We purchased “The Bunyip” on the 27th of March, 2009 with 68.800 kilometers on the clock. It has just ticked over 168.800 kilometers, 100.000 since it is ours.
We are now on our seventh trip in the “Bunyip”. Our friends Sam and Sue used it on a trip to Portugal and Austria in 2009, in 2013 other friends, Helen and John used it going to Scandinavia and back through Eastern Europe.
Although at times slow, it has gone to wherever we have wanted to up, up into mountains, deserts busy cities, forests and beaches.
Over the years we have improved, upgraded and repaired the “Bunyip” keeping it in good condition and well maintained. And of course we have pimped it with some artwork, signs and kangaroos. We still get people thinking we are Dutch and like Australia but we can only do as much as we have without putting a big sign on it. Other people marvel that we have travelled all the way from Australia not realizing it has Dutch number plates. Here’s to the “Bunyip” and quoting a Neil Young song “long may she run”.
If you want to see some photos of what the “Bunyip” looked like before was ‘Australianised’ click on Our Motorhome
On Saturday we drove to the town of Onate in the Basque region, the first thing we noticed along the way the quiet roads and no shops were open, after googling we found out that it was a holiday today, assumption day. The drive was through some hills and quite green, very different from the barren dry countryside of the previous days. An easy park was found and we wandered the streets eventually coming across the buildings and streets the town is famous for. After a coffee and a cake which we were told was a regional type we made tracks and headed south.
Vitoria Gasteiz is said to be the Basque capital and has a large old town surrounded by a modern city with lots of apartment buildins. We found the aire which is about 3 kms from the old town a very large carpark with all the usual facilities but only official parking for 10 motorhomes, later I counted 50. No one seemed to mind as the carpark was so large that the many motorhomes only made a small dent in it. Arriving mid-afternoon we decided to wait until the next day to make a visit so had a quiet afternoon and evening.
On Sunday we hopped on our trusty bikes and rode the bike path to the old town. As is our custom we sought out the tourist information office where they gave us a town map. When going into the tourist information offices always ask for a walking tour map, most have them but only give them out when asked. I also asked questions about pinxos [their regional tapas] and again a brochure came out, “ask and ye shall receive.” One day I will write a book about travelling in Europe with all the tips that we have learnt.
The town was interesting and had plenty to see with street art and beautiful buildings. The place was quiet being a Sunday with the exception of the main street with the bars and cafes. Here we stopped for a wine and beer and of course to try the pinxos. The bar we stopped at specialized in croquettes not unlike the sort they have in the Netherlands. All was very tasty and enhanced by the atmosphere of the busy street.
We rode back to the “Bunyip” joining the other motorhomes and had a quiet evening, sightseeing and being a tourist can be very tiring. Again we spent the night at Vitoria Gasteiz which was the first time we have had two nights in one place for a while.
Morning was spent filling up our water tank, emptying our grey water and toilet, shopping at the Lidl and filling our gas tank at the Repsol service station on the way out of town. All these things took time and we reached the outskirts of Vitoria Gasteiz at midday heading towards Burgos.
It is always a good feeling when the water tank is full, the toilet is empty, the gas bottle is filled, the grey water is empty and the diesel is full. You know you are set for another few days at least, this is a motorhoming thing that wild campers will understand.
Our resources told us of a carpark in Burgos which motorhomes could use and stay overnight, an unofficial aire so to speak. Luckily we arrived mid-afternoon and there was plenty of room but it started getting busy as it was no secret and later in the evening the place was full with motorhomes. We watched as many campers had to turn around and find other places to spend the night. One motorhome parked so close to a Dutch one that he actually pushed the Dutch motorhomes mirror in so that his mirrors would not hit as he drove in. When the Dutch family returned they were a bit shocked and moved over a bit so that the vans were not almost touching.
The old town centre was small and the main attraction was the large church. It was also another place on the pilgrim trail and had markers on the roads to indicate the route to the pilgrims. (For anyone interested in a nice movie which is about walking the Camino search out “The Way” starring Martin Sheen and is directed by his son Emilio Estevez. Well worth a watch.) After having a look at the Cathedral we walked up to the lookout which gave us a panoramic view of the town and headed back to watch the chaos in the carpark and relax.
The next morning the carpark was getting a bit crazy with cars coming in so we headed off early and had breakfast at a roadside stop. Next we opted for a smaller place to visit which we hoped would be quieter. As we are in no particular hurry at the moment, we are slowly heading towards Valencia where on the 2nd of September we pick up Jenny’s sister Debbie along with her husband and Taliah one of their daughters. From Valencia we will drive to Denia and spent 8 days in an apartment together.
Arriving at Palencia mid-morning we found the aire located about 500 meters from the town. It was next to an old folk’s home and a park with generous size allotments for the each motorhome. Much better than our previous night’s stay. After settling in we headed into town with our first stop being the Vodaphone shop to make some sense of our sim card. It had been working fine but we have not been able to work out how much data is left, well neither did the sales assistant and when we asked how to recharge the sim she was equally vague. Oh well it is working that is the main thing. After a look around Jenny spotted a 12 euros menu of the day at the restaurant in the main square, all written in Spanish. The friendly young waiter explained that included in the meal was 3 courses, a whole bottle of wine and coffee. The meal was very nice and the wine tasted really good. We spent a leisurely time eating drinking and taking in the ambiance of the town square. When we first sat down to eat there were a few people at the adjoining tables, at the end of our meal the place was very busy. Eating out in Spain has mainly been having tapas at bars, this was a pleasant change and the waiters gave us great service.
We returned to the aire via the adjacent green park and spent the rest of the day relaxing watching the aire fill to capacity.
We have been to many larger places in recently and we decided to get off the beaten track at seek out some smaller places. The aire at the town of Cuellar had a picture of a castle next to it and the town didn’t look very big so we decide to go cross country and check it out.
On the way out of Palencia in the morning we stopped by at a large temporary market but it was only clothes, handbags and material. Ewout did get a few pairs of new socks. Near to the market we could see the statue of Jesus which overlooks the town, not quite as big as the one in Rio but big enough.
The countryside we have been driving through has reminded us of northern South Australia and if there were gum trees we could almost expect to see some kangaroos jumping around.
As it turned out we were the only ones at the aire and it was a convenient place to visit the castle and the town. The tour of the castle was in Spanish so we opted to wander the streets of the town and then to walk the ramparts before returning to our home on wheels to settle in for the night. We stopped at a biscuit shop in town which was inviting and decided to purchase a few of their local treats. They turned out to be very nice and we have enjoyed them with our coffee in the evening.
It was good not seeing any tourists and visiting a smaller place.
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