Friday, 21 December 2007

Driving Home for Christmas

Believe it or not, there was SNOW on the Costa Blanca hills on Saturday night. It rained heavily and some of the tents at the Orange House looked like those little floating puffy lifeboat shelters. Fortunately, we had picked a well-drained spot. Having run out of psyche for sport climbing, we thought we would head north to Albarracin. But when Sunday morning dawned cold and everything was wet, we sacked it off and decided to come straight home on Monday. Albarracin would have been pretty chilly.

Heavy frost and -10 in Lyon

We left the Orange House outside Benidorm at 11am on Monday in warm sunshine. Our journey took us through torrential rain in northern Spain (the hills west of Tarragona, towards Siurana, were covered in snow), past a mini tornado just south of Barcelona, bitter chill in Girona, thick freezing fog in Lyon, cold dampness in Calais, and salty road spray and low winter sunshine in the UK. We attempted to maintain a Mediterranean climate in the car by turning the heater right up. Then we bought some cheese and the car started to stink. So we turned the heat down and ate the cheese. Unfortunately, the damage was already done and the smell of camembert lingered on.

Heading north...

Tea on the road at Saint Quentin, 90 miles south of Calais

Travel weary on the Calais - Dover ferry after 2 days' driving

As the temperature dropped, the price of petrol rose as we travelled northwards, and we are horrified to see that it is now more than 100 pence per litre here in the UK. In Benidorm we paid 1.12 euros per litre (which is about 81 pence). The car was washed clean by the rain on Saturday night, and two days' driving through France and Spain left it a little dusty but not too bad. The shortest leg of our journey, through the UK, has left my car black with grime, the windscreen washer empty and the wipers squeaking!

Thick fog on the M11

1654 miles and 32 hours of driving later we are home.


Continuing with the cheese theme, once we were in the UK we willed Radio 2 to play Chris Rea's "Driving home for christmas", but they didn't.... what irony that they're playing it now as I write this. The best things come to those who wait.....?!?!?

Clear skies and winter sunshine heading into Scotland

The Pentland Hills finally come into view. The last few miles seemed to take forever...


Ian said...

Welcome home!

Anonymous said...

For future reference, Albarracin is the best. Any decision in life that doesnt involve going to Albarracin is just wrong...