Our favourite city! We know the problems that some people have there with pick pockets etc, but so long as you are careful and only take what you need, we’ve never had a problem and we try and go about once a year there if we can.
Despite having been there so many times, there’s still new places for us to find, and this time we found the best kebab shop ever, where we ate like kings for 4 € for the two of us! ! Superb kebab, served with rice which was uber yummy!!
You can’t go to Barcelona without a visit to the Boqueria food market which you’ll find just off the Ramblas – awesome for people watching and local food.
We also always try and pop in to the wonderful cocktail bar Sub Rosa where 4€ buys you one of the best cocktail in town. We’ve had a few happy nights with my sister Sarah and my lovely Bro in law (where Tim tried to work hus way through the menu, and spoke fluent french by the end of 2 cocktails! ), and with Bruces brother Neil and his wife Lesley (aka Mrs Batty).
We met this time an artist Helena who drew a quick pen sketch of me.
The next day we wandered around by the cathedral and found some amazing sculptures.
But for us the highlight was finding the Cosmo caixa science museum which had an entrance fee of only 4€, but for La Caixa customers it was free!! Added bonus for us finding something so amazing that is free entry, and huge! We spent about 4 hrs wandering around and still didn’t see it all so the great thing is that we can return the next time.
I think we both agreed that the best part of the museum was the rain forest they have built. If you go then you must watch the video that shows how they built it as it was amazing. They took a massive plaster cast of a tree in Brazil to base the forest around.
We also found the Petite Palau which had a flamenco show on that night ticket only but the building was so, so beautiful – we’re going to keep an eye open for tickets next time to see something inside as it looked awesome.
And lastly some street art I saw on the last morning as I was walking muppet around the block.
We picked one of the prettiest ways to come across the border, bypassing Andorra as we’ve seen it a few times, but coming over the mountain as the toll tunnel was closed. The views were truly stunning, and when we pulled over for a breakfast stop, we could hear the cow bells from across the valley.
We noticed on our very wiggly route into Spain that there were so many motorbikes coming back into France, only to find out that it had been the Catalan Moto GP that weekend -we saw hundred of bikes! !
We checked out on Spanish aire but decided to go to the next one at Vic which proved a great find as it was in a little park and really peaceful….but quite noisy in the morning when they set off 2 hot air balloons from just behind the van!
From here we had a good drive down into Barcelona where we have a car park which we can prebook for onky 20€ a night which is only 4k out of the city centre and a 5 minute walk to the nearest metro.
We started moving more southerly and stopped at the small town of Montignac, where we had a lovely amble around in the sunshine and happened to stumble upon this fast food trailer which sold burgers. On looking closer we discovered that not only were they all home made but that he also served chips, so we gave in and made a wonderful find of what we considered to be the best chips ever, (a close second can be found at one of the markets in Amsterdam!).
From here we then paused to give the muppet a run at a château which had the most beautiful grounds and massive trees.
From here we hunted out somewhere to stay for the night as we had vide greniers the following day although the forecast was looking very bad! So despite a couple of false starts – one aire near a campsite was closed due to some massive festival going on in the town, then another one was right on a main road so not suitable for us to leave the van while we went off….so finally we found a canal where we stopped and decided to stay the night there then go on in the morning. It was very busy with cyclists along the tow path but proved to be the best fishing Bruce has done with a baby crayfish lobster thing, and 4 massive fishies! I’ve never seen my hubby so happy! !
We did strike out a lot on the vides on the Sunday as the rain kicked in big time especially in the morning, but it did clear up later on so we didn’t fair very well on the bling buying front for the baglet’s, but I did get a beautiful piece of marble for 1 € !!
As we had plans to be in Barcelona for the last couple of days before heading home we cracked on south, stopping just before the border with Andorra at a little spa town to soak our feet in the thermal spa before parking up for the night.
We came round in a big circle after Troyes, coming back via Sens and with another stop at Briare as we loved being right on the canal with the van.
We went to the castle of the fishermen at Bussiere which seemed very fitting for Bruce, and was a great place to visit with no pretentious displays, just honest everyday living stuff as it was a working castle, and they are now building up the gardens again which we looking lovely.
From there we stopped a while at a small town called Aubigny sur nere, which had been recommended to us by a man we met in Briare as it was so pretty, and where it was their market day. So we wandered around, bought some scummy new potatoes and some rhubarb which I hardly ever see in Spain. We also stumbled across this art exhibition which we looked at which had some great and really gothic work in it, although we managed to avoid buying any of it, as the piece we liked was 12000€!
From there we settled eventually for the night after few false stops on the way due to on aire being closed for a festival, another spot just not suitable, and another place not having anywhere decent to park at all and the camp site wanted to overcharge even though they had the prices on the sign outside – so we finally and thankfully found a tiny medieval village called Mennetou sur Cher. Really beautiful place, with the aire right by the canal, so perfect for a spot of fishing while we celebrated with a drink after a hard days holiday!
Mennetou was our set off point on the Sunday for the vide greniers. …and didn’t we do well! I think we got to 5 in the end, lost out on one that was planned due to not being able to find it, but also gained one on the way. We also found what must be the largest one ever in Bourges in the carrefour carpark. It was huge!
From Briare we moved on to Auxerre, about 70 km away, as there was a big Friday market and an aire we could stay at. The town itself is very pretty in parts with some lovely half timbered houses and a beautiful astronomical clock.