Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every fortnight for Huddersfield Hub.

On my regular walking workout in the hills above where we live I had a chat with a Swedish couple, daily dog walkers, who have lived in Spain for 16 years.

They told me they moved here for a better, safer lifestyle because of the growing crime rate in their country. I was surprised when they told me: “Sweden has hit rock bottom and the cost of living is out of control!”

Here on the Costas with endless sunshine and a growing economy – buzzing with holidaymakers – it has become more evident that, seven years after Brexit, the UK’s move away from Europe is proving to be a disaster. And clearly Spain, France and Italy would like to be rid of the 90-day stay rule. But only the other Schengen countries and Brussels can change things! Import duties and costs are ridiculous.

We have several friends (some from Huddersfield) who occasionally decide to drive across Europe to their properties on the Costa del Sol.

Some take their beloved pets, making a holiday of it, sightseeing at some delightful towns in France and Northern Spain.

One couple who lived very near us in Huddersfield – John and Sue – have had an apartment here for 20 years and they kindly shared their trip experience with us, with costs, stop overs etc.

Here is their untroubled journey by car from town to Folkestone, through the Channel Tunnel, across France and Spain, arriving at Miraflores not over tired.

They headed for Ashford en-route to Folkestone and stayed at Premier Inn after a 4.5 hour, 255 mile journey, skirting London and enjoyed a comfortable stopover. A £42.50 room charge with free parking.

The cathedral in Salamanca (left) and the plaza

A tapas bar, a lamb meal in Burgos – and the bill for a glass of wine.

The tunnel cost £104 between the hours of 7am-8am. But they said prices vary depending upon time of day. They, luckily, were put on an earlier train which suited them. Next stop Poitiers, central France.

The total (driving time) between Ashford and Poitiers was 7.5 hours including time in the tunnel, arriving at this beautiful town, and quickly settled into the Ibis hotel (£72 including breakfasts and parking fee). They said they would certainly go back there.

After an excellent breakfast, they headed for Burgos, Northern Spain, a 7.5 hour trip, crossing easily over the Pyrenees via San Sebastian, for a two-night stay costing £134.32 including parking and a superb breakfast.

This two-night stopover allowed them to explore the historic and beautiful town – as can be seen in the main image (top). They sampled various tapas with wine at €1.80 per large glass (£1.60) and a most delicious milk fed lamb meal – a speciality of Burgos.

Next – a leisurely three-hour drive down Spain, north west of Madrid to Salamanca, known as the ‘Golden City’ for the sandstone used to construct the stunning buildings there.

It has the third oldest university in the world. It is the oldest intellectual centre in the country; one of the top 10 cathedrals in Spain and one of the most beautiful plazas throughout Spain.

READ MORE: Catch up on Brian’s previous blogs HERE

They stayed at another Ibis Hotel for two nights (a second visit here). It cost £152.95 including breakfasts etc.

Salamanca to the Costa del Sol and home took 7.5 hours. Just in time to see the start of their new bathroom installation!

John and Sue told us they spent a total of £272.14 (with half a tank remaining). The average price of €2 per litre. They decided to use the toll roads costing £97.92 of which £15.35 was paid in Spain. A hired car here could cost around €500 per month. Then there was €350 for car insurance with waiver.

Now, many would say, get me on a cheap Ryanair flight with taxis or trains either end and they can be here in about eight hours – depending upon delays, passport controls and traffic problems.

We know one guy who drives the whole way with just brief stops to kip in the car and use bathrooms!

Holiday season is coming up and Brian’s column will be taking a break. He’ll be back on Saturday July 8th.