Italy to Spain via France

Leaving the Poggio early the morning after the race we went west to Nice where we turned north, stopping for the night at an aire in Bédoin which is near Mt. Ventoux.

The second day of driving took us to what we refer to as ‘the windy place’, which is Lachamp-Raphael.  Everything was closed – even the cafe/bar, although it was a Monday so that might explain it.

The next day got us back to Mansle – nice to be in a house again.  We spent several days getting organized – picked up the Renault that is going down to Spain, got some things from the charity shop, had a nice lunch at the fish-and-chips place.

We also saw Tony and Joyce and I showed Tony a photo of my little guy Sly that he offered to make a painting of for me.  Several days later we went back as he’d already finished it – a real masterpiece!  Sly is a very cute kitty but doesn’t seem to like posing too much – I was lucky to get a pic that shows his beautiful green eyes.

We were all packed up for our trip down to Spain when Colin had a blood test the morning before we were planning to leave.  That evening we went to the bar where they had a steak and chips dinner – very delicious.  We were just getting ready to retire for the night when Colin got the results of his blood test by email – not good.  We decided that going to Spain was not in the cards at the time and both went to bed with heavy hearts.

At 6 the next morning Colin knocked on my door and said we should go to Spain anyway – the campervan and trailer (that I will pull in the Renault) were all packed and his furniture from Worcester is on the way so he figured we might as well go.  We were on the road before 8:30.

Getting used to driving again and pulling a little trailer wasn’t that bad – shortly after we passed Bordeaux I started to relax a bit.  Very near the Spanish border we encountered a road-block – no police or road-works folks but just a barrier.  Like those before us we went around it and down a very narrow road.  After several km Colin in the campervan was trying to turn around while I continued forward past another barrier.  It seems there was some kind of rally on with quads, but there were no wardens or any diversion markers and it seemed very unorganized.

Rather than try to find Colin I drove on to the small town just across the border where all the French folks go for the cheap shopping – I parked in the lower parking lot of one of the shopping malls that we’ve stopped at before and waited for him to find me.  I waited 20 or 30 minutes and he and Henry arrived – we had lunch in the parking area and then continued on our way.

We got past Zaragoza on a secondary road and stopped for the night at a trucker’s stop just off the motorway – it was surprisingly quiet and the sunrise in the morning was lovely.

We got to the house in late afternoon – I felt like I was coming home.  Seeing the work that had been done while we were gone was great – bathtub installed, Colin’s re-done bathroom, the pellet stove.

The only problem was that there was a layer of dust everywhere – some strategically placed poly would have been useful when the work was in progress.

I did many loads of laundry and washed every dish in the kitchen because of the dust, but eventually started to relax and just enjoy being here.

The full moon came and went and it was Easter.

I made a roasted chicken pie, except I burned the bottom crust.  I’m not used to a gas oven yet, but as long as you scraped off the burnt part it was delicious.

We got an excellent gardener to tidy things up – a lot of things to trim and prune as it’s probably been several years since it has been properly taken care of.  She seems to know what she’s doing and is giving us advice on what to plant behind the wall, etc.

We went for our first ride of the season this morning – we have a bit of fitness to find but it was nice to get out.

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