Week 21. Trying to settle for Christmas.

Well after our long stay in Javea and a week in Isla Plana we seem to have spent this week moving. We left Los Madriles to go to the park natural Cabo de Gata where we set up at Camping Los Esculos. That sounds as if it was easy doesn’t it? When we arrived we were given a map of the site with the vacant sites marked. We examined every pitch and picked one that was huge, till we tried to get into it. The trees around it prevented us getting in. With help from a Swedish couple we moved to another pitch not wide enough or deep enough but we got across it on the diagonal - just.

The site was in the back of beyond and frankly had little going for it although the facilities were reasonable the hot water was a bit hit or miss. I have written in my short site report that “. . .All the pitches had close weave plastic sun shading over them essential in this area in summer I would imagine but in winter made the pitches feel dingy and slightly depressing. The only other twin axle van on site was in a pitch just long enough to get the van on and and wide enough for a full awning but it was so dark they had to use lights all day long. . .”

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After setting up camp we set off to walk the kilometre to the beach, the terrain resembled my idea of the moon surface. Brown. Boring. Dead. When we got to the coast the village comprised around six houses, a cafe/hotel, a cafe/disco, and a castle. Access to the beach (if it could be called a beach) was by climbing down sharp volcanic rocks, EU disability access requirements obviously exclude this village. We won’t be back.

We decided to give the site, or rather the surrounding area, a another chance and today went into Almeria for a look see. We found the weekly market where two enterprising guys seemed to have “adopted” a car park concession in the large car park fronting the market. As you drove in they indicated where you should park and then held their hand out. Sue thinking it was a genuine attendant asks how much? “Whatever” was his reply - he got a Euro. To their credit the two guys were doing the same to everyone locals and foreigners alike and everyone paid something. This parking wheeze (well it’s not exactly a scam as you do always get a parking space) is becoming quite common in Spain particularly in areas of high tourism and low space.

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After getting our shopping in the market we went to have a look at Almeria Castle as always at the highest point in the town and in this case also the most congested with very narrow roads. Fortunately for us there was a chap up there operating “The Parking Wheeze” who took us to a nearby parking space, unfortunately for him we had spent all our change in the market and we only managed to rake up 60 cents between us.

Entering the castle we went to the pay kiosk, the attendant asked us our nationality then gave us a guide written in English and said there was no charge. The castle was very interesting, well laid out with lots of interesting displays and a lecture hall where what appeared to be a large number of school children were being taught with even more groups of school children out and about in the monument. Part of the grounds had in past centuries been laid out in homage to The Alhambra and these areas were particularly beautiful. We found out later that only non-EU residents are charged entry.

Moving on today.

The site hasn’t mellowed with time. It’s still horrible. One long term resident seeing up parked outside reception to pay our dues asked “Oh you’re going already, don’t you like it here?”. A usually tactful Sue simply said “No, not much.” exposing us to a half hour lecture as to why it was in fact a good site.

Eventually we got away, travelling 300km west to the town of Humilladero and Camping La Sierrecilla. Sadly this site was on a hiding to nothing as even before we arrived a short way away I spied a pack of around four or five dogs and although in the moving car with the engine running and windows shut we could hear nothing we could see the mouths all making barking movements. When we opened the car door we were intently aware the moving mouths were also making loud barking sounds that continued without pause until darkness fell and then continued from first light and was still going strong when we left.

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Our final site of the week, where we will spend Christmas is one we have visited before, Camping La Aldea at El Rocio. We arrived in rain that could only be described as “monsoon style” we were fortunate in that we were able to get a pitch that we could drive straight onto so positioned the van without getting out of the car then jumped out wound the legs down and jumped in the van. In the few minutes it took we were soaked to the skin and chilled to the marrow. Fortunately within the hour the rain stopped and the ground, which throughout this area is sand that, when wet, turns into quagmire soup had started to dry out.

This morning has dawned bright sunny and warm, the soup had disappeared and the site is dry and pleasant again. We decide to sort the van position out. At the moment it is positioned with the door facing north about a metre and a half from a tall hedge, it must be turned through 180 degrees so that we get sunshine all day and the awning put up so we can spread ourselves out for Christmas and the new year.

Turning the van through 180 degrees went surprisingly well we towed in into the next pitch the turned it on the mover which pushing the wheels round on the soft sand seemed to suit it well. It was when we tried to put up the awning that the problems started. We could not get the awning cord through the channel on the caravan as during the manufacturing process some heavy handed twerp with a silicon gun managed to fill the whole channel with silicone. Irritating beyond belief but in reality five minutes with a small sharp penknife and all was well.

We have just learned that the forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is rain. Thats not what we came here for we would have stayed in UK if we wanted rain. Still to be fair except on our day of arrival here the last time we saw rain was around 17th November.

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