I have had to open the red wine tonight after a rather stressful end to the day but before I tell you about that, the day started off well and we left the region of Sitges heading for a campsite just outside Valencia, about 200 miles further south.
We set the Tom Tom up for the fastest route and without tolls and off we went. About halfway through the journey, Tom Tom sent us off into the countryside and what looked to be away from the route I would have taken had I just been following the map but because Tom Tom is a man, Tony didn’t dispute him like he did with our previous ‘Lady’ voice and off we went. The route was actually rather lovely and was a part of a drive that appears in the ‘Back Roads Spain’ book that Barbara and Tony had given Tony for his Birthday and followed the River L’Ebre, which was all very scenic.
We arrived at the chosen campsite at about 3.00 pm however, there was no-one on Reception so we took a look around and at about this time the wind had really picked up so we decided to drive about another 100 miles south and found a great campsite to stay at. Alas, we never actually made it to that campsite as whilst driving through Valencia we were just on our way out of the city along a 3 lane motorway when we got a blow out which meant we had to stop immediately on a small hard shoulder just before a bridge. So both dressed up in high vis jackets, Tony proceeded to change the wheel. After about 5 minutes a car slammed on his breaks, nearly causing the car behind to crash into him and pulled up in front of us. A young guy got out, who I thought was probably going to distract us whilst his passenger robbed the van of all our worldly goods. In fact this was not the case he just thought we had run out of petrol and told us where the nearest garage was!
Another car pulled over with an English guy who lived in Valencia and was very helpful and told us where the nearest tyre garage could be found. About another 3 minutes later a breakdown vehicle pulled up 50 metres behind us with all his hazard lights on and put cones out to protect us. I asked them in my perfect Spanish “Habla Ingles?” and they both said No, so from then on it was sign language and pigeon English and Spanish. They were very helpful and stayed with us until the wheel had been replaced. We then found the appropriate tyre fitting garage who replaced the new tyre for us. However, it was now about 6.30 pm before we managed to get back on the road again, only to realise that we had probably left behind on the road the socket to rewind the spare wheel carrier. We did return to our disaster area but there was no sign of it so we are now living in the van with a spare wheel!
We then looked for a campsite that was closer to where we were and are camped in a town called Cullera just south of Valencia, after having to call Senor Salvador, who arrived on his scooter 2 minutes later to open the gate for us and show us to our pitch in the dark!
We look back on it and realise we have been quite lucky in that we had support on the side of the road and we were told about a tyre garage that was only about a quarter of a mile from where we broke down, who had the correct new tyre in stock and fitted it within half an hour at a better price than we could get in the UK and no one died!
Tomorrow we will carry on our journey whilst searching for Peugeot garages along the way so that we can hopefully replace the lost tool and put the spare wheel back under the van where it belongs. We do hope things don’t happen in three’s because we noticed when we broke down that the trailer lights on the bike carrier have stopped working too!