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Travelling Spain with Two Dogs & a Parrot

With a good internet connection, I can work remotely from anywhere, so my husband Rob & I took advantage of this & are travelling Spain with our pets & everything we own packed into an estate car with roof-box.

First Days in Spain
20 July 2018 @ 08:53

We embarked from the Pont Aven ferry in Santander just after midday on Monday 25th September 2017.  Vehicles with pets were last on & first off the boat.  It was Rob's birthday, but although he woke in the upper bunk smiling at this, that he was almost in Spain & off to a new life, due to worrying about the pets, I completely forgot until he reminded me!  Ooops blush

We activated the European map on TomTom which prompted directions from Billy Connolly.  He wouldn't accept the full address of our accommodation, so we put in the general postcode & setoff.  I had a road map so know the rough destination area, but as this was the first time driving outside the UK with a satnav, we'd bought TomTom for this purpose & thought Billy deserved a chance.

The E8 west was free flowing, the weather warm (if cloudy) & after a short break to exercise the dogs (strange to think that everything we owned was packed into that blue Honda), we approached Villaviciosa.  Billy announced that we needed to leave the motorway one junction before I would have thought necessary but, looking at the map, I could see an A road which would take us to to where it seemed we'd find our cottage.  However, it wasn't long before Billy determindly sent us onto roads too small for my map & I was lost.  They were very pretty, nearly single track roads which wound up & down through small villages, orchards & green, lush farmland.  This was also part of the Camino de Compostala so there were numerous hikers walking their pilgrimage.

All of a sudden, we seemed to be heading in the right direction to pick up the A road once again, when Billy insisted we go left, up the hill.  So, after reversing (as we'd overshot the junction) we did, on the winding narrow road to a tiny hamlet.  "You have reached your destination" announced a triumphant Billy "You may thank me & remember without me none of this would have been possible, you would have been hopelessly lost." he continued in his Scottish lilt.

Billy - "We are lost!" we exclaimed in frustration & laughed, but turned Billy off, otherwise he would have instisted we turnaround, "but the whole car, not just ourselves"...

I followed my nose & instructed Rob to "Head straight on."  Wondering if we'd end-up in someone's farmyard as had happened on our holiday drives before, he continued on to a junction next to a church which I recognised.  Consulting our new best friend, Monsieur Michelin, we headed down the same hill we had a short while before, passing the same hikers in our distinctive long blue Honda estate with roofbox...

I managed to get us to the general area of our accommodation, but then there were so many roads criss-crossing the farmland, we went up & down each one as I'd no idea what the house looked like.  The Air B&B description had said it was 1 kilometre from the beach, so eventually (I know, we should have done this first), we headed right down to Playa Meron.  For some reason, although I'd enabled data roaming, 3G hadn't worked on my phone since landing in Spain &, very unlike me, I hadn't recorded the host's phone number offline.  Watching Rob walk the dogs on the beach, I texted my daughter with my Air B&B login details asking her to login, contact the host Tilo & ask him to call me.

Meanwhile, examining the Google map printout (which I had thought to bring), we ascertained that, if it was accurate, the house must be 1km back up the top of the hill & drove slowly up looking for a place I might recognise from the listing photos.  "Let's try there" I pointed right to Rob, just as my phone rang & I noticed a guy in the yard of an orange building was holding his mobile to his ear!

A few hours later than expected & exhausted, but we were in our first Spanish home for the next 12 nights.

As we had so much paperwork to complete to bring Woody, I was concerned, that despite all the planning, that we'd never actually arrive in Spain.  Therefore, not wanting to waste money, I'd found the cheapest accommodation that I could just a couple of hours drive from Santander & booked for less than a fortnight.  The Air B&B listing attractively reported that the house was one kilometre from the beach - perfect!  Feedback indicated that the 'barbeque' was across the yard & knowing that most Southern European houses have an external summer kitchen, this wasn't a problem.  It was only after booking that I translated other reviews to discover that the kitchen was separate from the accommodation...

No worries, we were travelling to meet new people & experience, (well, new experiences!), that sharing a space would allow us to get to know new people.

We had two private rooms separated by a shower room, but they were tiny & soulless & we had no storage, even for our megre possessions.  Although our rooms attached the main house, the connecting door was locked & we had to cross the yard to access the kitchen, storage & laundry room via a lounge area. We were staying on a working organic fruit & vegetable farm & I immediately thought it was well setup for WOOFA workers, rather than holiday makers.  At least our rooms were clean whilst the main house was dingy.  There were missing light bulbs, cobwebs & dust whist there were slug trails on the worktop in the kitchen.  We had to go to the lounge for internet access too which could have been availabe in our apartment with a booster, but wasn't.

Added to our difficulties, there was a resident dog on the farm, a lovely young animal who was either left loose or tied-up.  He was always hungry & not shy of accessing our rooms so we lost our dog food & treats on more than one occasion.  We were permanently closing doors to shut the parrot in & dogs in, or out, depending which ones!  Our hosts leased the farm & worked hard managing the land, growing produce for the shops.

We knew almost immediately that we needed to move on from this place as it was too small for a long-term stay.  I was also feeling the slight stress that I always do the first few days of any holiday until I can relax into the change of routine & pace.  Therefore, I spent a fair few hours browsing holiday let websites for our next temporary home.



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