Day 584 – Benicasim – 7 Oct 11
For piccies see www.eastmidlandsdea.co.ukPrimarily this blog is aimed at keeping our daughter in the UK, Chloe, abreast of our adventures in Europe. Additionally, we hope that other readers will find snippets of info regarding campsites, prices and foreign travel interesting or perhaps just informative.
Firstly, a couple of little items. After 500+ days on the road actually travelling, the real heroine of this trip is the Autotrail Dakota (touch wood). She has sailed around Europe for 2 ½ years now and has hardly missed a beat. Brilliant wag!:thumb:
Secondly, we have been debating the perennial problem of where to spend every July and August. In 2010 it was in Cervia and Pisa and we were lucky. No real problem with the sweet little darlings on their hols. This year we were touristing in the UK and N France – so again, no serious issues.
We are in Serignan Plage near Beziers at present and have been talking about 2012. Even now, 26 September, the children are running around the bars, screaming and shouting at 10pm. By any standard of parenting a 2 year old really should be in bed by then. Surely, adults are permitted a couple of child free hours to enjoy a drink at the end of the day. Anyway, clearly we are not, so the problem is where to go in July-August. Anywhere in Europe near a beach and there will be families and the associated hubbub - and campsites charge 3 to 4 times the price for the privilege. We don’t begrudge people their annual holidays but we don’t want the disturbance. Strictly OUR PROBLEM – not theirs.
Adult Only Sites are not the answer, so we have done a bit of lateral thinking and decided to alter our annual schedule. Instead of MOT/Servicing in April, we will change to early July. This means we will spend the school holidays at home in the UK or Northern Europe. We will return to UK in late June and return to Spain via Santander in early September. Lots of benefits. We avoid school holidays. We can also return later from Spain in good weather and can do Europe on the way home instead of the way out. We can also travel the UK selectively in July-August if we choose – or even pop over to Ireland in good weather – or maybe Scandinavia, All we have to do is get extra MOTs in early July so the annual cycle is altered from April. Road Tax is not an issue. Also, travelling costs are reduced. Good decision all round. I reckon we’ll save around €1200 in extra site fees!!!
We will still be able to do Holland/Lux/Moselle and the Rhine in 2012 but will leave Bavaria this year. Lucky we missed out on the Autotrail trip in the end. I said everything works out for the best. Hopefully, we’ll meet up with the Bollenbergs on the Moselle.
Le Serignan Plage:Cool:
Arrived after a 5 hour trip along the Péage into bright warm sunshine. Efficient and friendly welcome invited us to choose a pitch by bicycle – it's a big site - and it's a goodun’. Extra large, near the beach and facilities which are new and first class. Thanks Paul and Jacquie for the recommendation.
We took a nice stroll along the beach yesterday morning. Beautiful sandy, wide beach and you can walk out quite a long way before you are in an appropriate depth for a swim. I have just about found my way around the campsite on my bike, as dad mentioned it’s huge. There are all the usual amenities – bakery, supermarket, newsagents etc, a good fun size pool and their ‘piece de resistance’ – the spa. This is a haven of tranquillity with various thermal baths providing therapy massage, whirlpools and even a musical swimming pool. We spent the afternoon just lazing – sorry everyone out there who is just experiencing the first flush of autumn weather! Bill has got to wear speedos in the spa as no shorts are allowed. I hate them but had to buy a pair. I always feel as if my left goolie is hanging out. :shout: Most disconcerting. Perhaps I should go during the naturists session. Might be easier. (obviously this is Bill speaking and not me!)
Dad has booked himself for two massage sessions and I am going to join the cycle club and complete a 20 km outing in the local area. Should I survive I will report accordingly.
I had my 2 massages – very good indeed it helped with the legs as they are getting number and weaker as time passes. Mum did the bike ride and returned after a visit to the Canal Du Midi. Ate in these 2 last nights after tiring days lounging in the spa! Off to Empuriabrava tomorrow for 3 nights. Serignan Plage is an excellent out of season campsite and extraordinary value for money at ACSI rates. Only minor downside is no adjacent town – so you are confined to barracks. However, we may well return.
Short trip to the Roses area of Spain. Hurrah, welcome back A7 – old friend. Still very hot and reached Camping Intl Amberes in Empuriabrava around 1pm. It closes in 3 weeks so is running down, like many places this far North in Spain. Gets cold here in winter but we managed to get a large pitch as there are so many to choose from. Expensive at €23 for what it offers. It's another one of those ‘ACSI Inspected Sites’ that don’t do ACSI rates. Bit of a con really even though it sort of makes it clear in the book.
Large pitch, pool and 200m from the beach. Lots of German and Dutch. Cycled into Empuriabrava last night and it's like little Hamburg. The bar staff even greet you in German! It's a purpose built resort with a marina but it has a clinical Disney designed feel. All a bit anti-septic really. Some of the houses on the edge of the complex are very crammed. Not cheap either! On the other hand Roses, 5kms away, is very pleasant. Drove in for an early morning coffee and it's got a nice feel to it. If we return to this area we would stay at a site in Roses.
Had to fix the towbar electrics connector again today. Still sticks! Will drive to the camping shop at St Pere Pescador tomorrow to try and get a stronger version. Might get some new chairs as well. Ours are well used and have exceeded their intended life span. Each leg is like a pastry cutter as they have lost their rubber protection. With hindsight we now know what to look for.
The pool here is marvellous; it is a full length Olympic sized infinity pool, so relaxing and the same walking depth throughout. An afternoon here just swimming or sitting on the surrounding grass is really pleasant and a lot safer than sea swimming where we saw some nasty looking jellyfish washed up on the beach. I know, just call me a wimp!
We are setting off to Sitges to see Pat and Maria again on Saturday, if we can get Smartie off the pitch over the deep guttering along the pitch roads here. Devil of a job getting it up. But I’ve found 2 bits of wood to use as a bridge – if that doesn’t work I’ll have to get the campers next door to help.
However, most importantly, we went into our first Spanish Lidl and they still have the 55c per litre vino. New branding but the same. Also found our first Chinese Sh*t-Shop in Roses and as usual found loads of good stuff including a new low wattage kettle. Some things never change – Welcome to Spain!
Got the new chairs and some other stuff in the Camping Shop in St Pere, near Amphora Campsite. Good deal and Carole now lounges in comfort. Nice friendly Dutch neighbours who are returning north next week with most of the transients. Not many heading south. I think this is as far south as a lot of Germans/Dutch get. ( not true actually as many have reached Benicasim).
Packed up and away early using the 2 boards to bridge the pitch-side rain gutter which worked a treat. Sped down the AP7 until 30 kms from Barcelona when we hit traffic and the Sat Nav Traffic Warner said there was a 12 minute holdup. 65 minutes! later after 4kms in a queue we passed a wrecked car transporter which was wrapped around a bridge with firemen chopping it up. The queue coming the other way was 13 kms! And throughout the crawl the Sat Nav Traffic Warner went off and only came back on 10 miles South of Barcelona! However, this was the first real traffic jam we’ve suffered in 2 ½ years – so we can't complain.
Reached El Garrofer at Sitges and pitched in a special Motorhome area for about 20 wags. Most of this camp and the one next door is made up of semi-permanent caravans and awnings used by local Spanish families at weekends and holidays. Not a problem though as the camp has all facilities and a good atmosphere. ACSI as well. It's only a 10 minute cycle ride to Sitges where we met up with Elizabeth and Dougie for lunch before they set off back to Scotland. We should see them in Cabopino in January. Later that evening Pat and Maria arrived after a 660km marathon from Le Lavandou. Good effort!
It's like a graveyard this morning as all of the weekenders have gone home. Just us Motorhomers left. Bit sad really but peaceful.
Went into Sitges for a swim with P and M and are now sunning ourselves whilst being attacked by hordes of flies. They really are persistent. We are staying until Thursday now before setting off to Bonterra Park.
Have broken the good weather record which was held by Cervia last year. It's now 39 days and counting. Had an excellent late lunch of moules and frites yesterday lunchtime with P and M and the friendly couple on the next pitch, Angela and John (and Doug the dog) who are from Jersey. Now prepping for the departure.
John decided that he needed to improve his satellite reception and applied a bit of lateral thinking. The Mk1 version not so good! Mk2 a little better. We are planning to interest Alan Sugar in a Mk4!
Pleasant last day just chilling while Carole swam off Sitges beach. Had a last supper with P and M before they flew back to Eire to buy a car and drive back to Benicasim by the end of October. Phew! Rather them than me.
Straightforward AP7 trip to Bonterra Park where we have the same pitch as last year and somehow it seems bigger. No awning this year! And it's hotto! 30 degs ++++
Greeted warmly by the old crowd, John, Maggie, Ted and Vic. Shirl’s gone looking for Sue and Bill and is then off to the beach. It's very busy – glad we booked.
Excellent supper with Bill and Sue tonight and we caught up on all the gossip.
All for now
M and D
PS: We are the Benicasim Jonahs! Within 12 hours of arriving the Benicasim Winds started. Luckily we had the awning in.
You need to be logged in to comment