A Wedding, plus planning re-entry to the UK, the 60th Blog of the trip.
One year ago, this week, we commenced our first lockdown in Turkey, the world had never experienced anything like this before. There seemed to be a worldwide community working together for all. As we remained on the campsite near Kemer there was a hope that we would get over this soon. We were in awe that the world we knew had stopped. But there was a community, people clapped for the NHS, sang in the Duomo in Milan, we were all in it together. Hope was the watchword, as long as we supported each other all would be good.
Well, a year later we have a mix of optimism and a lot of finger pointing, blame allocation and hubris. But with the vaccine being rolled out, 2021 might just see the end of the beginning of the end of this tragedy.
We have been lucky to travel all during the Pandemic and fortunately have been able to avoid catching the virus. This we like to think comes from following the rules where we have been and living in a motorhome. If you move around in your home, you naturally socially distance. On top of that here in Spain our movements are confined as well. But virtually all hotels are closed business are failing but the people are still welcoming and optimistic.
We have had many ask us why we did not come home as the advice was not to travel. We left in January 2020 our house is rented out and if we came home not have right or wish, to ask the tenants to leave. So, we followed the advice from the UK and Irish governments we continued to explore when allowed and locked down wherever we were when required, making sure to follow local rules.
Speaking of Turkey, we were overjoyed to hear that two of our friends from that lockdown got married on Saturday we wish Anetta and Geo every happiness. It was a privilege to have met them a real gift of covid.
Now the European part of the adventure is coming to an end. We will be heading back to the UK next month and after self-isolating we will get to see family and then look to touring around the UK. This will be an interesting comparison having always toured Europe having a look at what motorhoming will be like in the UK. We have heard that Aires sadly do not exist, and wild camping is tough to say the least it will be a new experience for us. We are looking forward to getting advice from our readers on places to stay mand things to do.
Life on the Road
After throwing myself off a cliff last week and living to tell the tale, this week has been a lot simpler, stopping off in Jerez we found a super Aire at €15 a day with all services. We were 4 km from the centre of town, and it was simple walk. The weather has continued to be kind and the sun has beamed on us all week. For some strange reason, our memories of Jerez were not kind to the town. When we came back in 2016, we could not find anywhere to park, so we did not warm to it apart from a visit to the Tio Pepe winery. We did like that and bought a load of souvenirs there not to mention the local nectar Sherry.
The following day another visit to town recommended by the owners of the Aire, all the wineries are shut to visitors due to Covid, and every hotel was closed, you could feel the effect on the town as lots of other businesses were closed too. At the same time the people were welcoming and fun. The weather is good eating outside is a pleasure and being able to go to restaurants and bars a luxury we really appreciate.
We were able to visit The Alcazar of Jerez, this old Moorish fortress is amazing, and we had the whole place to ourselves. One of the few upsides to Covid but at the same time without visitors there will be no one to pay for the preservation of these wonderful places. The old Mosque converted into a church with both an altar and a mihrab is quite touching and the feeling of peace pervaded the place even if its history did not concur. The old Hammam had been also restored and the lighting and feel was moving. Then add in the gardens and finally the 19th early 20th century public Pharmacy was a real bonus and a bargain for €5 each to visit. Jerez was a bonus in that we expected to be disappointed and in fact it is a gem worth visiting and revelling in the history and laid-back feel of the place.
Finally the last spot to visit was the Casa del Jerez a wine shop specialising in Sherry wines and spirits, Juan took lots of time to explain to us the nuances of sherry that we had forgotten and we were able to taste some of the finer wines. Before loading up the bikes and heading back to Buster.
We then moved on to Rota on the coast where we had spent Christmas here our base was one of those free Aires we mention. A place to park, fresh water and waste disposal provided by the local town. We were less than 100 yards from the beach and the town was about a 4km walk along the beach. There are bars shops and restaurants nearby as well, plus it is on a Via Verde cycle way. And yet another visit to Sanlucar and have some tapas.
But for me it was a chance to meet up with our friend Salvador and play golf in the sunshine, It is always great to meet up with friends so the fact my already limited ability to play golf was even worse than normal did not take away from the round. We lost on the last two holes two down in match play against his friends. I have to say golf is possible the best socially distanced sport there is, and the way I play extremely safe!
Easter is coming and movement will be extremely limited during the period, so we have moved again to be away from the crowds in Buster and today we are on yet another Via Verde in a little town called Valverde del Camino, very famous for its shoes, and particularly its leather boots, Karen will appraise you next week on how good they are. The town is very pretty, and we treated ourselves to a meal out on the Sunday and an ice cream in the square. We did walk to the boot factory and this wisteria is the best I have seen since we were in Turkey last year.
Wherever you are in this world, we wish you a very Happy Easter and we look forward to hearing from you on the best places to stay in the UK and assisting us to plan then next stage of the adventure.