From Spain to the UK
We left Central Portugal, driving our ‘beast’ (the boy’s affectionate name for our car) jam-packed with our worldly belongings and said adeus to our home. With our caravan and anything else large or of value sold, donated or gifted, we hit the road. We intended to grin and bear the the six hour drive to Santander and do it all in one long day. After all of our recent road trips, it was comparably a short drive; but as it felt like a final farewell to the Iberian peninsula we couldn’t resist a night at the coast. With our rather over laden car squeezed full of Lego, clothes, pans, pots and far too much ‘stuff’, oh, and of course us and the kids, we booked a night in Santillana Del Mar. The town of three lies, one of which is that it is not by the sea, a stunning medieval village, picture-perfect like a movie set. We joined the hoards of tourists and queued up for the local speciality of milk and cheese cake, delicious. Explored a little more and drank a well earned glass of wine whilst the boys caused chaos and mayhem on the makeshift outdoor bar’s bouncy castle.
The boys spent their pocket money on Lego Darth Vader keyrings, the only toy we could possibly fit into the beast; they were so ecstatic, until they realised that Darth Vader was glued together, then spent the rest of the evening trying to un-stick the supreme Lord. We headed back to our room at the village’s campsite and we were staggered to realise that we had walked this path before. Pre-children, well almost (if you don’t count the fact that we were pregnant with our eldest as a 10 week old little bean) we had visited the medieval village walking the 800km path of the Camino de Santiago, the way of Saint James. We recognised the now defaced sign, that we had previously marched passed in 2012, when we were tempted by the pellegrino menu on offer. In contrast, this time we could sit and relax, eat chicken, calamari and drink a bottle of wine; play with the boys and marvel at how grown up they were, running off to play table football and ordering themselves glasses of water from the bar in Spanish.
The next day we only had a thirty minute drive to Santander, we arrived early knowing that we could park up for the day at the ferry port and leave the massively over-packed beast, plus bike rack, plus stuffed bag of all bags, all day whilst we explored. A short walk took us straight into the heart of Santander, past the modernist art centre, boats, sculptures and on towards the shops, cafes and restaurants.
After a full day of exploring we found that the ferry was three hours late to depart, but we were compensated for this with free bars of chocolate, coffee, hot chocolate and water. When we finally boarded the boys were super excited with the onboard soft play area, bunk beds that appeared from the cabin’s ceiling and a literally impossible-to-solve treasure hunt for frustratingly tiny stickers placed all around the top decks of the very rocky and large ship. Nineteen long hours of sailing later, after constant requests for food, cartoons, films, food, food, a little bit of sickness and of course more food, we finally arrived in Plymouth, England; An opportunity to take a short drive to visit friends and family in beautiful Hayle and Newquay.
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