Europe...west of the Alps travel blog

Europe...west of the Alps

David travel blog
For the last two months of our European adventure we moved on from the Alps in a westerly direction. This allowed us to meander across France to the Atlantic coast and then zig-zag south through the old Basque areas of France and Spain, then through Portugal and southern Spain to Gibraltar.

The strategy was to keep ahead of the winter chills that were right on our tails which worked quite well but of course we then had to return north and head-on into the cold stuff.
The winter woolies were eventually relocated to the top of our bags.

The northerly drive from Gibraltar zig-zagged us through Spain then back across the Pyrenees into France.

All three countries had their great points but Portugal was our favourite. The people were generally a little friendlier, the scenery was excellent especially along the Atlantic coast and its historical sites and museums were brilliant.

Gibraltar certainly was interesting but perhaps not really as exciting as expected although we were glad we had put in the effort to get there. Walking across the airport runway border dividing Spain and the UK territory was fun. The monkeys did get a bit too excited around Gilli at one time.

Spain's regions varied quite a lot from very dry and stoney through to misty mountains and green valleys. Massive rock outcrops and numerous mesas were very scenic.
Seville in Andalusia, both Toledo and Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha and pretty red Albarracin in Aragon were towns and regions that became our favourites.

France's Somme and Normandy areas were especially interesting to us and it was pleasing to see Australia well recognised for its contributions during past tragedies.

Overall we enjoyed excellent weather even if occasionally temperatures did get down to 1C at times. Rain was scarce but when it did it ranged from a drizzle to torrential.
With absolutely brilliant roads in all three countries it would not have mattered if the weather was bad as we always felt safe with the conditions.
So good were they that it was too easy to exceed speed limits along with everyone else and we will no doubt be penalised for our indiscretions.
Not sure who will win the booby-prize for that.

We had covered almost 60,000 kms self driving during the past 10 months on European roads as far east as Georgia, as far west as Portugal, as far north as the Czech Republic and as far south as Gibraltar with varying surface conditions, some more worthy of being classified as goat tracks.
Of that number the 'not-so-new' lease car was well run-in after 3 months and almost 20,000 kms on its clock. Citroen are probably still in shock.
Now with that car returned and after shedding a few 'virtual tears' for leaving it we headed to CDG Airport for the final leg of our travel year.

India, Sri Lanka and special friends from home, John and Gayle, have many sites and treats in store for us, especially for Davy who is excited about all the experiences to be enjoyed.

The CDG check-in went well and we're ready for the flight to New Delhi and plenty of hot curry.
But uh,oh!...Davy...where's Davy?
Take care everyone.
David & Gill

Order: oldest at top ( reverse )

 
10 
 
 
Laredo:Spain
 
11 
 
 
Lugo
 
12 
 
 
A Coruna
 
13 
 
 
Porto:Portugal
 
14 
 
 
Tomar
 
15 
 
 
Lisbon
 
16 
 
 
Elvas
 
17 
 
 
Lagos
 
18 
 
 
Cadiz
 
19 
 
 
Gibraltar
 
20 
 
 
Cordoba
 
21 
 
 
Guadix
 
22 
 
 
Cartagena
 
23 
 
 
Toledo
 
24 
 
 
Cuenca
 
25 
 
 
Alfaro
 
26 
 
 
Barcelona
 
27 
 
 
Girona
 
28 
 
 
Palavas-les-Flots
 
29 
 
 
La Seyne-sur-Mer
 
30 
 
 
Castillonnes
 
31 
 
 
Vichy
 
32 
 
 
Paris
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