Spain trip info, autumn 2014

Discussion in 'Spain' started by magicsurfbus, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    For reference, some details of sites, aires, and high points from our recent jaunt to Spain:

    Day 1: Canterbury P&R, now open on a Sunday until 8:30pm
    Day 2: Early ferry from Dover to Calais, got diesel from Auchan Calais (Ave Roger Salengro) then drove all day to Parc Futuroscope at Jaunay-Clan, just north of Poitiers. Refuelled at nearby Auchan. Futuroscope is closed Mon-Wed but the barriers to the parking area were up to let service buses through. Only a few MHs around and not much on site lighting but it served its purpose and cost us nothing.
    Day 3: Drove to aire at Anglet, Boulevard des Plages. Didn't see the ticket machine near the service point - it's actually 6 Euros outside July-Aug (10 Euros) and it's open from Easter to Nov 1 with a nominal 24 hour limit that isn't enforced in the low season. The La Barre aire is also open for a similar period/rate now, with a nominal 48 hour limit. Ave de la Milady aire has automated barriers fitted and no exit at the top end so cars won't drive through. Barriers were all up when we passed through. Of the three Biarritz aires Milady's the most grubby and noisy but does have EHU. Anglet is our favourite.
    Day 4: Drove to Camping Internacional, Aranjuez just southeast of Madrid. The motorway that goes almost through the heart of the city definitely puts the 'Mad' in Madrid but to be fair we went straight through without any hold ups. Aranjuez has an interesting palace and gardens, a bit like the Spanish version of Versailles, and it's about 20 minutes' walk from the campsite if you know which way to go. Campsite looked OK but we only stopped overnight. I suspect Aranjuez is a bit of a one trick pony - the rest of the town looked fairly ordinary.
    Days 5-8: Drove to Camping Reina Isabel, La Zubia, a suburb of Granada. Spent 4 nights there using the regular local bus service to the Congreso stop in town. Granada is basically a busy shopping centre with a couple of historic bits that bring in the tourists. I wasn't overly impressed by the Albaiyzin area (white houses, winding alleyways on a hill), and thought the cathedral looked like it was designed by Liberace on LSD, but it was worth seeing the Alhambra and we spent most of the day there. Pity it pissed it down all day - so much for the rain staying on the plain eh Rex Harrison? Lying bastard. We had to stay four nights because we couldn't get into the Alhambra until Sunday afternoon. Personally I reckon you could do all the good historic bits in a day and stop for two nights. If you're going there book the Alhambra tickets well in advance. Food bargain - 5 Tapas and a big jug of booze for 9 Euros all in at the Beauty and the Beast chain of bars.
    Day 9: Drove to Camping El Sur, Ronda, which is the only campsite gig in town. MHs are not allowed in the town itself. Interesting drive through very varied scenery. Saw a flock of vultures circling just like in the cowboy films. Campsite very welcoming, with a lovely little band of stray cats that we befriended with the help of a tin of tuna. The walk into the old town is downhill all the way for about a mile along a road that doesn't have pavements for much of its length and is unlit at night. It's also uphill all the way back. The main feature of the town is the amazing bridge over the deep limestone gorge, and the impressive views from various points around its ramparts. We spent the afternoon there - a bit of a lightning tour, but we'd seen all we wanted to see. The Campsite bar/restaurant does a decent low cost meal. Ronda looks like a popular day trip destination for the south coast resorts, so the modern part of town is very touristy.
    Day 10 - 12: Drove to Camping Villsom at Dos Hermanas on the outskirts of Seville. This campsite is inside a walled compound in a built-up suburb along one of the main roads out of Seville, so some traffic noise leaks into the site. Buses to central Seville pick about 10 minutes walk from the gate and drop off at the back of the site. There's a Carrefour nearby but watch out for height restrictions on some entrances. Of the three cities we visited, Seville was my favourite. It's very grand, having once been the capital city, and there's plenty to keep you occupied, including the Alcazar Palace which is on a par with the Alhambra. The cathedral is the world's biggest in terms of interior space - an impressive structure but the overblown golden altar is a vile testament to Catholic extravagance. I don't subscribe to any religion, but places like that begin to make me think the Puritans had the right idea. Very hot while we there but that goes with the territory. I wouldn't like to tackle it in August. Seville is very well served with cycle tracks if any of you are considering using the aire there.
    Day 13: Drove to Cordoba in the morning, Camping Municipal El Brillante, which is pretty close to the centre but not really walking distance. Looks a bit busy for bikes too. Buses go from near the campsite and it's a short trip. The old bit of Cordoba is interesting, especially the Mezquite, which is a superb example of cross-cultural vandalism. Basically, a perfectly stunning Moorish mosque had a Christian cathedral literally plonked in the middle of it by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Still very much worth a look but what a sad commentary on human vanity. We fairly whizzed round Cordoba - it's a similar set up to Granada but with a bit more style, and on a smaller scale.
    Day 14: Drove to Camping Municipal Fuertes Blancas, Burgos - when the SatNav says "..then follow the A4 towards Madrid for 199 miles" you know it's a long haul, about 400 miles all in. We didn't get any time to look round the town, but the campsite appears to be linked to the centre with a riverside cycle track. We've logged it for future reference and plan to return to the town. Mrs MSB wasn't impressed by the campsite though - the pool was shut and neglected, the wi-fi was non-existent, and it the nightly fee was the most expensive we'd paid.
    Day 15-17: Drove back to the Anglet aire for three nights R&R and were rewarded with the sight of three days uninterrupted large ocean swell arriving on the beaches, with numerous photo opportunities as skilled local surfers had a field day. Some of the best waves I've ever seen - way beyond my surfing capabilities so it was camera time for me. Cycled into Bayonne on the track beside the Adour river, and went into Biarritz for a day by bus. One of our favourite seaside resorts - very stylish and restful.
    Day 18: As the weather went a bit grey and wet we decided to go up the coast to check out the aire at Mimizan-Plage. For some reason the SatNav sent us down a single track gravel forest road for the last few miles so watch out for that one - make sure you go through Mimizan Bourg first. Mimizan-Plage was as dead as a very dead thing off season. All it needed was a small grizzling Mexican child running across the street and we would have had the opening scene from 'A Fistful of Dollars'. No self-respecting tumbleweed would be seen there after September. Fair do's - if you just want to stay in the aire and spend all day on the beach it's fine, as the aire's quite well set up, but the place just felt soulless. I mean Biscarrosse-Plage up the coast is pretty tacky too but at least there's the forest. I don't think we'll be back, but for dedicated beach buffs it serves a purpose. The aire was surprisingly busy for a damp mid-week in autumn - maybe Dutch and Germans looking to spend some time on a proper beach with real waves. Personally I'd go for Lacanau-Ocean every time.
    Day 19: Drove back to Futuroscope, which was open this time so we bought a 20 Euro evening ticket (from 5pm onwards) and went in as many of the newer attractions as we could fit in before the sound and light spectacular at 8pm. No queues and a useful way to fill in a damp evening. Aire cost us 8 Euros. They seem to have made a bit of effort to update things at Futuroscope recently, as it looked a bit tired on our previous visit.
    Day 20: Drove to the (free) Wissant aire on Ave Georges Clemenceau as we couldn't face the bother of overnighting in Calais along with all of its additional inhabitants. It's only half an hour from the ferry port. Town was largely closed but there's a couple of brasseries just downhill from the central crossroads still offering Moules & Frites for 10 Euros and I was happy with the one we went in.
    Day 21: Calais to Dover ferry and home.

    That's all folks. Thanks to those of you who offered tips and advice before we went. I thought by posting this it might help others with their planning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
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  2. davidbaldam

    davidbaldam Funster

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    Some good tips, thanks. (y)
     
  3. Geejay

    Geejay Funster

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    Thanks for that. Any comments on El Brillante in Cordoba? Reports suggest it's overpriced, not great quality but convenient.
     
  4. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Geejay: I think we ended up paying a bit more at El Brillante because we arrived before noon but we noticed that the two Spanish municipals we used were quite pricey anyway compared to the privately-owned sites. To be fair, Brillante is pretty close to the city centre so land/rental prices would be higher anyway. The pitches vary in size, with those closest to the gate being a bit smaller. Electricity is optional so you can save a bit there. We were down the far end which has a high wall backing onto a school playground so you get a bit of noise around lunchtime. Bus-wise you'd be best off getting the service that runs from directly outside the campsite entrance to the main shopping area then walking through to the older bit. They suggest the No 9 service for a closer stop to the Mezquite but there's not much in it distance-wise and the stops are further from the campsite and confusing. We missed two buses before we realise how the route worked.

    It's as you say - a straight down the line no frills site which is convenient for visiting the historic part. We did the highlights in an afternoon and evening, as the novelty of roaming around winding white-painted alleyways with barred windows had long since worn off and the missus didn't go shopping in the modern bit.
     
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  5. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    We've just left camping El Sur at Ronda and can report the cats are not starving in your absence. They are continuing to be fed by other campers but for some reason they stayed away from our pitch, possibly they saw me checking if I had a skewer long enough for them so we could have cat kebab.

    We will probably use the Municipal at Cordoba as well because the only other site I know about doesn't take dogs.

    Thanks for the info. We will probably go back to Ronda next year for the walking. Lots of good walks in the area, enough for at least a week.
     
  6. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    DevonBeekeeper: My favourite Ronda cat was the ageing one who's tongue was permanently out because one of his lower teeth was missing. I christened him Old Ner-Ner and was genuinely sad to wave him goodbye. My wife was all for taking the cheeky tabby kitten with us. Good to know they're still being fed by other suckers like us.
     
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