Honest look at a fabulous trip

5 best things about the trip:

Free camping – waking up in the middle of nowhere with a spectacular view of the sea, mountains or lake.

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Sit-ins. The new lie in. Helena wakes up before sunrise and we have had lovely mornings sitting in bed drinking tea, eating pastries and watching her play.

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Scenic lunch spots. Parking up and setting out our chairs, including Helena’s Chicco booster chair, and munching while taking in the view.

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Time off. Tom is having a long holiday from work but I feel like I’m on holiday too. I have only cooked 3 nights on the whole trip, and baby changing, feeding, entertaining, cleaning etc is much easier with two every day!

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Travelling trio.
Wandering around castles, towns, look out points and spending time as a happy three.

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5 worst things:

Getting lost in badly signposted cities, especially when you’re not sure you can change gear

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Baby crying in the middle of the night in hostel or campsite waking other people up

Missing strictly come dancing! (Recorded obviously)

Bad backs. Tom’s back has been painful and I strained mine after carrying helena around the Alhambra (didn’t realise buggy not allowed!)

Breakdown! Leaving most of our carefully selected possessions in the van and packing into one holdall and a bag for life and abandoning coco in the mechanics!

…However that did allow for a wonderful unplanned week of city breaks and hostels

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Granada

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The albacin area where we stayed was a maze of cobbled streets and the city is overlooked by the amazing Alhambra, where a few of our photos are taken. Brilliant hostel/guest house with views of the Alhambra from our window.

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Backpacking life…without backpacks!

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Our week of travelling around in trains and coaches and staying in hostels has been a lot of fun! It’s been great to be staying centrally while we visited Seville, Cordova and Granada. Helena has been pushed over so many cobbles in her buggy!

Schlecky got a call from the mechanics to say the van is fixed so we are picking it up today.

We’ll be happy for some more van life but it’s been a good experiment to see that backpacking with a baby is also doable! (Although not sure if people in next door rooms would agree – there have been the odd early morning screeching session…)

Córdoba

Enjoyed another city stay here. Wandering around on cobbled streets, eating tapas and watching a flamenco demonstration. We did a free tour and learnt a bit of the history, and stayed in a nice hostel – one of the many houses in Córdoba arranged around a central patio.

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Seville

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Lots of photos for Seville! Only a small selection of the ones taken in this gorgeous city. The buildings are amazing. Seems like a nice friendly place too.

For a week or so our trip has taken another shape. After the last coastal stop, cococheval wouldn’t go in first gear. I don’t know how Tom managed to get it out of a small circular area between bushes on a cliff! Once we were going we didn’t risk stopping and carried on to Spain and Seville. On the way we called upon our favourite interpreter, Schlecky, to book us into a mechanics and explain our predicament to them! He is still ‘on call’ for discussing the ongoing works, legend.

The van will take about a week to fix so we are hosteling! We’ve gathered what we can carry out of the van and have had a lovely couple of nights in Seville. Taking the train to Córdoba and Granada over the next few days.
Fingers crossed we will still have a few days of van travel after the mechanics have finished before the end of the trip.
I’m not sure if we have particularly bad luck with vehicles?! Some of this is definitely reminiscent of Moby in Aus!

Algarve coast

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We were finding a lot of campsites on the coast aren’t actually that close to the beach, so since its legal in Portugal and Spain, we decided to free camp at a beautiful spot on the algarve Coast. V rare to find somewhere not built up on this stretch. Maybe it’s because it was over a sea cave….which worried us a bit when the weather turned bad on 2nd night and started rocking the van!
Anyway it was a wonderfully relaxed couple of days looking out to sea and managing with what we had in the van (helena had a bath in the washing up bowl).

Ps. Can you spot coco on the cliff?!