Why is it that I always, mind always, take far too many clothes on holiday?

We were heading for Spain. It was late summer. We had a two-seater sports car with a boot the size of a single suitcase. It was likely to be quite sunny but I still insisted on packing for a blustery fortnight in the Lake District.

On arrival at the Spanish port of Bilbao I’d have happily stayed on board the Britanny Ferries Cap Finistere and returned to Portsmouth. Why?

Well, we were winging it in terms of holiday plans for the 10 days away. We had no firm idea of where we’d be staying. And the cabin, bars, lounge areas, decks and the exceptional food in the a la carte fine dining restaurant were sensational.

I’d quite settled in and was averse to budge.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to reclaim the Mazda MX5 and head off into the unknown but the two night ‘cruise’ was just that good.

Chatting to a retired fellow from Wigan at disembarkation - his new Skoda estate jam-packed with UK-goodies for a month’s sojourn in southern Spain - didn’t fill me with a great deal of optimism.

“I’ve never known it anything other than cloudy and rainy in this part of Spain and I've been coming here for 15 years now,” the cheery Northerner volunteered.

“We just disembark and head south. In 12 hours we’re on the Costas. Where are you heading?” he said, proffering a withering, old fashioned look at my reply.

“I’m not sure really. We’re just having a driving holiday around northern Spain. My wife’s in charge. She’s got the map,” I said.

In the event the ferry trip was just the start of what would be a memorable voyage of adventure.

True, it was little misty when we disembarked but it was quite early in the morning.

We programmed the sat nav for non-motorway roads and eventually found ourselves in Comillas, an interesting and culturally jam-packed place heaving with awesome architecture, including one splendid Gaudi construction.

Our arrival coincided with the disgorging of what seemed like hundreds of school children, shouty teachers and other locals of a certain age, who swarmed around the various historic buildings dotted throughout the town.

It could have been worse, they could have been British!

Then, as if by magic the ‘tourists’ left and we had the town to ourselves.

We decided to stay here for the night. The accommodation was perfect, a posada - very reasonable and very comfy. The next day, after booking a cottage in Galicia via the Booking.com app while sitting in the Comillas town square the previous day, we headed west.

I’ve got to be honest, it was a bit further down the road than I’d anticipated but it gave us the chance to enjoy the excellent roads on offer and marvel at the stunning coastline and mountain scenery. We also passed through the interestingly-named village of Poo.

Our accommodation was in the village of Poio, close to the large, industrial town of Pontevedra.

First impressions were not good, probably as we’d followed the sat nav and had to thread the car through narrow twisting back streets which a Vespa scooter would have struggled to navigate.

But our smiling, beaming host and cottage owner Javier, whose late mother had previously owned the 200-year-old agricultural cottage which he’d transformed, banished any what-on-earth-are-we-doing here thoughts.

Proffering a ream of meticulous notes he’d prepared, Javier took us though the various attractions which, although written entirely in Spanish, gave us the general gist that this quite amazing area - places of interest, great restaurants, amazing beaches, historical sites and lots of culture. Naturally, Javier’s English was impeccable.

The accommodation was first class. A cavernous double bedroom with gothic bedstead, comfy lounge/kitchen and sparkling bathroom with the most fabulously huge shower, was epic. There was another double room up a flight of wooden stairs but as we were 'empty nesters' this wasn’t needed.

I don’t think Javier is employed by the Galician Tourist Board but he’s doing a brilliant job in promoting an area, which just few years ago suffered the ecological travesty of an oil tanker spill which covered its entire coastline in glutinous crude.

After cooking at home for the first few nights (the supermarkets were fantastic), we ventured across the road to one of the restaurants Javier had recommended.

Sitting conspicuously British at the bar on the first visit, we ordered two local lagers. The ice cold beers arrived accompanied by a huge bowl of complementary, plump, unpeeled prawns - tapas. Yum Yum.

And just as we got down from the bar stools with our second beers to go into the restaurant a similar plate loaded full of gratis ribs appeared which we dodged (lucky that as we’re sticking rigidly to our fish-based vegetarianism regime.)

Save to say had we not taken the waitress' advice to order just the one starter - a ton of delicious calamari - we’d probably still be there finishing the food, as the sharing servings were absolutely and gorgeously enormous. So, we found, were the rest of the dishes.

We decided not to order the hedgehog dish from the menu! But later found out it should've been sea urchin after consulting our trusty phrase book.

Just down the coast on the border overlooking Portugal is a marvellously preserved Stone Age settlement of round houses on top of Sante Tegra at A Guarda. And just up the coast you'll find a Neolithic remains national park at Corrubedo, which we had almost to ourselves.

One thing was constant where ever we seemed to be - pilgrims heading to or from Santiago de Compostella and visiting the various monasteries and religious sites along the Camino de Santiago path.

Almost at every turn we encountered pilgrims decked out in the uniform of shorts, open shirt, battered boots, slouchy hat, staff and a 'lucky' scallop shell with looks of resigned determination etched on their weary faces

One alarmed pilgrim panicked when she saw us driving towards a particularly historic bridge.

In broken English, and wagging her finger, she shouted 'too narrow, too narrow' convinced these pesky Brits were going to try to drive over.

The Roman-built Ponte Maceira was set in an idyllic and very quiet rural setting.

Needless to say, we just parked up and strode across for a cool beer and an ogle at yet more weary pilgrims from the delightful restaurant on the other side.

The pristine beaches were almost inevitably empty save for the odd fiendish seagull, which, whenever we started getting out the bread, cheese and grapes were sure to arrive and try to stealthily steal a meal - the blighters!

The coastline of this part of northern Spain - Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia - is stunning.

Strolling idly on one stupendous and totally empty Galician beach studded artistically with Henry Moore-style rock formations, we spotted another lone person standing in the far distance.

Coming closer it was clear that the chap had an all over, nut brown complexion. The sun worshipper and his prone mate were taking full advantage of the remote, emptiness of the place to enjoy the benefits of the sun.

“That bloke’s not wearing anything,” Jo remarked peering into the near distance.

“No. You’re right”, I replied “and nor’s his mate”

That pair certainly had the right idea when it came to clothes packing!

For more details on Brittany Ferries visit: brittany-ferries.co.uk or telephone 0330 159 7000