Austria to Spain – Part 4: Spain

Now the last part of our trip started, driving back home through Spain with 2 nice stops:

First we drove over the border along the coast – a new experience as before we always used the route over the highway further inland via Le Perthus.
Before we reached La Port de la Selva – a very inviting looking little town – we turned right and up the mountain to Sant Pere de Rhodes. The street was very very steep and we worried about our Cochecito. It sounded strange, so we stopped and let the engine cool down, before we drove on. But finally, we made it to the parking and were relieved. Would we have come from the west, the climb would have been much easier we later found out.

Sant Pere de Rhodes

We put the hiking boots on, and first walked up to the castle above the monastery – the view was spectacular!

Castell de Verdera
Sant Pere de Rhodes from the castle above

Then, we walked down to Sant Pere de Rhodes and visited this fascinating monastery, well explained by an audio guide. Especially the church was stunning. The hight of the nave is exceptional.  The way the columns are constructed is special and the Romanesque sculpture of the capitals very beautiful. It was constructed in the 10th and 11th century, for sure an outstanding building.

Main Nave of the Church
Cloister and Bell Tower
Bell Tower
Left the Bell Tower, right the Defensive Tower

Not far from the monastery were the well preserved remains of a medieval village and its church:

We spent a long time on this mountain and after a late lunch we finally left and drove south. Our stop for the night was at the free caravan parking in Vilafranca in the Penedès area south west of Barcelona. They make great cava and wine there and Vilafranca is a nice town. (41.339595, 1.690599)

The next morning we found a very good route along the coast, past Peñiscola into the Sierra d’Irta, where we stopped at the Camping Ribamar, directly in the National Park. The camping is very beautiful, the location fantastic: surrounded by forest, but close to the coast.

Camping Ribamar

We took a long walk along the coast from one beach to the next and were nearly alone. On the way back, we accidentally walked past our camping but finally we noticed and turned around. We spent a relaxed evening at the camping.

Coast at the Sierra d’Irta

The next morning we enjoyed our breakfast with freshly baked croissants, which we had ordered, and then reluctantly started to get ready for our last part of the journey before we will arrive back home.

The trip ended with a car wash in our home town:


We drove from Vienna to Javea in 2 weeks, driving about 3000 km and avoiding highways with toll fee nearly completely. (We paid 30 Euros in France and 5 Euros around Barcelona).
In Italy, we found that the roads were in quite bad condition, especially in the area between Verona and Milano, but nevertheless we enjoyed not using the highways, as you see so much more and get a better impression of the country.

Although we had two weeks we felt rushed and had to make a certain distance every day. In summer we will start to live in our Cochecito and hopefully will have the time to explore more thoroughly and stay as long as we like. We can’t wait!

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