The Drive Down – Day 1

Saturday 17th January 2015

So we finally made it onto Spanish soil! Santander is a much less intimidating port to arrive at than Bilbao. It’s straight off the ferry, no real choice where to go, just follow the signs and you’re soon spat out onto the motorway network, what’s more this is a toll-free section with hardly any other cars on it!

The skies were blue when we disembarked, but what was that white stuff in the distance?

The skies were blue when we disembarked, but what was that white stuff in the distance?

Yes it was as we’d feared, it was the ‘cold stuff’! And as we made our way up onto the high plains we got up close and personal with it!

We still had blue skies but there was a lot of snow around and we knew there was more bad weather on the way.

We still had blue skies but there was a lot of snow around and we knew there was more bad weather on the way.

The snow brought back memories of our last visit to Spain where we were greeted with very similar icy conditions. The thing that makes it less worrying than if this was a British road is that the Spanish seem to be prepared and are well-equipped to deal with it. As you can probably see from the dried salt on our windscreen, the roads were heavily gritted and so we felt perfectly safe at this point.

We had no real plan for how far we were going to travel on our first day and the fact that the ferry was late arriving meant we were unlikely to get as far as we would have liked. Our primary concern was to clear the high bits so as to avoid any potential problems that a heavy snowfall might bring. So we pressed on just stopping for a drink and a snack after a couple of hours driving and decided that we would continue for as long as we were comfortable.

As darkness fell we passed the turning for a ski resort and decided that it was probably time to call it a day but despite a few forays off the motorway following signs for picnic areas, we never found them and had to keep rejoining the motorway until finally we decided to commit the sin of all sins (apparently!) and stopped for the night at a service station. It was well away from the road, well lit and there were already two other vans settled for the night, so we pulled up, had some dinner and spent a surprisingly quiet night.

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