Parts & Accessories

Touring Spain and Portugal during the 'Sahara Challenge'

27th March 2020 | Bailey of Bristol
Although the Sahara Challenge had ended abruptly due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, it still gave us a chance to visit some incredible places in Spain and Portugal. Here is the list.

Bristol and its magnificent Clifton Suspension Bridge

Bristol has been the home of Bailey since 1948, and as such, we believe it deserves a special mention in this list before we jump to the Continent.

Every Bailey Big Adventure starts with the stunning views of Clifton Suspension Bridge, a symbol of our city and most recognisable structure.

In the current environment of border closures and country lock downs, this is the perfect time to appreciate all those hidden gems in your local area.

Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum

The moment we decided to take the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao, we knew we had to visit the Guggenheim Museum for two main reasons:

  • The ground-breaking sculpture like building designed by Frank Gehry was going to make an amazing photography backdrop in which to show off the Bailey and SsangYong vehicles that we took on this trip.
  • The Guggenheim Museum is a reference in modern and contemporary art that the Sahara Challenge team did not want to miss.

We headed to the Guggenheim Museum straight from the Brittany Ferry that took us from England to Spain. After a short 30 minute drive from Bilbao Port, we arrived to the Museum and left the vehicles in a street parking right next to the entrance.

With its beautiful avenues and squares splattered with modern art and impressive sculptures by artists from all over the world, the Guggenheim is a location you won’t want to miss.

For more information about the Guggenheim museum, visit guggenheim-bilbao.eus

Lunch stop in Laredo, Cantabria

This was one of those unexpected places you bump into during a caravan or motorhome trip and end up being part of your fondest memories.

After leaving Bilbao, and while heading to Gijon, we found this car park right by the beach in the coastal town of Laredo, Cantabria.

The stunning views of the sea and the mountains on a sunny day made the perfect spot for a lunch break. And this is the beauty of holidaying in a caravan or motorhome: you are always fully catered and ready for a 5 stars location meal wherever you go.

Foggy Porto

In the fourth day of the adventure we travelled to Porto, in northern Portugal.

The city woke up foggy that day, which gave the Ribeira and Ponte Dom Luis an unusual mysterious look.

Although the visit to this beautiful Portuguese city was brief, we still enjoyed some delicious local food and an early morning wonder around the iconic iron double decker Ponte Dom Luis, the Ribeira district and some of its world famous wineries.

 

Picnic by the river in Alcacer do Sal, Setubal District, Portugal

The freedom provided by the motorhome and caravans at Bailey Big Adventures means you never know where your next stop will be. Yes, there are a lot of service stations involved in the journey, but sometimes, we strike lucky with locations like this.

By the River Sado, in the town of Alcacer do Sal, we found the perfect spot for an al fresco lunch. We lay our picnic blankets at the bank of the sleepy river and enjoyed the gracious views of this medieval town with its white houses, orange roofs and wrought iron balconies.

 

 

Sagres, the End of the World

We did not manage to get to the Sahara and back in 20 days, but we did travel to the Edge of the World and back in 8 – which is no mean feat in itself.

Cape Saint Vincent sits at the very South-Western tip of Portugal, and for thousands of years it was believed to be the end of the World until the discovery of America in the 15th century.

The dramatic landscape overlooks the Atlantic sea from its unforgiving sea carved cliffs and wild nature. A magic, fascinating sunset that we will never forget.

 

 

 

An unplanned route back home

The news from the Moroccan authorities of the closure of their borders for anyone coming from Spain gave us no other option but to head the way back home through an unplanned alternative route that took us to some of the most beautiful regions in France.

Biarritz

Once we’d received the news we set off for home straight away. With the situation worsening our first aim was to cross into France before the Spanish Borders began to shut. After two days solid driving through some beautiful central Spanish landscapes, particularly around Salamanca, we crossed over spectacular Pyrennes mountains and stopped at Biarritz, the first major town on the French side.

A stylish beach city on the south west coast Biarritz is a popular summer holiday destination with plenty of well-appointed campsites. Ours was unusually busy with many other ‘refugees’ of all nationalities but we enjoyed a great meal in the campsite restaurant together which featured plenty of local produce. We even had the luxury of fresh bread and croissants for breakfast (delivered direct to the site) before continuing our journey north.

Amboise

Another day’s travel and we made it to the beautiful town of Amboise in the heart of The Loire Valley, home to some of the finest white vineyards and chateaus in France. Sadly because of the increasingly severe restrictions being imposed by the French Government they were not open, so we had to settle for a home-cooked meal in the caravans, using up the last of our provisions in the process. Certainly somewhere to visit again in happier times

Pegasus Bridge

With just half a day’s travel left to reach the ferry port at Ouistreham in Normandy we had time to stop for tea and cake with fellow adventures @ABusandBeyond.  It was great to catch up with Shaun and Lizzie to share tales of our travels plus it was an opportunity for everybody to admire the beautiful Bentley who enjoyed more than his fair share of snacks.

 

Just before we arrived at the ferry port we stopped off at Pegasus Bridge just outside the town. A famous WW-II landmark, this was the first place reclaimed by the Allies during the D-Day Landings and a reminder of the sacrifice made by the people of our grandparent’s generation.

 

Taking our homes with us gives us the ability not only to adapt to any given situation, but to remain largely self-contained from the outside world and save. In extraordinary circumstances like this, we were overly lucky to have the outstanding Bailey and Ssangyoung vehicles and the support of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, which made it possible to return home save in record time.

It is now time to stay home, keep save and dream of the next adventure that undoubtedly will take place when the difficult times pass. We can’t wait to start “going Bailey” with you again.

 

 

Taking our homes with us gives us the ability to not only adapt to any given situation, but to remain largely self-contained from the outside world and save.