Allow me to start with our safe arrival after a journey of over 600kms (or 385 miles) in some pretty hot weather. We were very glad to reach the relative cool of my in-laws house. FR and I had had a stupid fight a few days before we left - neither of us know why - and we were both still rather sulky and subdued, which is embarrassing to admit at my age but there you go. I guess deep down, I was rather dreading the time in less than comfortable beds, under threat from the dreaded mosquitoes and managing in the awkward, frustrating houses in both La Flecha and also in Leon. Not the best of starts.
It was, as always, a pleasure to see my in-laws and they were delighted to see us too. And the children were immediately at home and bounded off to check out their bedrooms, beds and to pick up where they had left off last time.
This was Tuesday evening and we'd made arrangements to meet up with my sister to spend Saturday with her, Rob, Emily and Luke - William choosing to stay at home this year - during their holiday in the Basque Country near San Sebastian. We agreed to meet somewhere on the north coast and to make the most of our time, we decided to camp the night before and stay til the Sunday with our meeting point being the nearest beach to our chosen campsite.
We'd had to borrow a tent from friends in Alcala as our old one was just too big, cumbersome and awkward to use for short stay holidays. (And last time we camped in it, it had taken us three hours to put it up as we'd forgotten how it went...by the time we finished it was dark and onlookers had had to fetch their torches to see the final outcome.) It was a lovely big, old-fashioned tent and it was with some regret we sold it to some lovely people from Leeds - who live about 10 kms away from us here - and who have given it a good home in their garden.
So we set off on Friday to find somewhere to make camp and as we drove along the coast road, we turned into a petrol station where, on asking, we were directed towards a little village where we were told we'd find some campsites. We seemed to be following a road to nowhere but eventually, said village came into sight and we found a gorgeous site, up on a cliff overlooking a beautiful little cove - and managed to take the very last spot in what was a busy but very peaceful place, full of dips, ledges, trees and steps.
Unfortunately, it was raining lightly but the tent went up without a hitch - the children staring in disbelief as we had it 'mantled' (surely this is the right word) in minutes rather than hours. And the rain stopped so we went down to the cove and enjoyed a quick dip and a wiggle of toes in some perfect sand. Mateo made a den with driftwood.
|Campsite hugging the cliff in the background|
Soon after we'd eaten and tidied away, I tootled down to the road to wait for Judy and before long, they arrived, brightening the day into instant sunshine.
|Photo courtesy of
And we had a lovely day, visiting a museum in Ribadesella, where in 1968, a huge cave containing prehistoric paintings was discovered. We weren't able to see the actual cave as numbers were limited, prebooked and full up until November, but the museum was very interesting and well presented.
|Awaiting lunch in Ribadesella|
After the rain began again, we made a mad dash for the cars and moved on to Colunga to see the footprints left by dinosaurs over 65 million years ago. Sixty five million years. More than.
|Disappointingly, they didn't show up as well in the wet but each indent was made by a dinosaur.|
|See these steps...I fell down them. It hurt a lot.|
|A last drink together - Judy and I had been deep in conversation all day and this picture captures it perfectly!|
Not sure I could believe what she was telling me here!
|This is Lyme Regis|
After this, we drove around the coast to a village called Lastres. This part of Spain is called the Jurassic Coast and so reminds me of the coastline around Lyme Regis, Jurassic Coast of England. Full of fossils, dinosaur relics and information.
There is a similarity in a sort of mirror-image way in how the two towns are laid out..
|And this is Lastres|
Only Lyme Regis is sunnier....
The next morning, the rain continued and although we braved another dip in the sea, we decided enough wet was enough and so we packed up and left.
We stopped on our way home at a stunning beach in a place near the Cantabrian border, called La Franca, which we liked so much we decided we'd definitely come back again during the holiday. And just a couple of weeks later, we did just that. Spain was on red alert for the highest temperatures of the summer as a heatwave came up from Africa.
We were staying in Valdepolo at the time and decided that the coast would feel cooler, so we set off nice and early and took the scenic route over the Puerto San Glorio, which is a mountain pass of outstanding beauty and wiggly roads. It took us four hours driving in blistering heat but which doesn't feel too bad in an air-conditioned car.
However, we weren't prepared for the weather on our arrival at La Franca. It was decidedly chilly! Whilst the rest of Spain was wilting, we were enjoying a bracing day on a breezy, overcast beach. And rather enjoying it.
|Perfect sand for toe-wiggling|
On our journey back, the heat rose as we moved south again and we were so very glad to have had a day of relative coolness.
Our last view of the north for a while - it's a long way away. A long way.
More of our month to follow shortly.