After a month in Portugal, it was time for a change of scenery. We crossed back into Spain near Badajoz, traveled north to Granadilla and parked up next to a reservoir for five days. This is where we would spend Christmas.
Once supplies ran low it was time to move on to a different spot for New Years. We saw a place on park4night that looked good, about two hours drive south. Finding it though, well that took a bit more effort. At one point we were on a narrow, rocky track that was only getting rougher. It was clear that the GPS had sent us in the wrong direction. It was time to turn around before we got a puncture or worse. After checking the map, it looked like we were at the wrong end of the lake. Right then, off we go, this time in the right direction. Almost. One more wrong turn, a minor GoPro mishap, and another rocky track later, we were there. It’s always an adventure.
From Italy we traveled west across the south of France into the north of Spain. (It’s really not as complicated as it sounds) After two nights in the hills of Basque Country we doubled back towards Pamplona, driving on further to the Yesa reservoir. We camped on the edge of the reservoir, which in the spring and summer would normally be under water. The muted grey tones of the dried up shoreline was a strange contrast to the multi-coloured hills that surrounded us. There was an endless supply of firewood lying about and not a single person to bother us.
The reservoir was built in the 1950’s, flooding fertile agricultural land along the Aragón River and leaving the locals without a source of income. The area was largely abandoned over the course of the next 30 years. It’s not a new story, but a sad one nonetheless. In fact, in British Columbia, they are doing something similar to this right now.
The 13th century village of Tiermas was interesting to explore. Information is hard to find online, but from what I understand, the last resident left around 1990. Before that, there are stories of hippies and squatters living in the village. Of course there is a much deeper history of this area. The Aragón river was once a trading route of the Roman Empire; there are ruins of ancient Roman baths below the village. When the water level is low enough, the springs reveal themselves. We visited the site but unfortunately they were submerged. Maybe next time!
Earlier this year I was invited to join a group of off-road enthusiasts on their annual expedition to Tunisia. My friend Bob van der Meer had been trying to arrange this adventure for quite some time. Finally it had become a reality; in October we were set to spend five days camping in the Sahara desert.
From the 24 hour ferry ride and the ensuing chaos of passing though customs in Tunis, to driving through the dunes and camping in the desert under a full moon, the experience was unforgettable. We made new friends who taught us how to drive in the sand and who patiently pulled us out every time we got stuck. We cracked beers and jokes and quite a few parts. When something did break, the tools came out and lunch was prepared while the work was being done. It was a team effort from start to finish. There were nightly bonfires, delicious meals and a few controlled explosions. We had a great time and have already made plans to do it all again next year. I hope we do.