Abacist first time to Mainland Spain!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Abacist, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    This trip has been delayed since June as my wife wasn't well but it gave me time to fit a load of extras to the van pretty much as listed in the signature to this post. Decided to take a leisurely drive to Spain down through France and left GB on Wednesday on the 6:50 am Chunnel crossing. No trouble at all in Calais and took to the motorway to Abbeville which is a short Peage section then free.

    For the uninitiated and if you don't have Tag box I chose to pay by credit card. You won't need a pin! The machine gobbles your credit card and spits it back out in a flash. Make sure you choose your lane carefully as you might not find you have a machine to put your card into if it's a Tag only lane - usually with a 30 speed limit in a circle about the lane. I had to reverse out of one of these with hazards flashing! Luckily nobody had pulled in behind me!

    Stopped at a nice aire first night between Evreux and Chartres which was free and the water and black waste was also free. One free EHU but we declined as had fully charged batteries. Town called Nonancourt which evidently we Brits razed to the ground in the 15th century - Wooops!

    Next day Chartres cathedral loomed high on the flat horizon but we decided against a stop and ploughed on. The thought of fighting into town, finding parking and the hassle put us off. Anyway we had plans for a little detour later on to visit Chateau Chambord in the Loire valley, if not the greatest of France's Renaissance Chateaux. There is a car park/aire at the chateau so we took a ticket and parked up. The chateau was just a short walk away and looked magnificent even though there was some scaffolding up on one of the circular wings/towers and the grounds are being dug up to reinstate as they were in the 18th century.

    You can get to the top floor so the views are great but I took my DSLR and can't download the photos until I get home. The price to get in was 11 euros each which we thought was cheap compared to minor attractions in Devon costing much more! The shock came when we decided not to stay the night which was 20 euros with just parking facilities so we decided to leave. Put the ticket in the machine which gobbled up 11 euros for under 3 hours parking which was dear enough for me to query with a member of staff who just gave me the Gallic shrug and said that's what it is!

    We headed for another nice little aire about half an hour away which was the time it took to get away from all the hunting forests of Chambord. Nice spot by a little river with only 3 other vans there and free again! Village church bells woke the wife up but I slept like a log! Vernou-en-Solonge was the name of the place.

    Weather forecast not good for the next day and wife declared the countryside flat and boring so we decided to take to the Peage to get to the Med coast. 7 hours on the Sat Nav to get half the remaining way down turned into 9 hours to get to Le Cap d'Adge where we have stayed before at the aire attached to Camping La Clape! 2 nights here with the morning at the market at the afternoon on the beach saw us ready to leave for Spain on Sunday morning after parting with 20 euros for our 2 nights stay.

    When we started the trip we stayed at the Canterbury aire and met a couple heading for Benicasim so thought we'd give it a whirl but too far for one day so we have stopped at Camping Clara near Tarragona on the beach but the railway line is between us and the beach and there are a lot of trains. Beach access is easy and we had our first swim this afternoon and now sitting outside after dinner at 10:30pm nearly ready for bed. By the way if you arrive at Canterbury you can't pay until after midnight otherwise the machine thinks you are a park and ride customer. Pay £4 in the morning and the you are OK!

    More in due course if I haven't bored the pants off you all!
     
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  2. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    On a technical note I can say that both battery banks are doing fine and have needed no EHU and have only plugged in tonight because it's included in the pitch fee. Motorhome MIFI with 3 PAYG card worked fine all the way down to here in Spain. Sometimes needs a minute or so to latch on to the signal and login but give it a chance! No different to having to give a computer time to boot up and login! Tonight We are using the Motorhome WIFI iBoost as we have free WIFI included in the pitch fee so saving PAYG 3 data card for later on in the holidays. This works fine as well!

    The wife has washed her hair and used both the hair dryer and curling tongs on the inverter and has declared all my technical improvements meet her pass standards! The inverter use barely registered on the ammeter and capacity was restored by the very bright sun on the solar panels in no time at all!

    My next job is to wire the iPod somehow into the Autotrail audio/visual system as using a USB personal speaker is no good and that's supposed to make the SatNav audible not play music! Autotrail radio won't play CD's and radio abroad is pretty awful!

    Any ideas welcome! I have a cable wired with a headphone plug one end and a stereo pair of jacks the other end which there are inputs for on the drop down TV unit but don't know how to make it work yet,
     
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  3. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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  4. jumartoo

    jumartoo Funster

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    You've missed such a lot of Spain at a good time of the year!!! Have a good trip tho.
     
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  5. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    Camping Clara is actually at Torredembarra just north east of Tarragona and with our ACSI card it is 15 euros a night with EHU and free WIFI which is pretty good I reckon!

    It is a struggle to get in at 8m long and 3m high with the trees to provide shade proving to be real obstacles but we were guided in carefully by the site staff!

    An extra 2 euros a night will get us a pitch with our own water and grey waste and be further away from the trains tonight when someone leaves today.
     
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  6. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    Quite probably but we wanted to get a way into Spain as Cap d'Adge was cold and very windy as was the driv e down from there.

    The coast line is vast and you have to start somewhere when you only have a month!
     
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  7. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    I didn't make clear at the Peage the problem we faced when I got it wrong. All the booths were displaying t high above them on the approach. None showing credit cards or cash but they evidently all had them apart from 2, one of which I picked at random not seeing the 30kmh sign above! Bit of a panic moment there!
     
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  8. BreweryDave

    BreweryDave Funster Life Member

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    Re the iPod connection, try a wireless fm transmitter, which uses any vacant fm frequency. Saves hard wiring, plenty on eBay etc but should be available in most electrical shops. Only cheap. Enjoy ya trip!
     
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  9. Sheddy

    Sheddy Funster

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    Try the Italian restaurant just up the road towards the town from the site, not the cheapest but excellent food. Gets very busy on Sunday lunch so may need to book.
    The train station in Toredembarra is not far away plenty of places up and down the coast for a day out. Also there is a good little bar on the small square in the old town, run by a nice German guy they have plenty of live music going on.
    Cheers
    Ed
     
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  10. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    .
    You can get things which can link your phone to the vehicle radio. Google "mobile phone car radio link" or similar words and you should see some ideas. For example: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/261693952789?lpid=122&chn=ps&adgroupid=27378760866&rlsatarget=pla-181484339346&adtype=pla&poi=&googleloc=9045320&device=t&campaignid=620865095&crdt=0&ul_ref=http%3A%2F%2Frover.ebay.com%2Frover%2F1%2F710-134428-41853-0%2F2%3Fmtid%3D1673%26kwid%3D1%26crlp%3D110919892746_563391%26itemid%3D261693952789%26targetid%3D181484339346%26device%3Dt%26mpre%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww.ebay.co.uk%252fitm%252flike%252f261693952789%253flpid%253d122%2526chn%253Dps%26adtype%3Dpla%26googleloc%3D9045320%26poi%3D%26campaignid%3D620865095%26adgroupid%3D27378760866%26rlsatarget%3Dpla-181484339346%26gclid%3DCj0KEQjw9vi-BRCx1_GZgN7N4voBEiQAaACKVnwvgEZpf9cvR7k_n9mHiEr0wYigysZ_hwO0nVHwEUsaAjWy8P8HAQ%26srcrot%3D710-134428-41853-0%26rvr_id%3D1095947974305
    Is one example though I can't recommend any specific model.
     
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  11. irnbru

    irnbru Funster Life Member

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    Great. Another blog for me to follow -)

    How many days has it taken to cross into Spain and how many hrs a day?
    I love reading blogs and each one makes me wish it was me travelling abroad.
    Enjoy your trip and keep us up to date. :)
     
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  12. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    All set to eat here tonight but found out it's closed on Mondays, Tuesday's and Wednesday's. Shame because the camp restaurant was a disappointment!
     
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  13. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    Just so happens I had one of those for something in the past and have it here in the cupboard so will give it a whirl. Many thanks!
     
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  14. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    We are moving on tomorrow as the trains run all day and all night and can't sleep with the racket. Heading for Benicasim as the promenade can be cycled 5 Kms in each direction and it looks to be a lively place in traditional Spanish style and an annual festival on shortly. Described as the Biarritz of the southern Spanish coast and made beach holidays and villas famous in the 1920's.
     
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  15. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    We are now at Bonterra Park campsite at Benicasim on a pitch with our own drinking water tap and grey water waste water pipe though I don't have a waste hose long enough to reach it and otherwise it's buckets and a small funnel so I must get myself a longer waste water pipe!

    We had a quick drive around before settling up here and the town looks nice. The campsite is well organised, spotlessly clean and very full! We are paying 13 euros pitch fee plus 3 euros per adult for our gold pitch before ACSI discount and local taxes.

    Contrast this to the other site in town which would have been 17 euros all in but no dedicated water or waste on the pitch and only non drinking water near the pitches. Drinking water only available from the bottom of the site about 100 yards away. Site was scruffy, unkempt and dilapidated but it's evidently owned by a hotel and only on a short lease so the owners won't invest in the site and prefer to rely on repeat business and those with dogs as the rules are lax or non-existent.

    The 2 sites are like chalk and cheese!

    The drive here took a about 4 hours as it was about 250 Kms and we went non-motorway so limited to 80kph as we are over 4500kgs.
    Mostly AP7 some dual carriageway, some town through Tarragona and some single carriageway like our A roads. Stopped at a Mercadona supermarket to stock up on grub and there was a Lidl next door just like home!

    Weather has been cloudy after 1.5 hours on the beach until 10:30am and had a few drops of rain just now at 8:30pm local time.

    Looking forward to exploring tomorrow!h

    Current external temperature at 9:30pm is 22.5C
     
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  16. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    We had a walk along the promenade yesterday morning looking at all the 1920/30's villas that got the place its reputation and then found the market which was fortunate as its a Bank Holiday tomorrow and everything will be closed. There is also a supermarket nearly opposite the campsite entrance so we paid that a visit as well!

    15 minute walk from Motorhome door, through the site, to get to the beach which kept us amused yesterday afternoon. Lots of people power walking along the beach and back, again and again! I think it's the Spaniards way to get an even sun tan!

    10 pm and all hell breaks loose - there is a music concert as part of the festival but we are too tired to care and retire to sleep. 4am and I am wide awake and the music is still playing! They obviously like to parteeee over here. I think its 5am when quiet descends on the town! We get up late to the sounds of what sounds like the lifeboat maroon going off at home and this carries on for an hour or so, perhaps making sure that the late night music revellers can't get any sleep in revenge! We think there are going to be fireworks sometime and perhaps they are putting in some practice. These are not kids bangers going off but big mortar shells with a hell of a bang each time.

    More beach all day and there is invariably a supermarket open which provides a pizza type snack and a lovely piece of apple tart to eat on the beach despite it being a bank holiday.

    The site across the way recently vacated by Dutch is now home to a couple from up north with a Pennine trailer tent. I don't envy them the ordeal of putting the awning up and pegging out in this heat - been there and done that years ago!

    Need to go now to refresh the pre dinner sharpener - a G & T!
     
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  17. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    I ought to mention the Paganini caravan that we pass each day on the site! 28 feet long and 2 tons of silver and black twin axle Tabbert caravan with the expected luxury interior. The number plate has been removed and its Swiss probably some up and coming junior gnome from Zurich. 43,000 euros when new evidently! Smoke black mirror Windows for privacy and would need a substantial tow car which is nowhere in evidence as it won't fit on the pitch!
     
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  18. Abacist

    Abacist Funster

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    It is a festival week here at Benicassim! We thought great, something to see and maybe fireworks etc.

    Every other night there has been a contemporary music festival that starts at about 10:30pm and goes on until 5am.

    I like my music but at a reasonable hour of the day or evening!

    I am obviously becoming an old fart!

    We shall be moving on on Tuesday and no doubt this place will return to peace and quiet and the next place will have a festival.

    Oh and fireworks - not seen any but heard plenty during the day, odd random earth shattering bangs.

    Yesterday on the beach there was a sudden chain of bangs just like a machine gun going off and I immediately looked to see if there was a Jihaddi running up the beach with a machine gun. Turned out it was part of the celebrations for a wedding in an hotel on the seafront!

    I couldn't live here - life would be just too exciting!
     
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  19. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Thanks, you are obviously having a good time. Can you post a few photographs, it would help us appreciate where you are. :)
     
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  20. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    Bonterra park nice site ''"little Britain" nice walk up through the town enjoy your travels
     
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