Spain – just passing through, Picos de Europa & Lago Sanabria

Picos de Europa, Spain

Our time in Spain has been short but enjoyable. In total we only spent 5 nights in Spain, as we were only passing through to reach Portugal.

Spain, we found, was much cheaper than France, from the camping costs, to the supermarkets and even the wine (I actually let out a scream in a shop, where the woman spoke no English, when I spotted a €1 bottle of wine. She looked at me like I had 5 heads. And as I spoke as much Spanish as she did English, obviously I couldn’t explain myself, so I just left.)

We also discovered that the bread is nowhere near as good as the bread in France, which has now become our obsession, BUT the people in Spain are so much more friendly and we cannot go anywhere without the locals stopping to talk to the weans, touch their hair and ask if the girls are twins, indicated by their huge smiles and the action of them putting both their index fingers together. (Cue me doing the awkward smile, *sighs, here goes* “no they’re not twins, yes I am sure, yes we do have our hands full and aye, we do have a tele”. Try explaining that in a foreign country where you speak zero of the language. But you get my drift.)

Our first night in Spain we stopped at a lovely little aire in a small village just over the border. It had showers and a toilet which were both spotless clean, electricity and pear trees everywhere. I finally got to make good use of my ‘foraging basket’ however, over a week later we are still waiting on them to ripen enough to actually eat.

Picos de Europa, Spain

We really need to get better at using our SatNav. Before leaving Scotland we bought ourselves a brand new Garmin Drive SatNav, with UK and full European maps. Essential.

1. We are shite at following it so more often than not it has got us lost.
2. In a bid to save money we always select the ‘toll free’ routes which always takes us along the most obscure, narrow and ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ type roads.
3. We cannot for the life of us figure out a way to read it so we can judge altitude, therefor we end up always going uphill in an old, temperamental 3.5 tonne Winifred. Who doesn’t like the tiniest incline at the best of times. And her engine cooling fan doesn’t work. (You guessed it, it’s on The List!)

Hence, we ended up in Picos de Europa – the Picos National Park – climbing the steepest, windiest, narrowest roads all the way to the summit.

To say it was stressful is an understatement. We had to keep pulling over at each viewpoint, and wait half an hour until she cooled down to make the next 10 minute drive uphill. She was so hot we could actually hear the coolant bubbling every time we stopped and by the end of the drive there was not a drop left. We even had smoke at one point.

BUT!! It was so worth it. We made it to the highest point and the view was phenomenal.

See our Facebook Live showing the view here.

Thankfully after that we were downhill the whole way to our stop-over at a lovely little camp in Posada de Valdeon.

If you have ever seen the tv show Wayward Pines, it was exactly like that with mountain views all around. It was stunning! And the camp
Was fab too. It was only €10 a night, that included electric and you had full use of the showers, toilets and indoor full-sized gymnasium with indoor climbing walls. There was a fab little kids playpark too, the cutest little village and the friendliest horse and donkeys ever. The weans loved them!

The morning after we arrived a newborn baby donkey (I keep meaning to look up what a baby donkey is called. A foal? The same as a horse?) was delivered right next to our motorhome. We, however, missed the actual birth as the mummy donkey never made a single sound (she’s a better woman than me!) and so we didn’t realise it had happened until we went outside and seen him. We tried so hard over the two days, bribing mummy donkey with our hand-picked pears, but she would not let us stroke her baby. Still, it was amazing to see him just hours old.

On our first night here, we also went to the local restaurant to try our first authentic Spanish tapas. We were a tad excited, and extremely hungry so may have gone overboard on the ordering, indicated by the lady taking our order repeatedly saying “mucho mucho” with a worried look on her face. Undeterred, we ordered away and although the full order could not fit on our table, the five of us managed to get through it. Delish!

We loved this place and would definitely recommend a visit if you are motorhoming in Spain. We loved it so much we stayed 2 days. We would have stayed longer but of course, the inevitable happened. We ran out of gas. And no gas means no cooking.

I’d like to point out that we had preempted this happening and so while we were still in France we had bought a new gas bottle.

If you are new to motorhoming like us you may not know this, so listen up. Gas bottles are generally easy to buy in France. Almost every petrol station sells them and even some larger supermarkets do. Spain is a no go. They are super strict. You generally need to have a Spanish address and always need an empty Spanish bottle to use as a trade-in for a new full Spanish bottle.

Now here’s the bit we didn’t know. And I’m sharing as a tip to all you newbies……every single country has a different design of gas bottle and so requires a different regulator (the bit the attaches your gas bottle to the hose connection).

Meaning, we were in Spain, with a French gas bottle and a uk regulator. Aye, that’s right, USELESS. We thought we had been so smart too. Raging.

*In steps our favourite motorhoming couple – TREVOR AND LIL!*

No joke, it’s like we had sent some secret bat signal!! THEY JUST KNEW!!

A few hours later we were on our way to meet up with them, got there and before we knew it, we ended up with 2 gas bottles and 3 regulators!! Sorted for every country! I cannot express enough how absolutely amazing they are and have been, and genuinely I don’t think we would have gotten this far without them. Plus, every time we see them they give me wine, so in my opinion they are the best kind of people.

Our baby boy also got a haircut thanks to Lil and her handy clippers. Did I mention they have everything, know everything and can do everything? Like, seriously. We love them.

Check out our pictures here

Lago de Sanabria, Spain

Of course, Trevor and Lil know all the best parking spots, so we ended up at a Camping El Folgoso on Lago de Sanabria, a stunning lake with amazing views. We spent one night at the campsite so we could shower and do laundry then the next day we wild camped at the car park closer to the lake.

The lake was stunning. Crystal clear and warm, so clear and warm that I actually swam in it. I’m one of those people who can only walk in as far as I can see my feet, if anything touches me I freak out, I hate the taste of sea water and I 100% believe that no matter where I am, what type of water it is, I’ll end up a victim of a shark attack. So this was a big deal for me. I felt like a mermaid (even though I more resemble a whale) with tiny little fish swimming up alongside me and amazing views of the mountains.

We could have stayed here forever.

The weans absolutely loved it. It was picture perfect calm, completely still waters, so they could safely paddle about in the lake and in the little rock pools trying to catch the tiny fish. Another place definitely worth a visit, just remember go for the free car park, it’s closer and will save you money too (plus I’m more than positive you could easily sneak up and use the camp facilities if need be).

Here’s some pictures for our time at the lake

So Spain, we have enjoyed you very briefly, we’ll catch you on the way back up, but now…….ON TO PORTUGAL!

Cheryl x


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