I last wrote from Kirnbergsee in the Black Forest and the last blog entry was very perfunctory because I was sitting outside with the sun shining on the screen and couldn't see a thing. The source of the Danube is at Donaueschingen and it is very pretty, we saw it last year and didn't see the need to hang around as we were just waiting for Mike's stings to calm down. From there we took a scenic yellow road which looked like spaghetti on the map to Mulheim. It was single width most of the way but the villages had a bus service. Mulheim felt a bit weird for some reason and I didn't like it much.
Then to Puy en Velay. This has a small church on top of an extinct volcano. It has been a place of worship for thousands of years as people believed that they could get closer to their gods in pre christian times. It was an amazing sight and a good climb up to the top and we were fortunate to be able to park right beneath it for the night. There was a large cathedral and a statue of the Virgin Mary, on another hilltop across from our pinnacle. We didn't want to pay to go into the Cathedral but there was a door open at the side and no one noticed us wander in. The old buildings were all built out of volcano stone and were mainly buildings associated with the church which I thought looked rather dark and foreboding.
There is a fabulous Argentinian steak restaurant in Empuriabrava, near Rosas on the Costa Brava. As I said earlier Mike gets a sniff of Spain in his nostrils, but this time we could hear the sizzle of the steak as well. We found somewhere to park near the Aero Club. The Dutchman parked next to us had been there one night already and gave us the heads up. Just as we were about to lock up and go out a local police tow truck turned up. The driver had the look of Franco's chief henchman as he gesticulated for us to get off. This we had to do and so we drove on to Platja, tastebuds unquenched by those juicy steaks. Optimistic side taken as ever though because we understand that the fine for a towaway now stands at 300 Euros. That would have been an extremely expensive steak.
As for roads we haven't paid to drive on any and stuck with A roads when going from A to B and then the yellow ones on the map for the scenic parts. We had intended spending a bit longer in France but the forecast was poor and the views wouldn't have been good in the rain. The A roads were all clear, hardly any traffic and we didn't get lost.
Those of you that know us or follow the blog may remember that we spend a considerable amount of time here on the Costa Brava. Last year the official Aire in Platja was closed and a height barrier put in place. Feeling cheated Mike went to the tourist office today to find out why. The council have closed our car park because the toilet dump is broken and they haven't got the budget to fix it and haven't decided what to do yet. We were all supposed to pay to park there but no one did because the pay machine had broken and they didn't send anyone round to collect money. I suppose they don't have a salary budget for that either. The businesses in the town love having 40 or so motorhomes parked here and the residents didn't mind either. I wonder what the business rates are for and if accountants are making too many decisions. Anyway, the short answer was that no one minds us parked on the grid which is also officially signed for motorhome parking and Mike has worked out how to use the toilet dump safely and unmessily even though it is broken. All being well we will be here for a few days yet. Its lovely to be here while it is still hot, summery and busy. It has been during the low season when we have stayed here in the past and pretty much everything shuts down during the week and few places are open at the weekend.