August 2023, a blazing hot summer in Portugal and Spain saw us take on a massive circumnavigation of the Iberian Peninsula. I broke the journey into three videos and here is combination of stories, instagram copy and diary entries to summarise an awesome journey.
The most fun was when the boys joined me from Barcelona, through the Pyrenees and back home to Lisbon. But there was plenty of KM’s to cover heading South from lisbon and through Southern Spain to Barcelona.
No Air conditioning in August in a hot old defender is precisely as uncomfortable as you might think, I bloody loved it!
The Smugglers Way
An awesome off road route from Andorra to Spain that closed my first day crossing the Pyrenees (east to west) with the boys.
Not the most challenging 4×4 route, but a perfect off road interlude for our marathon 2,000 km trip home. Today was Northern Spain, Southern France and the Whole of Andorra before we took on the Smugglers Way.
We chased eagles with the drone, crossed borders, swam in wild rivers, camped and ate wonderful steak all whilst gawping at the epic landscape. Day 2 has a lot to live up to.
Dams and lakes
Endless switchbacks, tunnels, mountain passes and epic Mountain View’s was the theme of todays drive. We had the Odessa Valley in our sights for the close of the day, but Ventura pulled like a train and we made it by lunch for a swim.
A casual 7 hours of driving later and we made it to our lakeside camp without seeing a dual carriageway all day and mainly sticking to single tracked roads.
The Pyrenees wins.
As we left the mountains I had assumed epic landscape would fall away, I hadn’t taken into account dreary Northern European weather would take over. We thrashed through northern Spain over the last two days with little to report.
This afternoon we found a wonderful lunch spot for swimming, caving and watching the Lionesses thrash the Mathildas.
I used every ounce of my religious knowledge in explaining to the boys what the Camino de Santiago was as we inadvertently tracked the route to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, I think they got the idea and we enjoyed a bit of culture, for but a moment!
Then on to Portugal for a final camp by the sea, we eyed up a spot that I proceeded to entirely under estimate and got Ventura extremely wonky and stuck. Suffice to say I thought we needed a tractor, but after an hour of solo digging, scraping and tyre deflation the sand gods let us free.
An epic sunset closed our final full day on the road, all things being well we track down the coast to Lisbon tomorrow afternoon!
After 4,000km on the road, there are a few key lessons I learnt on the way. Its not to say we won’t repeat the mistakes, but definitely some things to think about before any of our next big trips in Ventura.
- Real estate, I don’t have enough space. I need better storage and a roof rack, or a support vehicle? Watch this space…
- Simple logisitcs – setting up tents, kitchen, cooking, cleaning, packing, unpacking et. Needs to be simpler. It’s not sustainable unless it’s easy, possibly a Roof Top Tent would solve this problem very easily.
- 5 days away from screens and with only their own company has rebooted the boys imagination and ability to play. This was a highlight for me.
- I can only hold my breath for a that is shorter than 2,362m.
- Audiobooks and Uno – Thank you.
- Having an activity would have been better – hiking, climbing, surfing, sailing. We could have done less miles and more activity, but with a 6 year old, all of the above is hard.