19th May 2013 DAY 28 THE SPANISH COSTAS
We were woken up quite early by all the comings and goings of campers. This seems to be quite a transit camp for those just visiting Seville. We packed up, serviced the van, paid and were of by 11am with “Torre del Mar” plumbed into TomTom.
A bit of a dilemma as soon as we got to the camp site exit, the old windscreen TomTom said go right but my newer ipad TomTom said to go left, we turned left and did eventually get on the right road but think it would have been quicker if we had turned right! Of course this set Tony off on his old rant of swearing at ******* useless TomTom, heap of ****, throw it out the window etc…..
We chose the motorways but it turned out that none of it was toll road. We passed Malaga and had a thought about calling in there but decided not to, it looked very big and very busy.
When we got to the coast we turned off the main road onto the small coast road which went through the coastal towns in the hope that we would find somewhere to wild camp for the night. Torre del Mar was the first small town we came to and right at the entrance, along with the town name was a big sign with a picture of a motorhome on it with a big red cross through it – I guess that means that they do not want campers to park anywhere in this town.
There was a huge dirt car park that would probably hold around 200 cars that actually had about 3 parked in it so Tony pulled in and parked. He wandered up the promenade to see what the town was like and if there was any parking. It was quite a nice seaside town with lots of restaurants and a nice promenade but the only place to park would be where we were and whilst we could take a chance as I don’t expect this time of year they would move us on, the wind was whipping up the dust so it was not pleasant so didn’t stop.
We drove for miles; many of the small towns had signs up saying no vehicles over 3500kg so we couldn’t even go in them. After some time we stopped in a big layby on the coast road overlooking a beach with steep cliffs to make a cup of tea. We were parked behind a huge pile of rockery so weren’t noticeable from the road and it was quite pleasant there so decided to stay the night. Tony went off to explore. There was a cliff path to the beach and we could see people lugging cool boxes and beach umbrellas up to their cars so he went down it. He came back saying it was really steep and quite difficult in places but eventually got to the beach and found it was a naturist beach!
When all the day trippers had gone home a single VW campervan remained that also stayed the night. In this small van were mum, dad, baby & two children around 5 & 9. They put up a small tent next to the van so the kids slept in the van, mum & dad slept in the tent.
During the evening we had two visits from the local police but they just drove round looking and then drove off.
Shortly after we had gone to bed there was a lot of growling and rustling going on outside our van, we assumed it was a dog but was still a bit scary, even more if you were in a tent!
20/5/2013 DAY 29 “AHOY THERE”
We woke up to brilliant sunshine and, more importantly, no wind!
The VW family were already up, dad was feeding the baby & the kids were running around.
All of a sudden, from the really steep cliff path to the beach, appeared a scruffy chap with no shoes on wheeling a bicycle which had a backpack balancing on the front basket. He had obviously been sleeping rough on the beach but how he managed to get his bicycle up the cliff face I’ll never know. He just said “hello” as he rode past the van like it was an everyday occurrence – well I suppose it might have been for him!
A big black dog came sniffing round and as there was no one in sight I suppose it was the one that was wandering around last night – glad I didn’t see it then as in the dark it would have looked like a puma or similar.
Having looked in the Stella Platz book we found there was a motorhome Aires at Almerimar on the harbour so we headed there. Tony wanted to take the scenic route through the Sierra Nevada which added about an hour and a half to our trip but should provide some good scenery. Unfortunately it didn’t. The only thing of interest was another dam and a smallish bridge, but apart from that it was just mountain roads.
On approaching Almerimar all of a sudden the horizon was white and as far as the eye could see it was covered in white plastic sheeting under which were growing vegetables, tomatoes, peppers etc.. I remember flying into Almeria a few years ago and looking out of the aircraft window to see that the whole country side was covered in these poly tunnels.
We found the harbour and pulled into the Aires – how great to see a sign that said “parking only for motorhome”. We were trying to decide which way round to face and had only been stationery when a man came up and demanded that we turned off the engine as it was blowing smoke over his wife who was sunbathing. German, of course.
A quick rev and then Tony turned off the engine as we were facing the right way.
Tony got out his bike and had a quick cycle round. It was a small town with a few bars & restaurants around the harbour that were open also a few shops. There was a beach with more bars & shops but they were all closed – a bit too early in the season I suppose.
We walked around the harbour and chose to eat at an English bar called “The Struggle Inn” – very classy! I chose liver & bacon with mashed potatoes, peas & gravy whilst Tony had gammon steak. I was almost drooling with delight at the thought of this dinner after not having anything this English for quite a while and I was not disappointed, it was lovely. To top that I decided, much to Tony’s amazement, to have treacle pudding & custard for desert………
The meals were very reasonably priced but the beer was not – a bottle of Mahou was 2.60E , in La marina it would cost 1E at the most 1.50E and a glass of wine that would normally cost 1E was 2.60E. The landlord came & chatted to us, think he thought we might be new regulars. The whole bar was quite full but everyone was English so I presume this is the bar where all the ex-pats come for a drink. He was telling us he’d been there for 7 years and was doing quite well thank you – I should think so at the prices he was charging!
We took advantage of the free internet and checked the weather for the next few days and then wished we hadn’t as it said it would be raining tomorrow but then slightly better the next day. Oh well, we got an English newspaper then went back to the van to read it from cover to cover.
On the way back I was looking at all the boats to see if I could find a Bavaria 41 sailing boat
as we’ve booked a week’s flotilla sailing in Turkey in September to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and as there will be 6 of us on this boat I just wanted to see how big it actually was. We found a Bavaria 47 which is actually 6ft longer and all I can say is we are going to be very snug.
Sitting in the van later that night a large boat came in and moored and I thought that this was more like the one I should have booked!!!!!
21/5/2013 DAY 30 RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
There is not much I can say about today – it rained…………from about 2.30am until 6pm that night it poured down all day.
We made a feeble attempt to have a walk but got very wet and most of the shops & bars were shut – even the Chinese toot shop!
We could have moved on but Tony really wants to cycle up the Sierra Nevada so we are staying put and hopefully he will be able to so tomorrow if the weather is better.
The most exciting thing that happened all day was around 7pm when a huge boat came in to moor flying a large USA flag. Tony said it was probably president Obhama and just as he said this a police car pulled up alongside it but only for a look then it moved off. Whoever it was only moored for the night as at 6.30am the next morning it moved off.
22/4/2013 DAY 31 MAZERON & BEYOND
Woke up to good weather so Tony went off for his cycle ride in the Sierra Nevada. He was gone for a long while and came back with some good photographs although he did say it was very cold up there!
I needed to get some milk & bread and as the local small supermarket was shut I walked quite a way to the big supermarket which turned out to be a Mercadona. There were lots of items that I wanted to buy but as I had to carry it all back to the van I had to be very selective!
I got a newspaper on my way back and sat outside the van reading this with a bowl of fresh prawns….well I deserved them!
The small power boat from “The Struggle Inn” went out of the harbour on one of its trips. There was loud music blaring from it and about 4 people sitting in what was a small rib boat. They were quite happy whilst in the shelter of the harbour but as it turned out of the harbour walls into the open sea where it was decidedly choppy there were a lot of screams coming from the boat. They returned about ½ hr later very subdued and not a note of music to be heard. They were charged 25E per head for this trip so another nice little money earner for the struggle Inn.
Whilst I was sitting reading and English couple came up and asked some questions about the camper. They said that they owned an apartment in Almerimar but were thinking of selling it to buy a motorhome. They said it was getting very expensive out here and the flights were no longer cheap. The main airlines had given up flying into Almeria and now flew to Malaga which was a 2 ½ hr drive from here. They had a look inside the van and were quite impressed.
Tony came back at 1.30 and we moved on heading towards Cartagena. We decided to take the motorway as the other option meant going on around about route inland. We joined the motorway and found that it was deserted; I think we only met two other vehicles whilst we were on it the whole way. Thinking the reason must be because it was really expensive I was dreading the toll booth at the end but the toll was 6E and we had been on it for miles before we turned off for the coastal road.
We drove through several villages with “No Camping” signs and ended up at Mazeron where I had found an ACSI camp site. The village wasn’t that nice, we found a huge car park and parked up despite the usual no parking signs, walked along the seafront and then went into a café for a beer. It was just like Jaywick, a little Britain with Brits everywhere, pool tables & karaoke in the high season. We had a good look round the camp site before we decided to stay or not.
In the campsite there were lots of bays separated by iron railings and covered by green shading cloth. It was quite packed and not a nice atmosphere. Tony saw a couple arguing over the feeding of the wild cats. We decided not to stay and would travel on even though it was 7pm by now.
We came across Isla Plana and they had an ACSI campsite so we headed there. It didn’t look very good from the main road, a bit gypsyish but I persuaded Tony to at least go in and have a look.
What a find!!
It was lovely & spacious, very well set out on gravel with ample sized bays surrounded by trees & low hedges so that you were still able to see & talk to those around you. They had two swimming pools, one huge outdoor one and a rectangular one that was covered. We booked in, parked and then went for a swim before they closed the pool for the night. This would be my first swim of the holiday and I was expecting it to be quite cold but the water was very warm, bath temperature almost, it was crystal clear and tasted salty. We were told by our neighbours that the pool is drained and refilled every night via a supply of spa water. Not quite sure if I believe this as there’s a tremendous amount of water there.
The bar/restaurant closed at 6pm so we couldn’t get a drink there so just had a salad in the van for tea and the last of our own beers. Watched a bit of TV then retired for the night.
23/5/2013 DAY 32 STAYING PUT
As the weather is good and this is such a lovely site we have decided to stay a few days.
Tony went out cycling again into the nearby town and up the nearby mountain. He came back to say that there were several motorhomes parked by a small quayside in the nearby town of La Azohia. He had talked to one Brit in an old Hymer van who had been there for 2 weeks and said he had had no problems with wild camping there although the locals didn’t like it that there were motorhomes parked in the car park that they used and so they tried to park as awkwardly as they could.
I decided to wash out some things in the washing machines which were located in small cupboards around the site. I had a key with a number on it but couldn’t seem to find the corresponding cupboard with the machine in until a fellow Brit came to my rescue. He showed me where it was and then said “ you might as well go & sit round the pool for a few hours ‘cos it takes that long & you won’t want to be anywhere near it when its spinning ‘cos it sounds like a jet taking off!” There was a sign on the door that said “No washing on Sundays” – presumably because of the noise
Tony came back and we went for a swim, sat round the pool & got some ice creams by which time the washing was done. We decided to have a BBQ for tea and I wanted some fresh salad. They didn’t have any vegetables in the camp shop – in fact they didn’t have much at all except for beer & tinned stuff – so we set off on a walk to the village to the small butchers shop that sold vegetables, about 1km according to our neighbours. It was a lot further than that & Tony moaned all the way. Anyway bought my lettuce & 3 bananas, had a beer & walked back to the van Tony still moaning.
About 9pm we walked to have a look at the swimming pool to see if they were really drained every night and lo & behold they were. They were half empty and still going.
We watched TV and then went to bed. It was hot so we had the windows open and the doves were making a real racket keeping us awake.
They eventually went to sleep and then we could hear the sound of machinery, sounded like pumps and assumed it was the pool refilling. Anyway, all was finished by midnight and we slept soundly until the bloody doves started cooing again at dawn right outside our window!!
24/5/2013 DAY 33 “ON YER BIKE”
Today was going to be the first day I went out on my bike since it was packed in the UK.
We cycled along a coastal path and seafront into La Azohia.
We cycled up the hill to the castle on top to look at the views. This was not as hard for me as it was for Tony due the fact that my bike is electric so I made it there first! (Pedal assist only, not full electric I would add!)
We talked to a British couple who had walked to the top. They were on a walking holiday in the area but had got fed up with the cold & rainy weather in the mountains which meant they had to walk in waterproof trousers & coats every day so they had come to the coast for the last couple of days to take advantage of the sun before they went home tonight.
Back down in the village we had a drink at a restaurant that had been recommended to us by someone on the campsite. They said they did a good menu del dia for 10E and as it was
Lunchtime we decided to eat there. We had 4 courses, all good.
There was a choice of deserts and the waiter came to ask what we wanted. I couldn’t remember the menu so asked him what there was, he replied “Orange tart, chocolate cake and …er…er…er…Fridge Cake”
I said I would have the ‘fridge cake’ assuming it would be some sort of cold desert but when it came it was hot!! But still very nice.
We talked to a couple at the next table and they told us that they visited this area lots. Their friend had a house up in the mountains, very remote and it didn’t have electricity but they loved it. We talked about various airlines and the price of flights all of which have gone up making it less likely they would visit so much in the future. This was the same story we heard from lots of others.
Cycling back through the village there was a police car parked opposite the campervans that were parked up in the car park. The police officer was talking to a shop owner and totally ignoring the vans so think this time of year they tend to turn a blind eye as long as you are not intrusive & stupid as to where you park – unlike the three vans further along the road who had blatantly parked on the local football pitch, albeit a sandy pitch next to the sea but, come on, it had two sets of goal posts on it for goodness sake. Apparently Tony said a local chap came along and asked then to move off yesterday but they were still there today.
After lunch we cycled back to the campsite for a swim and an ice cream. The swim was no problem but we couldn’t get an ice cream as the bar/restaurant was shut. It closes 2pm to 3pm and shuts at 6pm in the evening. Not only that – it doesn’t open Saturday or Sunday!!
Luckily I just caught the shop before it closed to re-stock our beer box…………….
We just lazed around for the rest of the day having the occasional swim before tea, tv & bed.
Day 34 Sunday 25th May 2013
We decided to head for our house in La Marina today.
After packing up we went to the office to pay and said we may come back for a few days in July and the receptionist said if we did return he would let us have the ACSI price of 14E even though it was main season.
We set off using motorways but not the paid sections. This took us on a roundabout route through Cartagena which was not a pleasant journey but it wasn’t long before we were on the familiar N332 and heading for La Marina.
We made for the beach area thinking that we might free camp there overnight with the other vans that are normally there but to our amazement there were no vans parked up and there were two very big signs stating “No overnight Camping allowed”. They had obviously had a clamp down and cleared out the vans as there were usually about 20 parked in a car park that is not used by anyone else!
We had a beer and lunch at the Hostel overlooking the beach before heading up to our house where we parked up.
We are now here until the beginning of August when we will be making our way back to Harwich, via Germany, for our ferry home on the 19th August.
Thursday 14th June 2013
This morning we were woken up at 5.15am by a horrific rumbling sound and the whole house was shaking. It was an earthquake, 2.7 on the Richter scale, not common in this area but not unknown. It was very scary particularly as our living quarters are mostly underground (sounds weird I know but it’s really nice!). We rushed out to the patio area to see what was happening but by that time it was all over. After a short time we went back to bed only for a second minor quake to follow ½ hr later.
Of course all talk on the Urb. This morning was about the quake whose epicentre we discovered was only about 10 miles away.
That afternoon we were standing on the patio talking when a second quake happened. This time it was much stronger, 3.2, and the whole house & patio shook intently so much so that plates & ornaments on the walls crashed to the floor. The rumbling noise was probably worse than the shaking, difficult to describe but I was terrified. I imagined the ground was going to crack open like you see on the TV but of course it didn’t. The epicentre of this one was about 5 miles away.
I had to have a few stiff drinks before we went to bed to ensure I got to sleep!!!!
All is quiet today but every time I hear a truck rumble by or someone moves furniture in the house above I it makes me jump, thinking it’s the next earthquake.
Next doors swimming pool pump has developed an underground water leak that has pumped water up into their patio – looks like a dislodged pipe, a bit of a coincidence????
We (or should I say ‘I’ as TG has been out on his bike most days!) have spent the last couple of weeks preparing our house for the summer months and the numerous visitors that we have coming. The first are due to arrive Sunday and I can’t wait as we’ll be on holiday with them and those that follow all the time they are here.
I also can’t wait for one really special visitor on the 2nd July, my granddaughter Elsie, it will be her first visit to Spain……Of course I am also looking forwards to seeing her mum & dad, Jason & Jenny and my daughter Louise who has been trekking round India on her own for the past 3 months – apparently she is a changed person, meditating, yoga, vegetarian, non smoker, non drinker & non chocoholic……..think seeing is going to be believing:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
Hope you have enjoyed my blog of our travels.
You need to be logged in to comment