Wintertrip to Spain with Burney the fire truck

Burney the Fire Truck on tour

Netherlands Jan 31 2023
Monday evening at 19.00 left for the service place in Zaandijk to fill up with water. Drove 3 hours to avoid Tuesday morning rush hour. Overnight in Gavere, Belgium, past Ghent. Freeshh nice clean sanitary facilities.

Great ride to Paris, but stopped just in time for the tunnel near Versailles because it only goes up to 2 meters. And that just doesn’t work out with Burney 🚒
On a parking lot near the castle and explored the route to the heart of the center.


France February 1
When it became clear that we wanted to go to the warm sun in February, it immediately occurred to me to combine this with a day in Paris. Small point of attention with the preliminary reconnaissance is that old Burney is not allowed to enter the city. Fortunately, a parking lot in Versailles has been discovered via Camper Contact where we can park for next to nothing. When we get here the barrier is not working, but the remote surveillance kindly lets us in. We don’t get a ticket, but we’ll see how we get out.
I walk to the train station to double check how I will get to the city the next day. On arrival all doors are closed, large posters on the door with STRIKE and no one to be seen who can give any information. The lady at the office du tourisme assures me that I can just take the train the next day and that indeed appears to be the case.
We decide to leave early the next morning because we really want to go to Spain asap. We set the alarm at 5.15 am and at 6.00 am we are in front of the barrier with the camper. I throw in my French early in the morning and press the button so I get security over the intercom. I tell them that we arrived yesterday afternoon (indeed it was the day before yesterday afternoon, but my French was just a little less good at that time ;). I reply that it was around 5-6pm and of course I wait a while when she asks. After about a minute of silence, the barrier opens and we quickly leave the parking lot. We give a high five and laugh about the fact that we saved EUR 30. Then that @9.50 raspberry pie feels a little tastier! With more than 800 km on the trip counter we have arrived in Pau and we are at a small campsite on a charming river. We have already seen the beautiful peaks of the Pyrenees and tomorrow we will head for the border. Now to enjoy a warm shower.


3 February

Today a short trip of 45 minutes from Pau to Oleron St. Marie. A village on a beautiful river at the foot of the Pyrenees. The view of the white peaks is magnificent and impressive. After yesterday’s more than 800 K’s, we don’t need a noisy engine for a while. We want to experience the blue sky and feel the sun on our skin. We find a free spot on a P next to the river. You can empty your toilet here (I know, you don’t want to know), fill water, discharge gray water and there is even electricity. There are still a few campers and we discover the village by bike. Enjoy a Ricard and beer on the terrace and the sun burns nicely. I have to work a lot, the applications are going well for the time of year. So I spend quite a few hours on the laptop and on the phone, but it’s doable. The plan is to take the Col du Somport to Spain tomorrow. At about 1500 meters altitude.
Incidentally…. We were stopped by the police just before Limoges. Motormouse was standing after a viaduct and as soon as we drove past it immediately left its spot to drive in front of us. “Follow” was a clear indication and at the next exit we went off. Large police control with a lot of gendarmerie. Checking papers, many depressed faces of drivers and many strict police looks. We were directed to a location where a large bus was parked. It soon became clear that we had to weigh in! Phew… that might be exciting. We are allowed to weigh 3500 kg (including drivers, Mike told me later). Burney is at 2700 kg at the RDW, but no idea where we are now. So just wait and we calculate how much it will be approximately. Fortunately no masses of booze with us 😉
We had to drive the first wheels on the mat, and the gendarmerie sir writes down a number. Then the next wheels on the mat and he writes down another number. I look at him and throw my French charms as much as possible into the probably hard-to-win battle if we are too high…
He looks at me and then shows me the note: 3400 kg! Yes!!! Oh that’s a relief. Otherwise it would be discharging 60 liters of water, leaving 1 passenger behind, probably leaving the full toilet behind and 2 electric folding bicycles. He looks at me with satisfaction and wishes us a good journey.
We are happy and relieved, no stress and we know how we are with the weight for the future.
A demain!


Spain 4 February

Another short ride today. We both don’t enjoy our best night and the next morning it turns out that there has been an accident on the beautiful old bridge next to the parking lot. Mike heard a huge bang at night and the next morning we all saw debris and the beautiful old bridge is completely disrupted. Nothing cordoned off, rubbish on the road and pieces of stone that almost fall out.
We start slowly and decide to drive over the col de Somport.
A great mountain ride, lots of snow, great peaks and Burney is riding strong. We drive past a ski area and it really smells like the French mountains as I know them from Tignes. We take a break with a clear blue sky and a nice sun. The first kilometers of Spain are happening! From Jaca it looks a lot duller from the landscape… The first campsites we now encounter are full of snow. So it looks like it’s going to be a P somewhere.


Spain 5 February

1.5 hour drive, another short day. You can stay here for the temperature, but the interior of Spain is very quiet here (read boring 😉). The campsite here indicated that you have to make a reservation in the low season. My thoughts, and based on the reviews, was that because of the crowds, but it is because it is so quiet – we’re the only ones here 🙃
Fortunately, there is a terrace open with full sun and I enjoy a nice walk to the top of the village where (of course) there is a church. Beer, t-shirt, tight blue and the sun is burning well. What on earth will it be like in the summer here…..


Spain 6 February

Day of rest, same campsite, we are still the only ones. The sanitary block was cleaned especially for us. Lovely hot shower and we make maximum use of the entire campsite to drink coffee in the sun, me working on my laptop on one side and Mike working on the laptop on the other side of the campsite 😂


Spain 7 February

After 2 days in Ayerbe it is time to travel further south. The evening before departure we make delicious Pasta Vongole. The supermarket sells beautiful shells. Straight from the freezer, but fabulous all the same. The taste is delicious, but the shells turn out to be a bit tough. Buy fresh next time 😉
There are clouds in the weather forecast and it turned out to be the case. Rain and clouds are always good ingredients to make miles.
We decide to stop in Zaragozza at the IKEA! The slatted base appears to be sagging and our 50+ backs and hips can no longer handle that. We immediately grab a mega deal with fries, hot dog, water and boccadilo jamon for 6 euros…. The boxes are pushed into Burney and we hope for a beautiful sunny day tomorrow to install the new beds. We pass Madrid and soon notice that we ignore the camper spots via Camper Contact and Park4Night so close to the city. Not great environments for a free spot. We treat ourselves to a campsite with heated toilet blocks 😉 about 45 km south of Madrid.
Had enough snow, clouds, wind and cold today. The blue sky in the Netherlands once again confirms that there will be a fault in Southern Europe. When it is nice in NL, there is always a malfunction in the winter in Southern Europe. Fortunately, this only lasts a short time and we are assured of blue skies again from February 9th….


Spain 8 February

We drive on to Cordoba and the first stop is Leroy Merlin, the Spanish/French King Size Gamma. The bed has to be a bit shorter so a saw has to be bought. Fortunately we did bring the drill 😂

We find a parking space via Park4Night in the mountains, a 15-minute drive from the city. One Juan runs the toko here, there is a snack bar, toilet and you can refuel there. If you eat, drink or refuel, you can spend the night there for free. When we arrive there is a chain in front of the Parking, the restaurant is closed and the nice food trucks are deserted. We buy a few beers at the gas station and ask if we can stay tonight. “Si si” but there and she points to the Parking with the chain. Well then we do! The chain is not locked and we install ourselves in the parking lot. When we are almost in the right position, a white BMW with a Spanish gentleman drives up and gets out with big gestures. “Mi mi” and points with clear hands that we have to leave. “Ok ok, no problems, we asked and it was okay”. We pack our bags and see him walk into the gas station…. The lady gets seven pennies we think 😏
A little further on is a small village with excellent parking. We feel safe. Our motto is “As soon as you drive into the mountains near a city, it’s ok right away. If everything is still flat, you have to be careful”. Let’s start with the bed. Shorten it, put slats in it, empty the bed and when everything is outside to screw the new bed on top of the old one, we feel a few raindrops. With the speed of a professional (Mike to be clear, not me) it is secured and we pull everything back in just in time. The headlamps just didn’t have to be used and we throw ourselves into the new bed: “perfecto”! We give each other a high five and go for a beer in the local pub.
The local “Tavern” is owned by womanizer Enrique. Dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin and with my 3 words of Spanish, a nice conversation is soon had…. As it should be in Andalusia, we get delicious tapas with drinks. He thinks we are crazy that we spend the night in the camper and is sure that we will be dead tomorrow because it will be 0 degrees tonight.

La Carlota

Spain 11 February

The highlight of Cordoba is of course the Mezquita, a beautiful mosque. Various religions have their influences here and every time a piece is added. The cathedral (mezquita is Spanish for mosque) is located in the middle of the beautiful, historic center. Numerous small streets, great shops, wonderful bars and restaurants. A pleasure to walk through.
We end up ordering half portions which turn out to be more than enough, although there is still room for a “postres”. Father-in-law has seen the cake box and orders a dessert. Well come on, so are we and there are 4 large plates with a delicious cake and a huge dollop of whipped cream around it. The bill is again a pittance of what you would have lost in NL. That makes spending the winter in Spain even more fun 🙂

We spend 2 nights in a camper place and then leave for a campsite near a lake. Grocery shopping is done, the car is washed and we agree to meet at the campsite. However, Google sends us in the wrong direction… Fortunately, we can cut off dirt road for 5 km, but we still don’t get out well. Google keeps sending us wrong as we see signs for the campsite. Finally we arrive at the campsite via a narrow country road after about 1.5 hours of driving while it was about half an hour..

The campsite’s chain hanging over the road does not bode well. Mike walks to the entrance and returns with closed hand gestures. April can we come back…. Very unfortunate, because the view is beautiful and it is wonderfully quiet. We are looking for another campsite about (again 😉 half an hour’s drive away. We read in the reviews that there were still people there yesterday, so this one is really open. Excellent campsite, 2 km from a village with palm trees and packed with terraces in the summer. We are happy with all the facilities (washing, emptying the toilet, wonderful hot shower, 80 liters of drinking water for the water tank, discharging gray water). Mike fires up the barbecue, makes delicious vegetable dishes with green asparagus and eggplant and bakes excellent burgers.

We stay 2 nights. The campsite has many annual pitches and we enjoy the Spanish rituals to our hearts content.
On Sunday we eat an extensive lunch in a typical Spanish tavern where only locals sit. We conclude with a mojito on the sunny terrace.

La Puebla De Los Infantes

Spain 14 February

After saying a few hours of work, it’s time to discover the nature reserve around Cordoba. We find a campsite and a few camping spots via the app and drive to Pueblos Les Infantos. The campsite just opened a year ago and a sanitary building, reception, shop and a few Tiny houses have been built with containers. It is beautifully situated in the hills and despite the wind we decide to stay. The weather is nice and we install ourselves on one of the terraces. We are happy with the grass so that we can finally roll out the yoga mat again. Our backs need it…..

The fridge is well stocked and around 1700 hours we light the barbecue. It will be green asparagus with balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese, Home Made Hawaii Cheese Burgers and grilled tomatoes and onions. It is delicious and we decide to add a dessert on the bbq. Pineapple from the grill with melted chocolate, made warm in a dash of Greek Metaxa. The sunset provides beautiful pictures and the wind has died down. It’s been a beautiful day, we’re going to watch a movie in the camper and enjoy a delicious meal.

Spain 15 February

We are still on the same campsite. It is actually very nice to stay here. Relaxed, quiet, nice owner, excellent sanitary facilities and the village within cycling distance. I work a few hours every day and Mike is super sweet with cooking, shopping, washing dishes, lighting the barbeque and delicious cooking. Today 23 degrees and t-shirt and shorts again. We even stay outside until about 7 o’clock, something we hardly managed to do last year. The Christmas amaryllis that was taken has meanwhile started its 3rd flower 😂 Tomorrow a walk through the valley to the lake. Life is good in Spain.

San Nicolás Del Puerto

Spain 23 February

In the end we stay at the campsite for 8 nights. After all, we are going to Spain for the sun and in terms of weather we are fine here. The nights are not cold and there is enough sun for the solar and our pale skins. We had a beautiful walk through the valley. It feels like “bottom of the lake” when we walk here. We enjoy a tasty tapas lunch and walk back to the campsite through the beautiful nature. At 5 km from the campsite is a nice village with cozy terraces, a few supermarkets and beautiful views of the hills. We find out that the Spaniards are also camping at the weekend. The few annual pitches that the campsite offers are fully occupied and it is immediately very busy. On Sunday evening the peace returns and it is only a few Dutch, English and German campers who all enjoy doing their own thing.
We are now back in the middle of nature for 3 nights. The campsite has a beautiful clear river, beautiful mountains around it, a restaurant for breakfast and lunch and drinks and only internet reception at the reception. A few times a day I walk there to answer a few emails and check whether everything is still ok at home. For the rest it is also wonderful to have no reception for a while. We cycle on the Via Verde, a beautiful route to an old mine 15 km away. The Via Verde is all over Spain and these are cycling / walking paths over old railway lines. The advantage is that it is mainly flat 😉 Even though we have electric folding bikes, this flat is sometimes nice. We throw in a good tapas lunch for a change and we learn more and more about Spanish cuisine. The Ensalladilla here is just a Russian salad, setas are mushrooms and anis seco liqueur is very tasty with the espresso after dinner!
The owner of the restaurant tells us that there has been no rain for almost 2 years and people sometimes go crazy because of the drought. If this continues, people will have to leave here in the long term… something that is hard to imagine in NL.


Spain 24 February

It is difficult to say goodbye to the beautiful nature. The realization that we are starting the return journey and we will be back home next week is slowly sinking in.
We move Burney up to the parking lot on the last evening at the campsite. There is better reception here and there seems to be something wrong with Ajax. Something about football and some league. We find a place with a stable connection and have done all the preparatory packing work for tomorrow.
It’s a cold night, around freezing. We just have to get used to this again, just like on the way there. Frozen saddles from the bicycles and white grass instead of green when you wake up and see who feels like getting out of bed first to turn on the heater.
We leave for Guadaloupe where there is a large monastery and drive right through the Extremadura. A province with a lot of space, desert-like landscape I’m told, and also beautiful mountains and views. It’s nice to drive through and we think it’s wonderfully green, despite the many droughts here in the hot summers. Along the way we change drivers and coincidentally I put him at the Brico Mate, another local Gamma. And we also want to look at Spanish tiles for the mobile home in Zuidlaren. After all, we found out that we can take 100 kg of tiles on the way back…
The owner waves us goodbye and gives us a beautiful fleece blanket from the Brico Mate as a souvenir. He thanks us warmly and “nice to meet you”. We are probably the umpteenth tourists who walk into a wholesaler for a few Spanish tiles..
Guadaloupe is beautifully situated in the mountains. A beautiful village, beautiful buildings, terraces in the sun and therefore a huge monastery. Unfortunately, you can only enter the monastery with a guide who also does not speak a word of English. After we have seen the basilica, we decide to hook up with the Spanish lady. At a certain point I am told that I am not allowed to take pictures and after 45 minutes of poking around we are done with it. A lot of splendor, but after the Mezquita and Alhambra you are not easily impressed anymore … We grab a vermouth and beer on the terrace and again get delicious olives with the drink.


Spain 25 February

After a great trip this morning through the Extremadura from Guadaloupe to Madrid, we drove on to Burgos. Now on a P with wine, cheese and Iberico jamon. Drove through the snow at an altitude of 1100 meters and glad that I took my winter boots out of the “garage” again.


France 26 February

Done around 700 K’s today and now in Poitiers. We both think it is tiring to drive the bus and had deliberately chosen to drive a long day. Slept well in Burgos and enough provisions on board to continue. The only thing we didn’t have enough in stock was wine. Need to deal with that…..
Now we knew that the Spanish shops are closed on Sundays, but that it was still happening in France, we had not seen it coming. Once near Poitiers, there was no restaurant or supermarket that was open. All villages around Poitiers shut down. Drove back for a few km to spend the night in a quiet village instead of a parking lot with only fast food chains. We would have preferred to have something to ea, but even there the bar was closed! Weird people those French. I miss Spain!! #tapasymas

Beaumont Saint-Cyr

France 27 February

Rest day. This morning it turned out that we had parked Burney at a bus stop yesterday evening 😂😂
Walked around the beautiful village and looking for a bakery. Indeed, you guessed it: closed. You could pull a baguette from the machine, but of course we felt like croissants, éclairs, raisin croissants and berliner buns, also very French 😉
So let’s go to the Lidl, because of course we needed even more important groceries 🍷🍷🍷🍷
Drove half an hour to a large recreational lake. Eating kilometers again tomorrow but now enjoying the sun before it disappears ☀️


France 28 February

The idea was to get through some K’s and that was prettyt successful. Wake up slowly, 2nd dive into the cold water. After coffee, coffee, coffee, go to the Intermarché for a supply of cheeses, wine and baguette. And a trip to the hardware store and got some petroleum for the zibro stove. All in all it was 13.00 hours before we really left. Ran a lot of Route Nationale because Mike was in control of the wheel. Who drives decides is the motto. The advantage of the RN with Burney is that we are less crazy about the noise and monotonous sound. Finally stopped 150 km earlier than planned and now on a village square with indeed… cheese, wine and baguette and a tasty salad.


Netherlands 1 March

Back home! Burney did a fantastic job again and never let us down. He literally goes like the fire brigade. Drove home from Northern France in about 6 hours. We had a last night on a church square. Luckily the church bells stopped ringing at 10pm and didn’t start again until 7am this morning 😂
As soon as you enter NL you notice that many people are driving quite stressed and many people are just looking at their phones while they are driving. Immediately after some delays in Belgium and NL and we have to get used to the crowds, many trucks, people, industry, concrete and roads. Even though I have a love-hate relationship with Limmen, it is also nice to be home again. The view from the living room, the space, your own toilet 😉 and the comfort. We rummage around the house and slowly empty the camper. The wood-burning stove is burning again and I will soon get a spring roll with satay sauce from the Chinese. One of those that hangs over your plate….
Bye Bye Burney, thanks for the nice safe kilometers and the beautiful adventure.

Ilse and Mike