Our Initial Retirement Trip – Part Forty

Thursday 16th January 2014 – Cabarceno to Bilbao (64 Miles)

It’s good to see that some things don’t change, not being able to sleep because it’s ‘moving on’ day, or was it a sense of excitement at returning to the UK !! Shazza had even decided to set the Alarm clock, could it be that she didn’t want to miss the boat ? Your having a laugh if you believe that ! No, Shazza wanted to do some last-minute shopping at ‘Lidl’ en-route to Bilbao, apparently she was already menu planning for the first few days we would be back in the UK and she had taken a liking to the fresh meat in Lidl ? Or perhaps, nearer the truth was that ‘one’ of the boxes she stored the ‘Vino Tinto’ supplies in still had room for another six bottles !! I kid you not, that was exactly what she had said to me !!

It was still dark when I crawled out from under my nice warm duvet, Shazza was already up, washed, dressed and in the process of getting ‘Big Momma’ ready for ‘On the Road’, I better not dawdle she has already glanced at her watch a few times and has checked to see if my coffee mug is empty so that she can get it washed up and stowed away !!

So, van prepped externally and internally, a short stop at the services to empty the necessary on-board tanks and then we were nearly ready to go, but before moving off I had to do a search for ‘Grocery Shops’ on ‘Snoopy’, a number of choices came up but the one that she wanted was the one that said ‘Lidl‘, just 38 miles away and literally just off the A8 Motorway to Bilbao, we pulled away from ‘Cabarceno’ which had been ‘home’ for the last four nights in Spain, a short drive on the A634 and then Motorway all the way to Bilbao.

Although we were on Motorway the scenery was still pretty stunning, to the left the Coast, to the front and right mountains and forest and what’s more, and in the words of ‘Cat Stevens -Morning has Broken’, yes we have both daylight and lovely sunshine !!.

It may have been a relatively short drive to Bilbao but the scenery was still pretty good !

It may have been a relatively short drive to Bilbao but the scenery was still pretty good !




They like their tunnels as well !!

They like their tunnels as well !!

And then the sign for the Port !

And then the sign for the Port !

The Lidl store was easy enough to find, basically straight off the Motorway, a couple of roundabouts and we were there, I stayed with the van whilst Shazza did the shopping, I thought it best to let her do her own thing !! She didn’t take as long as I thought she may have done and I could hear her ‘clanking’ back to the van well before I could see her !! Back on the road again and straight back onto the A8 for the final fourteen miles ‘or so’ to the Ferry Port, boy were we going to be early or what ? No matter, there is plenty of room to park and as this is the only sailing we won’t be in the way of any other vehicles. Just a few miles out and I took the opportunity to top up with ‘cheap’ Spanish diesel, just a pity there was no GPL otherwise I would have topped up the gas as well ! Back on the road again and it was just a case of following the ‘Yellow Puerta’ signs clearly marked on and off the Motorway. Just a point for anyone not having travelled to Bilbao to catch the ferry, unless your Sat Nav mapping has been recently updated, DO NOT ! follow your Sat Nav directions as this will send you through the town, just follow the clearly marked signs on the Motorway and again once off it, and they will take you straight to the ‘Brittany Ferries’ terminal.

And before we knew it we had arrived !!

And before we knew it we had arrived !!

Big Momma waiting patiently in line !

Big Momma waiting patiently in line !

Our Ferry !!

Our Ferry !!

So, Shazza has her supplies stashed, even if we did arrive 3 hours early for the boat !! A bit of relaxation was in order !!

So, Shazza has her supplies stashed, even if we did arrive 3 hours early for the boat !! A bit of relaxation was in order !!

So, that is that, bar the final boarding onto the ferry, ‘Our Initial Retirement Trip‘ is at an end and what a truly memorable experience it has been. For those of you who have been on this journey with us (Virtually) I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed it too !

BUT ! for Shazza and myself, in reality the journey is just beginning for we are ‘Retired’, we are ‘Fulltimers’ and we are now looking forward to experiencing even more travels on ‘Big Mommas Great Adventure’…………………………

So, Shazza,  ‘Big Momma, Snoopy, Kevin, and yes even the ‘Damn Duck’…………………………. What’s next ???????????????

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23 Responses to Our Initial Retirement Trip – Part Forty

  1. Paul says:

    Have a good trip home,have enjoyed your blog we are going to do a Seltember to April trip this winter and the information you have put on here has been great, good luck with the job

    • Thank you, on the ferry at the moment utilising their ‘slow’ but ‘free’ WiFi, still got Spain in view !! I am sure that you will enjoy your trip as much as we have, if we get the jobs we won’t be headed back until November, if we don’t get the jobs we will be back on the European Trail by April :0) Thank you for following my ramblings it has been much appreciated !!

  2. colandian says:

    Eric, I have been following your travels on here for some time, I keep reading items out to my other half in the hope that she will say OK let’s do it. We have been motor-homing for 8 yrs. I have retired once and was sent back to work “before you get bored” We are currently in our mid 50’s I’m ready to try it and still working on the boss so thanks for being very informative with this blog.

    Ian and Col

    • Thank you for following my blog !! I am not out to convince anyone to do what we have done, but for those who just need the push hopefully this has answered some of the questions :0)

  3. Ste T says:

    Fantastic and well done! Welcome back to Blighty and hope everything goes well with your assessment day. Just keep smiling and don’t punch anybody during the role plays and you’ll be fine! Thanks for the entertaining reads and hopefully we might catch up somewhere, someday!

    • I am still trying to convince Shazza ‘Not’ to throw the punch, she wants to be back on the next available ferry :0) Thank you for following the blog, I keep being asked to continue with it but we will see. I am looking forward to meeting up with you, somewhere along the way :0)

  4. Paul says:

    Hi Eric

    Well, bit of an anti climax now you are headed back to Blighty. I notice you have had over 18,000 hits on your blog so it can’t just be me that has enjoyed reading about your adventure.

    Hopefully it won’t be long and you’ll be heading off again. Make sure you keep the blog going!

    Happy travels to you both.


    • Thanks Paul, yes I have to stay that I am totally gobsmacked at the number of views on my humble ramblings. If people want to keep reading my ramblings then I may just have to continue writing them !!

  5. Barry says:

    Per ardua ad astra – the only borders are the ones we ourselves create! A Zen moment.

  6. Debs says:

    Welcome back !!! … I hope the crossing was a good one 😊

  7. Ste T says:

    Eric, I’ve sent you a PM on 365, ref the CC.

  8. Cassandra says:

    Well done on keeping the blog going, it’s been very interesting to follow your travels and see the photos.

    If the job is on a camp site I’d forget about it. I cannot see you enjoying spending so much time with what will be “tourists”. Now you have got your costs below what you originally expected, maybe you don’t need it anyway? It would be a shame to let work get in the way of enjoying yourselves. You cannot take it with you.

    • It is more like a ‘paid hobby’ than a job :0) I was one of those tourists for many years !! Sometimes it helps if you have been there yourself, it would I think be more difficult for someone not that experienced in Caravvaning/Motorhoming to do this kind of work. This does not have to be a lifelong activity, just enough to swell some coffers or until we decide enough is enough, if we even get the jobs that is ? The good thing is that now we have lived in the van and know how cheap it can be, we are not bothered either way, if we get the jobs, great !! If we don’t, it doesn’t matter. Now if we were reliant on them, that would be a different matter !!

  9. noggin says:

    It’s a sad day. You have done a first class job Eric. A great insight for those of us about to follow in your footseps. I do hope that you can continue blogging, we like what we call ‘Eric-isms’. Hope that mal de mer was absent from your crossing back to blighty!

    • Thank you, I really enjoyed writing about our first real adventure, as opposed to just holiday trips !! I am hoping to find the time to publish some ‘finances’ information, what it cost us ? And I may even do some ‘reflections’, what was good, not so good, or things that we have learnt for the next trip. It will be relevant to us but there may be some general bits that others may choose to consider. I have had lots of requests to keep the blog going even though we will be back in the UK so something I am currently considering but I do not want to write a blog just for the sake of it, if you know what I mean ?

  10. Steve&Lys says:

    No with fi for days and we missed saying goodbye :0(
    I thought you sailed on the 18th ……….doooh ! By the time you read this you will be back in the UK :0( keep us in the loop and touch base with Nick and Cathy re a meet up in France .
    Have fun at the interview ?¿? Miss you already
    Steve & Lys xx

    • Hi guys, I have sent you a text !! It was rough on the boat last night !! We have a delayed arrival, not docking until 3.30pm but the sea is much calmer now and it is just a typical ferry crossing :0) We will be keeping a track of your travels via your blog, but hope we can stay in touch via the texts as well ? Miss you both already, enjoy the rest of your travels, wish we were still there with you both :0(

  11. DebsK says:

    Can’t believe you are heading back already, your blog has kept me going through my working hours, of course I only read it at lunch time ;0). Eric you have done a fab job, its been great listening to your ‘ramblings’ I can hear you as I read and the photos have been amazing. I’m looking forward to catching up with you and Sharon, guess where we’re heading this evening!!! van’s packed just need to leave the office. Hope the rest of the journey goes well and safe travels north.

    • Hi Debs, good to hear from you ! This ships WiFi is damn slow, it has taken forty minutes from reading your comment to load the page to reply !! I know exactly where you are headed, hope the weather stays reasonable so that you can get a decent walk in ! When we next are there with you and Paul, I reckon a Sunday breakfast at the ‘Fart & Piddle’ could be in order :0)

  12. Wandering Star says:

    Welcome back to the wind and rain!
    Seems a pity the ‘overseas’ journey is done for now, I was getting used to the massive hit of 4 or 5 emails at a time knowing full well that the next hour or so would be lost reading about your antics (and the awesome photos too)
    Is there going to be a UK continuation of the travel blog?
    All the best and hope the culture shock of the UK isn’t too scary!

    • Hi matey, now in Bricks & Mortar for a week or so at Sharon’s mums whilst we get the Caravan Club stuff out the way. Spent one night at Kidlington and last night at Cromwell near Newark. Have decided that due to popular request :0) I will be keeping the blog going !! Am drafting a couple of posts at the moment so you will have some more reading shortly. :0) currently catching up with the ‘pile’ of Mail that was awaiting for us !!

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