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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.

Our Short Stay in Asturias
19 July 2018 @ 08:38

I can understand why my brother & sister-in-law always take all-incusive holidays in package holiday resorts.  They climb off the plane, straight onto a bus, to be taken to their hotel without a hitch.  They dump their luggage & can head straight to the bar for an 'all-inclusive' drink, knowing a meal will be ready & waiting at the appropriate time.

We don't, even before moving to Europe on a permanent basis, we've always self-catered.  Rob likes to eat when he's good & ready, not wait for someone else to decide & he gets grumpy when hungry...  After getting lost, curtesy of Billy, we arrived late at our accommodation, hungry & tired.  After settling & feeding the pets, we were starving & having packed the car to the gills & needing to bring pet food, I'd had to throw all our food in Nottinghamshire.  This was except for PG Tips tea bags (2,400 to be exact - did I previously mention that?) which were vacuumed packed into large polythene storage bags - hidden in amongst clothes to avoid potential scrutiny by passport control.

Would PG Tips be banned?

We'd asked the host for restaurant recommendations & then turned the wrong way at the first junction & missed the close restaurant we'd been directed to, so had to drive a little way further to Villaviciosa.  Settling down at at town centre restaurant, we realised how little Spanish we actually knew.  Attempting to decipher the menu, the waiter fetched his English speaking colleague & this was something we subsequently experienced from the friendly Spanish.  I was pleased that I accurately ordered codfish which was delicious but Rob's meal of pork steak was nothing more than a fancy burger.

We hadn't noticed a supermarket on our travels, both driving & walking through town so had been unable to obtain essential supplies.  Therefore, on our second day in Spain, despite feeling very jaded from our days of travelling, all we had for breakfast were tea, coffee & cereal bars, so we needed to shop.  We arrived in Gijon/Xixon in glorious sunshine, but only seeing one possible supermarket on the way, but the opposite side of the carriageway.  After finding free parking just behind the seafront at the East of the town, we ate lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay.  Whilst there, still not having 3G, I used their wifi to search for supermarkets.

Billy took us to the well-known chain no problem, but in the centre of town to what seemed to be the back entrance as all the shutters were down.  So, as I decided there must be an out-of-town retail park (so English an assumption really) & we spent a considerable time trying to find our way out of Gijon.  A town based on a grid network, many roads were one-way so whilst attempting to be Rob's eyes, warning of lane direction changes etc, I looked for any sign of a supermarket.  After a while, there was one, once again on the opposite side of the dual carrigeway, but it did have a car-park.

I encouraged Rob to turn left at the next opportunity, but as he changed lanes to the point of no-return, I spotted a large Lidl in the distance.  To add to our frustration, the left-turn fed us directly onto another dual carridgeway to who-knows where!  Many miles & a significant amount of time driving down A roads & small B side roads later, we managed to park-up at Carrefour for a quick shop for essential provisions.

A quick shop?!  No, this is Spain laugh

Talking out-loud to myself at the veg counter to identify the Spanish for carrots (Zanahorias) in order to weigh them & obtain a bar-code price label, a lady exclaimed "You're English?"

Enter the lovely Fatima & her young son Morgan.  Moroccan born Fatima from Lincoln (not far from our home in Notts) was on a university placement teaching English & enthusiastically told us all about her journey & experience living in Gijon for the previous few weeks.  Later-on, we bumped into each other on another aisle & continued our conversation for a long while.  Therefore, it was much later than expected when we left, concerned that the dogs had been shut-in for so long.

Exiting the car park (with right of way), we spotted a car approaching from the left & not slowing down (something we experienced many times on the roads).  Rob reacted, accelerated & swung right, but we were still bumped.  The other driver immediately admitted responsibility & fetched his documents, but after examining both cars, there was only superficial damage to both cars' bumpers.  Not wanting to experience the Spanish authorities so soon into our journey, we had to persuade the other driver (really, really hard - did we accidently break a law by doing-so?), that all was OK & we wouldn't be reporting him, nor taking the incident further.  Afterwards we did wonder whether it was illegal not to report an incident...

Having picked-up a couple of bottles of red wine for €1 each, settling down with a glass ended our first full day of our new life in Spain.

Asturias is a beautiful green region, not so different in fauna to the UK, so a good introduction to living in a foreign land.  The climate was similar too, so after a few days of (to us) hot sunshine, we experienced damp, drizzle, fog & rain, but it stayed warm!  During our 12 days, we had even thirds of hot sun, dry cloud & drizzle or heavy rain which would have been disappointing had we been on holiday.

But this was permanent!  We didn't have to return to the UK after a fortnight smiley

On the morning of day two, I setoff with the dogs down the hill to the beach for a few hours sun-bathing laving Rob instructions to fetch us at midday.  It was glorious, red hot & quiet with just a handful of others on the beach.  I'd noticed a guy walk down to take photos & he & Rob got chatting.  Chris was a watch-maker/clock & old camera repairer from Belgium staying in the local village.  He accepted our invitation for a beer & we spent a pleasant couple of hours back at the farm supping beer in the shade & putting the world to rights.

We'd arranged to meet for lunch the following day & after driving round & round the rural lanes lookinng for a green painted restaurant, Chris eventually flagged us down ouside one painted blue!  We were on 'holiday' at that point & this was first time we'd felt it, relaxing & drinking beers into the afternoon.

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