The Adventure Begins
When the day finally arrived for us to set off to Portsmouth we immediately encountered our first stumbling block of the trip. A delivery van got stuck turning around in our drive and we were completely blocked in! Causing our leaving time to be delayed by a few hours, luckily, because our ferry was at 8am the next day we had decided to drive up the day before and sleep over at the port so the delay didn't result in us missing the ferry thank goodness.
Once we were on the road, the excitement began to really kick in, this was it, our dream of travelling around Europe in a campervan was suddenly a reality. One of the best decisions was to get a tape player converter so that we could listen to the music from my phone while driving. We drove all day and arrived in Portsmouth during the early evening, just as the shadows began to lengthen and day turned to night.
I pre-planned dinner as I knew we'd be tired after the long drive so we dug into tupperwares of pesto pasta and then got the camper ready for bed, crashing out with the blinds down ready for an early start the next day.
Will woke us up early at 6am and we started to make moves to get in queue. That's one thing I really struggled with throughout the trip, actually getting up early! the bed is so comfy and snuggly that I could just lie in it all morning but with Will around it was always early starts to get on the road or get in the surf, so I had to get used to dragging myself out of bed from the offset!
We drove into the campervan queue and I surveyed the other campers around us, most a lot bigger than ours with more amenities like showers and TV's but I was proud of our little camper and the simple design was perfect for us as rookie travellers!
We chose to travel on the Bie De Sien ferry because it's cheaper than the other ferries in the fleet. There's a pretty big difference between the two, the Bie de Sien is an economy ferry so only had the amenities. It's nowhere near as luxurious as other ferries like the Cap Finisterre, which has a cinema, pool, fully stocked bar and evening entertainment. So, if you want to save your pennies then definitely opt for an economy ferry but if you want your holiday to start on the boat then I'd recommend one of the more well equipped ferries.
Our ferry had everything we could want though, a simple two berth room awaited us and we started the journey off with a cooked breakfast in the restaurant (not the best but it was food.) It was lucky I had breakfast because we passed through the wrath of storm Fionn during the crossing and it was so rough I got badly sea sick so had spend the rest of the journey lying in bed.
When we finally pulled into port at Santander, it was like another world, we'd left the miserable English winter behind and were greeted with clear blue skies. After feeling so sea sick I was extremely happy to get onto shore and start driving, it was 2pm when we arrived so we decided to set some tracks on Spanish soil and get the first leg of the journey underway.
We headed for the mountains and the the delicate scent of eucalyptus rose from the surrounding trees. We drove for 3 hours (well Will drove) only stopping because the engine light came on for us to fill up the coolant then stopped properly at a picnic area at the side of the road for the night. Unfortunately our water pump is a bit temperamental so we made do with tipping bottles of water instead of using the sink and still managed to make a nice dinner of cous cous with chickpeas and pitta bread. Afterwards we set up our sleeping area and settled down for the night. I closed my eyes feeling the anticipation of driving through central Spain and into the south of Portugal steadily rise within me now that we had made it through the crossing.