Star date 12 March 2016
Where has the last week gone? Who stole it? We don’t want it back, as there’s great fun to be had ahead, although just like to know who’s nabbed it. It’s just flown by. Who would have thought that in one week we would have locked up our furniture, said goodbye to our temporary home, said ‘au revoir’ to our friends, been to Cornwall for a meal at Rick’s place and sailed over to Spain. We’re now sitting about half way down the country, in Monfrague National Park, Entremadura Region.
Now, for those of you who are familiar with my blogs from our NZ Road-Trip, you will know how much I love my superlatives. For those of you new to my colourful and poetic travel summaries, let’s see if I can inspire, inform and entertain – just a little.
As I reflect on what we’ve achieved in the last six months, let alone the last week, I am amazed and proud of all that we have navigated. We’ve said good bye to the Matrix and set off on an adventure which we hope will be not so much life-changing, as life-enhancing.
So let’s begin….
The week, as I reflect back has been a cultural invasion for us country folk. Although we must admit to being just a little bit surprised by the weather. Now I know that the weather is unpredictable at the best of times in UK, although we had this preconceived idea that Spain would be sunny. Well what a baptism of fire that has been. Thunder storms, gale-force winds, hail, snow and piercingly cold temperatures have all been in the mix and apparently that’s normal for this part of the country. We made a conscious decision not to chase the sun as the weather is not a major driver for our experiences – although Myles does love the heat. Yet the idea of by-passing some of Spain’s most incredible cities was just too preposterous to imagine. So wrapped in our traditional English finery; thick coats, hats and gloves, we ventured towards the culture that we knew would expand our minds if not tan our bodies.
Research showed me, that Castile y Leon offered a huge amount of history and architecture, and yet one thing we learnt in NZ was that you can’t see everything, even with the freedom that we’re blessed with on this trip. So we selected a route – please enter; Burgos, Segovia and Salamanca. We so want to leave more than tyre tracks and leave behind just a little bit of our hearts in the places we visit, although perhaps that will be a little easier to do when it’s warmer, as sitting in one of the many Plaza’s with a beer, people-watching is great when you have 18 degrees of sunshine.
All three cities we’ve been privileged to explore, have blown our minds and it’s really difficult to set them apart, so I’m not even going to try, as to compare would be disrespectful. Each one is a UNESCO site and unique in its style, vibe and layout. Burgos was our first visit and wow, even as non-Church goers, that Cathedral was something else. And the river cycle ride was quite gorgeous on their purpose-built bicycle tracks – even if a tad chilly. Now Segovia, was in another class altogether. Romanesque aqueducts, Princess castles straight out of a Disney film and a Cathedral with a network of crooked Spanish streets offering the visitor delights of everyday Spanish living. We felt incredibly humbled to be part of this city and could have spent so much more time winding around its imposing city walls. And then came Salamanca; we worried that we’d be a bit overdone with churches and imposing religious artefacts. Although how could you not be impressed by the towering giants of intricate edifices, gargoyles and padres. Salamanca blew our minds as in one square mile, there were more churches, cathedrals and religious structures than the previous two cities we’d visited. We kept walking around in complete awe and we don’t do cities.
In amongst all of our exploring, we have also had to balance our work. It’s been tricky because the travelling and magnetic draw to see these incredible sights has, quite honestly, distracted us. With beautiful, road-less-travelled routes offering so much secret beauty with richly coloured houses of gold, greens and aubergines, snow capped mountains, Black Vultures, Storks nesting on electricity pylons, red Squirrels and Red Kites, who could blame us for not engaging with our work. What lovely distractions they are too. Although engage we must. So we’ve settled into a routine that allows us to travel, work, rest and explore, although having a couple of days to park up and just be, feels like the right thing to do as we enter the next Spanish region, Entremadura. Now out in the countryside, amidst the mountains, swallows, oh and a little bit of ‘need to put our shorts on’ weather, will provide an ample base for a bit of catch up.
We’ve adjusted to our new way of life, quite nicely, although it has to be said, yesterday’s domestic duties did not inspire me. I had to give myself a reality check though, as of course, this is life and chores need doing whether in four walls or in a motorhome. So I soon got over myself. We do, if I’m honest, still feel like we’re on holiday and I had a poignant moment this morning when asked, ‘where do you come from?’ I didn’t quite know how to answer this very simple of questions. I came to the conclusion, after spluttering out a half-baked response, that my home is where I plant my feet and where Scoobie parks up his tyres. How blessed are we to be living this reality.
So until next week – adios!