Sunday, 4 December 2016

Last few days - Spring before Christmas!

Somo to Noja, 13 miles, Wild camping at Playa de Ris, free, 1 night.
Somo to Carbácena, 23 miles, Aire, free, I night. 
Carbácena to Santander, 13 miles, Ferry to Plymouth, not free.... 

With clear skies and weather in the high teens we have stopped dashing about and have decided to take it easy before catching the ferry home. The Costa Cantabria is very beautiful, I remember making some lame comment back in early October when we drove through here that the landscape was a mixture of North Devon and Middle Earth. Today, looking out of the windscreen at the green rolling hills by the sea, a red roofed town on the edge of a rocky inlet with a big beach of soft sand, then the resemblance to the West Country does seem apt. What about the Tolkien comparison? OK, it's a bit far fetched, but the Cantabrian massif at dusk yesterday viewed from the aire in Somo, well it had a slightly 'Misty Mountains' look if you stretched your imagination a bit. Tolkien certainly did; I read somewhere that his inspiration for the mighty range that he imagined ran from the Grey Mountains in the north of Middle Earth all the way to the gap of Rohan was the Malvern Hills, The Malverns, I know they are not exactly molehills, but they are not mountains either.

Maisy and thec 'Misty Mountains'.
Before we set out Gill downloaded a French app called 'Park for Night'. Up until now we have only used it to find moho friendly car parks in urban areas during the day. For overnight places we still tend to use Campercontacts. However, as we noted previously, this area of Spain is a bit thin on the ground for places to stay out of season so we decided to give 'Park for Night' a go, and it did highlight far more wild camping opportunities in the area than those listed on Campercontacts. Like Campercontacts, the places on 'Park for Night' have user reviews, which means you have some idea of what the place may be like before you arrive. 

The place it found for us at Noja's Playa de Ris proved to be one of the best wild camping spots we have ever stayed in. Amazing beach, interesting rocks, a nice coastal path, and not too busy or noisy. Of course it is out of season; Noja's extensive sprawl of low-rise apartments are nearly all shuttered for the winter. In high season it's probably manic.

Noja's Playa de Ris - an beautiful place to overnight.

We walked a few kilometres one way, towards Isla, then in the evening trotted in the opposite direction reaching a nearby pine covered rocky promontory. It was all very peaceful and lovely. We woke this morning and watched a slightly understated misty sunrise without even needing to stir from bed - we have definitely reached the 'we can't do THIS at home' stage of the trip. 

Next day - our final night, back at the 'elephant aire ' at Cabárceno Park. It was almost empty when we were here last, today it was packed with lots of British vans. I suppose early December is a crossover moment when the Santander ferry is busy with Brits heading for Spyeen for Christmas one way, then returning with other Brits like us, doing exactly the opposite.

Some  were going, others, like us returning

Yes, you can get this close.
So, as for today, it's the inevitable last shopping trip, then off to the docks, parking early enough to have a quick look at Santander, then homeward bound. I think I said in the previous post that we had not yet reached the 'endish' stage. Well, we have now, which is a good thing, because we are - at the end I mean, well apart from a 260 mile drive from Plymouth to Buxton. At the moment I am regarding that as beyond the end, some kind of purgatorial afterlife that I don't quite believe in.


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