Friday 24th November 2017
It’s Black Friday the world over today, millions of people will be saving a small fortune and spending an even larger one and we had our own Black day today.
We were rudely awoken with doors slamming, busses reversing, and noise and commotion everywhere. Our private car park had been taken over by “the school run”. Three great big coaches reversed into their allotted space for the day followed by four mini busses each spewing out their allotted children. One poor motorhome owner had inadvertently parked in the bus space and was ousted from his spot by angry bus drivers whilst still in his pyjamas. Small children, hand in hand and forming a human daisy chain of toddlers were dragged towards the school gate by their parents and coach guardians and there were cars everywhere. A weird Christmas pan pipe tune was playing loudly from somewhere in the school playing ground. It was 8.45am and I was peaking out the window watching the mayhem with amusement realising that is probably a daily recurrence. By 9.05 all was quiet.
We didn’t have far to go today (about an hours drive) so decided to visit the museum of torture and the Spanish Inquisition (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!! – sorry I was always a Monty Python fan ). We grabbed some money from the disguised Santander branch and couldn’t resist another couple of photos of the pretty town…..
… and paid our four euros each entry. IT WAS DISTURBING! As we wandered round looking at the macabre implements of torture we decided that we are so grateful that we live in an enlightened age rather than the Middle Ages. We wondered how the human race actually survived at all. Every small deviation from their perspective of what was true and proper entailed a painful death including gay, lesbian, unmarried mothers, heretic, not going to church enough, and even alcoholism (we would have been the first on the stake), the list went on and on. The graphic description of how the torture was implemented to guarantee maximum pain and a lingering death got us feeling particularly uncomfortable in absolutely every single part of our body and we were very pleased to exit the museum.
Glad to be alive and back at the van we had a quick cuppa and then headed of to the famous Muses De Altamira to see the legendary cave paintings (well copies of them at least). It was three euros each to get in and to be honest I thought it would be just a big con. The exhibition was however so true to the actual cave with meticulous attention to detail even on the cracks of the cave and getting the cave paintings absolutely perfect in every aspect it was hard to think it was anything other than the actual cave. We enjoyed the reproduction cave paintings as you would enjoy a particularly good fake Rembrandt or Monet, and headed back to the van.
The hour drive turned into three. We were aiming to stay at an Aire in Colunga GPS n43.48472 w005 26491 with a view to stay a day or two and explore the Picos de Europa. When we got there they had built a house on it (the Aire that is, not the mountain range). “All the Aires” book came out again and we decided to head on to Gijon (pronounced Khi-hon). The A8 is a stunning road spanning huge valleys with massive bridges and ploughing through enormous mountains with mile long tunnels. It has the rocky coastline on one side with huge waves crashing against outcrops and impressive sea cliffs only occasionally giving way to sandy beaches and waterfront towns, and on the other side there is the foreboding massive of the Picos mountains with their tops hidden in cloud. The drive was inspiring but sad too as I so wanted to get up in to ‘them their hills’ and each kilometre we drove was another kilometre away from a place on my all time tick list.
We arrived in Gijon (a huge city) at rush hour in the dark and slowly and carefully made our way through the one way, three lane maze of turns and traffic lights to arrive at the second selected Aire for the day Gps n43.54467 w005. 69562 Unfortunately it was being dug up as far as we could see! We pulled over to the side again and once again out came the book that had already let us down twice today. Where next? Another Aire was 6k away GPS n43.54708 w005.63648 so Margret the sat nav was put into action once again and we extracted ourselves out of the heaving rush hour city. Despite driving a lump of a motorhome Margret seems to forget and sometimes wants to send me up narrow 25% gradient sharp bends as if I was riding a trials bike. (It seems to happen in Spain more than anywhere else perhaps it has something to do with the Spanish mapping?) The third Aire was at the end of a maze of right angles that the smart car would have had difficulty getting to. We turned around (a five point turn on a bend and using someone’s drive)we were lost and forlorn and parked on the side of the road just up from the Aire. There were vans in it and one really big one so there must be a way in. I got out and walked over Angie just drove Sunny into it and we found it was actually quite easy to get in but macabre Margret didn’t want to tell us that way. Although very concerned about the reversed camber exit that could snap the motorhome in two or at least ground her we decided to go in anyway – we needed a Gin – and just come out the wrong way and down the small one way street tomorrow. What could go wrong?
Although we didn’t buy anything on this Black Friday it certainly was quite dark for us in many ways. Oh and it’s been raining most of the day too! Hey ho tomorrow will be better.