All this happened nearly a month ago. We've just been very lazy and not actually got around to posting about it.
Well, we left Portugal after spending a final freezing cold night at the house (it was so
cold in Portugal - we laugh now to think of all we said about having a nice mild winter in Portugal, especially given the recent weather in England). The next day, we booked a ferry from Santander to Plymouth, not wanting another three day drive so soon after the last one. We managed to squeeze the bike and the trike into the back of the car along with all the rest of our stuff, exchanged our piles of English goodies (we didn't stick around to see the full reaction, but we know the Wensleydale with cranberries went down well) for some local sausages, and said our goodbyes. We drove up the road and spent the night in Vinhais, in the same room we'd had on our last visit. The room was draughty but at least there was a heater, a warm bath and plenty of blankets - and no barking dogs to wake us up.
The next day we crossed back into Spain and, with still another day before our ferry was due to leave, we headed for Cervera, which to us will always be the place in Spain where we can get food. Again, we stayed in the same room as we had last time - the hostal is called El Resbalon and the lady who runs it is a real sweetie. Last time we stayed, she stole all my damp washing so she could dry and iron them. This time as we booked in, she very kindly turned the heating in our room right up - just as well as it was freezing cold and there was a fair bit of snow around. Once again, La Galeria restaurant did not disappoint and we had a lovely lunch on Sunday when we arrived, and again on Monday when we departed.
We drove to Santander on Monday afternoon and after a short while on the ferry discovered that our September crossing to Bilbao wasn't alone in being extremely choppy - the Atlantic is just a horrible ocean to travel upon. We took reclining seats instead of a cabin this time, and instead of having drunken howling idiots trying to ram down our door, we were just occasionally interrupted by a few snores. We also chatted to a nice expat couple who lived in eastern Spain and were coming back to visit the family. They'd bought a ruin out there a couple of years ago and were living outside it in their mobile home while it was being done up. They seemed quite happy with life abroad, although the house was taking a lot longer than they'd hoped.
The reclining seats were quite comfortable so we managed to get some sleep. It was a bit annoying there weren't any power sockets around as it's a 24 hour crossing, and our laptop batteries only last a few hours - so we ended up staggering (the crossing really was that bad) to the onboard shop, buying a stupidly expensive newspaper (nearly 2 quid), and trying to do a rather hard cryptic crossword.
We got into Plymouth on Tuesday evening and, having been unable to eat anything for 24 hours due to seasickness, we were both extremely hungry - so we headed straight for Honiton for fish & chips. I felt very strange standing still in the chippie, we'd been in motion for so long it just didn't seem right.
After a good feeding, we headed to my parents place in Dorset which is where we spent the next two weeks.