Week 16. Starting to relax.

As well as being Week 16 this is also Week 120. It is sixteen weeks since we started this latest trip but 120 weeks since we originally moved into the caravan and started our retirement travels. During that 120 weeks we have travelled around 25000 miles by car much of it with the caravan on the back, flown another 12,000 miles or so and visited ten European countries some we have visited several times in the period as well as Sue spending 52 weeks at work.

Well back to week 16.

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We didn’t expect to be moving so soon but Sue was adamant one night in “Fuentes Blancas Cat. 1" was enough so it was a 245km trundle down the A1 from Burgos to Madrid and then another 50km down the A4 from Madrid to Aranjuez. I don’t often comment on the actual journey but this was for me a stunner. That it is non-toll all the way helped. During the drive we passed over three mountain ranges each as high or higher than Mount Snowdon’s 1085m (3560ft) so, as you can imagine, the scenery was superb. Being saturday, even the road around Madrid city centre (described in our guide book as the Spanish M25) was pleasant and reasonably easy to navigate.

We arrive at Camping Internacional Aranjuez, it is quite a large site and on Saturday, when we arrived, was hopping with Spanish holiday makers enjoying the weekend in the many permanent vans etc., and, as many will know, the Spanish do like to party, most of the many children were rushing around wearing “Flintstones" costumes for a fancy dress competition. The entire site was buzzzzzzzing. We prepared ourselves for a long noisy night as we went looking for a pitch long enough and wide enough for comfort.

We had no food with us on arrival so went to the restaurant to eat. At 7:00pm, far too early for the Spanish, we were on our own with the waiters full attention. There was a good choice of food on the menu as well as a Menu del Dia option at €13.95 wine included but we elected to eat A la Carte and for three including all drinks the bill was a very reasonable €60.00 or €20.00 (£15.11) per head. The food was good and plentiful.

The site is despite it’s rural feel is just a couple of hundred metres from one of the towns premier tourist attraction, less than 2km further is Aranjuez town centre, and what a town centre. Aranjuez has had a royal palace within it’s environs for five hundred years, since the time of King Felipe II

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Today we visited the Palacio Real De Arunjuez we thought the entrance fee was very reasonable at €9.00 as it seemed to include two other museums - Casa del Labrador and Faluas Reales. Unfortunately Casa del Labrador was not included which we found only after walking a great distance to it. Tickets must be bought for a specific time slot as it is a guided tour only, tickets can only be bought at the main palace and they are about an hours walk apart. Still the palace we saw was stunning with many grand, beautifully furnished and decorated rooms. Taking photos was forbidden  so I cannot show any of what we saw, although this is not a UNESCO World Heritage site for nothing.

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Aranjuez has over the years been planted with many varieties of trees but the one that stands out is the huge Plane tree imported specifically from America some date back two hundred years. The camping ground was at one time part of the palace grounds and boasts many of these shady trees

Our last day at Arunjuez and the morning was taken with that exciting task - laundry, but this afternoon we took the car to the local supermarket for supplies, more excitement, and then went into town to catch the road train for a tour round. The train commentary was in both Spanish and English so making the trip more interesting than with Spanish only.

This is the first site we have been on so far that all the folks we have spoken to, be they English, French, Dutch or Swedish are travelling south to the sun. Up till this site everyone else was going home for the winter. How sad is that?

It’s moving day today we are moving a little south but mainly west to within 100km of the Mediterranean coast to a small place called Villargordo del Cabriel, I say small it’s actually just a tiny dot on the map and the site is 3km outside the village down a road that the sat-nab says is unpaved.

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The journey to our new location was very pleasant and quick being on motorway standard roads except for the last 30 or 40 kilometres when we were detoured off onto a minor road that, as well as being a switch back, rising to over 1200m (4000ft) showed the countryside at its best. The sat-nav says that for the last 5 odd kilometres we should “ . . . navigate off road . . .” fortunately this is not so, there is a brand new black top right to the site.

The site, Kiko Park Rural certainly lives up to the rural bit of its name, it is miles from any where and from its high vantage point you can look down into the valley below and not see a single habitation light. With no light scatter the stars are quite brilliant.

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After we arrived and set up camp we went looking for a supermarket. The sat-nav took us to the closest around 15km away but when we got there it was closed but that didn’t really matter as it was more of a village corner shop with a limited stock. With nothing for dinner we went to the site restaurant, the menu choice was, at this time of year, limited to a “menu del dia” - menu of the day, which offered a choice of two starters, two mains and two puds The food was very good and together with a bottle of local wine, a bottle of beer brewed in the sites micro brewery and a bottle of mineral water the bill amounted to €44.00, just €14.60 (£12.22) per head. This site majors on summer adventure activity - rafting, canoeing, mountain biking etc., etc, so as you can imagine the scenery and remoteness is it’s winter attractions, the second day we had to travel 25km (15m) to the nearest “proper” supermarket.

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We had a fab couple of days here driving in the surrounding hills and mountains but although sunny with clear skies, at this altitude it’s cold, so reluctantly, after just two nights, we decided to head off a couple of days earlier than planned.

Me and my big mouth! When we left Kiko Park Rural and set off for Valencia it was - wait for it!! - bloody snowing. OK it was not on UK scale but snow nevertheless and when we reached Valencia it had been raining.


This is not what we signed up for. Where is the 30 degrees the guy in reception boasted it was the day before cos it’s a struggling 18 degrees now. Still when you turn that into “old money” 65 degrees Fahrenheit is still quite warm

Last Updated - Sunday 27th April 2014.             © Seve  Ghost 2014