So here we were in the car, driving to Madrid from London to open a new chapter in our lives, car packed to the hilt with as many belongings as we could stuff into it, kids squished into the back between the computer, dog on my lap and the audio books of David Walliams playing on the stereo (his children’s books are really funny). Each time the story stopped the kids would start bickering, shouting, fighting, pinching, squealing, screaming and generally being the sort of passengers that if they were fee paying, you would pull over and leave on the pavement.
We had had the good sense to decide to break the trip up into manageable instalments. Basically that meant that we stopped in France and Northern Spain along the way, which meant we could rest our weary bodies, walk the dog, stretch our legs and go for a meal and the parents could drink a very large alcoholic beverage (or was it two?) and rest our ears.
In Northern France we spent the night in Rouens in a wonderful hotel and I have to say that I did feel terribly liberated and adventurous! I rather admired us! Here we were, free, roaming across Europe, only the clothes on our backs and the luggage in our cars, no house, no ties, no beds, no fixed address, just the future beckoning before us – well, you get the picture, I was getting carried away with the romance of it all!
We wandered around the pretty town looking for a place to eat that would take us and our dog Skyla. I was a bit worried they wouldn’t let her in, but no, in France you can take a dog anywhere – I even saw some in McDonalds! The French love their dogs, I mean really, really love them and even for me, who is quite obsessed with her dog, it seemed a little extreme, but I wasn’t complaining, it meant Skyla could go everywhere with us, even to dinner!
We woke up to a beautiful breakfast, French style, our plates filled to the brim with crusty bread and mouth watering freshly baked croissants. The children drank thick, strong hot chocolate in bowls whilst I enjoyed my own tea, brought from England, complementing the perfection (I take my own tea wherever I travel – I’m English- one must!) What a good start I thought, this was definitely a good omen.
We then squeezed back into the car and a number of hours, shouts and David Walliams stories later, we arrived in San Sebastian in Northern Spain. Now, I have to say, San Sebastian is gorgeous. We found a restaurant in the town square and again, Skyla was welcomed without fuss. It was tiny, scruffy and empty, yet we feasted like Kings, eating and eating tapas after tapas, each delicious mouthful competing with the next. This was a sign. We were on the right path, spiritually speaking, we were doing the right thing. I just knew it!
Pic: Our hotel in Rouens, Northern France