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The past, present and future according to Rangor.

Everything that has, is, or is going to happen (although not necessarily in that order).

Monday, May 30, 2005

Our last full day

30th May

We head home tomorrow so today is really the last one in Spain. We
drove from San Sebastian this morning and did a bit of a wiggle to
Mundaka using lots of little roads, stopped for lunch on a very quiet
beach, just us and one other family. Finally got booked into the
campsite and realised that family were A) English and B) next to us on
the camp site. Seem a lovely bunch, they're just starting off on there
holiday as we finish ours. Mundaka is a very hip surfing town but at
the moment is a little out of season which is just as well as I
imagine you would need to book this campsite later in the year
otherwise you'd stand no chance of getting a pitch. It stopped raining
when we got up this morning and has brittened up for the day. Much
better than yesterday. So anyway, what have I learned during my trip?
1) campsites are far better than those in England. 2) so is public
transport. 3) the Spanish don't like paying for their roads to be
maintained through taxes and so the really good ones are all toll
roads. 4) the other roads are still better than ours. 5) rivers in the
south of Spain do not actually have any water in them, they are just
dry riverbeds. 6) the ones in the north have all had a dam at one end.
7) the Spanish are very tolerant of foreigners. 8) except in the
Basque region were we currently are. 9) the lifts are not as robust as
those in England. 10) Van has a left handed brother although the video
evidence of this died when my phone did. 11) fresh milk is a terribly
difficult to come by even though Spain has an enormous amount of dairy
cows. 12) fruit and veg looks rubbish but tastes better. 13) policemen
carry guns. 14) there are no gun control laws, but there is no gun
crime either. 15) towns and villages are a challenge to drive Van
round, but fun never the less. 16) Spain has spent an enormous amount
of money on completely pointless traffic lights and road signs.
So there we are, Mrs Rangor and myself will be home in a couple of
days having seen some of those elusive cetaceans. Cheerio.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sarurday and Sunday

29th May
Another long drive
Today we got up, had breakfast and left the best campsite I have ever
been to. Nevermind, we must get on. The plan is to drive all the way
to San Sebastian via Segovia to see the Roman aquaduct. There is a
slight problem though, as soon as we drive away from the site it
starts to rain, this isn't like the massive and impressive and warm
mediterranean storm we had in Sitges. This is like the cold crappy
rain in England. We realise that this is rain coming down from the
north, and that it will probably stick with us for the whole day. We
are however optomistic. it transpires that the glass was half empty
and not half full, the rain does indeed fall for the whole day, not to
worry, hopefully by the time we get to San Sebastian this evening it
will be stuck behind the mountains. Not the case. Sitting in Van now
and the rain is pooring down. Hope tomorrow is better weather, Mrs
Rangor has gone to bed and is demanding that the rain will stop
otherwise there will be trouble. What trouble I ask?
We did manage to get a look at the aquaduct at Segovia today. Legend
has it that a young girl was so fed up with carrying water from the
well across the valley that she promised her soul to Satan if he could
solve her problem. Satan, being keen on this idea started to build the
aquaduct. The girl then being ridden with guilt, prayed to God and
told him of her foolish pact. God then had a quiet word with Satan got
him to stop building said aquaduct just one stone away from
completion. Thus saving the girl's soul. God then felt a bit sorry for
her and decided to leave it there anyway. What a lucky lass she was!
Reminds me slightly of the Devil's dyke story, but that's for another
day.
Is 22.38 now, have a couple of beers and more of my book to enjoy but
will say night night.

28th May
The Toledo experience
We got up early and headed into Toledo. Only about 2km from the
campsite so not too strenuous a walk although the temperature was
already very hot. Spent most of the day there, lots of alleys to walk
through and lots of museums, mosques and a cathedral to visit. Went
for a pizza for lunch, not terribly Spanish I know, but the vegetarian
thing is proving quite tricky at times especially as I had attempted a
nice Spanish salad with asparagus. When telling them 'no pescado' they
obviously just nipped out back and rinsed the tuna off the olives.
Decided not to bother eating it and it was then we headed off for
pizza. One thing to learn about Toledo is that all the maps dotted
around the city have south at the top, not north. This led to some
confusion as I tried to lead us south west to finally leave the city
only to discover that we had in fact gone north east. This got Mrs
Rangor a bit stressed as she was tired and hot. I managed to placate
her with a nice cold fanta limon and an icecream. From there we headed
back to the campsite and I read my book and drank too many beers. Is
now Sunday morning and I have an iddy biddy hangover. Oh well, that's
good news for Mrs Rangor as it means she gets to drive today. Just one
other thing. The campsite on which we are staying has a great number
of trees yielding little blackberry looking berrys. These are of
particular interest to the many finches that are constantly sitting in
the trees noshing away. The upshot of this is that many berrys fall to
the floor and get trampled underfoot as we walk. Combined with the
grit and gravel on the ground, these berrys make an excellent mortar
that bonds to our shoes, really is a tenacious substance that requires
chiseling off after every walk. I have no idea what these berrys are,
but we have decided to call them stickleberrys.

Friday, May 27, 2005

3 in 1

27th May
A long old drive
Today I woke up early again with the sun streaming through the
slightly open blinds, got up and realised two things, one, it was damn
hot and two, I had a bit of a headache from last night. Headache
passed quite quickly although Mrs Rangor insisted that she drove Van
this morning. Today was a long drive up and over the top of some
pretty high mountains on the way to Olula del Rio. Van did admirably
although we plodded rather than sped. Decided after that that we were
going to make it to Toledo today. A few hundred kilometers, but we
figured we could do it. The mountains rather set us back and we were
getting worried that we may not make it in time to get booked into the
campsite. Thought about stopping somewhere on the way but realise
that within central Spain there are only a handfull of sites and the
nearest didn't seem to exist anymore. We plodded on and got here at
21.55 and booked in just before the ten pm deadline. Currently sitting
under the stars looking up at the many many bats circling above.
Am sipping a san miguel.

26th May
Karen and Trevor
Woke up fairly early this morning and opened the doors onto the patio
by the swimming pool, lovely. Sat around over breakfast discussing the
plan for the day. Drank some of Don's orange juice squished from
oranges just below where they live. The province of Valencia certainly
does good oranges. We said our goodbyes and headed off towards Uleila
del campo to see Karen and Trev. On the way down there I realised that
due to my crappy phone I no longer had Karen's new mobile number. Not
a problem, a quick ring to Tom or Deb would sort that out. Yeah right!
Neither of them answered their phones leaving us in a bit of a panic
as we had bo idea where they actually live. Fortunately Mandy came to
our rescue and was able to give me the details. Got to the village and
asked for Trevor in all the pubs. Oddly enough, they all knew him far
too well! No sign of him though so we headed to see Karen at their
lovely new built house and looked over the grounds. Almost 200 almond
trees and two olive trees, goes up one side of a mountain and down the
other. Trevor once walked up to the top in the hope their was a pub on
the other side but alas not!
Had a lovely afternoon sitting in the sun with a cold beer and
catching up on what's been happening. Trev came home from work about
7pm and we ate and headed into the village for a few drinks, then back
to watch shooting stars in one of the brightest clearest skies I've
ever seen. Couldn't be better. Trev and Mrs Rangor both went to bed
(separately of course) and Karen and I sat up chatting till the small
hours. All in all, an absolutely lovely day, will be sad to head off
tomorrow.

Don and Hilary
25th May
Today Mrs Rangor and I awoke early to get away from the campsite. We
really didn't like it much and did not seem to be as good as the guide
book suggested. Drove down to the beach for breakfast and saw the
campsite we were meant to stop at, d'oh!
Left Valencia fairly early and headed down to Pego where Don and
Hilary live. Got there using Don's excellent instructions in about one
and a half hours. Met Don in a carpark for him to escort us back to
their villa. We had to leave Van outside their friends house as it
would have been quite a struggle to navigate round the tight bends and
terribly steep inclines.
Got to theirs and introduced Mrs Rangor to Hilary. Must say it was
lovely to see them looking so well. We sat around the pool and chatted
over lunch before jumping in for a swim and then a bit of a siesta.
This evening all four of us went out for a meal and then back 'home'
for the last half of the football. What a result that was. Currently
lying in a big comfy bed about to drop off to sleep. Off to see Karen
and Trevor tomorrow. Night night.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

micro$hite

24th May
I'll start with the worst part of the day because then I can tell you
how much better it got. While plotting our map on my 'computer phone
with GPS technology' the whole thing died and immediately performed a
full hard reset leaving us with absolutely nothing, no GPS, no
applications I probably don't really need anyway, like the guitar
tuner software, but also with no contacts to phone Don and Hilary, and
Karen and Trevor in Spain. After much tinkering, I managed to get the
contacts back but nothing else. The upshot of this was that we have
had to rely on a good old fashioned paper map. This has meant that
rather than the 'one hundred yards, turn left' routine, we have
actually taken time to find lovely roads on the map to take, rather
than the autopista toll roads. What a lovely drive from Barcelona to
Valencia we've had. Taking Van up to 1000 metres to see the terraced
olive groves and some wonderful views, splendid. Sod GPS, we can live
without it! We stopped about 800 metres up for a picnic and drove
through many lovely villages. I'm sure the sound of an air cooled VW
engine roused them all from their siesta!

We have now set up camp on a rather average site in el Saler, just
outside Valencia. Looking forward to tomorrow when we see Don and
Hilary for the first time in years. Mrs Rangor has never met them, but
is well aware of the kindness and honesty shown to my family by Don
over many a difficult year. For me it will be a chance to catch up on
many things that have happened since last time. Marvelous.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Barcelona experience

23rd May

After last night's storm, and that massive whack to me noggin, I slept very well indeed. May also have been the 'tres cerveza por favor'. Mrs Rangor was up a little earlier than I and went to get some breakfast for the both of us. I was left with the task of tidying Van while she was gone. After breakfast we headed to the station to get a train to Barcelona. As I’m sure is true of any european country, the trains are far cleaner, faster and nicer than they are in England. Ooh, and a lot cheaper too.

Barcelona is lovely, enjoyed the walk down la Rambla and much of the architecture is stunning, including or course Gaudi's La Sagrada Família. Stunning, but I have to say, quite ugly I'm afraid! Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate it, but just don’t like it much to look at. Very interesting audio tour though, looked very obviously tourist like with my shorts and headphones on. Chose the long walk to the top of one of the towers, across a bridge between that and another, and down again. Mrs Rangor looked quite pale as we got higher and higher. Must say I put on a brave face and there were times when I worried about tumbling to my death, gladly it didn’t come to pass.

Navigated the metro very well until I dived into a lift with other people in it and forced the doors open with my arms... It stopped working after that, and everyone had to get out and use the stairs, don’t think that made me terribly popular, not even with Mrs Rangor.

Think we'll be walking into Sitges centre this evening for some dinner and a beer or two, have to see how my feet are, been on them all day. Tomorrow see the start of another journey in Van, heading towards Valencia but we're in no hurry, so may stop somewhere for a night on the way...

Rangor does Bilbao

22nd May
Arrived in Bilbao at 7am, the tannoy system in the room kindly belowed this fact out to us at 5.45. Got up and went for breakfast, very nice, if a little expensive. We were told to wait in our vehicles to get ready to disembark. Then came the driving on the right malarky. Seemed ok, navigated a few roundabouts, junctions and 300 miles to Barcelona, so am quite pleased about that, Mrs Rangor helped with the driving and navigation after a slight hiccup in GPS technology. Actually camping in a small town just outside called Sitges, the gay capital of Spain apparently, very nice, had pizza and a stroll on the beach. Met Van's left handed brother, more on that another time. Currently laying in bed with a fantastic thunderstorm directly ahead of us. Rather trippy light show, or maybe it's because I've just slipped over on one of those classic mediterranean style tiled floors and smacked my head on the floor whilst running in the rain to the loo. Something is certainly playing with my visio..

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Whale watching

Mrs Rangor and I went to a lecture on cetaceans this morning while on the boat. Now we are sitting at the bow looking for any one of the many species that populate what what we are told is the only area with over 27 of the 80 or so species of the world. At this time I have only seen a faint glimse of a sun fish, however, I remain optomistic. Hoping for some common or bottlenose dolphins to bow ride for ours and their pleasure. We have been told that we can expect to see them once we have passed over the continental shelf where the seabed drops from a modest 100 metres to just over 4000 metres in a relatively short distance. Is now 16.20 ship time, 17.20 Spanish time. Factors that are against us spotting many of these so called 'sea monsters' (cetacean, means literally that) is that there is a lot of white water that masks the breath from their blowholes. Apparently the North bound journey is usually more successful viewing.

Friday, May 20, 2005

We're on the boat

How exciting! 3 beers for £4.50, no Guinness though!

Today's the day

Mrs Rangor and I head off on our driving trip round Spain today, lots of things planned for the next twelve days. Firstly I'm looking forward to seeing dolphins and whales from the ship we'll be taking down to Bilbao.

Then off to Barcelona, Alicante, Almeria, Granada and Madrid before heading back to Bilbao to get the ship back to Portsmouth.

Hopefully stopping to see Don and Hilary on Alicante, and then Karen and Trevor in Almeria.

Thanks go to Lou for emailing me details of all the best things to do and see on our travels. Lovely.

So, all set then. Just need to go into work this morning :-( and then off.

If I do find the chance to blog during our travels I will do so...

UPDATE: I have amended the spelling of Whales, from Wales. Thank you Lottie. oops!

Friday, May 06, 2005

A third Labour term

Worth staying up all night for.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Time is slipping by...

Would you Adam and Eve it. Another three weeks have slipped by without so much as a single post. Sorry about that. Mrs Rangor and I have been terribly busy finising all that DIYing and generally keeping the house spotless for potential buyers to admire. Well it finally paid off, we've managed to sell the house to a young lad (or rather his parents) so that he can live there during his university days. A far cry from what my parents gave me while I was at uni.

Just got to get the solicitors to chat to one another now, pay a huge amount of cash to them and the estate agent and then the small matter of actually paying for the new house, and we should be in there.

First however we are heading off to Spain in VAN for a couple of weeks. We are getting the boat from Portsmouth to Bilbao and then heading for Barcelona and maybe go south of there to see if we can catch up with Karen and Trevor. Then Madrid and head back, that's the plan anyway.

A very exciting time to be had indeed.