Andorra – August, 2021

We had researched the best way to visit Andorra and it seemed the best way was from Barcelona. A mere 3hr and 18 minutes and 191 km away to be precise. We debated visiting in wintertime, but summer was also supposed to be pretty spectacular and so with a bit of research we booked the 7.40am ALSA bus for €18 each from Barcelona Nord Station arriving into Andorra La Vella at 11.40.

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Barcelona – August 2021

We travelled to Barcelona by plane on a rather uneventful afternoon flight with Vueling; it cost £50 each and took an hour which compared to the alternative of 13 hours on a coach was a no brainer! An easy taxi ride and we arrived at our hotel at 6pm. Nigel had never been here and his main interest was Camp Nou, not my idea of fun but there were a few things I hadn’t checked out on my last visit some 12 years ago so I was excited to be back. Gaudi city here we come!

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Madrid – August, 2021

It took me 56 years to get to Madrid! For a European Capital city relatively close to home, this was a major oversight for me, and a mistake I was keen to rectify. It is a beautiful city and was well worth the wait. Carol had been before for a hen weekend but this would be a different, more cultural break for her. A very long, hot and sweaty 10 hour bus ride through Flixbus for £26 each brought us from Porto to Madrid; this was one trip neither of us were keen to repeat, but we made it.

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Portugal IV – Porto

Porto is a stunningly beautiful city and probably our favourite place we visited in Portugal! We arrived here in all honesty a little blind; our recent itinerary being so full on we hadn’t made time to do our usual thorough research of things to do or places to see, only hearing that it is a beautiful city and this was no exaggeration. We discovered during the taxi ride from the bus station that unfortunately it is as hilly as everywhere else, but Uber was available so that would certainly make our time here a lot easier.

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Portugal III – Nazaré

Have you heard of Nazare? We hadn’t but we both had seen a video on youtube of a surfer who won the 2018 Ride of the Year award there. A flick through our facebook feed showed the most spectacular waves and a guy just a dot in the sheer immenseness of the water but managing to negotiate it with amazing expertise nonetheless. Neither of us are surfers ourselves but we can completely appreciate the skill involved and were in awe of this video we saw. Imagine our excitement when we realised a town near to us was where it was filmed. We had to go and check it out!

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Portugal II – Sintra

When Carol and I see a historical building, be it a castle, a palace, a town hall, a beautiful house, or a bridge, a monument, a statue, actually anything worthy of being photographed, we turn to each other and say “ooh look, there’s a ‘thing'” Sintra is so full of ‘things’ that in my opinion the entire town qualifies as a ‘thing’. We had a couple of recommendations to visit Sintra which is easily accessible from Lisbon for a little day trip so we thought why not!

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Portugal I – Lisbon

Or Lisboa as it is known to the locals. The first thing to say is this place is that it is hilly. Very hilly! Pick a sight to see, get Google maps to show you the way, and before long you work out that you are never far away from a turning that will lead you up a street to rival Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Yes, THAT steep! Walking in Lisbon is bloody hard work, just as well then that there alternatives such as trams, buses, an underground train network, and our personal favourites, Uber and scooters 😊

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A Day Trip to Gibraltar, August 2021

We wanted to visit Gibraltar because we want to visit every country in Europe. OK so technically it’s not a country, it’s a British Overseas Territory, ah well, we’ll just consider it a bonus then 😊. Planning a visit to Gibraltar was a little complicated as details online are not necessarily correct at the moment due to different covid restrictions. It did seem however the easiest way to get there was by bus and so after a trip to the bus station we managed to get a day return Avanza ticket between Malaga to La Linea de la Concepcion, the border of Gibraltar. It was going to be a long day as the bus trip was 3 hrs each way and about 5 hours in Gibraltar itself but off we set armed with our cameras for the day ahead.

Both of us were interested to see exactly just how British it was, being a British Territory encompassed by Spain; would it be like a little Britain, or would it be like being in Spain with everyone speaking Spanish but using the pound? We were soon to find out!

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A Few days in Cómpeta, Spain

Unless you are extraordinarily lucky, having fun doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. In Iceland that sometimes meant enduring cold and wet weather, getting up early with a full day’s schedule ahead of you, driving long distances, doing chores such as cooking and washing up, and every day packing up, putting up the tent and converting our van into our sleeping quarters. Every day. We had such an amazing time but it was time for some sun again and some downtime.

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What to know before you go! Driving a Campervan around Iceland

We learnt a lot of different things during our two week tour which we thought would be helpful to share. Camping and driving experiences can vary from country to country and Iceland is no different; we had a great time but there were a few things that would have been helpful to know before we went. We have therefore summarised some of our learning below.

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