Another driving day today. Last night’s site was very good, it had all the facilities we needed, and it was in a quiet area so we got a good night’s sleep in. This morning we sorted out the van (dumped waste, filled up with water, washed windscreen etc) before starting out on the 200 mile drive to Pamplona.
I can honestly say that it’s been a pleasure to drive on the French roads. We’ve driven on the D roads as well as the A roads and motorways. They’re largely well maintained and are a lot less busy than the roads in the South East of England. I found other drivers to be well mannered, with very little in the way of lane-hogging going on.
I have had problems with the signage on the roads though. The van is plated at 3.85 tonnes, and in France there are different rules for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes which aren’t clear, so I’ve often had to guess what speed I should be doing, and whether I can overtake or not. Whilst I’ve been erring on the side of caution, I did get flashed by a speed camera earlier (which the French police placed there for my safety apparently), so I could well have a speeding ticket on the way.
We’re also getting used to our satnav. It’s called Copilot, an Android app installed on a tablet which clips onto the dashboard. I’ve programmed it with the dimensions of the van, so it shouldn’t send us down any tiny roads – we’ll have to see how that goes. We’ve only had a couple of wrong turns so far, so we’re off to a good start.
It’s also programmed to avoid tolls where possible. For the road south from Bordeaux over the Pyrenees and into Spain, it’s not really feasible to drive on the minor roads, so today we had to stay on the motorway and take the toll charges on the chin. Carol is now a dab hand on paying the toll charges, she had to get out of the van no less than six times today to pay the tolls, and she no longer needs to press the ‘English instructions’ button on the machine.
The diesel has been cheaper too. At home it was about £1.25 when we filled before setting off. We were paying about £1.10 in France, and here in Pamplona we spotted a petrol station selling it for £1.01, so we’ll be filling up there before we move on.
The aire here in Pamplona is well laid out and looks very new. It’s a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of the city.
Tomorrow we’ll be taking the no. 17 bus into town, spending the day there and treating ourselves to a meal out.