Photo Sketches in Spain

Travelling in Spain is one of my joys. I love the people the culture the landscape.

This year it seemed different. Traversing Spain between the intended destinations of Morocco and Portugal and the UK. A day or two here and there as I moved north and south through the country

The sketches are places I stopped along the way.

Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez is a couple of hours from Tarifa. It’s also the sherry capital of the world so a good place to stop on the way to Morocco. Who would have guessed there was a Flamenco and Sherry festival on!

Such a difference to 2020, Andalusia already in tight restriction and the the whole of Spain going into lockdown.

Cadiz and Rota

While Cadiz is quite the tourist centre Playa Aquadulce is a quiet Rota beach and a restful place to stop after hopping off the ferry from Morocco.

And in Cadiz the covid delayed carnival gave the old city a certain buzz

Stops in Aragon

Caspe is on the Mar de Aragon a huge dam in the mountains of Aragon. Lake Caspe camping is a fantastic camping ground right on the edge of the lake.

The lake is wonderful for swimming, boating, exploring and birdwatching. Sighting Egyptian vultures, peregrine falcons, and grey cranes.

Why stop in Calanda one might ask. The answer is it’s 2pm and the temperature is already 39c! The surprise is a pretty little village in the centre of great motorcycle roads that is the birthplace of Luis Bunuel

Then to find the site of a miracle in the village.

The miracle of a regrown leg. I dubbed the church the house of the holy legless. I wish I had known about this miracle in my younger years when I was more likely to be legless and in need of redemption!!!

Finding little villages like these is the joy of taking the back roads on a motorbike with a loose plan of where and when to stop. Serendipity as a guide book.

Finding the first communion parade in Tomelloso in Castille de La Mancha. Or Goya’s birthplace

Truly serendipity has been my wonderful travel guide.

The Ferry from Santander to Portsmouth

Santander is capital of the Spanish Provence of Cantabria and a major seaside city. Beaches and a ferry port all part of the the mix the city offers.

It was so different leaving Santander March 2 years ago when the pandemic and a lockdown drove me out of Spain. http://piecemealadventurer.com/2020/03/23/travelling-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-the-last-ferry-from-santander/

A beautiful summers day a yacht on the water sailing alongside the ferry.

As it left the harbour

Up on deck we spotted whales in the Bay of Biscay Abyss. Can you see the spout?

Agh how I missed the sight of the open sea when I was confined to cabin. At that time, like all of us, unaware how much time confined to hotel rooms, to our houses and neighbourhoods lay ahead.

How amazing to travelling internationally adventuring and watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

White cliffs up the Solent welcomed me back to Great Britain.

It’s a bit of a heatwave as I sit in my sister’s house in London. Covid 19 hasn’t gone away and being in a big city like London requires caution but life is an adventure to be lived so let’s live it.

Goodbye Portugal and Hello Spain

The Atlantic Coast of Portugal can be a bit crowded so a route east of Porto along the Duoro River into the Mountains then north to the spa city of Chaves was the best option

It was a great choice; clear windy roads and wonderful scenery.

It was a short ride to Chaves less than 150km but storms ahead dictated the length of the ride.

And the storm came casting an grey pall over the old centre of Chaves.

While Chaves is a Spa town the waters are used primarily for therapeutic use rather than leisure so lolling in a hot spa wasn’t an option. But drinking warm mineralised spa water straight from the spring was.

Cups are filled straight from the Spring.

The rain cleared over night and it was a clear run over the mountains into Spain

So it was goodbye Portugal

And hello Spain,

Confirmation I was in Spain came at Astorga and its Gaudi designed building.

The route headed around Leon and into the Picos de Europa.

I had travelled to the Picos in 2018 and it was a great opportunity to revisit.

The road to Riano to Potes is just beautiful.

From Potes in the town plaza there is a magnificent view of the central Massif of the Picos de Europa

Just 23km on from Potes is Fuene De in the heart of the Picos and one of the most beautiful camp grounds I have stayed at in all my travels

From Fuente De there is a Cable Car that ascents 753 Metres to a high plateau at about 1600 metres. There are number of walks in the mountains. One is an 11km return walk the ascends 770 metres to a refuge.

It’s a hard walk but the views spectacular.

Being up with the eagles.

Fuente De is a short ride back to the ferry port city of Santander. It was such very different circumstances arriving in Santander than it was in 2020.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the last ferry from Santander

It was the last passenger ferry from Spain to the UK steaming into Santander

A small group of motorbikes

And lines of cars and campervans waiting for the exodus.

Like a mini Dunkirk escaping an invisable enemy

It was a different crossing to the previous I have had

No promenading the decks as all passengers were confined to their cabins

Running on the spot to exercise on the 24 hour crossing

Back in England

A walk along the beach in Rye Harbour

Through the marsh to gather my thoughts.

Tonight the UK has gone into lockdown.

Things change quickly in a pandemic.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera the day the Moroccan Govt closed the border with Spain

That was the end of the Morocco trip

I had booked into the alburgue in Jerez. I extended my booking a couple of days so I could think of the next move

In Jerez some sherry tasting a must

No tasting for this adventurer

I guess it was a sign of what was to come.

So I had to console myself with some garlic prawns and red wine

The was hardly any activity in the Square. Some locals and a few tourists, from the USA and UK by the accent

The cafe owners strangely subdued. Maybe they new something was about to happen

Maybe the lost income from the covid19 pandemic was weighing heavily on them

That Saturday night the lockdown was proclaimed for 15 days

Everything to shut except food stores, pharmacies and petrol station.

Stay indoors

The streets of Jerez totally deserted on Sunday mid day

Initally I had thought Id sit out the lockdown in Jerez.

Sunday all seemed OK. A long term rate could be negotiated. Fix it up Monday morning

It was warm in Jerez, the alburgue was modern big grounds to exercise in and a pool. Perfect place to sit out the lockdown

Monday morning all had changed. Tuesday I had to be out.

Thinks change quickly during a pandemic!

Sunday France had declared a lockdown so travelling back through France was off the cards

Frantic work on the phone.

Booked a ferry spot from Santander to Portsmouth the next Saturday.

All the hotels were shut. Where to stay.

Thank you to the good hearted souls who have given me shelter via airbnb

It was a cold ride from Jerez to Valladolid where Im currently staying locked down

It had snowed the night before on the skifields south of Salamanca. But the sun was out

I pulled into a parking bay. Pulled out my little burner and made a coffee and had a snack of cheese, olives and manderine

And though Spain is beautiful even in the time of a lockdown

At 10pm at night in Jerez, in Valladolid and across Spain. People clap and cheer in appreciation of the health workers.

Cause they are on the front line of the pandemic

The Spanish are beautiful people