Monday, 21 October 2013

Santander to Palencia Spain | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

Arriving into Santander on the ferry was beyond my expectations. The boat itself was more of a cruise ship and in fact some people were travelling straight back to the uk on a mini cruise. The ship 'Pont Aven' was luxurious, there was even a pool on board immaculately clean.

I did not opt for a cabin to save money, but I slept really well in the quiet lounge. There is a shower room, so if your planning to travel this route on a budget remember to bring your wash things and a towel with you.

The views is the ship drew into the port were of snow capped mountains stretching down the coast to the south, and to the north a towering mountain ridge on the horizon, all framing the red roofed Spanish city. We sailed past islands with grand houses and lighthouses whilst nearing the dock.

When you drive off a ferry in an unfamiliar place, you are right there with no choice but to keep going on into the experience, there is no opportunity to stop for some time. Following my sat nav, I soon adjusted to driving on the right. It was 23°c and I was heading through a summer scene in search of a Spanish hitch hiker who'd contacted me about a lift.

After waiting a while outside a train station I realised that there were a few stations with a similar name and had to give up and move on - my first experience of a language barrier. I don't speak Spanish, he couldn't speak English and the google translated messages were not clear enough.

Driving out of Santander on the autovia, the verges thick with huge pampas grasses, I soon realised that I'd be driving up into a mountainous landscape. The road climbed up, crossed huge viaducts and passed through many long tunnels through hillsides. From the viaducts I looked down on farms nestled in valleys.

After coming down from the hills the landscape became more and more red clay, more trees in copses, buildings like from a spaghetti western - I saw a small church with a huge rickety crows nest on top of the bell tower.

I eventually reached the town of Palencia and drove through the busy streets until I found the Aire location I'd found online. Someone had posted a grid reference for the sat nav so it was not difficult to find. Here there are places for motor homes marked all around the perimeter of a car park and about ten vehicles from France, Netherlands, Spain and UK all parked around me.

It's been like a warm summers evening back in the UK, about 19° relaxing and cooking dinner with the side door open. I took a walk in the park nearby, and then spent some time with my maps looking for the best route and place to stop over tomorrow night. Tomorrow afternoon I'll enter Portugal and head for some mountain scenery to drive through on my way south..

No photos yet as I'm on data roaming and it's too much to upload.

It's going to be a good day!

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