Easter Friday was celebrated with chocolate (surprise surprise). We bought a new car battery and Michael fitted it today, but we still need an additional deep cycle one to cope with the power drain we will create with all the equipment etc. While waiting for the shops to open (that French siesta thing!), we stopped in a grassy park and took the opportunity to put the window tinting onto the driver’s and passenger’s windows. A tricky job, and I think we were just about getting the hang of it when we had finished! The end result was ok, but I think our method of cutting and applying the film was distinctly amateur. We did the passenger window first, then the driver’s window, and then the passenger window again.
We visited an extremely beautiful spot today on the French Atlantic coast called Arcachon. It is a natural basin, which is lovely and calm with boats of varying shapes and sizes bobbing peacefully on the sea. Just a couple of kilometres further south along the coast is the ‘dunes de pyla’. It is an incredibly high sand dune which we estimate stretches for about 2km and stands about 40m above the surrounding forest, running down to the sea edge. There is a staircase of 191 steps to take you almost to the top and the view is certainly worth the effort. To reach the peak you have to walk about another 100m in the very fine, soft, clean sand – a terrific way to end the day (well except for the further 6 hours driving we did to get some mileage behind us).
We drove until past 4am last night. Entry into Spain was simply a ‘drive through’. Then the rain started. It was pretty consistent and the motorway was very heavy with holiday traffic. We rewarded ourselves with a simple, but very tasty dinner at the roadside diner and collapsed into bed in a quiet corner of the ‘areas de servicio’ (as far away from the lorries as possible).
It poured heavily with rain this morning and we got to see the most incredible double rainbow. It stood out beautifully against the stark contrast of the hills – but alas, no pot of gold!
We set up camp mid-afternoon at La Casita, the same campsite we used on our pilot trip back from Morocco in November last year. There was a very ‘lively spirit’ with loads of local holiday makers. Unfortunately the facilities were less than desirable, battling to cope with the numbers and the poor weather conditions. Nonetheless, it was great to be in one place for a couple of days to finish off some last work and do final shopping before crossing the Mediterranean… We met Bruno, Christine, Elochie and Salome. They invited us to join them for a glass of wine and we had a great chat with them.
We also met David and Amanda from Atlas Overland who had just come up from Morocco and they told us there had been loads of rain. We put up the new awning along with the side curtains – it is fairly simple and I think we are likely to use them quite often in the more populated areas to get some privacy!
The rain looked a little threatening so we erected the tent this morning to load some kit into it so we could go into town in search of a CyberCafe. It rained a bit in the afternoon and the tent held up well. We found an internet café in Algeciras within the very vibrant, continental sector of the city. We discovered that Freeserve had locked us out of our email facility so we are having hassles sending emails etc. Still, at last Michael managed to load some stuff onto the website, but it’s still very much work in progress and very frustrating that we are having to do it en route. We went to Carrefour to buy beer and cooldrinks and rounded up with a MacDonald’s – it tastes so good when you are starving!
The rain absolutely bucketed down and we spent the morning cooped up in the cab catching up on journal entries etc. A bit frustrating as we were hoping to pack up early. We took our chances when the rain subsided and almost got the tent down and Nyathi packed before the rain came again! We have resigned ourselves to having some kit on the roof and we packed it up securely using cargo netting. We went back into town in the evening and used the CyberCafe. We had a delicious dinner of rare steaks with pepper sauce at Caja Madrid.