Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

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Miro
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Miro » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:42 pm

Enrique wrote:My preferred crossing is Portsmouth to Santander.............the circa 22hr (??) crossing is a good chill time.
Drive 3hrs to Lerma the first evening and then 8hrs on the second day........


Sounds like you're pretty well set on St.Malo, but for what it's worth - as you know, we went the other way recently, and to be fair, were in serious need of some chill time, so the Bilbao-Portsmouth crossing was exactly what we needed. It was also better for the cat (to be in a cabin rather than a cage in the car), but it was also much preferred by Mrs.M than driving through France. (She wasn't in a cage, but even so, preferred less time in the car) We also overnighted in Lerma (Hotel Alisa, very nice with good bar & restaurant etc.)
I have no idea which route we took around Madrid (Mrs.M was acting as SatNav, but the car chose, I think), but I do know that we didn't pay any tolls and surprisingly neither did we see very much traffic.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Enrique » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:58 pm

Hi,
It can depend on time of day you go round Madrid, also it its Holiday returns too.

A-4 will run up to M-50 and that outer ring road goes round to A-1 Burgos

The reason I use R-4 is some years ago came out of Madrid on A-4 and spent first 50km going south with loads of large lorries , quite intimidating when in a Renault 5.

So worth the Toll to almost have a Motorway to myself.........as Clarkson once said we have paid for these........... :D
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Miro » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:11 pm

DA: Just reading your other thread about GB stickers, breathalyser kits, emissions stickers etc., seems like another good reason to avoid France! Apart from around Madrid (even though we were probably lucky, it was the busiest part of the journey - before Portsmouth that is) the roads between Málaga & Bilbao were virtually deserted, & I'd be surprised if any Guardia would cross your path, let alone give two hoots about whether or not you have a GB sticker. :think:
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby El Cid » Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:31 pm

Devils Advocate wrote: many people say they wish they had have had more time to explore St Malo, it get's glowing reviews. .


A very good idea. I have spent many days there when I was sailing in that area regularly.

It's a very old town, but sadly it was almost totally destroyed by the Allies at the end of WW11. It was rebuilt over 12 years and frankly you would never know unless someone told you the history. It's a very touristy town so there are loads of good restaurants. It's really worth a visit and the countryside around is lovely. Just up the road (well, river to be precise) is Dinans - well worth a visit.

When we went there we moored in the marina which is in the main commercial basin and you are just a few metres away from the city walls. I would use one of the hotels inside the walled town. There is plenty of parking just outside the walls. You can book a parking space online at some of them.

If you get as far as possible on your return journey before you stop, you should be able to get to St Malo by lunchtime and that gives you plenty of time to explore before the morning departure. As for stopping places what we used to do was to drive as far as we could and then come off the motorway or RN and find one of the many cheap overnight hotels like Campanile etc.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:36 pm

Thanks again for the replies chaps, again great info. Just returned from taking my mum for her birthday lunch and pleased to see these new tips!!

Miro, I don't want to avoid France :? ,that's why we're sailing to a French port, it's going to be part of the holiday taking in as many places as we can en route. Mrs' has always said she'd like to do this. We've booked a 3 week return on the ferry so we are now just planning how long we should allot to the French tour.

Enrique, thanks again. Just hoping this R4 is clearly marked in case the satnav doesn't want us to use it :mrgreen: Do you get clear warning of it miles before you hit it?

Gasman, thanks again. We have LLoyds Debit cards so I'm hoping they will suffice at the tolls without any grief!

Sid, many thanks. As the planning comes together we've now indeed decided to spend the night in St Malo on the return trip the day before the boat sails. It sounds superb how you describe it and I look forward to chatting to you about it when we meet up!

So far we have earmarked for the journey there a stay in the La Rochelle area as Mark suggested, thats a nice sensible jaunt from St Malo and will still allow a few stops to have a nosey at nice towns, and have a nice lunch somewhere.

We have also earmarked an overnight stay of somewhere yet to be decided on the Spanish/French border. I'd like more suggestions on this still please. We would also do another night somewhere else if we found a place we were passing that looked worth it.

Really looking forward to it now, something a bit different and it's feeling like a proper holiday for once. Just a lot to sort out in the two weeks or so before we set off.

Again guys, much appreciated...........more ideas welcome please. Far better coming from you than tripadvisor!!

Cheers.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby markwilding » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:38 pm

The M50 R4 route is simple and I agree with Enrique that that stretch of the A4 is not the best because of the traffic and the state of the road so better to take the R4.it's the next exit after the A4 Córdoba turn off less than 2 kms further along the M50

Another route i have taken, particularly going back north,is through Segovia, a typical Castillian town with its Roman viaduct running through it. It's also famous for restaurants whose specialty is suckling pig.

It's quite easy to take the Segovia turn off at the 104 km junction north of Madrid, it would take about 4 hours from the border and allow you time to explore the Biarritz, San Juan de luz and Hordarribia area, all within about 40 kms of each other and stay the night around there and carry on to to Segovia when you are ready, stay the night there then go south towards Madrid on the A6 picking up the M50 from there. So as to completely avoid Madrid

From Segovia it would be in the region of 6 hours to Med coast so you might even want to split that and stop off somewhere else.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:25 pm

That sounds brilliant Mark and thanks again for that. I shall be going through that advice later and seeing if we can possibly do this, it does sound great. I'm assuming that totally avoids Madrid too. Also thanks for the detailed info on the R4 which is still probably favourite.

Anyway, now fully booked after a bit of a change of plan which the nice guys at Brittany ferries sorted for us.

We have as I said booked to sail out to St Malo, that's confirmed. However for the return, and I don't know if its because of post summer sailing times but their were no night crossings at the time we wanted to return.
Taking the day sailing would have meant arriving back at our house at stupid o clock in the early hours, I could see Mrs DA was not a lover of that.....she likes to get home, have a soak in the bath then a glass of wine and a good unwind.

So, we've changed the return sailing so we sail early doors from Caen, which will get us home hopefully early evening.

Any issues with Caen chaps? the guy at Brittany said it was easy to find and no issues for boarding.

We will still spend a day in St Malo then head for an overnight stop in or around Caen for the mornings boarding. Again any ideas would be hugely appreciated on a nice place to stay within striking distance of the port and the 8.30am departure.

Only slight issue was all the cabins with windows had gone for the sail out to St Malo, so we had to pay through the nose for a 4 berth Club cabin haha......well it is a holiday after all and we've not been away this year.

Again guys, you've been invaluable. Thanks a million.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby El Cid » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:40 pm

Caen ferry port is easy. Caen is a nice city, we have moored right up in the town - at that time that meant sailing under the original Pegasus Bridge! As we were on the boat I can't suggest any hotels, but if you are looking for a quick trip, the Bayeux Tapestry is just up the road and well worth a visit if you gave the time - maybe find a hotel there.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:52 pm

Thanks for that Sid, that's great to know it's a nice place too. Also I never knew the Tapestry was there, now that is something we've never seen and maybe ought to. Thanks very much again for that.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby markwilding » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:06 pm

We always used to take the club cabin. It's some time ago but there were some real benefits which made it worth it.
Massive cabin and breakfast brought to the room included in the cost. It might be diffrent now but when breakfast was taken into consideration, it didn't cost that much more.
IPlayer has a series about the Normans running now, Agree about Bayeux tapestry and and don't forget Mont st Michel which is is particularly spectacular.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:16 pm

Cheers Mark, that's good to know. I just thought the club cabin was bigger and could take 4 people hence the extra price, as you say on the pics it looks big. It was the window we were after really. Not a bank breaker though, it was £100 as opposed to £55 for the smaller room so no sweat really. I didn't see breakfast mentioned, maybe they've shelved that now, I'll have a look.

Yes just mentioned the tapestry to OH and she'd love to see it in the flesh, it'd be daft not to. I shall now google Mont st. Michel too.

By the way, if you think we may be passing close to your house, I'd gladly take a detour and buy you a beer. I'd be great to meet up.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby El Cid » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:58 pm

I'm not sure about the value of windows on a night crossing, but the accomodation sounds good, but even then you are only going to be sleeping in it. It's not exactly a world cruise!

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:18 pm

El Cid wrote:I'm not sure about the value of windows on a night crossing

Sid


Nor am I but if the Mrs wants a window I'll not be arguing :mrgreen:
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby BENIDORM » Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:57 am

My thoughts about travelling through France...for what they are worth.....

We have travelled through France many times and in the beginning always had to rush because of commitments , however later we realised what we were missing so started more relaxed and leisurely treks.
I like driving but always stop every 2 hours, sometimes short breaks but often for more than an hour when we come away from the highway and visit small villages, just meandering around looking at churches and monuments etc., and maybe stop for a drink in a local cafe/bar to try to soak up some of the local culture.
And we also make regular detours to visit some of the small supermarkets, like Leclerc, where we buy some local produced wine, reasonably priced and easy to spot because we watch what the locals buy.
As for sight-seeing we have found that it's better to stop in one place for a few days rather than 'whistle-stop touring',and for instance Caen is a good base and first stop would be the Caen Memorial Mueseum,about 20 euro's entrance fee, but worth every penny, in my opinion, it really takes half a day to do it properly and when you leave you would have a much deeper understanding of the 'D Day Landings' and WW2 in general, some great gardens to relax in also.
As for hotels, there are many and we prefer to book in advance, and we try to find smaller B & B's, sometimes more expensive than the Motel type hotels, but more comfortable and secure.
We stayed once for a week in a 'budget type' hotel in Caen, it was clean and the food was good and the staff helpful and friendly, however the room was very small and the bathroom even smaller, I suspect that it was designed by someone who had previously been involved in the production of accommodation for space travelling monkeys ,it was necessary to reverse into the toilet area and was a very 'neat fit' . :lol:
For up to date rules and regulations may I suggest that you visit 'The Connexion' website, online newspaper, you can trawl past editions and keep updated.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:47 am

Thanks Gordon for that. Your earlier experiences echo mine re. the trips to Andalucia by road. Always a 24 hour blur catching a couple of hours sleep in some truck stop before pushing on with another 10 hour stint. Usually in a fully laden and slow petrol eating 4x4.
That was always done with a mate rather the OH so this time it will be completely different and as I say part of the holiday, hopefully sampling the things you describe on your later leisurely visits.

As it's a first for us I still can't fully get the picture of how it will pan out.What I mean is that yes, we are going to book something for sure as a stop off around La Rochelle but I'm loathe to book anywhere else in case it just adds to the pressure.

I too would like to come off the main roads and explore, I wonder what the chances are of just booking in places as you go? Nothing worse than knocking on doors at 8pm at night when everywhere is full......this is my main conundrum.

On the main road, can you see these villages? does the main route to Bordeaux actually go through any of them, or is it like the route from Calais where you see nothing?

Also, looking on the map midway between St Malo and Bordeaux there seems to be a huge National park, it looks like the main road skirts this to the south........is it an option to drive through the park? Anyone done it? Is it worth it?

Yes, the memorial museum does interest me a great deal, I'd love to go and visit and learn things I never knew about the landings, it was a question I was going to ask about re. WW2 land marks. Can you visit the actual landing beaches there?

As I say, we have booked 3 weeks between sailings, we are not fussed how long it takes to get there really, we are just weighing up whether to book all the stop overs "blind" or take the risk and try and book in to places we fancy en route.

Thanks again for that, any further info. more than welcome.

Cheers.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby El Cid » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:02 am

You shouldn't need to book, especially on the return trip. The French all go home this weekend so most of that area will be deserted. Get a Logis de France guide. There are loads of them all smallish privately owned hotels with good food. You can always phone them when you are getting close to check rather than risk wasting time.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:05 am

That's a good shout Sid. Logis de France will now be googled. Sounds bloody great if what you say about it being deserted comes true!

Many thanks.
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:10 am

Hmmm, googled, looks great. However how do I get a copy? lol
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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby El Cid » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:43 am

Pick one up for free at the first Logi you pass.

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Re: Andalucia via St Malo ferry.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:53 am

Ahhh, ok thanks. Never realised they were a freebie. Just wondering if the ferry may have them in reception now.
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