Night of the Living Dead

The cloud-topped Picos mountains at Fuente Dé
The cloud-topped Picos mountains at Fuente Dé

We knew it was going to be a bad night when we heard someone banging on the side of the van then running away. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

After our Big Night Out with the bikers on Friday nobody was getting up too early on Saturday! Nearly everybody was up by 10AM so we had a little get-together and a guided tour of Vince before saying our goodbyes and moving on. Only Pete was missing as he had to spend an hour or two apologising to his partner for the video clips on Facebook. Our provisions were getting low so we stopped off in Potes at the supermarket, and as we couldn’t fit in the car park, we found a handy parking area just behind it – a field being used by locals who were nipping into the busy town. Hold that thought, we’ll be coming back to it later!

One disappearing into the clouds, one reappearing...
One disappearing into the clouds, one reappearing…

Our destination for the day was Fuente Dé up in the mountains. This area is famous for its cable-car – the longest single span cable-car in Europe so there are no pylons interrupting the 1,823m journey, which takes you 753m up in height to the top of the Picos massif. From below, it’s an awesome sight watching the tiny cabins rising almost vertically into the mist. And sadly that’s all we did – watch the tiny cabins rising vertically into the mist as there didn’t seem a lot of point paying a fortune to go up there and sit in the clouds with no views! The sun was shining brightly down below so we had lunch and enjoyed the views before heading back to Potes.

The road to Fuente Dé simply ends there so you have to go back the way you came. We’d had a pretty late night the night before so we decided to explore the pretty town of Potes, have something to eat, stay the night and set off northwards again in the morning. It all started so well – Potes really is a lovely place, situated on a river, with terraced streets on its banks filled with cafés and restaurants. The shops are like 1950’s hardware stores selling everything from clothes to tools to tourist tat. Our meal – which we enjoyed on a terrace overlooking the river – was great value, with three courses and a bottle of wine for €11 each!

vImg_4273 vImg_4272 vImg_4271Remember the little field where we parked earlier? Well that was where we’d left Vince while we explored Potes, and when we returned after our lovely meal we noticed that it had all but emptied of other vehicles. We didn’t think too much of that, and simply closed the van down for the night, shutting all the blinds and screens as we normally do. Gill was already in bed, and I was on my way when the incident mentioned above happened – some smarta*se kid absolutely belted the side of the van making us jump, then legged it. Oh how we laughed! Not.

Vince in the Field of Dreams - or rather Nightmares!
Vince in the Field of Dreams – or rather Nightmares!

Unfortunately it was a sign of things to come. We had shady-looking characters driving in to meet other shady-looking characters, hopping between cars and driving off. Others would drive in for ten minutes leaving the engine running and the lights on, then drive away again a short time later. The most worrying part for us was a bunch of youths who decided to sit on a wall opposite us (you can see it in the pic) and started passing the booze around. They were getting louder and louder and pushing and shoving so we felt it was only a matter of time before the drink really took hold and we might get another slap & run at best, or a rock through the window at worst. Time to leave we thought…

Our problem was where to go – we’d scouted out the area earlier and hadn’t seen anywhere which looked out of the way enough to leave Vince safely parked with us snoring and vulnerable inside. I didn’t fancy the twisty mountain roads in the dark either! Our last resort was to return to the hotel where we’d been with the bikers the night before; the car park was full but there was a handy lay-by opposite. What could possibly go wrong?

Bear in mind it was getting on for 1AM by then so I simply could not believe the sights which wandered past. First of all was an elderly fellow shuffling along with his dog – he’d obviously never seen a motorhome before as he came right up to the window for a stare. He got a shock though, as although Gill was tucked up in bed, I was up front keeping watch. His face was a picture as his nosy gaze swept round Vince’s interior then unexpectedly locked on to my stare – he couldn’t get away fast enough! Next we had a Red Séat scream to a halt behind us and treat us to ten minutes of blaring dance music while the driver waited for two young girls to jump in the car before screaming off again. I must be getting old – who lets their young teenage daughters out for the night at 2am..?

The dust had barely settled from the car’s departure when a tall, geeky fellow who was clearly on a different planet weaved off the kerb in front of us with his eyes pointing in different directions, and meandered gently over to the other side of the road to who-knows-where. Finally – and I swear this is true – more shouting and laughing heralded the arrival of a fully kitted-up bride and groom, white dress and everything, a bridesmaid and two guests tottering down the road with a bottle of bubbly in hand! I rubbed my tired eyes but they were still there receding into the distance so I couldn’t have been hallucinating. What a long night..!

By 7AM we were still awake so we decided to move on in the daylight. We’d found an aire online about an hour away so when we got there we gratefully pulled in, closed the blinds and crashed out in safety for a few hours. Refreshed, (slightly) our next destination was Llanes, a few miles up the coast. As we drove into the town looking for somewhere to park up to explore, Gill spotted a tiny little campsite sandwiched between two beaches. It had clearly seen better days as the facilities were a bit run down, but the location more than made up for it. It was a short walk into the harbour town with its Citadel, ramparts and lively shopping streets, and had great views out to sea. We had a nightcap watching the waves lapping against the rocks then slept for a week (well it felt like it).

You can see Gill - but can you spot Vince?
You can see Gill – but can you spot Vince?

We felt the charges for this campsite were a bit steep at €23 per night – we’d have happily paid that and stayed another night if the showers had been hot, and there had been a motorhome service point or they’d found some stock to put on the empty shelves of the shop…but they weren’t, there wasn’t, and they didn’t! We’d had a look at the weather for the next few days and most coastal locations are expecting a cooler, wetter and thundery spell so the plan is now to journey south to Northern Portugal then do a slow loop clockwise back into Spain so we can trundle east along the coast again in glorious sunshine back towards France. At least, we hope so unless we have another Zombie Apocalypse.

Fingers crossed 😉

Llanes
Llanes
One of the views from the campsite.
One of the views from the campsite.
Vince gazing out to sea in a romantic Poldark style.
Vince gazing out to sea in a romantic Poldark style.
Llanes
Llanes
Llanes
Llanes
Grafitti with style - Llanes
Grafitti with style – Llanes

5 Comments on Night of the Living Dead

  1. Hello
    we, Jane and Stuart, have been reading your blogs with great enjoyment. We were in New Zealand and took a big plunge of renting out our house, selling our vehicles and buying a new motorhome (never seen one like it in NZ before) and after a 2 week shakedown in the UK are dipping our toes into Europe. I loved your blog so much the tears were streaming down my face. We are only on day 2 in France – I have started a blog to share with the people at home – kiwifreewheelers.blogspot.co.nz (or uk as it seems to be).
    I am working up to blog #3 and you are setting a high standard, that I would like to aspire to.

    Anyhow just to let you know you are appreciated in unexpected other motorhomes.
    Regards
    Jane and Stuart Mackay

  2. Hi Ken & Gill
    I too have been following your adventure from the start and am finding it compulsive viewing.
    Shame about the Zombie experience….but to be fair it sounds like the only negative so far, if you ignore rain and the poor service in the French supermarket.
    I am sure things will carry on being nice from now on, so enjoy your travels.
    Regards
    Paul Feavyour

    • Thanks Paul, you’re very kind! Are you on any bike adventures this summer? I think the others need a holiday to recover from this one

  3. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know my drivel is not only read but actually enjoyed by other people! I really enjoy the writing but I tear my little remaining hair out sometimes with the poor connections.
    I’ll be following your adventures on your blog – you’ll find that writing about it makes you look harder at everything as it happens. Even the daftest things can turn into a good story 🙂
    Feel free to drop me a note at ken@vincentvangone.co.uk if I can help with anything. We’re heading back to France over the next week or so & our paths may cross…
    Thanks again for your kind words

  4. Ooh I thought you were being a bit OTT when you said you were concerned about safety but it appears not Fingers crossed it’s a one off, I’m sure your previous experiences are far more typical. That apart, Llanes looks really lovely, I love a pretty harbour, keep the word and pixel pictures coming

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