Lilly the Land Yacht

Lilly the Land Yacht

Wed May 23 19:08 2018 NZST
Run: 157.2nm (284.5km)

It feels like we are on top of the world here, parked on a hill at 1200m overlooking the castle walls of Albarracin in Spain. On Monday we travelled south from Jaca and visited the vibrant city of Zaragoza. The Basilica is well worth the visit, a stunning sight along the river Ebro. The other highlight of Zaragoza was visiting a few tapas bars and a bar that specialised in Gin and Tonic! We could not resist.
A fellow campervanner told us about a special place we should visit the next day, so yesterday we went off the beaten track to Monasterio de Piedra. Originally a castle, the owners donated it to the monks in the late 1100?s and the monks built on to it in the 1200?s. The kitchen in the monastery is recorded as the first place in Europe where chocolate was made! We toured through the monastery, including the wine production area. But the best part of the visit was yet to come. Along with the castle, the monks were gifted a huge parkland, with numerous waterfalls, cascades and ponds. Spectacular! We spend two hours walking around the park, up above waterfalls, down through tunnels, into caves behind waterfalls and alongside babbling rivers. Leafy green trees shaded our path and birds trilled and twittered as we walked. A magical place.
Then we drove south across the high plains of Spain. We climbed up to a plateau at 1000m high and travelled for a couple of hours on this flat land. Almost as flat as the Netherlands if you ignore the mountains in the distance! We now understand the saying that ?The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains?. I had always thought that was rather odd, because it was logical to me that the rain would fall on the mountains, not the plains. So now we have the answer - these plains are very high and this is where many crops are growing. Everything was lush and green, so unlike the brown dry landscape we had been expecting in the inland of Spain.
Our next stop was the old town of Albarracin. Perched on the side of a hill, stone cottages built on top of one another, with impossibly narrow cobbled streets. A massive fortress wall marches up to the top of the hill and back down the other side to protect this tiny village from some enemy of the olden days. After a busy day of walking up and down steps and steep streets, we drove to a parking lot near the town, at 1200m for a quiet night. Today we head towards the east coast, a bit further south, near Valencia.

Mon May 21 2:17 2018 NZST
Run: 53nm (95.9km)
Avg: 3kms
24hr: 71.4kms

We had a stunning view as we drove over the Pyrenees today! The weather stayed fine for the trip, giving us awesome sights of jagged mountains with snow on the top. Then we drove through the 8.6km long tunnel and out into Spain. We are now in the delightful town of Jaca, with views of the snow topped mountains visible from the main street. Jaca sits at 800m so we have come down hill from our mountain journey but the views are still beautiful. Jaca has a star-shaped citadel with deer grazing in the grassy moat and lots of little cafes in the charming old town. After our walk around town we had our first drops of rain, so we are now relaxing inside with a book. The first time in 3 weeks we have just sat and read during the day. It feels like we are on holiday!

Sun May 20 8:28 2018 NZST
Run: 239.3nm (433.1km)
Avg: 8.6kms
24hr: 207.2kms

In the last few days we have driven from north to south of France. We are now sitting in Lescar, a small old walled town near the city of Pau. Our journey south has taken us through the food bowl of France. Vineyards, wheat fields and cows grazing. It is easy to see where all the wine, baguettes and cheeses come from! Since the beginning of our trip in Lilly we have already driven 3250km, in less than three weeks! Time to slow the pace down a little now as we begin our travels in Spain tomorrow.

Sat May 19 4:45 2018 NZST
Run: 412.8nm (747.2km)

We are now heading south through France, on our way to Spain. Over the last week or so we have been spending time with family in Kampen and friends in Steenwijk and Montfoort. We also got to visit Delft, the home of Delft Blue tableware, the Alkmaar cheese market and beer museum plus Vesting Boutange, a little village surrounded by a fortress made of dykes in the shape of a star. Learning something new every day about the places we visit. We have been so lucky with amazing weather, blue skies most of the time and apart from a couple of cooler days we have been living in shorts and t-shirts. Along the way we have been gathering more items for our trip, including two bicylcles which are now secured on the back of Lilly. Yesterday we left the Netherlands after a two week stay. Heather has been talking Dutch for most of that time and enjoyed the challenge! After sorting out insurance for the camper in Reims (France) this morning we have travellled 444km further south to a tiny little village called Bazaiges. Tomorrow we will drive towards Pau, about 500km south of here. That will be our last stop in France before we make the trek over the Pyrenees, through the Sompoort tunnel and into Spain. We are going to make a quick trip south, so we can be with Henk, Karl?s other brother, for his 80th birthday on 25th May, in Alfaz del Pi (near Altea in Spain)

Thu May 10 6:23 2018 NZST
Run: 246.9nm (446.9km)

It is hard to know where the time has gone since my last blog!
We both ended up with sore throats and sniffly noses after our travels to Hong Kong and we arrived into Paris in cold, grey, drizzle. Not the best start!
We had to wait around near Paris for a few days to get our safety check sorted for Lilly. Like a Warrant of Fitness in NZ. While we were waiting we visited the magnificent palace of Fontainebleau which was a real treat! We finally got underway and arrived in Kampen, Netherlands on 3rd May. The weather came right on Saturday 5th May and we have had beautiful blue skies and warm summer days and nights ever since. Saturday was Martin?s birthday (Karl?s brother) and the whole family got together to celebrate. A very special day for all.
We are now both fit and well again so have been enjoying the stunning weather. Visits to the tulip fields were nice, but our day at the Keukenhof was extra special. Spectacular gardens full of tulips with fountains and water ways and large trees for shade. Pavilions full of colourful flower displays and educational exhibits. Fabulous. Lilly has been parked in the back yard of Karl?s brother in Kampen each night since we arrived in Kampen and we have been well looked after by Karl?s family. It is so nice to see everyone again! Yesterday we drove to Heino to visit some friends of Karl?s and stayed by a little village for the night before driving to Gouda and Leiden today. We were very impressed with Leiden. The cheese market in Gouda was closed today so that was a bit of a flop! It is only open once every two weeks!! Leiden is a lovely town with a vibrant market, cafes and restaurants with everyone sitting outside enjoying the sun. We enjoyed having salted herring at the market, then we walked around the old castle at Burcht and through the Valk windmill museum. Some wonderful views over the beautiful old city from the top of the castle and from the windmill stage. Tomorrow we will take the train to Delft to visit the Royal Delft factory and then, all going to plan we drive north to visit the cheese market in Alkmaar on Friday. We are having fun being tourists in Holland. Karl has not been to many of the places we are visiting even though he lived near by for 34 years before coming to NZ! We will have another few days with family and catching up with friends in Holland before we start our journey south, to Spain. What fun!

Hi to you both, glad you are fit and well again and can enjoy your trip to the full. Sounds like you are doing just that. All is well here. xx from us both. xx

Sun Apr 29 17:50 2018 NZST
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)

We are about to embark on our tour of Europe, but first, some reflections of our 3 days in Hong Kong...
We loved Stanley beach and cafes and enjoyed the Sampan ride on the harbour at Aberdeen, where many folks live on their boats in the harbour. Imagine that! We visited Tin Hau temple, the night markets, walked the shopping strips up Nathan Rd, zoomed up to the 100th floor of the 10th tallest building in the world and chugged up Victoria peak in the steep tram that was built in the 1880,s. we rode the mid-level escalators through steep streets full of traditional markets and enjoyed browsing the quaint dusty old shops in the Soho area. The night laser and lcd light show was nice, with colourful patterns from buildings reflecting across the harbour. And after all of that we were glad to find a little patch of tranquility in Kowloon park, just to sit by a pond, watch the fish and turtles and flamingoes and breathe some fresh air from the fountain mist.
Hong Kong is the place where colonialism, communism and capitalism converge. Remnants of 150 years of British rule, now crowded out by 7.5 million people living and working in over 8000 sky scrapers. That is twice as many sky scrapers as New York!
This is an efficient part of the world, with fine engineering, but the people are too busy to smile and there is a constant jangle of noise and lights and hubbub. Glitzy tall commercial buildings dwarf the shabby apartment blocks and the grand old buildings from a century ago. Dented Toyota Taxis are the most common car here, but we saw more shiny new Tesla?s than we ever imagined. In some places every third car was. Tesla! High ticket European cars and Tesla?s dominate the gridlocked streets. High ticket shopping areas are packed with people, looking for flashy jewellery and the right labels on watches, suits, shoes and handbags. Not really our scene!
We did a lot of walking and a lot of waiting.
The food was interesting. We decided to avoid the goose head, the marinated tofu and pigs intestines, the chicken cartilage, kelp, pigs trotters, chicken feet, and the stir-fried bull-frog with pickled peppers!
A busy three days in a vibrant and bustling city!
We now look forward to meandering through small villages in Europe, with green fields and tranquil rivers and time to stop and just be.

Hi guys glad to hear you have arrived safe and sound.Look forward to hearing of your fun now you are on tour again😁😁

Sun Apr 29 7:01 2018 NZST
Run: 5983.7nm (10830.5km)
Avg: 66.7kms
24hr: 1599.7kms

We have arrived safely in Paris! Lovely to be here. The people, the food, the atmosphere. It feels like coming home. After the constant jangle of Hong Kong, we find we are now at peace with the world. Aahhh!

Ah, gay Paris (Paree) . Have an awesome adventure. Cheers from the Thai-nomads, P & S x

Wed Apr 25 13:15 2018 NZST
Run: 5618.6nm (10169.7km)
Avg: 26.3kms
24hr: 632.2kms

We have arrived safely in Hong Kong! A fabulous flight, heaps of leg room in our seats (thanks Mirjam!) and our luggage arrived safely too :-)
We did have a bit of a mix up getting to our hotel though...
We had purchased a bus ticket online to take us door to door. At the airport we showed this ticket to two different people and both insisted we had to get on the train! We got shoo-shooed on the train quick-quick. Then found ourselves in Kowloon, without a train ticket to get out at the station. So had to buy a ticket to get out and then wait for a bus from there to the hotel. The customer help desk told us to take the K5 bus as the last hotel shuttle had already finished at 10 pm and it was now 11pm local time. After a long journey on the bus we arrived at the hotel, only to find it was the sister hotel to the one we had booked on the other side of town!!! We had spent two hours travelling from the airport and still in the wrong place! So we ended up with a taxi across town to get to our hotel. Exhausted, as it was now after 3am NZ time. But we made it! Had a good sleep and now we are off to explore!

Mon Apr 16 15:56 2018 NZST
Run: 11436.6nm (20700.2km)

This is just a test to see if systems are working. We are getting ready for our next adventures in Lilly The Land Yacht very soon!

test email to Karl and Heather for their travels in Europe

Good Morning Heather and Karl, we hope you have had a good journey so far we miss you lots already. Have fun xoxo Mum and Dad. xoxo

Good luck to ewes!. I am looking forward to watch how and with what you'll feed your travel bugs

Hi Heather and Karl
Hope all is going well for you. I am looking forward to reading of your future adventures in Europe. You made a great job of keeping us all informed of your previous ones in the Pacific.
With love and best wishes.
William

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