Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's Looking Grim!!

It's looking grim on a couple of fronts!  

The first being the weather ... the forecast was spot on, it is raining heavily, the wind has got up and it is bordering on cold!

We were going to walk into Collioure today but it is just too wet - and we remembered that our well-loved cagoules aren't waterproof any more!  Never mind, our timing is pretty good as we are leaving tomorrow, so whilst Elaine has had her cooking head today on I have packed up the van and bikes so we are ready for the off first thing tomorrow.

It looks a bit different from yesterday!

Here is the forecast for today and the next few days ...
Just noticed its in Fahrenheit....never mind you get the drift. 

Tomorrow we will head inland towards Andorra, where it will get a lot colder!  We will then head back towards the coast of Spain, somewhere below Barcelona, where hopefully the temps will rise again.  We have no exact plans on which route we will take or how long it will take us - we will just do the usual, aim for a spot avoiding tollways.

Which brings us to the second part of things looking grim ... the state of the Australian economy and how it effects us.

I'm certainly no expert on the economy and its workings but I do know that Australia's economy has been booming the last few years.  Australia didn't go into recession when the rest of the world did. It has been doing well because of the mining sector, selling everything it dug out of the ground to Asia, mainly China.

Now, of course, China is slowing which has had an immediate impact on the mining industry and Australia.

My problem is reading the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper!  Everyday I read it there is more doom and gloom with the Australian share market crashing and the Aussie dollar plummeting!  According to some reports Australia may well go into recession this year.

It affects us because all our assets, including our property, are in Australia so whereas we were getting up to 68p for one Aussie dollar back in 2012, we are now getting 45p!  The interest rate on savings has also dropped and unfortunately it doesn't look like any turnaround is going to happen in the foreseeable future.

The flip side of course is that we have had it good for a long time and at the moment we are well and truly living the dream.  We will continue to do so for as long as we possibly can.

Any donations will be gratefully received.... :-)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fun In The Sun

We set the alarm for 04.30 am this morning, so we would hopefully witness the blood moon and eclipse.

We weren't disappointed.  It was a cracker!  The best part of it was that we didn't even have to get out of bed as we could watch it through the open skylight above the bed!

This is my best effort ...

We woke a few hours later to yet another magical day.  The campsite is now a lot quieter and will be shutting for winter soon; it really is a lovely site and we thoroughly recommend it.

We met a couple today who arrived for a few days in a tent; they are paying 40 Euros a day because they don't have the ACSI book.  We are paying 18 Euro a day and the book cost 17 Euros.  It's a no-brainer!  The lady argued that not many sites in France accept the ACSI card ... gawd knows where she got her info from ... the card is accepted at 1246 sites in France alone.  When we don't stop in an Aire we only ever stop at ACSI sites.  It is such a simple system - you pay a flat rate of 12, 14, 16 or 18 Euro a night, depending on the quality and location of the site.  There is only one downside to the card and that is you cannot use it in the peak season of July and August.

Not a bad spot we reckon ...

We were going to walk into Collioure today, but it was too hot so we went and played in the site pool instead.

Not the biggest slide around but it was fun ...

There is also a spa next to the pool so we spent some time in there as well ... 

Later in the day we took the boys for a walk down to the beach ...

This could be the last of the sunny shots for a while as the rain is forecast to come down tonight and hang around for a few days.  It's a bit like living back in Oz though - we never did mind when it rained as you knew that the sun would return soon enough!

Tomorrow we might walk to Collioure in the rain!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Bums and Boobs

As today was Sunday we decided to totally slob out and do very little (any excuse!).

There is a beach at the campsite so after walking the dogs we went down to check it out ... 

I like to look at beaches and walk on them but get pretty bored just sitting on them, so I played a couple of games....

The first game was to see how many stones I could pile up on Elaine's bum ...

Then how many could I stick down her cleavage......oh what fun I had! 

I then went for a swim in the med....why is the water so bloody cold? 

We also went to the campsite pool.  Elaine went for a swim (and spa) and said it was lovely and warm.  I, however, totally forgot to put my swimming trunks on so I sat and continued to read a book that has had me totally engrossed the last few days ... I can't put it down, there aren't even any pictures ... it's all words!

When we got back to the van, El then shaved my head with the dog clippers and also gave them a bit of a trim while she had them out!

I haven't put this on for a while ... this is our location, very close to the Spanish border ...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Love Shack!

We have been in touch with a couple of our friends from back in Oz who are travelling around Europe at the moment.  It worked out that they would be in our area of France today so we were going to meet up for a few hours before they caught a train to Barcelona.

They rang yesterday to say that they could head our way a day earlier than planned, so asked if we could find them some accommodation for Friday night.

I went down to the campsite reception so see what they had available in chalets etc but it was a minimum booking of two nights for the chalets.  However the receptionist took me to see a 'cabin' we could have for one night for 36 euros!!

El and I loved it and booked it straight away!  Basically it was a tent on stilts, but right, and I mean right on, the edge of the cliff facing the med!

There was absolutely nothing in the 'tent' so we took some of our spare bedding down there and converted into a love shack for our friends!

This was the view from the love shack ...

I tried it out for comfort and promptly fell asleep!  It was so lovely in there, listening to the sound of the waves ...

Our friends arrived and we had a good old catch up.  The last time we met them was back in Manchester in May 2013 when they were over for a visit.  You can read about that meeting here.

After a few bottles of wine we escorted them under torch light to the love shack!  Oh dear, they didn't love it as much as us ... Pat was almost in hysterics just looking at it!!  Elaine did offer to swap and they could sleep in the van, but they wouldn't have a bar of it.

Here is Martin trying to get into the hut ...

Thankfully they had had a few drinks so they settled down into it OK ...

This morning we went down there to check them out (to see if they made it through the night without sidling off to a nearby hotel!).  They said they did have a sleep but wouldn't want to experience it again and the five star hotel they were going to in Barcelona tonight sounded a lot more promising!  (I think we failed in our selection of accommodation!)

We had coffee at the van then headed off down to Collioure for lunch.

So a quick background.....
We both lived in the same street back in Sydney.  Elaine worked with Pat at Roche pharmaceuticals and I played football for the same club as Martin! 

Collioure is a top spot to visit in France ...

It also helped that the weather was glorious ...

We had a lovely lunch in one of the many restaurants ...

Then it was time to go walkabout for a couple of hours ...

Just a few pics of this fab place ...

They drove us back to the van in the late afternoon, then they headed off to Perpignan railway station for the 18.00 train to Barcelona and a good night's sleep in a nice hotel!

We are enjoying it here so much we decided to extend our stay until Wednesday. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Onto Collioure

We left Limoux yesterday on cloudy and rainy day.

Mr Tom Tom took us on the scenic route.

We drove through a bit of French deliverance country, these good old boys were all sporting rifles and were about to go a hunting. 

Just down the road some wild boars ran across the road in front of of us, hopefully the hunters didn't catch up with them. 

We drove through a few quiet little villages on the way to our destination.

And there she is...Duilhac-Sous-Peyrepertuse, a little village sat up in the Pyrenees mountains .

The war memorial was quite a modern affair. 

The town is dominated by the castle that sits high up behind the village. 

The church had an amazing stone roof. 

The spring was still supplying water to the old water troughs. 

The village was the quietest one we have visited so far in France, it has 140 inhabitants....we met three! 

We like it quiet but this was a bit too quiet. 

The local dog was very friendly. 

Later on in the day the Aire filled up, once again it was another freebie. 

We left the village this morning in glorious sunshine. 

The views were sublime in the clear sky. 

It was a bit of a shock to the system to get to Perpignam  with busy roads.
We stopped off at a Intermarche hypermarket for a shopping top up, the bloody place was far too big with far too many choices, back to Aldi for us. 

Our destination for today was the little village of Collioure. 

We checked into a campsite 1.5ks outside of Collioure, we will stay for a few days. The local Aire charged 12 Euros, it wasn't much more for a campsite with elec and heated pool etc.
We got a nice pitch overlooking the Med. 

All set up for a few days. 

Later in the day we went for a walk down to the local beach, I sat in the sun with Sammie.....

 ......whilst Elaine and her sidekick Bombo foraged for more treasure to make her arty stuff. 

I think we will like it here.