Day 1 - 07/06/15 - Santander in Northern Spain to Chaves in Northern Portugal

Santander comes into sight.

The plan for today was to drive down through Northern Spain heading for the small town of Chaves in Northern Portugal, I was going to break the journey by camping for one night along the way. BUT THAT CHANGED!

The north coast of Spain as we approach Santander.

The pilot vessel comes to meet us.

There seems to be much excitement and interest in our arrival!

We docked at Santander and disembarked at 10:15 am UK time, 11:15 Spanish time.

This is the Brittany Ferry route map.

I forgot to measure the distance as the crow flies from Santander to Portsmouth and I have no way of knowing the actual distance the boat travelled. All I can say is that we were at sea for 26 hours and I think the average speed was roughly 25mph, so that gives us 650 miles.

It was a beautiful day, clear blue skies and very hot (30 deg +) I set TomTom to avoid motorways because I wanted to see the villages and the countryside. By lunchtime I was nearing the town of Sahagun. I enjoyed a simple picnic lunch made from leftovers from York.

The roads were good with very little traffic making driving a pleasure.

It was a delight to find that the road ran for many miles beside the Camino de Santiago. Look it up on Google or:

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If you have not yet seen the film “The Way” I really recommend it. Look it up on Google or:

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Camino de Santiago.

Camino de Santiago.

Camino de Santiago.

The shell is the symbol of the Camino de Santiago.

Many wayside flowers

Honeysuckle

Lavender

Gorse

After lunch things started to go a bit wrong, I had GPS locations for five campsites at three towns along the way Sahagun, Valencia de Don Juan and Benavente. Two of the campsites were closed and three did not exist (just open country at the designated GPS locations!) And on top of that, the weather changed rapidly to a massive thunderstorm, driving rain and something like a twister swept along the road taking bits of trees with it! I had now lost quite a bit of time making deviations to non-existent campsites, so I decided to press on to Chaves. The campsite in Chaves was easily found, beautiful and the staff were lovely and helpful, thank the Lord! The thunder was still rolling around but the rain had more or less stopped, I finished pitching the tent in the car headlamps at around 10:00 (In Portugal the time is the same as the UK, so I had to change all my b…. clocks again) By the time I had showered and dealt with a few other jobs I rolled into bed at 1am very tired, I found it difficult to believe I had only left York two days earlier, it felt like a month!

Map - Santander to Chaves

It may look slightly odd that the total distance from York as the crow flies is greater than the distance driven, but if we add the 650 miles that the ferry travelled to the distance driven, then it makes sense.

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