there because I don’t take the normal road but walk over undeveloped terrain, which means I bump into a fence, but eventually I find the right way. The result is that we eat potato salad, lettuce and bratwurst in the evening and I end up walking 9 miles.

Friday, January 19, a strong wind is blowing and after dumping and filling up drinking water we leave. We drive through the beautiful mountain landscape of the Sierra de los Neves. Unfortunately it’s very cloudy and it is drizzling a bit. Then we arrive at the coast in Marbella. It’s a tourist town and as far as you can see, all the slopes are completely built up. There is not even a patch of green to be seen. Every now and then we see a glimpse of the sea, but the apartment buildings conceal everything.  But eventually we see the Rock of Gibraltar looming in front of us. Behind several RV’s, including one of American size, we drive to the access road of the parking lot in La Linea de Conception, the Spanish town on the border with Gibraltar.

The RV’s in front of us are apparently not known here. They hesitate and stop at an intersection, we pass them and manage to get a nice spot at the harbor. We have been here several times but we have never seen it this busy. Fortunately an additional parking area has been opened up. The oversized RV is not happy with us because it now has to park on the site behind us. By the way, I wonder if this colossus could have park at the harbor without blocking the entire road.

Walking on the runway Gibraltar airport

Fortunately, the black clouds clear in the afternoon so we can walk to Gibraltar in the sun.
The traffic situation in Gibraltar has changed drastically, car traffic is being diverted and no longer drives over the runway. Only pedestrians and cyclists still traverse Gibraltar’s runway. It is not that busy in Gibraltar and we wander through the center. Before walking back to Spain we sit down at a bakery and eat a croissant. In the distance we see the rain coming down but luckily we keep it dry during our 4 miles walk. Because we are not allowed to take milk or meat from Gibraltar to Spain, I still walk to the Mercadona at the end of the afternoon.
It is now 5 pm and pleasantly busy. How different the street scene in Spain looks at the end of the afternoon, after the siesta. Towards the evening it starts raining and the wind blows so hard that our roof hatches cannot remain in the ventilation position.

Africa in the background

When we get up January 20, the sun shines in a clear blue sky. There is little wind and it is already 54 degrees fahrenheit. What a beautiful weather. After breakfast we grab our bikes to ride around Gibraltar. We soon cross the border, waving our passports. Today we are cyclist 314 and 315 who arrive in Gibraltar. We cross through the busy traffic and drive up and down steep streets to the south side of town. The coast of Africa looks dark against the blue sky and we enjoy a high waterfall. Finally, after cycling through a long tunnel, we arrive at the southernmost tip of Gibraltar.

Waterfall on the rock of Gibraltar

What beautiful weather it is and how nice is it to look at another continent. On the way back we stop at a bay where a geocache is hidden. Unfortunately the water in this bay is too deep to walk through. I also don’t have water shoes or waders with me, so we’ll try to get this cache next time. Because of the nice weather there are several terraces in the shopping street and since the “fish and chips” are tempting, we lock our bicycles together and have lunch among the many Spaniards. They apparently also see Gibraltar as a weekend destination. Finally, at the end of the afternoon we cycle back to the border, wave our passports again, no one takes a second look at it, and arrive back at our Frankia. Dick puts the bikes back in the garage and together we enjoy a beautiful sunset at the harbor at the end of the afternoon. It was wonderful to cycle again.

The weather picture is significantly different on Sunday and some rain falls from the gray cloudy sky every now and then. We have to be patient to fill up with water and dump because we are 3 in line. Fortunately we are early because when it is finally our turn after 20 minutes, 8 other RV’s are waiting behind us. At 10 am our tanks are full/empty and we leave in the drizzle. To our surprise, the clouds soon disappear and when we arrive in Cadiz the sky is steel blue again and we park in the full sun in the parking lot in the port area. Soon afterwards we walk through Cadiz and admire the old buildings and narrow streets.

Square in front of the Cathedral in Cadiz

It’s busy everywhere. Benches are full of people and on terraces it is difficult to get a seat. It seems like all the residents of Cadiz are outside on the streets. On the square in front of the Cathedral we manage to get a table where we have a drink and eat a sandwich. There is little wind here and the sun shines brightly, so the temperature even reaches 68 degrees fahrenheit. Ultimately we walk further, look for some geocaches and at 4 pm, after an 5 miles walk, we are back.

Because of the nice weather I take a look at the pier that extends into the sea. It is busy here with hikers. Everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather on this Sunday afternoon. After the sun sets we admire the beautifully colored sky, we eat rice with chicken and watch TV. We won’t make it very late.

The sun also shines in a clear blue sky on Monday. How we have missed this weather in recent months, when it rained a lot. After we have paid for the parking, we leave. We soon drive past Seville. From a high bridge we have a beautiful view of our parking at the harbor and at half past one we arrive in Ayamonte. Here is a gas company located where we can fill up our tanks with propane. That’s good because at this point in the trip our propane tanks can use some filling. After all three tanks have been filled and we have paid, we go to the supermarket to do some shopping and then we drive to the parking lot in Ayamonte.

RV parking in Ayamonte

It is a bit difficult to get onto the site because one barrier has to close before the next barrier opens, but with some maneuvering we succeed and we can get a beautiful spot next to the river, in the full sun. It’s 71 degrees fahrenheit. After having a cup of coffee we walk through the small border town of Ayamonte.

It remains fairly flat along the river, but if we want to return to the end of the harbor we have to climb enormously. There is half a mountain between us and the river.

Boulevard Ayamonte

Poor Dick, climbing isn’t going so smoothly with his new knee. Finally we are back at half past five where we enjoy the boat traffic on the river. The ferry to Portugal on the other side runs quite often. After another beautiful sunset, the temperature drops quickly. We raise our glass to a wonderful holiday.

Unfortunately, it is a lot colder on Tuesday, January 23, despite the fact that the sun is shining brightly. A chilly breeze means that the temperature does not exceed 50 degrees fahrenheit. When I want to pay after breakfast, that turns out not to be possible. According to the computer, our RV is not present on the parking lot and without a license plate I cannot pay. No matter which button I press, nothing works, so at my wits’ end I try to reach the telephone number on the computer. I can’t get hold of anyone there either and again I press a few buttons. And then suddenly there is movement in the barriers and again after some maneuvering and pressing buttons, Dick manages to get past the barriers outside the camper site. Finally we leave the site and without paying. I won’t be standing here again anytime soon.

Portugal is on the other side of the river, so as soon as we cross the border we leave the highway. In the parking lot we can link my Visa card to our license plate in a machine. If we accidentally end up on a toll road, the toll will simply be deducted. Immediately afterwards we leave the toll road and drive north on narrow back roads past endless cork forests. The large number of storks is striking. Every 100 feet you can find a pole where a stork couple has built a nest.

It is not possible to park in the town of Evora. All places are occupied and there is no visible movement that could lead to departure. Unfortunately. We look at the other parking lot in this town, but the uneven sandy plain full of potholes is not really attractive, so we drive on.

Entrance gate in Estremoz

In the fortified town of Estremoz we manage to drive through the small entrance gate, but then we have to find our own way. Our Hakuna takes us to increasingly narrow streets, so we have to go backwards every time. Eventually we manage to get to the large town square in the center of town and we park the RV. The temperature has now risen to 63 degrees Fahrenheit and we enjoy our walk through this Portuguese town. Once again there are orange trees everywhere and I wonder if the fruits are edible. According to Dick not because otherwise the fruits would be removed from the trees. While we walk around we look for a restaurant, but they are either closed or the dishes are not to our taste, so tonight we prepare our own food.

Estremoz parking place





In the evening the many parked cars have left the square and we are almost alone. It is simply magical with the illuminated churches and on the mountain behind us the beautifully illuminated 13th century castle of Estremoz. From this castle, King Manuel ordered the explorer Vasco da Gama to discover India.
Despite the fact that we had an extra hour today (it is an hour earlier in Portugal) we did not have time to walk to this castle so we will definitely come back.

The next morning at 9 am we drive through Elvas where the sun is already shining on the beautifully restored aqueduct. At 9.30 am we cross the border with Spain and it is 10.30 am again. We drive north on a narrow, quiet road, again through forests of cork trees. What is striking is the amount of water along the road.

Steep streets in Caceres

We arrive in Caceres at 12 pm. It’s a good thing we’re so early because there are still a few spots available. After a cup of coffee we walk into this old town, I will also walk through on my camino. To get to the center we have to climb up through narrow steep streets. Often a flat stone is placed next to the lump stones so that we do not have to walk over these uneven stones. Finally we arrive at the Centro Historico where the terraces on Plaza Mayor are too tempting to ignore. So a little later we sit in the sun and have the “Menu del Dia”. It’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit, we can even sit in our T-shirts. The food tastes great and we enjoy it!

Full of energy, after this excellent lunch we climb further up to explore the other narrow streets. The geocaches hidden here take us through the most beautiful streets to the most beautiful buildings and of course, while wandering around, we regularly encounter the yellow Camino arrow. Finally, at the end of the afternoon we are back at the camper, the sun quickly disappears behind the mountains. It cools down immediately, but it is wonderful to listen to the birds tweeting everywhere. Because we had such an extensive meal at 2 pm, we don’t have to cook anymore.

On Thursday, January 25, the sun shines early in the blue sky. There is no wind and the thermometer already shows 52 degrees fahrenheit. It is a relief to see blue skies  every day. After having breakfast, washing dishes, filling and dumping water, we leave. At 10 am we dive into the fog that hangs over the fields. So it’s a good thing we didn’t take the shortcut along the reservoir. We wouldn’t have any visibility there now. It is very hilly here and that is why we climb out of this thick fog after some time. Along the road we regularly see herds of sheep accompanied by a shepherd who, leaning on his stick, keeps an eye on his flock.

At half past one we drive into Salamanca in the bright sun. First we look at the parking lot on the river close to the center, but we leave there quickly. The water level in the river is very high and traces of recent flooding are visible everywhere in this bumpy spot. So a little later we park our camper in the parking lot next to the Repsol gas station. We stayed here also in 2016.

Old Roman bridge in Salamanca

The distance to the center is about 3 miles, so Dick takes out the bicycles and soon we cycle along separate bicycle lanes to the old center. It’s 62 degrees Fahrenheit. We cycle to the center over the “Puente Mayor”, the old Roman bridge which the Via de la Plata also passes.

Salamanca has a high “woooow” factor with its many churches and monumental buildings. Wandering through the narrow streets you feel like you are in the Middle Ages. It is really enjoyable and we are amazed. When we arrive at the impressive facade of the oldest University of Espana (from the year 1218), we look for the “Rana de la Suerte”, the tiny lucky frog that is somewhere on a skull. Unfortunately we cannot discover it. Unfortunately because it is said that discovering the frog brings happiness and a long life.

De Rana de la Suerte

When I arrive in Salamanca again, during my Camino, I have to look for it. But… it is also said that if you get any help in finding the frog, “luck” or “longevity” does not apply. So do I qualify for this after looking at postcards and pictures to see what the frog looks like?
A more logical explanation is that the frog warned young male students against the temptations of life, drinking too much beer but also venereal diseases that the former prostitutes carried with them.

Elsewhere in the city, on the richly decorated portal of the Catedral Nueva you will find an astronaut. It raises questions because this building is centuries old. But during the restoration in 1992, the church wanted to show that it is moving with the times and the contemporary symbol of the astronaut was added. We were also unable to discover this symbol despite searching.

Cafe con Leche with cake

Salamanca is a real student town, it is lively everywhere and all the terraces are full, so when a table becomes available in the sun we sit down. At the end of the afternoon we cycle back to the gas station. While Dick puts the bikes away, I walk to the Lucky shop. It is wonderful to wander around these Chinese bazars and I forget the time because when I come outside again after 1.5 hours it is already dark. Fortunately, we are not very hungry after lunch and our dinner consists of just toast and cheese. There is a lot of traffic in this parking lot at a roundabout, but the fresh air still makes us fall asleep quickly.

On Friday, January 26, despite the traffic noise, we didn’t wake up until 8:30 am. It is foggy and cold outside, the temperature is not higher than 4 degrees. It is a happy day because today, after 5 years, I can take my last pill against breast cancer. Unfortunately, after breaking my wrist in May, a new pill was introduced to prevent osteoporosis, but luckily I only have to take this once a week.

We dump our gray and black water, fill up with clean water and then leave in thick fog. You cannot even see the Cathedral, which is normally visible from a distance.

With full laundry bags to the Lavanderia

Accompanied by this fog, we arrive in Zamora an hour later. It’s nice that we arrive here at 11 am because it gives us the opportunity to wash again. Again we have two laundry bags full. So after the Frankia is parked and we have had coffee, we walk to the lavanderia. The two washing machines I need are available so I can load all our laundry. Because the locals dry their laundry here, there is only 1 dryer available when our laundry is done. So it takes up to 2 hours before everything is dry and put away.
In the meantime, Dick has vacuumed the entire RV, hung up my sports tops and Camino socks (not allowed in the dryer) and walked to the lavanderia several times to see if he could help with folding and carrying it back.

In this street is the Alberque in Zamora

Despite the cold and fog (it is now 46 degrees fahrenheit) I walk into town in the afternoon. Dick prefers to stay inside. It gives me again the opportunity to try out my “Buen Camino” app. I walk to and from the route and take a look at the nice “albergue de peregrino” in town.

Everywhere storks in Zamora

The storks also enjoy it here because from every church tower you can hear their clapping and see these iconic birds. Finally I walk back and look for the warmth inside. Together we raise a glass and eat spaghetti. Zamora stole my heart. What a wonderful place this is.

Early on Saturday morning, January 27, we see the first rays of sunshine breaking through the fog. It froze last night and it is 36 degrees fahrenheit. The frozen mist droplets on our insulation mat glisten towards us. After a delicious breakfast with an egg cooked by Dick we leave and soon drive through a deserted hilly landscape. Only the stone walls stacked everywhere give evidence of habitation. We climb and descend in this mountainous landscape and see clouds hanging in deep valleys. There is a steel blue sky and sun around us. We soon cross the border into Portugal and park our camper at the foot of the hill on top of which stands the Castelo de Braganca. It’s dead quiet and I don’t really feel like staying here. Dick doesn’t understand it and I can’t explain why I want to continue, but after some discussion we leave anyway and continue through the mountains. Sometimes we drive in the sun, sometimes we dive into the fog.

Finally we arrive in Chaves, Portugal at 1.30 pm. There we find a spot in the parking lot of a clearly closed museum. This parking lot is not far from the center and we soon walk in the sun along the river to the center. Here is the Agua Termal Quente, the hot springs that provides water at 163 degrees fahrenheit. At the outside tap I drink the hot water, it tastes salty. Unfortunately we cannot take a bath in the nearby thermal baths.

Walking along the river in Chaves

The doors will not open again until February 1. So we walk around the town, along the river and through the parks and look for geocaches. When we are almost home our paths split. Dick goes back while I take a look at the Decathlon on the edge of the town. It is a bit of a walk and ultimately disappointing because this Decathlon (sporting goods store) is very small. Fortunately, there is also a large Leclerc supermarket nearby where I find an offer for Cola Cola Zero, so I can surprise Dick with his favorite soft drink. After I have delivered my purchases at home, I walk back to the town where Dick discovered a Kebab restaurant. A little later we have a good meal and enjoy a beautiful sunset. At night it turns out that the area is used for car-racing because it is very noisy, but nevertheless we have a good night’s sleep.

When we get up on Sunday morning it is very foggy and only 41 degrees fahrenheit. It’s a good thing we attached our insulation mat last night. After breakfast we leave and drive further west through ghostly villages. The road winds in this border region, then we drive into Spain and then into Portugal. Every now and then the sun manages to penetrate the fog for a while, but only when we climb higher into the mountains we leave the fog behind us and have sun and blue sky. We arrive in Ourense at 11 am. There is no space available in the parking lot for our Frankia. Fortunately, Dick sees movement in one of the RV’s. When I walk towards it, it turns out that it will leave within fifteen minutes, so we wait patiently until the camper has left and park our Frankia in this, extremely suitable spot for a large camper.

Old fire trucks in Ourense

We are still early, it is only 11.30 am and we walk leisurely to the center. We take the walking path along the river that takes us to old fire trucks. It’s fun to see these old cars and imagine what it would be like to take them out.

After passing a futuristic bridge that resembles a roller coaster, probably you can climb it, we walk over the Ponte Vella, the old Roman bridge, into the center of Ourense. We don’t have to look for the way because there are scallop shells cemented into the sidewalk everywhere.

Old city center in Ourense

Once again we walk on the Via de la Plata. So time to take another picture. The center of Ourense is built on a hill and we have to climb quite a bit to get there. Later we see that some side streets have escalators going up, but then we are already at the top. When we find a vacant table in the sun on the Plaza Mayor, we take a break while drinking a Cafe con Leche. We don’t linger as long as the Spaniards, who enjoy a coffee for hours.

As soon as the coffee is finished we leave again to explore another part of town. Here too there are narrow streets and imposing buildings. A geocache takes us to a small square with a hot spring. We look around and then pass the “albergue de peregrino”. When we look there, the manager is just arriving. We have a chat and when I ask how the occupancy is, I learn that there is always a place to sleep available here. Reassuring to know. When we walk back, the streets are almost deserted. The terraces are removed, the tables and chairs are stacked. It’s siesta and everything is closing, so we leisurely walk back. Since Dick has no desire to climb the “Puente del Milenio”, I walk back alone.

“Puente de Milenio”

This futuristic bridge was inaugurated on September 1, 2001 and became a symbol of contemporary Ourense. The path, made in an elliptical shape, leads 72 feet up to the sky via 100 steps and then descends 72 feet down to the river. At the start of the climb I have to swallow hard. The steps lead steeply up. However, the climb is easy and at the top I am rewarded with a beautiful view.

Time for the descent





But then comes the steep descent, my heart pounds in my throat and I am happy when I am back at river level. Yet I have to experience the same feelings again, this time with the ascent and descent on the other side. But many residents do this and from the fact that they move easily you can deduce that it is not the first time they have climbed this bridge. And the sun that is now shining fully is the reward. Once I have completed the entire ellipse, I leisurely walk back. What a nice experience this was. Unfortunately Dick wasn’t here.
Our evening meal (rice with vegetables, lettuce and meatballs) tastes very good after all that fresh air today.

On Monday, January 29, we leave Ourense after breakfast. We will definitely return. Not only to climb the bridge together but also to take a bath in the hot springs here. We drive through a beautiful rugged mountain landscape to Santiago de Compostella.
Blue-yellow signs with a scallop shell regularly remind us that we are driving along the Camino Sanabres. Now I can also explore the last part of my Camino.
And then we arrive at the large parking lot near the center of Santiago. We pay the daily rate, have a chat with the guard and then park our RV in the almost empty parking lot. While Dick makes coffee, I dump our black water. We haven’t had the opportunity to do that in recent days. After coffee we walk to the bus stop on the road. Bus #1 is just arriving so we get on. It is not really necessary to take the bus because it is only a 1 mile walk to the center, but if the bus arrive…

We get out at the market hall and look around. Unfortunately we are too late, there are only a few stalls left open. Most have now closed. So we soon continue walking and wander through the narrow streets of the old town.

Bar “La Tita”

We look around at shops and then Dick points to Bar “La Tita”. It is busy and all tables are occupied, but when a table becomes available outside, Dick has already taken a seat. At this time, before 1 pm, that is still possible. A little later, while we are already enjoying “Hamburguesa Tita”, we see people waiting on the edge of the opposite arcades until it is finally their turn to eat or drink something. The food tastes good and of course I send a picture to Hannah and Henk. When they arrived in Santiago by bike, they also had dinner here. They had rain, while we have a faint sun with a temperature of 61 degrees fahrenheit.

Strengthened by the food, we wander further through Santiago.Because all streets lead to the Cathedral, it does not take long before we enter this impressive church.
Unfortunately, the Botafumeiro, the largest censer in the world, is not there. According to tradition, it was used to purify the air in the Cathedral from impurities and malodors from the pilgrims. Now, seeing the censer swinging around in church, is more of a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, you never know when it will happen.
Fortunately, we saw the censer in operation when I ended my first Camino. Very impressive because the enormous censer rises very high when swinging.

Apostel Santiago in the cathedral

As we wander around the silent cathedral we see that it is again possible to embrace the statue of apostol Santiago, an emotional gesture that represents gratitude, respect and the end of a long journey. Unfortunately, it was not possible to hug Santiago when I completed my pilgrimage. The corridor leading to it had been closed since the outbreak of Corona. Now it is possible and it is quiet so we climb the stairs to the statue. I don’t understand why, but as I climb the stairs tears flow from my eyes and I hug the apostol while crying. It really is a moment of great emotion. Even for someone who wasn’t raised with saints.
Dick clearly has less interest and follows me without even thinking about a hug.

We spend some time in the Cathedral and then we walk outside again where we take a look at the Pilgrim Office. Today 43 pilgrims arrived there. How different this was when I arrived here in September 2022 after walking the Camino Frances. Then long lines of pilgrims stood inside and outside waiting to get their Compostella.

Every day along the camino you receive a stamp at the church or albergue in the “Credencial de Peregrino”, a credential issued by the church that proves that you are a pilgrim. Upon arrival in Santiago, the stamps are proof that you walked or cycled the required number of miles and you can receive a “Compostela”, a certificate that indicates that the pilgrimage has been completed.
Hopefully I will be here again at the end of May 2024 to receive a Compostella after completing the Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabres.

The large square in front of the cathedral in Santiago

And then we arrive at the large square in front of the Cathedral. It is always a magical moment when you arrive here, even if you are not walking. We sit on an edge for some time and look over the almost empty square. Eventually we’ve wandered around enough and we walk back to the street from where the bus leaves to the parking lot. Once there, I walk to the supermarket further away while Dick stays at the parking. He thinks he has walked enough with 6.5 miles. When I get back it has become a lot cooler and the temperature does not exceed 50 degrees fahrenheit. It is expected to be even colder tonight. We therefore place our insulation mat in front of the window and then drink a glass of wine and talk about this special day in Santiago de Compostella.

It is already light on Tuesday January 30 when we get up at 8.30 am. We notice that we are further west, in the morning it stays dark longer, but in the evening we have light for longer. After breakfast, dumping, filling water (requires a key) and paying, we leave this nice parking lot and drive through the mountainous landscape of Galicia past endless eucalyptus forests.

RV parking with a view in Fisterra

At 12.30 pm we drive into the parking lot by the sea in Fisterre. The sky is steel blue, the sun is shining, there is no wind and it’s 62 degrees fahrenheit.

We park where we always park and have a chat with our German neighbors who live here for at least 6 years. While we are talking, the manager of this parking lot arrives and immediately recognizes us and a hug follows. After having a nice chat and drinking coffee, which is a regular occurrence when we arrive somewhere, we walk into this nice little town. We look at the harbor and stroll through the narrow streets. The weather forecast is favorable so we will definitely stay tomorrow.

Hairdresser Victor in Fisterra

I’ve been trying to get a haircut for weeks, but it did not work because many people were waiting or the hairdresser was closed. But as we walk around, Dick sees a hairdresser that just has opened, so while Dick walks back, I climb the stairs and open a door. After fifteen minutes I can sit in the hairdresser’s chair and my long locks are finally cut.
How happy I am when I stand outside again. Apparently it is not too short because even Dick, who likes long hair, nods approvingly when he looks at the hairdresser’s work. Together we walk to the fish market, but because we cannot find a place that meets this requirement, we return. In the evening we walk to the harbor again, this time to eat. The season has clearly not started yet because many restaurants are renovating, but luckily we find one restaurant that is open. The food is excellent.

Sunrise in Fisterra





After a beautiful sunrise on this last day of January and a delicious breakfast with a boiled egg, we walk to the lavanderia with our two laundry bags. While I start the washing process, Dick walks back to the camper where he vacuums the floor. He regularly comes back to see if he can help with folding (we use our legs instead of our mobile phones) and around 1 pm everything is put away in the cupboards and our bed is covered. Now that our chores are done, it’s time to go out. When Dick takes out the bicycles, his front tire turns out to be flat.

Patching a tire in the sun

Fortunately the weather is beautiful, so he can repair the tire while sitting outside and not much later we are on our way.
We drive leisurely through town to the Cabo de Fisterre, which used to be the end of the world. Down by the water, is a geocache hidden. Shoes have been left everywhere and you find clothing hidden under rocks. Tradition wanted pilgrims to burn their clothes and shoes here. Nowadays that is prohibited. There has probably been a cleaning campaign because there is considerably less here than when we climbed around here a year ago. Of course I also greet Apostol Santiago (St. James) who is standing near the cross on the rocks.

My beloved pilgrim song tells about this:

“Et tout la bas au bout du continent
“Messire Jacques nous attend            
“Depuis toujours son sourire fixe      
“Le soleil qui meurt au Finisterre   

And over there at the end of the continent
Awaits us Lord James
Since always his smile has been on his face
Looking at the sun setting in Finisterre.

It’s beautiful here on the Cape with the sun reflecting in the water and we hang around for a while. Of course we take a picture at kilometer marker 0.0 and another at the image of the pilgrim making his way against the wind and then we leisurely cycle back. Of course I can’t resist the Chinese bazaars, there are even two in this town, and I walk around there a little later. Then we talk a bit with the manager who tells us where we can wash our dirty RV.
He advises us also to visit the Ezaro waterfall, which is worthwhile. So we decide to stay another day. Our parking spot will be held so we don’t have to worry about that.
We’re leaving and don’t have to pay yet. Here, at the end of the world, there is still confidence in humanity.
In the evening all restaurants in the harbor are closed. Fortunately, a Turkish snack bar is open where we eat kebab. We walk back in the night through a dead quiet Fisterre.

Special RV wash box in Cee

The first day of February starts again with a steel blue sky and sun, but when we are on our way to Cee we encounter a thick cloud cover.
The washing area is high enough for our camper and after we put money in the machine, a lot of green foam appears and we can soap our camper. You see the dirt loosening from the sides. Finally, after a lot of soaping, scrubbing and spraying, the camper is sparkling clean again and we drive further along the bay from where we can regularly take a look at the Cabo Fisterre.

Waterfall in Evora

In Evora we have to look for the waterfall, but eventually we find a parking and walk to the beginning of the waterfall. The water rushes down and against the rock wall with great force and is impressive, we feel the water splashes. And we are really a long way from the waterfall. The original path to the foot of the waterfall continues but has decayed and is therefore hermetically sealed.

It’s a pity that we are still in the shade with the low sun at this time of year. I will definitely come back here in high summer. After many photos from different angles, we eventually walk back and drive back to Fisterre where we park the Frankia in our reserved spot.

Because it is still early afternoon, I walk to the beautiful church at the end of town. But when I get there I see that it is only a short distance to climb to the “Ermida de San Guillerme”. There I have a beautiful view of the entire bay. And then it turns out to be only a short distance to the Cape, so I continue walking. It’s fun to descent the mountain to the ocean.

View from Cabo Fisterra

When you see the endless mass of water, it is understandable that, in earlier times, this place on the Costa da Morte was referred to as “the end of the world”. It is not without reason that you can see the last sunset on the European mainland from here. With the steel blue sky and sun it is enchanting. After a last look at the apostol Santiago (St. James), I walk back. It’s nice that I now cycled and walked to the Cape.

Farewell to the camp manager





At home we have a nice chat with the manager, pay for the nights we spent here and promise to return soon. At 7 pm we walk again to the harbor where, fortunately, our restaurant is open and again we enjoy a good meal.

We leave Fisterre on Friday, February 2 at 8.30 am. The sun is shining brightly, but an icy wind is blowing. We drive straight through mountainous Galicia to the north coast where we find a parking lot in Foz, on a large lawn on the bay. It is low tide and in front of us stretches a bare sandy plain, only crossed by a few water streams that flow towards the sea. After heavy fog in the mountains, we have steel blue sky and sun here, so we explore town. I can only say one word: it is deadly boring, there is no shop in sight, no supermarket and there are no people on the streets.

Rocky beach in Foz

Eventually we reach the coast where we descend to the beach and find a cache between the rocks and caves. This part of Foz, as well as the wild boulders in the sea, make our walk still fun. Unfortunately, more and more clouds have arrived and when we are back, it is gray and icy cold. It takes some time to warm up again.We don’t go out in the evening anymore. I still have some cans of Chili con Carne that we heat up and eat with bread. It is not bad.

It becomes clear that this is a place where many people like to stay when one camper after another arrives at the end of the afternoon. In the evening all places are occupied and we have at least 40 Spanish neighbors.

When we get up at 8 am on Saturday, February 3, it is still dark. Although the sun tries to color the sky, a thick cloud cover rises and when we leave at 9 am we only see a faint sun. Through sometimes heavy fog banks we drive straight through the mountains to Ponferada where the sun comes out again and at 1 pm we park between the apartment buildings in Astorga. The sky is now steel blue, the sun is shining and it is 64 degrees fahrenheit. Good that we left the north coast. Even though we have wandered around Astorga many times, this remains a place we like to visit every time. We have a drink on a terrace on the Plaza Mayor, enjoy the sun and the people strolling around.

In the evening we walk again to the center where we eat in the Irish tabern not far from the albergue peregrino. A good choice, the food is good, it is not without reason that all tables are occupied. We walk back in the evening past the beautifully illuminated Cathedral and Gaudi’s Palacio. It is busy on the streets and people are still sitting outside on the terraces everywhere, at 50 degrees fahrenheit. There is a really different way of life in Spain.

We wake up before 8 am on Sunday February 4 and after breakfast we drive to the arena where we dump our gray and black water. It is freezing, so it is questionable whether there is drinking water, but when we turn on the tap, water comes out and we can fill up.

Valverde La Virgin

We stop in the small town of Valverde La Virgin, on the Camino Frances, and take pictures of the storks nesting on the church tower. Because there is no wind and plenty of sun, it does not really feel cold, although the temperature is still 41 degrees fahrenheit. We arrive in Burgos at 1 pm where we park next to the La Plata shopping center. Because the weather is so nice, we walk to the center. To do this, we only have to follow the yellow arrows that are everywhere. After all we walk the Camino Frances. Before arriving at the cathedral we pass the albergue municipal. We look into the lobby and from the street I show Dick the roof terrace where I dried my laundry. I’m talking Dick’s ears off. Poor Dick, he’s probably heard this already several times. Only now he has an image of it.


The cathedral in Burgos


Not far from the albergue is the cathedral that we enter. I brought our credentials (yes, Dick has one too) so, in addition to a stamp, we both receive a pilgrim discount on the entrance fee and then walk inside. The outside of the cathedral is already impressive, but inside it is unbelievable how richly decorated this church is. Everywhere there are aisles with statues, richly decorated altars and beautiful paintings. We can’t get enough of it, it’s impressive.

Inside the cathedral

After walking through endless cloisters, full of marble statues and beautiful tapestries and after one last view of the cathedral courtyard, we leave this beautiful cathedral again.
We walk back leisurely in the warm sun. Because it is already 6 pm, we enter the shopping center on our way back and order a menu at the restaurant. After the 6.5 miles walk, the three-course meal tastes great. In the evening we only drink coffee and watch TV. It was a lovely day.

Fortunately, we attached the insulating mat for the windshield last night because when we get up at 8 am on Monday morning, the thermometer shows 30 degrees fahrenheit. The parked cars around us have a thick layer of ice on the windshield.
We arrive in Vitoria Gasteiz at 11 am. It is still very quiet, but as the day progresses more and more campers arrive and by the evening almost all places are occupied. Unfortunately we left the sun and blue sky behind in Burgos, here it is gray.
That’s not a bad thing because it’s laundry day again. I only have to cross the parking lot and then I reach the lavanderia. In the meantime, Dick is going to take care of the windows because they are really dirty, but he also has time to vacuum the camper and help me fold the laundry. At 3 pm we have finished all our chores and walk past some geocaches. Fortunately the sun has broken through again and it is very pleasant outside. Of course we also go to Eroski, the supermarket across the street. We buy dinner and pick out dessert. The Judia Plana (string beans) with baked potato and minced meat tastes good.

Unfortunately, when we get up at 8 am on Tuesday, February 6, it is foggy again and it is cold. After breakfast we dump and fill up with water and leave. On the opposite way of the road we see enormous rows of tractors and long traffic jams form. Farmers’ protests also take place here.
We arrive early in Pamplona, just in time because there are already rows of tractors ready to block the road. Pamplona has several parkings and we choose the one closest to the center. Fortunately there is a spot empty. After paying we walk to the elevator that takes us to the upper town. That’s nice because now we don’t have to climb the steep city walls. We stroll around the narrow streets of Pamplona. Of course I show Dick the albergue municipale, located in an old church, and then we arrive at the beautiful square in the center.

Bocadillo in Pamplona

We cannot resist the sight of a delicious Bocadillo with Jamon and after first buying cream for sore muscles at the Pharmacia, we enjoy the fresh bread outside. All the bars are closed now. With a full stomach we walk around the city walls and then we arrive back at the elevator that takes us to the lower city.

We are back at 4 pm. Because we passed a Decathlon on our way to the parking, only 2 miles away, I decide to take a look around there. It turns out to be a great idea because I find nice thin hiking pants and an orange rain jacket. The latter is important because the zippers on the pockets of my old rain jacket are broken. I can return the purchase if I don’t like it. However, that is not necessary because Dick also likes my purchase. We had the enormous Bocadillo at 3 pm so we don’t have much appetite anymore and I don’t need to cook anymore.
At night the temperature drops to freezing point so our heating starts.

On Wednesday, February 7, the sun shines and the sky is steel blue, but it is cold, only 36 degrees fahrenheit. Nice weather to cross the Pyrenees. So after dumping and filling up with water we leave. After we have driven through Pamplona we arrive at the narrow mountain road that leads to France. The fields around us are white with frost and we regularly cross the Camino Frances.

Today no snow!!

At an altitude of 3100 feet we stop at the pass and enjoy the sun. Unlike last year, there is no snow here now. Everything is deserted in Roncesvalles so we drive on. We stop briefly at Roldan’s monument. In the year 778, the Battle of Roncevaux took place here and a Basque force defeated Charlemagne’s army, army leader Roeland was killed. The epic “Chanson de Roland” is based on this.

We look around at the beautiful mountain world and then follows a steep descent to Saint Jean Pied de Port, France or called in the Basque language: Donibani Garazi. We park at the parking for RV’s. It is very quiet because there is only one other camper.

Saint Jean Pied de Port

Even though it is a small village, it is very picturesque and especially now that the sun is shining it is wonderful to walk around here. Unfortunately, just like last year, our sports shop, Boutique du Pellerin, is still closed. So it won’t be possible to buy a new rain poncho here. It’s a pity because the one I would like to buy is attractively displayed in the front porch. Dick, who anticipated this closure, sent an email but did not receive any response.

It is not the only store that is closed. On our walk through town, many more shops appear to be closed. After lighting a candle in church, we slowly walk back. Then I walk to the other end of the town where two geocaches are hidden and there is also a Lidl where I buy fried rice with meat that turns out to taste good.

There is a thick cloud cover on Thursday, February 8, but it is not cold, 56 degrees fahrenheit. We drive north on narrow back roads. At one point we miss a sign because we arrive at a bridge that is prohibited for more than 7716 Lb and therefore for our Frankia. But having a detour will take many extra miles, so we take the chance and cross the narrow bridge. Fortunately, oncoming traffic only arrives when we are almost at the other side and with some maneuvering we manage to pass each other. Not much later we park the Frankia at the former station in Creon. The parking is completely empty. After a cup of coffee we walk around the dead town. The weather is also gloomy so no one goes outside for fun.

Artiques pres Bordeaux

So when we are back we decide to continue driving to Artigues pres Bordeaux. At 5 pm we arrive at the parking lot next to the old Romanesque church. Fortunately, a large group of hikers, who had parked their cars here, are just leaving, freeing up space to park our camper. That’s nice because we don’t like driving any further. Nearby is a geocache that we need for a challenge so I walk there. Because we arrived late, it is already dusk when I get back. We eat simple, bratwurst and lettuce and watch TV.

On Friday February 9, the church bells wake us up, they chime 8 times. Many of the campers that parked here last night have already left. We are on our way at 9 am and drive through the Bordeaux wine region. At this time of year the vines are still bare and the sky is gray and cloudy so it looks a bit gloomy. As we drive further northwest it rains regularly. The landscape changes and the vines make way for the flat coastal landscape with water basins where shellfish are farmed. Just before noon we cross the bridge to Ile d’Oleron. It’s low tide. Above the island we see blue sky appearing.
Road construction means that we have to detour virtually the entire island before arriving in St. Pierre d’Oleron. We park the camper in the large parking lot of LeClerc. Signs state that parking for long periods of time is not allowed, but we think this does not apply to us, especially at this time of year and because we are leaving again tomorrow. After coffee we walk into the town. Unfortunately it is located inland, so you do not notice that we are on an island. However, the sun is shining and it is wonderful to walk around.

Laterne des Morts

Geocaches take us to beautiful places in the town. The “Laterne des Morts” is special, the towering stone tower as a constant reminder of the deceased. The fire that burns high above is the symbol of the immortality of the spirit. Beautiful.
At the end of the afternoon we are back, the sun is still shining and it is 64 degrees Fahrenheit. We are lucky. Because we have run out of French propane, we walk together to the gas station where we can exchange our tank. Propane has become cheaper because we pay a few euros less than at the beginning of January. Of course I also walk into the large supermarket. Not only to buy food for tonight but also to look around, Dick prefers to stay at home. When it gets dark I emerge again and start cooking.  Dick says the cauliflower, burgers and fried potatoes taste good.
It rains long and hard at night. It is a good thing that our Frankia undergoes an annual waterproofing test.

When we get up at 8 am on Saturday, February 10, it is dry. Again we have to drive around half the island to reach the bridge to the mainland. All around us in this tidally marked country we see basins where shellfish are farmed. This area is apparently also attractive for storks because stork nests have been built on every high-voltage pylon and all these nests are also populated.

Old postcard La Roche sur Yon

Before we know it, we are already in Rochefort. At the capitainery (the harbor) we can dump and fill up with water and because our tanks are full (grey water) and empty (clean water) that works out well. After 20 minutes we drive further and at 12.30 pm we arrive in La Roche sur Yon. It’s nice that we are so early because now we can follow the funeral of dear old Francien on our laptop. She passed away on February 1 at an old age. After the funeral we walk into the town.

Tonight we have a geocache event in the center and we want to see where it is.
Various mechanical animals reside in the Bassins on Place Napoleon. They are connected to a control panel that allows the audience to move parts of the animal. Of course we want to see that too. A narrow path along the river leads to the center. Although there are many clouds, the sun is shining so it is nice outside. When we arrive at the basins, many control panels appear still out of order.

Mechanical Hippopotamus in park Place Napoleon

Disappointing because even though it is nice to see a huge hippo in the water, it cannot be brought to life. Only parts of frogs can be moved. We quickly got tired of these animals and when we are caught by a rain shower, we enter a bakery where we drink coffee and of course order a pastry. When we are outside again the sun is shining again, a good timing. We stroll through the streets for a while before returning to the camper.

At 6.30 pm we walk back and wait for other geocachers on a windy and cold square. It is not really warm outside and we are pleasantly surprised when the attendees enter a pub.

Geocache event


Upon inquiry this appears to be customary. Once every two months they get together here, drink a beer and talk about their geocache experiences and travel plans. It’s nice to chat with each other and we warm up nicely.

At 8 pm we say goodbye to each other as friends. If we are ever in the area again, we will definitely visit again. Drinking a beer together indoors is a very good tip for our geocache events, especially if the weather conditions are not optimal. In the Netherlands we regularly get outside to chill. Full of this experience we walk back to the camper where we eat some toast and soup. All the restaurants were overcrowded and we could nowhere to go for our dinner.

We are on our way before 10 am on Sunday, February 11. There is little traffic so within 4 hours we cover the 161 miles to St. Malo. We park our camper in the parking lot near the sea. There is only one other camper, strange because other times it was always busy here. The dark clouds we saw along the way have all disappeared and blue sky and sun appears. It is cold due to an icy wind and the temperature does not exceed 48 degrees fahrenheit. Dick prefers to stay inside but I will take a look at a cape where a geocache is hidden.

Low tide in the bay of Saint Malo

It is low tide so I try to find my way across the partly dried up part of the bay. Not only is it much more fun, it is also considerably shorter. However, it does require a lot of climbing and clambering over dry rocks and you have to be careful where to put your feet because there are water holes everywhere between the rocks. But it’s fun and to my great pleasure I find some beautiful scallops, symbol of the Camino. I’m not the only one clambering around here. Whole families climb up and down the rocks.

They don’t look for scallops but for crabs and other sea creatures to have a meal tonight. Eventually I have had enough and clamber to the other edge of the bay where I reach the mainland via some stone steps worn out by the sea. After arriving on the top I walk to the very end of the Cape. This walk also appears to be a favorite outing for the French, given the crowds around me. After a lot of searching and searching, I finally find the geocache, which is cunningly hidden between the boulders, and then I walk back. I descend again to the beach, walk across the dried-up part of the bay and finally arrive at our Frankia, blown away and satisfied with my expedition. The macaroni in the evening with chicken and bacon tastes excellent.

Although some clouds can be seen on Monday, February 12, they soon clear and we can welcome blue sky and sun. We eat our last Spanish Oroweat bread. Unfortunately because it is delicious bread and you cannot buy this type of bread in France. Then we walk to the bus stop at the edge of the parking lot and take bus 6 to the city center of St. Malo. The cold wind makes the temperature feel like 45 degrees Fahrenheit and we don’t like cycling in this cold. Despite the fact that it is Monday morning, we are not alone in the narrow streets of the walled city center of St. Malo. There are quite a few people walking. It is cold and we regularly look for a sunny spot to warm up.

Cathedral St. Vincent in Saint Malo

St. Vincent’s Cathedral appears to be open and of course we take a look inside. This church was seriously damaged in 1944, but after restoration a beautiful House of God was created.
A little further on I see a nice hoodie in the shop window and I can’t resist the urge to try it on. It turns out to fit perfectly and is very warm and if there is also a 50% discount I can’t resist buying this beautiful hoodie, while Dick is the one who needs new hoodies. However, he don’t want to look for new ones. After a while we walk to the pier that extends far into the sea and is completely in the sun.

The pier in Saint Malo







It is wonderful to walk here after the cold in the narrow, shaded streets within the walls. Finally we walk back again.
If a menu looks good, we enter a restaurant. We have a good lunch and with a full belly we leave the restaurant at 3 pm. We walk over the city walls towards the bus stop while enjoying the view of the sea and beach. Just before 4 pm the bus drops us off again at Parking Le Davier. There we discover the cause of the lack of campers, it turns out to be “forbidden” to spend the night here. Because we don’t want to push our luck, we decide not to stay another night but to leave. Unfortunately, the parking lot at the supermarket in Cancale is too small, so we drive to Pontorson where we arrive at 6.30 pm. That’s nice because now I can do some shopping. Not for tonight’s dinner because we have already eaten, but for the coming days. In the meantime, Dick logs the geocaches we found in St. Malo.

Tuesday September 13th is gray, really weather for washing, so after breakfast I collect all our laundry, remove the bedding and together we walk to the laverie located on the road. At this early hour there is no one else yet so I can use the machines I want. While Dick walks back to the camper, cleans the windows and vacuums, I wait at the machines until they are ready. Some items of clothing have dirty stripes. It almost never happens, but now I have encountered a dirty washing machine. I put everything in the dryer anyway, it will disappear the next time I wash it. As always, Dick is back at the laverie on time to help fold all the laundry and together we walk all the clean clothes back.
In the afternoon I walk to the other side of Pontorson to the Lidl supermarket. Of course this is strange when you’re parked next to a supermarket, but it gives me a purpose to walk. In the meanwhile Dick cleans the front and back of the Frankia. It is very dirty again after the heavy rain of the past few days. It is striking that the farmlands are covered with water. It rained a lot here too. When I get back we walk into our supermarket together. The TjingTao beer is in the advertisement, so in the evening we drink a delicious Chinese beer with our rice dish. Just like in many cities in France, the street lights are turned off at 8 pm so we stay in a pitch black parking.

Unfortunately for Dick, who did his best to make the Frankia presentable again, there is a strong wind and it rains every now and then when we are on our way to Cherbourg on Wednesday morning. We arrive in Cherbourg at noon, again with a dirty camper. The parking is located next to the port of Cherbourg and because of the refugees, separated by high fences and barbed wire with razorblades. Unfortunately, many of the parking spaces intended for campers are occupied by parked RV’s and many, many parked cars. But we’re lucky, a car is just leaving so we can park our Frankia.

Passenger terminal “Cité de la Mer”

We take a look at the quay where the museum “Cite de la Mer” is located. It is housed in the “Gare Transatlantique de Cherbourg” where the large cruise ships moor. The submarine “Le Redoutable” is located in the outdoor area. It is France’s first nuclear submarine, which served from 1971 to 1991 and could accommodate a crew of 135 people. During that time, it spent approximately 90,000 hours underwater. We have previously visited this impressive submarine from the inside, but now we will only take a look at the outside (also because there is a geocache here).

Because the gates are open at the end of the long quay, we walk through. It’s not allowed because we are not authorized, but the local fishermen do it too. We are now on the quay where the Titanic started its great journey across the Atlantic Ocean. How that fatal journey went and what happened after a collision with an iceberg can be followed very clearly in the museum. Even though it has been 5 years since we saw that film, we still remember it. Because it is actually too cold to walk around in just a hoodie so we walk back to the camper, get our jacket and then walk to the center of Cherbourg.

Painting for sale “Only $ 1525”

We both believe that you can always enjoy walking around here. I see a painting in a shop window and immediately fall in love. Unfortunately, it remains in the shop because when I ask about the price inside, it turns out that I have to pay 1400 euros. We both think this is too expensive. Unfortunately, I could already see it hanging on our wall. To warm up we drink coffee in a pastry shop and then continue walking through the city. When we arrive at the Montagne du Roule (a high rock) we go our separate ways. Dick walks leisurely back to the camper while I climb the mountain. In the heart of this mountain there are defenses with a system of corridors and viewpoints in various places. During the Second World War it was used to defend the port of Cherbourg.

View on Cherbourg




The steep climb is a good practice for my pilgrimage and when I reach the top I am rewarded not only with a beautiful view of Cherbourg but also with a geocache. I won’t be back until the end of the afternoon, but I am satisfied. At 7 pm we walk along the harbor to our Thai. Even though we haven’t been here for a year, the food we are served still tastes good. We drive to Cherbourg again and again for this Thai restaurant alone.

Because there is some blue sky and sun on Thursday, February 15, and we are still ahead of our travel schedule, we decide to stay another day. After breakfast, Dick takes out the bikes and a little later we cycle in the sun. Around 12.30 pm we pass a bakery. It’s very busy and after our bicycles are chained up we walk inside. The filled baguettes convince us and we soon enjoy our bread and coffee. Later we ride along the foot of the “Montagne du Roule” and decide to cycle up to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, the clouds have increased and it even starts to drizzle, so the view is disappointing. We cycle back to the camper and then I want to walk to the Action (cheap shop with all different articles). I need more exercise. It means that I have to go through half Cherbourg, but I have a nice goal to walk to.
The sun shines again and it is considerably warmer, so it is a pleasant walk. I buy 2 sports tops but as I cannot try it on in the shop I expose my upperbody in the nearby bushes and try them on. The sports tops appears to fit well so I continue my walk. I don’t know what the passing motorists were thinking. After all, it’s still winter and the bushes are still bare. When I return home at 6 pm Dick is waiting for me with hot chocolate.

Diner in the “Thai restaurant”

In the dark evening we walk to our Thai restaurant and again we are served an excellent meal. The green curry I ordered is even better. When we get back home we don’t make it late, we are both rosy.

On Friday, February 16, we get up at 7.30 am and it is still dark, but when we leave at 9 am we see blue skies, only a few clouds can be seen in the horizon. Until the town of Caen we drive on a 4-lane road, but then we follow very narrow roads to the north. The last part to Honfleur we have to take the toll road. I still find it strange that there is no toll-free route for heavy vehicles (cars over 7716 Lb). There is enough parking place in Honfleur so we can park our camper at our regular spot. Because the weather is so nice I want to go out, Dick prefers to stay with the camper. So I decide to walk to Leclerc’s large supermarket. When I’m almost there I see that the Pont de Normandie is not that far anymore, so I continue walking.

Pont de Normandië


This Pont de Normandie opened in January 1995 and was at that moment the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world and has a span between the pylons of 2808 feet. This toll bridge, running high over the river Seine, consists of 4 lanes with on both sides a narrow bicycle lane and, separated from it by a stone ledge, a small footpath. Unfortunately, the sun disappears behind a thick layer of clouds when I walk onto the bridge. There is a virtual geocache at the first pylon, no hidden box but you have to take a picture of yourself on the bridge. Despite the climb up, it is easy to walk, you just get dizzy from the endless stream of trucks rushing by at 55 miles per hour. Finally I reach the first pylon where I take a picture and look into the horrifying depths below me. It is no longer that far to the middle of the bridge, but there is a strong wind so high on the bridge. Walking to the middle of the bridge will happen another time when there is less wind. Preferably with Dick because it’s scary so high above the Seine. It is a relief to be off the bridge again.

After buying some food at Leclerc, I leisurely walk back home. I end up walking 7 miles. In the evening I walk to the Kebab restaurant to get food. Unfortunately, it closed for renovation just after our last visit in January. The small supermarket next door gets a new owner and is also dismantled, so it’s good that I bought some food this afternoon after my bridge escapade. We eat simply, bread with meat and salad, because I don’t want to cook extensively.

Chalk cliffs in Fecamp

Unfortunately, it is gray when we get up at 8 am on February 17. Our plan was to walk together onto the Pont Normandy from the Le Havre side, but when we drive over the bridge it is raining and clouds hang over the top of the bridge. We therefore abandon our plan and drive on to Fecamp. According to our camper app, the parking no longer exists here, but when we arrive we still see a parking lot for campers and cars. It is smaller and there are no longer dump facilities, but you don’t have to pay anything anymore. While we drink coffee, the clouds partly disappear, so in the afternoon we walk through Fecamp in the sunshine. Here too, the tourist season has not yet started and only locals are walking around. To be on the safe side, we reserve a table in a restaurant at the harbor for tonight.

Then we alternately walk through narrow streets, over piers and along the wide boulevard. The chalk cliffs on both sides of the beach are impressive and because the beach consists only of pebbles you can constantly hear them rolling back and forth as the otherwise calm sea hits the beach. We enjoy it and just like in Finisterre, it feels like spring here.

Sunset in Fecamp

When we get back to the camper, we manage to decipher the location of a geocache based on data we found along the way, so at the end of the afternoon I walk to the boulevard. There the sun is sinking further and further towards the sea. It is busy on the pebble beach, many people do not want to miss this magical moment. I also stay here for a while and take pictures, but eventually I tear myself away and walk back.
At 7 pm we walk towards the beach again and enter our restaurant. The food is very tasty. We will definitely come back here.

On Sunday February 18, it rains and there is a thick cloud cover. We drive to Boulogne sur Mer on back roads. Every now and then we see a glimpse of the gray sea. Here too, the fields are covered with a layer of water. As we approach Boulogne the visibility is 0.0 due to fog banks. Unfortunately, the RV parking lot behind the casino is not available. A new apartment building is being built and the question is whether you will ever be able to park here again. So we drive on and 16 miles further north we park in Wissant.

Rainbow from the RV parking in Wissant

We walk through this unknown town and let ourselves be guided by geocaches. We finally reach the beach. The sun drives away the clouds more and more and it is wonderful to walk around. On the boulevard it’s even busy with people strolling along. We are back at our Frankia at the end of the afternoon. Just in time because a little later it starts to rain very heavily. At the same time, the sky turns red-orange through the trees, which contrasts strangely with the black sky above our camper.

Unfortunately, the sky is gray when we get up at 8 am on Monday, February 19. This parking has no drinking water but we can dump our gray and black water. Then we leave and after passing Calais we drive inland. Our destination is Revin and the road there takes us now and then through Belgium. Traces of farmers’ protests can be seen everywhere along the road, stacked tractor tires pushed aside, but at various roundabouts also piled up hay under the car tires is still smoldering. Glad we weren’t here when the protests were going on.
We arrive in Revin at 2 pm. To our surprise, the parking for RV’s is completely deserted. We have never experienced that. It is our last day in France so while Dick cleans the windows I walk to the supermarket to do some last shopping in France  and I also take a look at the other side of the river Meuse. Except for a few raindrops, it remains dry, but unfortunately the sun that shone briefly along the way, is no longer visible. When I am home, Dick is also ready. As always he has cleaned dirt from the front and rear of the camper.

We saw that there is a Kebab restaurant in the village, so I walk there in the evening. We have some confusion about the chosen meal (I want a dish instead of a filled sandwich), but in the end I leave with two “Assiettes Kebab”. It tastes great. After our meal we apply the insulation mat in front of the windshield because tonight the temperature will drop to 40 degrees fahrenheit.

The clouds hang low over the river on Tuesday and after breakfast with a freshly boiled egg we leave. After an hour’s drive on back roads and through endless forests we leave France and a motorway takes us to Arlon in Belgium. Once again we are surprised that the parking space behind the fire station is so empty. It is usually busier at this location near the highway to the south. We assume that due to the persistent bad weather many campers have driven to more southern regions.

Walking in Arlon

After coffee, Dick sends me out. After all, I have to make miles and soon I’m walking through Arlon searching some geocaches. Unfortunately it is cold, due to the icy wind. Although the thermometer is at 45 degrees fahrenheit, the perceived temperature is significantly lower. Luckily I put on a down jacket under my rain jacket. Of course I have to climb to the church high up on the hill. Unfortunately the clouds have dropped so I don’t have a nice view of the city. But all that climbing in Arlon makes me nice and warm. But what really warms me is the cup of soup that Dick makes when I get back. Together with the leftover macaroni we have a good evening meal. Late at night the parking lot, which can accommodate 5 campers, appears to be full. A sign at the entrance says: it is full.

Apparently we left the beautiful weather in the south behind because when we get up on Wednesday, February 21, the weather is cloudy and gray and it’s only 42 degrees fahrenheit. So it was good to attach our insulation mat last night. The road from Arlon to the north takes us to Martelange, a small town in Luxembourg, no more than a street’s length but enough to accommodate at least 12 gas stations. Since fuel in Luxembourg is cheaper than in the surrounding countries, we fill up and then drive on. We park in Sittard. Fortunately, a faint sun appears as we walk around the border area of the Netherlands/Germany. Considering the paths we walk on, this sun has not appeared for a long time because our shoes are soaking everywhere in the very boggy soil.

Long distance walking path: Pieterpad and Camino pad

Sometimes there are even such deep puddles of water on the paths that we have to make our way straight through the forest. It is nice that at one point we end up on the Pieterpad and the scallop shell shows that this is also the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella.
After 5 miles of paving our way through the swamp we are back home. Dick doesn’t feel like going out anymore, but I walk to the center of Sittard. There is a webcam cache. This is a geocache where you take a photo of yourself while appearing on a webcam. It is a type of cache that can still be found abroad, but in the Netherlands there are only two webcams. Possibly as a result of our privacy legislation.

After warming up, it still feels like 39 degrees outside, I walk back into town. This time to get Chinese food. Until now it has always been tasty, but after the meal we conclude that the food is of much lower quality. We won’t buy food here anymore.

On the way to the RV-shop in Nederweert

On Thursday, February 22, we have breakfast at 7.30 am and after washing the dishes and dumping our gray and black water, so that doesn’t have to be done at home, we drive home. The weather is gray but it is not raining and even when we unload the camper at the end of the morning it remains dry. After the camper has been cleaned inside and outside, we park it behind our house. Fortunately, there is an empty spot where we can leave the camper overnight. Tomorrow Dick will take it to Nederweert, to our RV dealer where the lock of the camper door will be checked. How nice it will be if we can simply enter our Frankia through the side door again.

We look back on a wonderful holiday. Although we did not really have warm weather, there was often sun and blue skies. After months of gray sky and rain in Western Europe, it was a relief.
We drove 5240 miles, cycled only 34 miles and walked 149 miles.









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