Saturday 30th March 2013 - Road Trip Cheshire England to Torrevieja Rojales Spain. We left Cheshire to arrive at Folkestone to board the train bound for France. We have used the channel tunnel many times before and still find it amazing that we can drive onto a train in the UK and approximately 35minutes later drive off in France !
Crossing the Midi Pyrynees you can be as high as 3700 ft. above sea level. It was quite late in the evening when we reached the highest point and so we were unable to take advantage of the beautiful scenery this area has to share. It was dark cold and snowing as we drove through the clouds.
Sunday 31st March 2013 - after a good rest and some strong black coffee with chocolate croissants we were back on the road. First stop was to fuel up the car and walk the dog. Service station car parks often give up good views of small birds that, quite rightly, associate these places with free food. We recorded 5 Black Redstart & 15White Wagtail. The ever present "Pyrenean Car Park" Sparrows were plentiful along with a few Chaffinch.
Travelling along the E15 Autopista Del Mediterra magpies were abundant (many in pairs) and we were lucky enough to see 5 Black Kite - 3 individual birds and one pair displaying.
The temperature is rising and it is now 15 degrees - time for the Oakleys to get an airing ! The weather has been so cold in the UK during March that we were beginning to think we would never feel the sun again ! Although behind the glass in the car it seems warm, there is still quite a strong wind.
HAPPY EASTER to everyone reading our blog and hope you all remembered to SPRING your clocks forward. Spring what a lovely word -simply saying it lifts your mood and conjures up images of nesting birds and early chicks, wild flowers popping up from nowhere and the odd pint or two in your favourite beer garden !
Our first butterfly of the trip floated across the front of our car - a small white - at the Viaduc des Pox toll booth and the temperature is still rising.
ESPANA - 10.58am So far so good, no hold ups or incidents encountered and it is just over 24 hrs since we left home (24 hrs and 7 minutes to be exact)
Blue skies, jumper off, window down and shades on - 4 weeks of this to look forward to -can life get any better !!
Between the Spanish border and Tarragona the temperature has risen to a comfortable 22 degrees. Birds recorded on this leg of the journey included Buzzard (5), Jay, Stock Dove, Serin, Kestrel (pr) and Swallow (2).
Next leg is Tarragona to Valencia - birds added Black Kite, Serin and Sardinian Warbler.
The last leg of the Journey is now underway it's 17.00 and the temperature is still 21 degrees. The roads are a little busier but still nowhere near the traffic that is on our roads in the UK. We are about 2hrs away from the villa now and are starting to see the impressive Hoopoe that are common here.
As a comparison exercise we have been working out the cost of the fuel and the toll roads in France and Spain. We are travelling in a Ford Focus 1L Eco Drive. From door to door the total mileage is 1975km. In total we have spent £80 (in the Uk) and €160 on fuel and €135 on the toll roads. Just a few statics for those of you who might like to work out the cost of driving against flying.
We drive because Scruffy comes with us but even if we didn't have her I think we would still drive. If there is two of you to share the driving, like we do, in 30 hours you can be at our villa in Torrevieja with no waiting at airports for hours before your flight, that's if you are lucky and there is no delay. No paying for tissues and virtually anything else they can charge you for on budget airlines, just for the privilege of being "sardined" next to someone you don't know, but will soon be sharing your DNA with, as he is sat so close to you - Just quiet well constructed roads, beautiful scenery and good coffee at any of the many picnic stops that are provided along the route.
Weigh it up -a few hours longer to get there for about the same financial outlay (depending on how many people are travelling in the car, could even be cheaper ) include the cost of the Channel Tunnel AGAINST being stuck in an airport at some ungodly hour waiting to board a plane with seats so small an average person can just about fit in them, Aeroplane food and clouds to look at if you have paid for a window seat - NO BRAINER in my eyes.
Well that's all for today, we are in need of a shower, something to eat a couple of 'El Grande Guinness' for me and a glass of wine for Trace, along with a good night's sleep ready for a full days birding tomorrow.
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