Weir on the Way South

What a contrast. Warm and reasonably sunny León to warm(ish) Salamanca, and now torrentially rainy Benquerença.

Yesterday morning we fought our way through the León traffic once again as the public holiday was well and truly over. We found a Repsol service station on a busy roundabout where we could top up our LPG gas. That’s still one of Vince’s best features for us – we don’t have to faff about with swapping gas cylinders around; we just find a petrol station selling Autogas, we fill up the tank just like filling up with diesel and away we go. We tend to top up every couple of weeks as sometimes LPG can be hard to find so we don’t want to risk running into the red.

Not the most exciting of landscapes at this time of year

The run to Salamanca was another long boring motorway run through empty countryside, but with the bonus of a five degree rise in temperature as we went south. At this time of year everything is dead and brown, the only green was an occasional row of shrubs planted on the verge. Luckily we had hours of entertainment provided by passing signs to Zamora. Every time we saw one I burst into a rousing chorus of “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s Zamora” Sadly Gill didn’t find it quite so entertaining – especially after the 14th time – I’m no Dean Martin, but I bet you can’t get the song out of your head now!

At Salamanca we found a campsite attached to the Regio Hotel. We were at the point where we needed to do a little washing and charge up everything which had gone flat or expired. Free electricity! It’s a wonderful thing. The site was clearly a very popular one judging by the number of loos and showers but at this time of year there were only half a dozen campers and a little old man with a leaf-blower who seemed to spend all day just moving all the leaves around the site in circles. Another reason for the site’s summer popularity I imagine, is its proximity to the city. A short bus ride had us in the centre of Salamanca in about twenty minutes.

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca in the evening. Beautiful!

We don’t often explore in the evening – although we will from now on, as although many of the attractions were closed or closing, we found once darkness had fallen the city’s buildings lit up magically. The Plaza Mayor  – a huge square which reminded us of St Mark’s in Venice was particularly beautiful. Salamanca is a University city and we couldn’t help envying the hordes of young students pouring from their lectures into the square surrounding the old and new cathedrals. Surrounded by graceful and ancient architecture, they were jostling and laughing or buried in their phone screens without even a glance around them. Youngsters eh?

The Spanish seem to operate on a different body clock to the rest of Europe – the restaurants weren’t so much as serving a starter before 8pm and even then it only seemed to be to hungry Brits so we chose to bus it back to the hotel beside the campsite and order a bottle of vino tinto which went down rather nicely with the evening meal.

This morning Vince’s batteries were at 100% at last – that’s the first time since we left home. As I may have mentioned before, somebody may have forgotten to switch on the power after he was plugged in before we left. The repair we had done before leaving proved itself too as even after a huge downpour in the night there wasn’t a drop of water in Vince’s passenger footwell. I actually rang the mechanic to thank him and book a service for when we return.

Vince’s home for tonight. His bottom isn’t really that fat, it’s just the camera angle. Which strangely is what Gill always says too…

We’re now in Benquerença in Portugal after a bit of motorway (where we saw much evidence of Portugal’s autumn wildfires sadly) and some of those potholed and cobbledy lanes that I’d forgotten about from last year’s trip. At the border we did the right thing and registered our credit card for the ANPR motorway tolls. We didn’t want any comeback from last year’s toll-dodging affair so we’ve even gone as far as changing Vince’s registration number. Those missed tolls stay on the system for six years you know!

We’re parked by a river weir in a purpose-built motorhome aire (which has loos!) about 2km from the village. The rain is still cascading down Vince’s windscreen and I’m sure I just heard thunder too so it’s unlikely we’ll walk there tonight. Maybe in the morning before we continue the trek south to the (hopefully) warmer weather. We don’t normally do so many miles in such a short time but when we get to the coast we’ll slow right down for more exploration with little hops from place to place.

I’m off now to find a steak for my black eye as I did that Dad joke today which never gets old… As Gill tried to open Vince’s passenger door I went forward a few feet…then did it again…and again…and again. It should heal up nicely in a few days.

Plaza Mayor in the daylight
Salamanca’s public library. Really!
View from the exit of the University
The old and new cathedrals joined together
About Ken Tomlinson 207 Articles
Semi-retired biker, blogger and world’s best grandad. Doesn’t take life too seriously. Discovered motorhoming in 2015, sold up and downsized to fund more travels. Now with added Yorkshire.

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