Give us a car and we run wild.
We are not sure if it was a good idea to rent a car for our travel around Europe or if we would have been better off taking trains.
We have never planned so much for a trip as we had for this travel through France, but as soon as we got behind the wheel of our car, the itinerary went out the window.
It all started with the bad weather in France. We had planned on going through The Loire Valley, Bordeaux and south into the Pyrenees where we were going to rent bicycles and ride the route of the Tour de France. We were planning on seeing Nice and Provence. We wanted to hike through the hills and sip wine.
But then the rain came.
The weather was bleak and cold during our time in France. We tried to avoid it by driving south in search of the sunshine that never came.
Where does a couple looking for warm weather and beautiful scenery go in Europe?
We had heard wonderful things about Barcelona from everyone that we know, and everyone was right. Barcelona is a beautiful city. We spent 4 days there site seeing and enjoying the energy of this vibrant city. We even planned on staying longer. We were going to explore Girona, Mataro and the surrounding area and we were going to work on our tans at the private beach club that our campground had reserved for guests.
But then the rain came.
We tried to spend a day exploring Montserrat. We drove the 40 km out of town on a steep and winding road. We arrived just in time for the hail to come down and a torrential downpour to fall from the sky. We were seriously worried about dents in our rental car and how much the rental company was going to charge us for hailstone holes. That is when we decided to go south yet again.
Sunny Southern Spain Was our Answer
We have heard of its beautiful coastline in the south of the country. So we made our way to Costa Blanca. It was a long morning driving through the rain and hail. Was the sky ever going to clear up? It didn’t seem that it would ever stop. The day was so bad that we broke down and got a room for the night at a hotel rather than camping. We couldn’t face setting up our tent in this weather.
The Hotel Campanilo in Alicante was our stop for the evening. For 49 Euro a night including wifi and parking it was a steal. The room was quite charming too, with flat screen T.V, and a fluffy white duvet on the comfortable bed.
Things were looking up and when we awoke the next morning the sun was shining bright! The warm weather had arrived and we were sure that we were going to be spending many days in the Costa Blanca. Alicante was a beautiful town and the coast was as picturesque as it gets.
After exploring the city and coastline for the day, we found ourselves an unbelievable campsite. It seemed more like a resort rather than a campground. It had a giant swimming pool, health club, hot tub, several restaurants and it was located right on the beach. We thought we found heaven.
We lasted 2 more days.
Little did we know the place was over run with families with a lot of kids. Weekenders were up all night talking loud, young children were crying to the wee hours of the morning and toddlers were up bright and early yelling and screaming their heads off.
We thought to ourselves, what are we doing here?
We checked out early with no plan or direction. Lucky for us, the woman at the front desk recommended Toledo. She explained that we are not in Spain at all in Costa Blanca and we heartily agreed. Not that it wasn’t beautiful and postcard perfect. If we were looking for a beach vacation, Costa Blanca would be exactly what we would want. It felt more like Miami Beach than the cultural Spain that we were hoping for though so it was time to move to the heart of the country.
Toledo was the place for us.
We quickly packed up our car and kissed Costa Blanca farewell. Until next time when the weather is hotter and when we have more time to explore the southern Spanish countryside. Up to the north we made our way again.
Our Lack of Focus
We have been a little disappointed with ourselves. We had adventures planned during our time in France. We wanted to cycle, hike and climb our way through the country. But Europe is filled with such rich history and beautiful cities. It is hard to ignore them when you haven’t seen them before. We have caught the usual fever that so many other people catch when traveling through Europe. We are caught in a whirlwind and we just can’t stop.
We have been wrestling with the decision of traveling through the countryside and enjoying more adventurous travel like paragliding or white water rafting. We want to explore the forests and mountains, but at the same time we want to see where the Knights of Templar originated or where Don Quixote spent his days.
The Cultural Tour has Won Out this Time.
There will be many adventures ahead of us in our future travels but for now, we have decided to see the cities that we have always wanted to see.
We have only been to Europe twice before.
It is a diverse continent filled with historical cities and cultural sites. Places like Cannes and Florence are calling us. And hey, we have a car we can go wherever we want.
Unfortunately, that is our problem. We are like a couple of kids in a candy store. We want to sample everything and don’t have the attention span to absorb anything.
We have crisscrossed our way around a couple of countries and while we have no rhyme or reason we are certainly enjoying our wacky road trip through this tiny part of Europe.