Our extremely peaceful night in the lonely car park By the beach on the outskirts of Cudillero in Northern Spain was suddenly interrupted by joyful but piercing birdsong at the crack of dawn.
Although it was only the end of January is sounded as though spring had sprung already.
Sleep was no longer an option so we started our day quite a bit earlier than normal but that was OK as we had a long walk in mind before heading into the tiny town of Cudillero for lunch.
We had just started walking up the hill which overlooked the sparkling ocean and, on looking back to where the van was parked, we saw a police car parked next to it.
Worried that we were in some kind of trouble we hurried back down the hill and found two policeman circling our van.
Now we can only muster a very few words of Spanish between us (Por favor, hasta mañana, adiós etc) and the policeman had very little English but we could clearly understand the words “passports, passports”!
They took our passports and papers for the camper van into their vehicle and stayed in there an inordinate length of time while we waited anxiously outside. Understandably, they were probably a little confused. I don’t suppose they meet two people with dual nationality that frequently, let alone Australian/English and New Zealand/English nationals who are owners of a French campervan travelling in Spain!
Finally they emerged wreathed in smiles having checked us out and off they went, leaving us to restart our walk. And what a pleasurable perambulation it was.
First up a small slope and a beautiful glimpse of the sparkling Bay of Biscay. Then a long climb up a flight of steep steps which led to another flight of shallower stairs.
At the top we were able to leave the path and walk through some trees to stand at the cliff top and marvel at the stunning view – the lovely little sheltered cove fringed by rocky cliffs and sparse trees, where the sand was golden and the sea turquoise, stretching as far as the eye could see.
Back on the path we trudged on, taking diversions every now and again to gaze out over the glorious ocean views and passing a field of pretty ponies on our way.
We climbed higher again and each striking view competed to outdo the last one we had seen.
It was time to turn round if we were to get to Cudillero in time for some lunch so we walked back the same we came, encountering some friendly sheep enroute.
Cudillero isn’t really car friendly as the streets are extremely narrow – camper vans are a total no-no so we had to drive round the back of the village and park in the large car park a few minutes walk away.
As we strolled into this delightful hidden gem of a place the sun shone directly on to the red roofed reflecting brightly on the mostly white houses that hung precariously on the hillside. Wow! What a sight.
It reminded us of one of the Cinque Terre villages but much smaller and without the crowds.
Even though it was rather late for lunch, and definitely out of season, being a Sunday there were several restaurants open. It took a while to choose but in the end we sat down at one as close to the water as possible (of course!).
It was a wonderful experience – first plump and perfect prawns that tasted amazing, followed by freshly caught calamari – bliss!
There’s not a lot to do at Cudillero except eat lunch and stroll the streets and round the water’s edge to the lighthouse but I would definitely recommend it for a visit if you’re in Northern Spain.
We decided to spend the night in the almost empty car park and settled down looking forward to a relaxing evening and a good night’s sleep. Minutes later we heard a vehicle draw up next to us and within a few minutes there were sounds of people unpacking things, chatting loudly and generally making a hubbub.
With all the unloading and clattering I wondered if they were smugglers (we were right on the edge of the wharf after all and it really sounded like they were loading a boat or something). The noise got louder and louder and then there came a great crashing of pots and loud excited voices so we looked out to see what was going on. That was when we discovered that another camper van with about eight people in it had chosen to park right next to us in an almost empty car park with hundreds of other vacant spaces with great views!
So we started up the engine and found a spot as far away from the other campervan as possible still scratching our heads and wondering what possesses people to do this kind of thing!
It was another early start because before the sun came up a group of people started fishing close by and were chatting quite loudly while they were at it.
So off we went on what turned out to be a beautiful drive along the rocky coastline to another pretty place on the outskirts of the popular resort town of A Coruña where we enjoyed walking around the little fishing boat wharf and along the water’s edge while the sun gradually sank into the sea.