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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Viva Espana!

We have just returned from a short holiday to the Basque region of France. It was a most wonderful journey for a food lover like me. When we travel, I like to plan very carefully where we stop, so as to make the most of the local specialities and delicacies. So long as we have sufficient time, we prefer to travel by car. The 'we' here, is Peter and me. Jonathan (our 14 year old son) is not so keen and like so many teenagers these days, he requires immediacy. A 'tardiss' to zap him and his friends into a theme park with a burger stand on every corner, would be his idea of heaven. For the moment, however, he has to do it our way and maybe, one day, he will look back on our 'culinary-biased' travel with more appreciation. Am I dreaming? Anyway, on with the purpose of this blog.

With the car packed to the gunnels - we booked a self catering apartment on a golf course - we set off on our travels. I had been looking forward to this short holiday with great expectation. It would be the relaxation, after a particularly stressful period of our lives, that we needed; it would give us some family time and be all things to all of us. Jonathan, with his accompanying friend Jack, would enjoy 4 days of golf while we took ourselves on outings to discover some of the Basque region. Opportunities for more culinary exploits and my heaven!

At the break of dawn, we took the coast road east along the Algarve, crossing the border into Spain. The landscape changes quite noticeably, as the golden sun flower fields pass our view. They are an absolutely splendid and cheerful sight. As I think I might already have said - I adore their boldness as their heads turn to follow the movement of the sun - tournasol - in French. I deviate again, sorry!

The boys slept most of the way to our first stop - the town of Plasencia - waking only for sustenance, or to try and find a more comfortable position, wedged between all the necessary paraphernalia for the holiday. Plasencia is a good half way point between the south-west tip of Portugal and the Spanish border and comes at about the right stage of the journey for me. Seven hours in a car is quite enough for me - I could never be a long distance lorry driver! We have stayed at the Hotel Cuidad de Plasencia before, so I am not at all disappointed on arrival this time, because I know what is in store and I could hardly wait