España

So, arrivederci Italy. Hola España! Nunca pensé que mi español sería necesario de nuevo! Also, terrified about the possible consequences of driving a 3.5 ton motorhome on the wrong side of the road! Skinny roads in Scotland have heaps of passing spaces. Moving targets such as Sheep and Cows are fair game and tasty. The POMs, Aussies, Cloggies, Frogs, Krauts etc all fall into the same ’sort of welcome’ box in Scotland. Not so much in Spain after Boris and hordes of geriatric voters decided to fuck up the status quo by leaving the EU! Red passport about as welcome here as a Russian oligarch. Also, chuck in the lack of an International Driver Licence and this could be exciting! I always thought that these were something invented by corrupt Balinese cops to extract a few extra bucks from pissed Aussies on scooters. Apparently not! Impossible to comprehend that the NRMA have been granted sole authority and revenue raising rights to issue these things. Digital copy please? No sir, paper only! Not much use when our mailing address is ’No fixed abode’. How the fu(k did an organisation less watertight and older than the ark get awarded that gig?

Anyway, confidence high after returning the Scotland van unscathed, I painted L & R on the back of the opposite hands and ventured into the unknown.

Our new horse arrived at the airport to greet us, together with the owner and her Catalan only speaking boyfriend. This could be fun! An hour or so later and several hundred Euros cash deposit lighter, we get given the keys. Nearly dark now so we point the bus North and head out of Barcelona. Quick stop in a supermarket then happy to discover the trusty park4night app works here. Somehow we woke up next to an olive grove in a national park. No interest in Alicante with associated fish and chip venues, we continue North to the mountains.

A few hours later, my trusty co-pilot parks us again overlooking the Pyrenees and a reservoir. Never too shit to have a chef and handy kitchen in these places!

Off again for a couple of hours before we waft off for a few hours walk in Morillo de Tou then a gentle few k’s to the medieval castle at Ainsa. Holy crap, driving a motorhome up here is stressful enough, can’t imagine trying to get in here wearing a suit of armour whilst the inhabitants are pinging arrows and stuff at you! Just behind the castle, there is a massive carpark. 3 Euros for 24 hours, free ‘water’ emptying facilities for the van and handy toilets for Mr Whippy and his chums! By chance we also landed in the middle of a fiesta, town square heaving with all sorts of market goodies, (Cheese, Jamón ibérico and wine mainly!). Parked up the horse and locked down for a couple of days…

Jaca and Pamplona next…

Took a baby pause to plug the horse into the campsite at Morillo de Tou for the night, shower time for us, battery charge and water for the horse! Some knob called Wim Hof had somehow convinced a hundred or so paying folk to come here from all over the world on the basis of learning how to breathe, then get into a blow up pool full of ice. Not sure what was more silly, the huffing and puffing/dancing abound a few annoying bongo drums or the complete ignorance of such incredible surroundings and a bar! Not for us! Will save the ice for beverages and head off.

Jaca tapped into the map and off we trotted. Slight concerns were aired as we passed a roundabout clearly indicating left! Never mind, map knows best right? Best that is on a motorcycle or something smaller that a Fiat 500. Had to check Jackie into a stress clinic and nearly shaved a few layers of paint off the van as we weaved 100km through some fairly tortuous roads better suited to two or four feet. Worse still, Jaca only has one legal spot for motorhomes, arrived to find it totally full with coppers lurking on all corners to book ’illegal’ vehicles. Didn’t fancy a €200 haircut, so buggered off to a nearby village. 20 mins out of Jaca, we land in Santa Cruz de la Serós. Restaurants and bars all closed here mid afternoon so settled down for the night.

Given the lack of hospitality in Jaca and the probability of running with the rozzers in Pamplona, we binned this idea and headed back to Ainsa. Just in time for another festival! This one kicking off with a band at midnight. What is it with the fish stealers and lack of sleep?

Somewhat sluggish the next morning, we decided that a pizza would help. Just at the same time as a group of a dozen or so musicians came plodding around the square. Each restaurant would put out a few plates of food, wine poury things and beers. The entourage of about 20 children and old people got stuck into the freebies whilst the band smashed out a few folk songs. Also ordered an oven baked, black pudding casserole for fun. I generally thought that a casserole was a soupy number, not here. Had a crack at the wine poury into gob things too.

Local band in the square kicked off about 8.30. Pretty tame, rock/metal mob and thankfully still able to enjoy normal levels of conversation. Early night for us then 😀. Until about midnight that is, when the not so tame, rock/EDM/anything goes mob fire up their speakers. Holy crap! 500m away from ground zero, our bus starts shaking as the limits of the Richter Scale and Medieval foundations of Aínsa Castle are given a 21st Century testing! Eardrum/vibration tolerance test winds down around 5. Won’t be partaking in a third one!
Back at the campsite in Morillo de Tou. We seek medical attention for bleeding ears. Wim and the learn to breathe set have moved on so we book in for a couple of nights RnR.

Spotted this four-legged rug in serious need of a wash and a haircut

Wim’s next set of people paying for how to breathe lessons are arriving, so time for us to move on. Catalonia next…

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