Running to the Sun
We left Blanes heading for Barcelona in the hope of better weather. In the event, we just kept going until we reached La Manga with one night’s wild camp outside Alicante. We travelled on the Autopistas so had a comparatively uneventful journey.
The only incident was when the top box blew open scattering part of its contents on the motorway. Some we managed to retrieve unharmed and some was flattened before we could get to it. Since most of what was in the box was stuff we hadn’t used so far, no great loss incurred. I will remember to lock it properly in future!
The really good news is that we now have lots of sun and daytime temperatures in the high 20s. It’s colder in the mornings and evenings but we just stay in the van until it hits 20 degrees outside! This weather is likely to continue throughout the winter so we think we’ll be all right.
The campsite at La Manga is enormous but well laid out and equipped. We intend to stay put at least until Jo has come to see us in a couple of weeks time.
The site is one thing; the residents are another. They come from all over Europe and most are here for long stays. There are probably upwards of 1,000 pitches, each with a hedge on three sides and a maze of little roadways.
Those of you who remember after the war, people bought old railway carriages and turned them into beach huts. There are a number of places which are very reminiscent of that sort of activity. They range from small caravans buried beneath vast vegetation and tiled patios to constructs where you have to look very closely to realize that the villa was once based on a hut or caravan.
Then there are the long-term campers, a lot of them Brits, but nearly as many Germans, Dutch and, of course, Spanish. We have often wondered where all those huge American RVs and Fifth Wheel rigs go. The answer is La Manga. People buy them, sometimes from others here, and use them to live in without any intention of moving them elsewhere. We talked to one Brit who came for three nights in a small van and has been living in an enormous RV here for the last two years. The RV was here when he bought it. Another lady has a Damon Daybreak RV. She doesn’t even know if it could move but has added two old caravans to her pitch for the kids to sleep in when they come to stay. Another couple have a large fifth wheel rig which he moves twice a year, once to go back to UK for the two Summer months to see their grandchildren and once to come back here. He is going to cut my hair for me on Monday!
I shall try and get some pictures of these establishments so you can see what they look like.
Are we travellers or campers?
We have found that the thought of living in a house somewhere is quite appalling. We really enjoy traveling around and seeing different places but at the same time we love to settle for a couple of weeks somewhere. The decision as to when to move on is usually made quite without premeditation and happens within an hour or so of being gone again.
We are still feeling rather irresponsible and guilty for having left all our cares behind us but then the sun comes out and we really have some problems with giving a damn!
I worried a lot before we left about getting bored without any toys to amuse me. That was wasted worry – each day seems to go very quickly and we can’t remember a moment of “what can we do now”. OK, we do have a few days when we decide to do nothing except eat, sleep and read. But even those are few and far between.
Old Haunts Revisited
Liz has been having a “sog” day today so I took the buggy for a drive up the coast to where we all had a family holiday 18 years ago. We hired a boat and a couple of flats then. The family will remember “Clarity, Clarity, Clarity”. Boy, has it changed! The land side has been developed all the way up the narrow peninsular with high-rise apartment blocks.
The inland sea, the Mar Menor, is just as beautiful as I remember, and just as shallow, too.
and then we took a little trip and were confronted with…
The rise in the value of the Euro against the pound should be a concern, but Spain is still much cheaper than the UK. Petrol is 80p a litre; cigs are £2.55 for 20 and we have found some good red wine for £1.25 a bottle. It is hard to worry about a 9% fall in the pound since we left the UK. If we spend a night en route somewhere in an aire or service station, the week’s extra cost of currency is wiped out!
We still think about changing the van for something with a little more room, at least in the bathroom. But then we think about the effort of changing over and the work we would probably want to do to another van to bring it up to our current facilities and we decide that we don’t really need to do it just yet. Maybe next year?
The campsite here is fully booked from the 15th December until after Christmas so we will have to move on by then; probably towards Almeria.
In the meantime there is lots to explore and I am trying to prove to Liz that my new SLR camera can take better pictures than her point-and-shoot. So far I think I am loosing the challenge…