Tag Archives: sunset

El Cotillo

We set off on our way to El Cotillo but thought we’d have a drive through the valley to see what it was like.

There are a lot of these goats about the place, I haven’t investigated what they are about but we come across them a lot…

Shortly after passing the goat and no more than a quarter of a mile from where we spent the night it appeared we had left earth and landed on mars…

It’s quite incredible how the landscape can change so dramatically in such a short distance…

I took the opportunity to take an arty picture of the road ahead.

We followed the road to El Cotillo, parked up and put Stella in her stroller and walked over toward the sea, Stella started to drift off to sleep and at the same time the wind died down and the sun came out, time for a cocktail. We’d spotted a place that looks out to sea called La Ballena, it had a large sign that said cocktail which is what grabbed out attention most, in no time at all I had a beer and Lolly had a mojito.

As Stella decided to have a proper snooze we ordered lunch, Lolly had the John Dory special which was basically John Dory in a white parsley sauce with mussels, prawns and boiled potatoes and I had battered John Dory and chips, both meals were awesome, just as we were about to start Stella woke up…

We asked for a high chair and one arrived on no time at all, Lolly had brought some food for Stella so we all had lunch together. It was the first time we’d had lunch at a restaurant since we’d been away and it was bloody lovely, good food, no wind and sunshine, perfect. Once we’d finished up we moved on to the little bit of beach by the harbour.

It’s literally a splodge of sand amongst the rocks but it was a nice place to sit, soak up some late afternoon sun and there was a nice rock pool for Stella to play in…

We stayed down here till the tide came in and swallowed up most of the sand, we headed off for a walk around the village and was pleasantly surprised to find a little bay with some cute little dwellings, restaurants, bars and a dude playing solo guitar which you could hear right across the bay.

We explored some other stop over options and then went back to where we parked the van and moved to an overnight spot looking out to sea, it was right by where we had lunch. There were a few other vans parked up in the area so we thought it would be OK and as it turned out it was…

The wind was still pretty minimal and I tried to film a sunset time lapse but was foiled by a massive wall of cloud on the horizon that completely blocked the sun sinking in to the sea, I consoled myself with a beer, Lolly had some wine and we went to bed.

The next morning we planned to go and find the lagoons which weren’t far from where we were parked up. I took my drone out for a fly as I wanted to get some footage for a little holiday video, the weather was overcast, not ideal when you are trying to make a sunny holiday movie!

It was also pretty windy, the drone held up and didn’t get blown away. By the time we had put Stella down for a snooze and she had woken up again the sun had come out.

Annoyingly we had to do another round of emptying and filling which meant a 45 minute drive to Corralejo as that’s the only service point on this end of the island, we also needed to pick up supplies for the next few days and right next to the service point is a good sized supermarket so we dived in there and did a good shop.

If you like fish they have an excellent fresh fish counter.

You can buy a whole frozen Octopus too!

After grabbing everything we needed It didn’t take us too long to get back to El Cotillo and not only find the lagoons and but also a spot to park up for the nigh. It’s in a square with some apartments and a bar at one end and then a completely derelict patch of land in the middle of the square..

The view from the van however is quite different.

We went for a stroll on the beach and came across a number of rock made shelters you can sit in to keep you out of the wind, we decided to have a beach bbq so went back to the van, grabbed a bbq and some food and cracked on.

We had a lovely time and so did Stella too..

I filmed another time lapse sunset and was again foiled by cloud, more beer then and an early night, the sky did look very pretty…

WE started the next morning with some breakfast and a stroll along the beach to part of where we hadn’t been and also other vans were parked up, we took Stella for a dip in the sea.

We’d also noticed before we went for a stroll that we’d managed to run out of water again so made a plan to make our next destination near one of the other points the people we rented the van from said where service points. This was to mark the start of the crappiest day we’ve had, long story short we spent three hours looking of these service places to find that one didn’t exist at all and the other was massively un-obvious and I dismissed it as not existing. So if you are over here there is a DISA service station just past the airport heading toward Caleta de Fuste and next door to IKEA.

To the far right near the car wash area is this sign which is difficult to see when other vehicles are parked in front of it which is how I managed to miss it first time around.

Look up and write down the Spanish translation for “I need to empty my chemical toilet” and show it to whoever is behind the jump, they will then come and open a manhole you pour your cassette down, it stinks and beware of splash backs, you can’t empty grey water here but you can fill up with fresh water, again, 1 euro for decent amount.

At this point we’d been in the van for about three hours and all of us needed a break so we headed into a town called Calete de Fuste which is basically Croydon by the sea. It’s nearly as awful as Corralejo. There is an English doctors, mobility scooter hire, karaoke drifting through the air, an Aberdeen steakhouse, curry house and Chinese, if I’d have looked hard enough I’m sure there would have been a kebab shop too and there were a good amount of English bars, the dog and duck was one of them. The whole resort is designed for sun seeking brits who want the Spanglish experience without having to venture too far from their package doorstep, not my cup of tea at all, anyway…..

The beach front is pretty much owned by the Barcelo group and to be fair, a lot of the complex looked quite nice. Little self catering bungalows a stones throw form the beach, we walked past all that lot and onto the beach, there was a bar at the beach, we ordered a beer, Stella need some time out of the van too so we took her down to the sea..


At this point we turned our attention to some food, as I mentioned earlier there were some poor options available and we hadn’t set our expectations high. We did notice from the beach there was a marina amend what looked like possibly a restaurant so we took a wander in that direction. The marina is part of the Barcelo complex but you can eat there if you’re not a guest, if you do end up in this neck of the woods, visit the restaurant closest to the pirate shop, we had a lovely meal and they have high chairs for kids, we both had a starter ( I had fried octopus and a Lolly had fried goats cheese) and I had the biggest fillet steak I’ve ever had , Lolly had some really nice fresh fish, they brought a high chair for Stella and gave us hot water to warm her milk, the service and staff was excellent as was the view looking out to the marina, the meal came in at 60 euros which I thought was a bargain.

We had agreed we were going to stay the night but our options once investigated were poor, we decided to head up into the mountains to Betancuria for the night, I’ll let you know how that went next time…

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A very lazy day

The morning after my birthday we woke up late, partly due to me not turning in till 2.30 am and also because the bed we were in was super comfy. 

We hung out for most of the day at Dans, I made brunch for all that wanted some and then helped Dan with some network stuff for the new flat.  The weather was drizzly so hanging about inside wasn’t the worst thing to do. Eventually the drizzle stopped and the sun poked its head out so we decided to make tracks, we thanked Dan and Bec for looking after us, jumped in the van and drove to St Catherine’s lighthouse in Niton. 

You can look around the lighthouse but it was closing just as we arrived which was a shame, there is a path to the right of the lighthouse that takes you along the coastline so we walked along for a bit admiring the view, in the distance we could see some surfers catching waves so we found a spot to sit down on and watched them for a bit. 


You can just about see the the surfers in the picture above, I didn’t realise you could surf on the island.

The sun continued to shine so we both agreed it would be a good idea to have a BBQ and watch the sunset, the last time we were here two years ago our sunset was hampered by cloud and rain, not this time! We stopped off at the village shop near to our campsite, bought some goodies and headed off to a car park that overlooks the sea for some car park dining, within no time at all our trusty cobb BBQ was on the go with sausages and halloumi sizzling away much to the admiration of others that came to watch the sun go down.


As we ate our food the sun began to fall into the sea and we were treated to a quite spectacular sunset.


After the sun went down we drove back to Grange Farm and settled down with a movie, Hacksaw Ridge, if you haven’t seen it watch it, an incredible true story of bravery and the power of faith.

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Le wikkid beach

The beach at Biscarosse turned out to be pretty awesome.

  
The weather was just as awesome, the sun shone all day so much so we had to deploy our well travelled brolly from Ibiza gifted to us from our friends Darran and Cinzia 

  
The surf here is really good too so we grabbed our boards and I felt compelled to put my wetsuit on for a couple of reasons, one, to prevent board rash, two, so my back didn’t get sunburnt and three, other people were wearing them. 

I remember when I first bought this wetsuit and when I  put it on I looked like a right tit, you’ll be pleased to know this is still the case. 

  
It was great to catch some waves and lie about in the sun, after soaking up plenty of rays we headed back to the van to grab the Cobb for a sunset BBQ, I took a picture from the van to show you the view we have when chilling by the van. 

  
This aire is pretty popular, this is our bit, loads of motor homes! Despite how busy it looks it’s really quite peaceful. 

  
One thing I have noticed is there are T4’s everywhere, each campsite or Aire we visit there is always at least one T4, Eurovans they call them, there are a few kicking about here. 

  
We headed off over the dunes to set the Cobb up and have a sunset bbqs, it was about a ten minute walk from the van, the dunes were substantial, you can just about see Lolly in this picture. 

  
Ever since we have owned the Cobb, when explaining to people how versatile it is we always mention you can cook pizzas on it despite never having actually cooked one, we can now confidently say the the Cobb cooks a wikkid pizza! 

  
The sunset here was quite spectacular, totally worth lugging the BBQ up the dune and then walking back through the forest of darkness and doom. 

  
Once we got back to the van I read Lolly a few chapters from the Martian and then we crashed, the following morning we got up looking forward to spending a day exploring and hanging out in our favourite place so far, then Lolly’s mum called to ask us what time we’d be arriving in St Emillion as they were on their way, bugger, slight clerical error, off to St Emillion we go then! 

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Le dune

Camping municipal Verdalle has turned out to be ok, the pitch is massive, the toilet and shower facilities are excellent, they have some strange rules like no hanging out washing after 10am and don’t use the trees to make washing lines which we’ve duly ignored. 

  
The beach was another IMO average affair, sandy and the sea was out so quite muddy too, when we returned in the evening the tide had come in and the beach looked a lot better, would have been a great place for a sunset but we missed that as I was busy cooking chicken, I didn’t bother taking a picture of the beach. 

Earlier in the day we’d taken a walk and round the corner from our campsite and average beach was a lovely little harbour. 

 

As you can see the weather has greatly improved, our first afternoon / evening in Gujan-Mestras passed fairly uneventfully, sun, average beach, walk, chicken and bed. 

The following morning we got up, ate what we had left that would pass for breakfast and jumped on the bikes, our destination being The Grand Dune of Pyla, basically a massive sand dune by the sea that’s slowly swallowing a forest. 

We got a bit lost en route although we did find a nice forest to ride through. 

  

11 miles later we arrived at the dune and it was mental, people everywhere, not quite what we had expected and to be honest, almost enough to turn us on our heels, I convinced Lolly some food and a drink would be a good idea, she was more up for grabbing a panini and buggering off but I insisted we grab a table, this is where I had my first favourite French dish, a croque Monsieur!

  

It was lovely and lolly is now convinced she can make them for me at home, bonus!

After a quick food and drink break we set off to conquer the dune, this is not something to try if you are unfit, obese, have a heart condition or are generally unwell. It’s a steep ascent in sand which is harder work than it looks, much harder, there are steps you can go up but they are equally as steep but with better footing.  It took us about 10 minutes to get to the top of the dune and that was with a couple of stops, the view out across the bay is stunning. 

  

I took some better pictures with my other camera and when I’ve edited them I’ll post them up. 

It’s nowhere near as frantic at the top of dune, almost peaceful so we hung about for an hour catching some rays and then headed down the other side to the beach and the sea, we stayed there for a few hours and I read Lolly some of the book I am reading, it’s called the Martian, a great read and now Lolly is into it I’m going to have to read her the rest of the book while we are away!

To get back to the bikes we had to climb up the dune again which took about 20 min this time as our start point was lower than before, after a lot of effort we reached the summit, chipped down the other side and made our way to the bikes, we still had an 11 mile ride home to do!

We took a different route home basically following the coast on a cycle path, about halfway we stopped at a little town square that had a few bars and restaurants, we got a corner table right by the beach.

 
I had steak and lolly had paella, both dishes were lovely and we were treated to a beautiful sunset. 

 
We made our way home mostly on the cycle path, the light faded and Lolly had no lights on her bike, mine are rechargeable and about halfway home the front one ran out of juice, the ride home was tense but we made it without getting killed!

Below is the report from Strava, I kept stopping Strava so I could see where we were on the way home so it’s not quite as accurate as it could be, I’m fairly certain we did more than 17 miles. 

  
This morning we got up, left the campsite and headed to an aire in a pine forest called Biscarrose Plage, there is a crappy toilet and that’s it, no other facilities, proper camping in the woods!

  
There is a beach about 2 mins from here we’re off to check out shortly, have fun at your desk or wherever you’re reading this from, we’ll be on the beach!

For anyone interested, so far we’ve covered 752 miles in 7 days, the van is running sweet and all the little upgrades and mods we’ve made for this trip have been totally worth it!

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