Dan and Claire on Sabbatical!!

Welcome to our blog, we hope you enjoy following our adventures!
We split our sabbatical in 2 parts:
Part 1 was from March to June 2010 touring around in our campervan in France and Spain.
Part 2 started on the 7th of July when we left Scotland to cycle through Europe and the Middle East to Africa in the remaining 6 months (back for Xmas).
Have a look at the route below and we'll try to post pics as much as we can!

xx

Cycle Route to Africa

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29 Apr 2010

Orange House

After the Scottish campsite we decided to head a bit further south (basically in land from the evil Benidorm). We were planning just to stay a few days, but stayed a week because it's great here:o). We're staying in a lovely bunkhouse/campsite up in the hills (Finestrat) called The Orange House...its got a pool and everything!
You can pick your oranges and lemons from the tree and we met some nice people for evening chats and bbqs. There is so much to do in the surroundings here and it was a hot sunny week.
We've been climbing a fair bit, Claire's started to lead her climbs and has been doing great (even taking some falls or air time as its called) and Dan is getting back to where he was before the injury.
We also had some lovely lazy breakfast mornings by the pool and did a little cycle to the coast.
Tuesday we were dared by the 3 english guys to join them on one of their day hikes and it was a beautiful hill walk followed by beers and paella on the tacky seafront. Good practice for Corsica!
We're off towards France tomorrow for a week of luxury in St Cezaire with Carol and Cliff. Jippie!!!
xx

22 Apr 2010

In search of the sun

In search of the sun we’ve been all over the place! From Salamanca we went back to the Madrid area for some unfinished climbing and cycling business. But after one day of sunshine we were back in the cold, cloud and rain again. So we drove on to Valencia and a hotel!!! :o)

Valencia is an amazing place, a really lovely mix of old and new. Our hotel was very close to the arts and science city (have a look at the pics), which is a futuristic modern architectural complex with lots of space, water and glass.

While on a run through the big park that runs like a river through the city, we discovered a wine and food festival. So we returned to it that night and sampled the wine (and not enough food for Dan). It was one of these fairs where at the entrance they give you a glass and a little tapas dish and you walk around eating mostly pork products, snails, cheese and more pork. We met a funny group of people and spent most of the night with them, the guy seemed to know everybody on the fair and kept getting us more free stuff.

The day after we spent on the beach recovering...

We drove even further south for more warmth and are know between Valencia and Alicante, a bit inland from Benidorm and all that ugliness, and it’s lovely here between the orange trees. And would you believe the campsite we’re on is run by a Scottish couple from Elgin/Glenlivet! So we can read the Scottish newspaper and eat toast (Dan) in the bar.

xx

14 Apr 2010

Home and back

It's been a while since our last message. We've been home for a few wonderful days over Easter, which was luxury after 5 weeks of camping in the van! We saw Valerie, Elsbeth and Diederik's cute little daughter who was born on the 22nd of March (see picture). And then we had 2 spoiling days with mama in The Hague, lots of nice food, saw 'the aunties' for Easter lunch, had a short visit from So, Robert and little Shug for tea and just enjoyed being clean and in the city for a while. On Tuesday we went to see Luisa, the newborn little one of Merijn en Twan, with Elsbeth and Valerie, very funny to see the 2 mums and 2 little girls together! Flew to Edinburgh and had a couple of holiday-days in Lundie:-) It felt a bit empty without little Kipper at first... But it was wonderful to be back in Lundie with all the daffodils in full bloom, a proper roast dinner, shopping and walks in the fresh air.
And on Friday when we flew back to Madrid we were happy to see the van again, what more do you want?
We spent the last few days in the Sierra de Guadarrama, 60 km north of Madrid. A beautiful rural area with lots of big water reservoirs. We thought the spring heat had started after a few hot days with beers on the terrace after climbing in Patones in the sun, but since yesterday it's raining :-) So we decided to drive to Salamanca today, it's great being back here after 15 years (Spain chica's: we're in cafe Cervantes now)! But before I forget, yesterday in the rain a very important climbing thing happened: I led my first route! And I didn't cry (a few years ago I tried as well and cried lots and wanted to come down). So I'm climbing for real now :-)
Lots of love xx

3 Apr 2010

Bouldering in Albarracin

We've been in a lekker forest area and village called Albarracin thats at an altitude of 1300m (cold when the suns not out!!!).

We had two days of climbing on the boulders around the forest and a few evenings in the village. Its the big easter festival 'Semana Santa', so there's big drum processions with Jesus thingies :o) And 100's of Spainish tourists in there huge caravans and motorhomes.

We're off home for a week to the folks! Back to the cold :o)