Weeks 17 & 18 - Slowing down.

Well, we have now reached the Med and have set up at Camping Javea, this is a site we have visited before and although we try not return to sites we researched Camping Moraira last year and felt it was difficult to access with our old van let alone the new and this time we researched, then went and had a look at the new ACSI site in Calpe but it was very soulless and looked full to bursting.

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Although Dirkje has family in Calpe she doesn’t know the area very well so we had great fun showing her round, Cumbra de Sol summit, Guadalest, Cap de Sant Antoni etc., etc..

Last Wednesday we delivered Dirkje safe into the hands of her family, after taking her to look at an appartment in Calpe town centre she is to rent for five months. What a place, there are two double bedrooms, large lounge with a south facing balcony overlooking a quiet courtyard, a kitchen with a separate utility room and a bathroom with bath and separate shower. The rent apparently includes water, electricity, gas and internet and is considerably less per month than we pay for site fees alone. 

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The caravan now feels quite strange after having Dirkje with us for a month, but I’m sure we will soon get used to it.

We have looked back over our blogs and realised that we have been rushing around since early September and although we have enjoyed every minute - No - Not every minute. The visit to Al-Ko and the decision to get a new caravan were minutes that we did not enjoy at all, it has left us exhausted so now we are on our own we are going to have a few days off doing nothing. Not that SWMBO ever does nothing, she will do sewing or embroidery or something.

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This opportunity for relaxation has been brought about, in part, by the news that friends we were going to meet in Portugal over Christmas will be staying in UK until, at least, after the holiday so now we don’t have to rush across Spain and into Portugal. Unfortunately their daughter has hurt her back and needs her family around to help with her recovery. As a long term back sufferer I have great sympathy with anyone who has back problems, not only is it extremely painful and debilitating you are immediately thought of as swinging the lead as there is nothing to show as with, say, a broken arm or black eye.

We were invited to a barby with Dirkje’s family at the weekend. Mella and her mother are Rumanian, so spoke Rumanian to each other and English to us and Dirkje, the children, ages 6, 7 and 10 years, spoke Rumanian to their mother and maternal grandmother, Spanish to each other and the younger two could manage a little English for us while the oldest was easily able to hold a coherent conversation in English. The middle child could also understand Dutch.

I speak only two languages - English and Gibberish, although there are many that insist I only speak the latter.

It was interesting that during a conversation about Rumania Mella felt that the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu were good times for the country and that he should never have been deposed and together with his wife , Elena, was not legitimately executed. She did however explain that she was at the time a small child and lived in a very remote part of Rumania where her family were able to keep animals for slaughter and grow food that made them generally self sufficient so she was never hungry.

We had seen a poster in Javea for a Tapas Festival in the fish market, it ran all day Sunday with competitions between the posher restaurants in town to make the best tapas then, in the evening, from 6:30 till 10.00 the same restaurants would make the tapas for the public who could buy them at just €2.00 each. Our sort of event. We arrived a little after 6:30, the fish market was deserted although there were some tables with blue linen table cloths on them. We saw a young lady with a sign that indicated she was selling €2.00 tapas tickets and asked her when the event would start “soon” she replied “by seven o’clock?” I asked “well, perhaps by seven thirty” was her response. Unfortunately by ten to seven we had lost the will to wait and went back to the van to eat. Mañana

As part of our new relaxation rather than take the car to the shops today we took the bikes. Nigh on gave me heart attack. It was the first time they had been used for over a year.

My Kindle died today. I had noticed a shop around the corner called PC Solutions so popped in to ask advice. They were very pleasant and helpful but said they had no expertise with Kindle and suggested I visit an English chap in nearby Benitatxell who is, they told me, an expert. Expert my backside! As we walked into his shop he was telling a lady about her kindle “ . . . it’s the screen gone and it’s not worth repairing . . .” I explained what my problem was and without looking at the offending article he declared “ . . . it’s the screen gone and it’s not worth repairing . . .the new screen is €40 and then with my charges it’s not worth repairing . . . ”. Well a new one costs over €200 and would have to be bought back in UK and posted out here so the old one would have most definitely been worth it but given his manner and way of talking to his customers there was no way I was going to give that pig ignorant twerp any of my money.

The following day I contacted the Kindle helpline on t’internet they explained how to re-boot the device when this had no effect they pronounced life extinct. Confirmed that a new one would have to be bought in UK and despatched to a UK address but did offer a good discount on a replacement. Well I thought I will use the Android tablet to read books and replace the Kindle in April when we get back, and we chucked the kindle in the back of the car to take down to the rubbish next time we went. A couple of days later Sue found the Kindle kicking about in the back of the car and on a whim pressed the “on” button to her surprise it started and has been working perfectly since. Bloody computers!!!

We met up with Dirkje today to take her shopping. She was looking for a bike, but not just any bike - an electric bike. She has one in Holland and we did offer to bring it with us but when she investigated the cost of bringing it back it was considerably more than the cost of a new one. Sue and I had done a bit of investigation the day before and found several at prices ranging from €699 to €2000, one however had caught our eye at a shop in Javea that also hired them, it seemed just what Dirkje needed. I asked for the hire cost for five months which worked out at €218 per month or €1090 for the full five months.I suggested that surely they could do better for a five month continuous hire and the owner replied “ . . . no but I will let you buy one for €1000 and in five months you could easily sell it for €750 . . .” the ticket price was €1500. A no brainer. When he repeated the offer direct to Dirkje she almost tore his arm off.

After the bike buying we went for a drive to the hills above Javea trying to find Los Mollinos. We found them but it was to late in the day for the one hour each way walk to the monument so we will return.

Last night the rain rained in stair rods - none of your namby pamby English drizzle, this was thumping on the roof and keeping you awake stuff. This morning it was almost necessary to swim across the roads to get to the showers - well I exaggerate a bit, there was an awful lot of water lying about but now (early afternoon) most have dried up and although there are lots of heavy black clouds there is also lots of blue sky and the temperature is very pleasant.

We have now been at this site for two weeks and apart from Christmas 2011 when we spent three weeks at Vila Nova del Milfontes this is now the longest we have spent in any site while travelling. Listening to the BBC European weather forecast just now with it’s warnings of heavy rain with risk of flash flooding and extreme high winds for the southern Iberian coast I think we may just hunker down here until the system has passed through.

There is a bar/restaurant on site that is currently struggling with what appears to be a boycott. We were told on arrival, by another camper, that we should not go there as there were new owners who were rude and unpleasant. We obviously went and found a most pleasant man who is loosing money hand over fist and not understanding why. He is on his own night after night. We plan to go for a meal tomorrow night, and if it’s good suggest to all the people we know on site that they try it too. We did, it was, we will.

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