The run home has not started particularly well. Transmediterranea Acciona, the ferry company operating the original ferry service between Cadiz and the Canary Islands, is an un-principled operator with no concern for its customers. In full knowledge of the detrimental effect that sea water has on the bodywork of automobiles they insist on placing their customers cars on the open deck of their ferries. Bridget has a glazed coating of crystallised salt thanks to Transmediterranea. To anyone thinking of taking a ferry to the Canaries I would strongly recommend the alternative company that operates.
We arrived in Cadiz and disembarked at 12:30 on Monday. From there we drove the eighty miles to Seville, my first overnight of the run. Bridget and I visited Seville on our first ever run together in 2006 and I was scathing in my summing up of the city. Although I only had a few hours to explore I have to say my previous comments were both unfair and inaccurate. Seville has some beautiful buildings and parks. A considerable amount of work has been carried out by the authorities which has resulted in a cleaner city.
From Seville we put in our first serious day of driving 300 miles up to Salamanca (I thought he was one of James Bond’s adversaries! ). Bridget is running really well despite her failing nearside king-pin. We cruised between fifty-five to sixty-five mph for almost the whole way. I did give her a long thorough wash before we left in an attempt to remove all the salt however, I am not convinced it is enough and I will need to wait until we arrive back to the UK to use something more powerful.
I found a hotel in the centre of Salamanca and went off to explore. It is a university city from the same era as Bologna and Oxford. Established in 1134 it was given the title University in 1254. Then in 1854 following the dissolution of all Theology and Canon Law universities by the Spanish Government, Pope Pius XII established a private facility now known as the Pontifical University of Salamanca. The buildings of both the Pontifical University and the University of Salamanca make an interesting architectural study.
Unusually there are two cathedrals in Salamanca. The old cathedral was founded in the 12th century and completed in the 14th century. The new cathedral was built in the 16th to 18th century. Together with the university buildings they make for a very interesting city. Also worth a mention is the Plaza Mayor which reminded me very much of the square of the same name in Madrid. It makes for a great place to sit with a beer and people watch. I was tempted, just for a few moments, to stay for an extra day and explore more.
Leaving Salamanca early Wednesday morning Bridget was in good spirits. She cruised the 300 miles to San Sebastian like a 2 year old. Still raising a smile and a wave from many other road users we arrived in San Sebastian for the second time in six months. I have made it clear in previous reports that I like this town. It has everything that Barcelona has, but all on a smaller more intimate scale.
From San Sebastian to my cousin’s place in Lot and Garonne is a mere 150 miles, so tomorrow should be a relaxing short drive.