European Escapades

Back into a Mountain Haven




the mountains and town of campbell
The Mountains and Town of Campbell.

‘Vall de Laguar’ is a beautiful campsite in the mountains south of the small town of Pego. We may have come the wrong way to the site through Pego itself, but that was the fault of the Sat-Nav and our complete lack of knowledge of the area. With hindsight and advice from the campsite, if you are coming from the North of Spain, you should ignore your Sat-Nav. Take the turning for Ondara further south instead. Try to go through Pego and you are faced with an option of a very narrow high street directly through the town centre. Sometimes you just have to ignore the Sat-Nav. as we turned right and hoped to go around the town only to be pushed at every turn, back into the centre. At one point in the town square, that we had been trying to avoid, we let a Spanish car pass as we stopped and tried to decide what way we were to head, only to find him parked a hundred yards up the road, making the already very narrow street almost impossible to pass. Whilst he was convinced I had the width to navigate safely through and kept waving me onwards, I was more concerned with the low overhanging balcony that I had to go under to achieve it.

We finally made it through and out the other side of Pego in one piece, but with nerves shaken. We had experienced too many incidents with the van this week and were in no mood for another, especially one with a building, it would have been too much. Then we had to face a small narrow road up into the mountains similar to those in the Pyrenees, but altogether more concerning as this was defiantly not a road made with a campervan in mind. At one point we wound first one way and then the other at points in first gear to get any movement forward. We wondered how anyone could get to the campsite at all. It got worse as we headed into the village of Campbell where our campsite was meant to be situated, only to end up out the other side and down a small dirt track that the Sat-Nav promised dutifully would lead us to our destination. We passed lemon trees hanging with fruit and small terraces of olive groves, before we finally sighted our destination below us and pulled into the car park reception. Although the pool at the site was not open, seems an ongoing saga in Spain, we were happy to see the restaurant and bar open and busy. The young guy at the reception was fun and very talkative and we were soon booked in and heading to a choice of large shaded pitches. The Toilet and washing facilities were in small wood huts and looked very alpine in nature and were warm and inviting. The water was from the mountain spring and the mother of this family run establishment did indeed cook for the restaurant.

one of the fonts around vall de laguar
One Of The Fonts Around Vall De Laguar.

If this was to be our first decent meal in Spain we were looking forward to it and decided to eat there that night. Our first perusal of the menu was concerning as we looked at a choice of chicken, pork or burger all with chips. I like to think that I am a reasonable cook and with this come problems. One of the problems I have found is that I cannot tolerate paying for food that I can cook just as well, if not better at home at a fraction of the price. I somehow feel cheated of my hard earned cash and it turns what is meant to be a pleasant relaxing experience into bitter disappointment. If this was a typical Spanish menu then I was to be disappointed. Fortunately there was a selection of tapas on the menu as well. We asked the waitress if we could order off of this menu instead as there was no set menu of the day, it being a weekend. She was happy to take a number of the small tapas or plates rather than one maim meal order and we set about choosing five or six different dishes for our meal. This decision was the right call, as out from the kitchen were bought a number of really tasty and varied foods for us to sample with the bottle of red wine we had also ordered. We popped in the next day for a beer and a glass of wine, when there was a menu of the day on offer and saw many people with large plates of beautiful looking whole fish and vegetables. This it seems would have been the perfect time to have lunch here, but we had been into the village to explore the various small shops, including a baker and a butcher, and came away with some chicken wings for me to barbecue later that day. The Spanish like to have a barbecue and most of the camp sites we have stayed in have large barbecue areas for just such an occasion, ‘Vall de Laguar’ was no exception. Whist walking through this stunning mountain setting and this is what this area offers in abundance, we noted a number of places marked as fonts. Intrigued we walked to one to find a number of cars parked around it a many locals with crates of plastic bottles and containers of all sizes, busily filling up the empty bottles from the font. Seems this is a weekend exercise for some down in the coastal areas as they travel to these mountain regions to fill up with the free pure spring water on tap in preference to the water supplied to them below. It was fun to watch, happy in the knowledge we had the same water on tap back at the camp site.

The stay at this mountain hideaway was the perfect remedy for our Costa blues and we managed to fix the bike rack that was not as badly damaged as we had at first thought. Once I had hammered the aluminium rail back into some semblance of true, with a hammer borrowed from the camp site families’ son, it bolted together just fine and the bikes were back in their designated place at the back of the campervan. The WiFi on the site worked a dream and was free and we were happy to stay here for a few days before moving closer to our intended destination of Almeria. The campervan even got a wash as I felt that maybe I had been neglecting the poor thing over the last few months and it needed some TLC. Once it was clean, looking bright and shiny in the afternoon sun, even the tree damage from Salou faded from view and didn’t look as bad as it once did. With the cleaning and removal of the green and brown marks that attested to the incident, I would now need to point the damage out to you for you to notice it.

There were also a few other things that got a wash whilst I was there as I tried out the showers at the camp. One of the nice things in Spain about showers, unlike France, is there are taps that turn on and off rather than the horrid push button ones so prevalent in France. In France you have to either get a shower that once the button is pressed, lasts long enough for you to get shampoo in the palm of your hand before having to put the shampoo bottle down and press the button once again or suffer a horrid intermittent shower. Sometimes the button is not so hard to push, so you can lean on them to keep the flow of water going, but this detracts from the enjoyment of the shower and leaves a nice red ring somewhere on your body at the end of it. In ‘Vall de Laguar’ it was a tap and I luxuriated in the hot water, taking a nice long shower. For my troubles, once I had exited from the shower cubicle I stepped into an inch of water on the floor where although the shower curtain was closed the water had bypassed it along one edge and flowed into the dressing area. Not only that, but the puddle seemed to meander out of the cubicle itself and had ended up all over the gents shower and washing area as well. A grab of the cleaners mop and bucket and I managed to clean up the worst of the spill and I made a hasty retreat back to the van. I get the feeling It’s going to be really humid in that shower block for a few days. So our time at the very beautiful Vall de Laguar’ at an end, and with a full water tank of fresh clean mountain spring water, we head off to another mountain hideaway recommended by our friendly receptionist….

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010 at 6:41 pm and is filed under Travel Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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