When I look back on the summer of 2013, I am amazed at how much we seemed to pack into three months! Our tour took us from the south coast of Spain, to Lisbon and the west coast of Portugal, and covered a part of France we’d missed out on previous tours.

 

Of course, we couldn't drive up through Spain with visiting the historical sites of Ronda, Córdoba and Mérida, all of which were fascinating. The Moorish and Roman occupations of Spain are still visible in the architecture of many Spanish towns, including these three.

 

    

                Mérida, a UNESCO World Heritage site

               

 

Into Portugal we went, heading for Lisbon. It is an area we've visited previously, but my daughter, Jen, fancied a holiday in the sun, so Lisbon seemed like a good location. The Orbitur Guincho campsite was our base for a week, while we explored the area by bus, train and on foot.

 

              
                           Belem Tower in Lisbon

 

When Jen flew back to the UK, we continued up the west coast of Portugal, taking in the stunningly beautiful Rias Baixas. It was here, at Arcade, that the first of Monty's YouTube videos were filmed. It's an area not frequently travelled but is, in my opinion, one of the most picturesque areas in Spain, especially when the sun is shining.

 

             
                           The Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain

 

Unfortunately, the good weather did not hold, and La Coruna was a washout. Thankfully, the sun shone when we drove up into the Picos de Europa, the mountain range which straddles the Asturian, Cantábrian and Castilla y León provinces. It's another stunning area, but some of the roads are challenging, to say the least! Click here to see just how stunning the Picos are.

 

            
                 Snow in the sunshine - Picos de Europa

 

Next stop - France. We'd toured the west coast during the summer of 2010, and covered much of the central area on our summer 2011 tour, but there was a corridor between the two which was new territory for us. We took a technical approach and drew a line on our map, which started at Biarritz and finished in Le Havre!

The weather on that part of the tour was HOT! We developed the habit of rising at 6am (an unheard of pastime for us normally), driving to the town or city on our 'must see' list and exploring before the heat and crowds took away the pleasure of sight-seeing. We would then drive to an Aire near our next port of call and spend the afternoon doing little more than moving between sun and shade.

 

            
                 7.30am and wearing shorts to visit Poitiers

 

August dawned and we parked up on the Aire in Le Havre, ready to sail back with LD Lines; Monty's MoT was due and we had more campsite reviews to do in the UK. Nobody can say our life is boring!

           
                        The Aire at Le Havre ferry port