Having spent weeks packing everything from our three bedroomed house in Wiltshire into cardboard boxes, the time was rapidly approaching to load the van and go. We had squeezed our possessions into Selena’s Dad’s house in the interim, having jettisoned vast quantities to charity shops. Now it was time to see how much we could physically take with us. I had bought a Ford Transit for the purpose of moving to Spain, figuring that would make more sense than hiring something. At least that way we would have transport as soon as we arrived.
We managed to get bikes and other large items onto the roof, leaving the back of the van for boxes. Thankfully we had more room than I had anticipated, so in the end we were trying to find more and more bits that we could take with us. Having planned to be strict and only take essentials, I was ultimately able to take my entire vinyl record collection, which pleased me greatly. As we were moving into a furnished rental property we didn’t need to take large items, which meant we had room for boxes and boxes of Lizzy’s toys, and most of our clothes.
We set off for Portsmouth to catch the 10.30pm ferry, which was a two night crossing to Bilbao. We had experienced this particular journey before, and it was all pretty straight forward; two nights in a snug cabin, with a day of occupying ourselves on board. Thankfully Brittany Ferries offer various entertainment for kids and adults so it all passed reasonably quickly. They even had 3D underwater simulator headsets which went down well.
We arrived in Bilbao at around 8am Spanish time, leaving us a six hour drive to Valencia. This proved to be the most challenging part of the journey. No air conditioning in the van proved testing. Whilst Selena and I could cope, Lizzy’s three year old body was struggling to deal with the high temperature, despite the wet cloths and water spray fans that we had at our disposal. The last few hours were spent literally pouring cold water over her head and body!
The six hour journey ultimately took eight hours, due to several stops to stretch our legs and find some respite in air conditioned roadside cafes. Lizzy had a couple of meltdown moments in the last two hours, understandably having had enough of sitting still in our ‘oven on wheels’.
We were tight for time, having arranged to collect the keys to our new home before a certain time. Had this not been the case we would have elected to break the journey and stop somewhere overnight.
Having collected the keys we had a short journey to El Puig, a town 15km north of Valencia city, where we were to see our new home for the first time.
This presented a second difficulty with our van. The narrow streets of El Puig! Our townhouse was situated in a street barely wide enough for a small car, so we abandoned it and set about unloading in super quick time. Sweaty work at the best of times!
With all of our possessions into boxes indoors we could finally say we’d done it! The house was perfect for us, and better than we had imagined having seen a few photos online.
There is an enclosed courtyard garden at the back, with several trees and plants to provide shade. Whilst the house had been unoccupied and untouched for several weeks the mosquitoes had moved in!! We were eaten alive as soon as we stepped into the garden, so that was a problem for us to overcome as soon as possible, but for now, the slow task of unpacking. Day 1 complete.