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Circular tour of Spain, French Riviera and Alps

This tour started by crossing from Portsmouth to Caen. We headed off to Brittany briefly before turning south again and meeting up with Keith and Grace in Latillé. Arcachon was the next point of call and a visit to the famous sand dune at Pilat. Further on down the west coast and across the Pyrenees via St. Jean Pied de Port, a famous town on the pilgrim route to Santiago d Campostela. On into Spain and across the centre to the east coast at Moraira where we met up with Bob and Caroline, Ray and Melissa. After a week in the sun we headed north again and to the French Riviera stopping for a week at Port Grimaud. Again we were lucky with beautiful sunshine and the summer crowds had not yet arrived. It was all too short before we were heading north again via the spectacular Route Napolean (N85) and into the Alps for a week of ski-ing at Les Deux Alpes. Here we had some mixed days with heavy snow and cloud and others with beautiful clear blue skys. We passed up through central France using the N roads and took three days to reach the north coast and back home to UK through Dieppe / Newhaven.

We are becoming accustomed to driving and living in Priscilla and do not feel at all cramped. As the miles go by her fuel consumption gets more economical and we are averaging 20.5 m.p.g, which isn’t too bad for a 5 ton truck!


Our first night stop at a small campsite near Mortain in Normandy. Run by an English couple who were busy restoring the buildings.

La Dune at Pyla (nr. Arcachon, western coast of France).  This is a huge sand dune (the biggest in western Europe) over 100m high and 3 km long which is gradually moving inland and smothering the pine forest at the rate of 1 metre per annum.  The climb to the top is exhausting; every step you take the sand compresses and you only advance at about a quarter of the original step!

This is the town of Belchite  (mid Spain) which was destroyed during a battle in the Spanish Civil War. It has been left as a memorial to the war and the thousands of citizens who died. A new town has been built nearby.

We came across Belchite purely by chance and were totally unaware that such a place existed. Unfortunately, we were already running late and did not have time to stop and explore. 

These 2 photographs were found on the Internet. Maybe we will visit another time.

Central Spain and the view from our campsite at Arnes. The almond blossom was out and farmers were busy trimming their olive trees.

The vertical rock face in the distance is a popular climbing area.

The almond trees and olive groves viewed from Arnes town centre.

Entrance gateway to Arnes town—no way Priscilla was getting in there!  We had to reverse back through some very narrow roads. The locals just regarded us as another GPS disaster!

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Sunset at Arnes—should be a good day tomorrow.

Shortly after we left Arnes the good tarmac road deteriorated into this. Barely the width of Priscilla, rocky and very steep. The road to the right went to a construction site and our route to the left said 20 kph max and no goods vehicles. We had no option but to go on as there was nowhere to turn. It took us an hour to travel about 10 km before the road became reasonable once again. If we had met anyone coming the other way we would probably still be there in the bottom of a ravine! This was one of the few places that Desnée released her grip of the arm rests long enough to take a photograph!