So what have we been up to in the last week or so, since our exciting time in Santiago De Compostella?
Well, Sharon wanted to bag another country, so we headed down the Atlantic coast and crossed into Portugal. We found a mostly-empty beachfront campground just north of Porto called Arvore, right on the ocean and run by the Portuguese mountaineering club of all people, and spent a couple of days there.
There was a large resident cat population, which kept Fiona entertained. She's always on the lookout for potential new boyfriends. After shopping for Portuguese olive oil at a local hypermarche, we headed back north. Portugal has an abundant supply of granite – it's strange to see picnic tables with tops of polished granite.
The less appealing aspect of this is the cobblestone roads, paved with granite. They last forever, but it's hard to go more than 15 miles an hour on them. As you approach each small village, the asphalt ends and the cobblestones begin. It's an effective way to enforce the speed limit, I must admit.
We crossed back into Spain and spent a couple of days at a beachside campground in Vigo, Spain, right on a small harbor full of fishing and pleasure boats. The season is ending – there was only one other campervan in the park with us, and just a few of the set up for the season emplacements were occupied. I negotiated the narrow streets, located the bakery, and ingratiated myself to the woman running it by buying my bread with small coins – she was short on change, and was happy to get mine.
A careful Google search spotted a nice campground a leisurely day's drive east across the northern Spanish coast at Camping Perlora, near Gijon. The campground occupies a small peninsula jutting out into the ocean, so you're surrounded by water. We had a beautiful view of a rocky beach and the town behind it, and relaxed and did laundry. But it was time to move on – we had to get the van up to Antwerp and put if back on the boat in less than two weeks. Onward into France.
We did a one-night stopover at our beachfront campground at St Jean de Luz, which we hit on the way down and which was closing for the season in a few days. Many of the commercial campgrounds had closed October 1, and luckily for us Ferme Erromardie was staying open another week, but the colder, cloudier weather had cleared the place out. The beachfront bar with all the loud reggae music was closed. Only a few diehard surfers were left. We were definitely feeling the change of seasons.
We drove about an hour north the next day, ad found a real treasure, the municipal camperplatz on the beach at Capbreton, France. It was about half full, and we met a nice couple there from the Isle of Man, who were there to watch the surfers. There was a big international surfing competition in a few days, and indeed the surf here was much better than what I had seen further south down the coast. Funny how surfers are surfers the world over – except for the language difference, you'd think you were in California. Wetsuits were hanging off nearly every RV in the parking lot.
As we go north, we're staying in the remaining municipal aires du camping that remain open. Just about everyone here has come to the conclusion that summer is over, and it's time to get back to school, work, etc. I guess that applies to us too. We need to prepare the Roadtrek for shipment and get ready to put it on the boat and fly home ourselves. It's been an amazing six months.