Thursday, April 16, 2009

Travel day from Pamplona to Bonansa

Yep, that's right and not to be confused with the TV show Bonanza although you have to be pretty old to be able to remember that as a show. The trip here was just short of 300km but took close to 8 hours to complete although that did include a fair number of stops and detours along the way.

We tried to find a garage in pamplona but we kept going into the old city and that is a nightmare to drive in and even when we got into the, correct I think, street there was no garage to be found. We have a nasty squeal coming from under the bonnet which pretty much only annoys us when we start the car and even then not every time but I would like to get i checked out; I think that the new timing/fan belt might have stretched a wee bit. If I press on it it does seem to be a bit loose. On our way through one of the many towns we spotted a tow yard and stopped to ask and he pointed us to the Seat (Seat is a brand of car here owned by volkswagen) dealership which we found but it was only opening after siesta at 15:00 so we'll ignore it until we get to barcelona.

We stopped a Repsol garage and filled up, had some great coffee and bought some sandwiches for lunch. 'Cafe con leche' is really cheap here only 1.80EUR! Continuing on from there we decided to take the longer route up into the mountains and spent about 10 minutes trying to persuade our electronic brain not to route us the 'other' way. Having forced her to give into our wishes, we now understand why she so persistently routed us away from the road we were determined to go on!

Think precipitous drops on a road barely wide enough for two cars let alone anything bigger where 30-40km per hour seemed a little bit fast and taking one's eyes off the road for one second was not an option because it wasn't straight for more than a few seconds at a time. Add to this the sleet and the van's unsure roadholding and Caron had her heart in her mouth for the entire stretch of about an hour. But having said all that it was an amazingly scenic portion of the country although I have to say that living up there is just not an option. Going through this pass we passed a town called Fragin which can only be named that because it is so Fragging cold up here!

But we did manage to catch mellman the abominable giraffe lurking next to one of the many tunnels.

Having finished this detour we then went on another, unplanned, one by choosing the wrong campsite which would have meant another 300km round trip tomorrow. I wasn't feeling up to this so we moved on to the other of the two campsite possibilities and now I only have a 50km round trip to look forward to. Much better!
So, although I could have done without the unplanned detour, if we hadn't had the detour we would have missed the following sights which in hindsight I really wouldn't have wanted to miss.

By the end of the day we were both feeling a bit out of sorts so we pitched camp quickly, made supper and loads of coffee before a nice hot shower and then crawled into bed. We're sleeping with woolen socks and light fleeces tonight because we were a bit cold last night. When we woke up this morning the blanket was all wet because our breathe would condense and fall on the blanket near where our noses were poking out. Hopefully tonight will be better!

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