Spanish Adventure Part 3

There is something rather magical about writing a blog while sitting on a campsite high in the Picos Mountains in northern Spain.

If you’ve read the other blogs you’ll know that we’ve spent the last three weeks touring Spain’s northern coast travelling west as far as Candas and then moving south as far as Zamora. We then travelled north through Leon up into the Picos Mountains. We’ve covered around two thousand miles and had a great time.

As we are about to return home I thought I’d try to pull together some thoughts about the trip.

Phil sitting outside motorhome with great view of siteThe weather and the scenery have been beautiful and I suppose that was to be expected. What surprised us was how little traffic we encountered and how many new motorway projects had been abandoned, presumably because of the economic crisis. We hadn’t booked any sites save the first and last so we took pot-luck and just turned up. Every site had wheelchair accessible toilets and showers to a greater or lesser extent. The two extremes being one site where you could play wheelchair basketball in the cubicle and the other where you had to leave your chair outside in order to close the door but it did have grab rails!! No holiday involving me can ever be drama free! On one site I found the step up to the accessible toilet to high for my chair to climb. After a bit of exploration I found an alternative route across some rough grass. As soon as I went on it the chair sank up to its axles in mud! Sue was on the other side of the building so couldn’t see me so I rang her. I got nothing but her messaging service. I then noticed an older chap doing his washing up with his wife. I started waving my arms about and they quickly assessed that I was in a bit of a pickle! Both approached and the woman got hold of the chair and with a little help from her partner, dragged me out of the quagmire. Hey ho! A little later I saw them with a group of people around them pointing in my direction and showing how they’d helped. I’d obviously made their news of the day!

Every site we used had Wi-Fi often without charge and with reasonable speeds, contrast that with seeing shepherds with crooks, umbrellas and dogs keeping watch over their flocks. Old men in wooden clogs cutting silage by hand and loading it in to wheelbarrows to be taken back to their cattle kept in barns rather than fields. Siesta is still taken between two and four o’clock and everything except the restaurants close. We were often caught out by the very relaxed pace of life. Turning up at places only to find them closed or wanting to eat in the evening to find the restaurants not serving food until eight thirty pm at the earliest! Everywhere people were friendly and helpful and seemed genuinely pleased to see us. On one occasion an old chap took me by arm and indicated that I should follow him, which I did. After a few metres he stopped and made signs, which suggested this was the best place to take a photo of Sue. He was right!

So there you are. We’ve really enjoyed our holiday and were really impressed by what we saw and who we met. We’re already planning next years trip this time heading east! Next week the blog will return to its more usual news and information, shame really!

Author: PhilFriend

Dr Phil Friend (OBE FRSA) himself a wheelchair user, is acknowledged as the UK's foremost consultant on disability matters. A powerful and highly popular communicator, his company – Phil & Friends – provides consultancy to many of the country's best-known companies. In addition to his professional activities, he is also a respected champion for equal opportunities and diversity in general, where his special blend of humour and direct speaking has won admirers from around the world.

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