Day 3 - Southern France to a Spanish Service Station

We wake up with the sun rising, and bells ringing, at 7 o clock. Dew rests on the ponchos and the grass. We gather some sticks and twigs and get the kettle on for a brew.

Morning Coffee

This is Sam's storm kettle. Put a few twigs in the bottom, fill the outer with water, and light up. Soon it is living up to it's 'Volcano' name.

After breakfast we hit the road. At a service station we spot a couple of expedition-ready Land Rovers with sand ladders and full desert kit pull in. We exchange waves.

We cross the border and into northern Spain. The road takes us along the north coast of Spain, and we can see the ocean. Sam wants to take a detour to Guernica, so at about lunchtime we pull into the town. There's not much there.

The road signs are all in Spanish and Basque. There are graffiti for the independence movement on the walls. I sit with Elsa while Sam and Abbie go shopping, and watch the trains rolling in and out. They come back with 'Bimbo bread' and 'Ram milk'. They decided against buying the 'Vigilante Cockles'.

We drive on. The clouds darken, and it starts raining. Its getting late and we need to find somewhere to stop. Looking at the map, I see a sign for something like 'parc nacionale'. A national park? Should be a campsite or at least a car park we can stop at and overnight. So I direct Sam that way.

We drive through some industrial units, and past factories. The road rises up into woodland. Its now very dark though, and no sign of a campsite. We stop and read tourist signs, but no campsites. The rain doesn't stop. Its now humid enough in Elsa for a snail to seek comfort, and it freaks Sam out when it crawls up his leg.

We're now out of the 'parc nacionale' and heading for the town of Vittoria Gasteiz. Its a typical northern Spain industrial town. But bigger then any we've seen. Its now very late and we're lost in the centre of town. I try and navigate out but its hopeless with the large-scale Michelin map. Eventually we find ourselves back on the main road out of town, and pull up at a truck stop and associated dodgy-looking bar with flashing purple neon sign. We rearrange the gear in the back of the car, and Abbie sleeps in the front while Sam and I kip in the back. The bar's guard dogs bark and trucks roar past all night.

- Spanish Service Station to a Worse Spanish Service Station