European Escapades

From Ronda to the Line

06

May

2010

the beautiful valley looking towards gausin
The Beautiful Valley Looking Towards Gausin.

We could go south from Ronda to the coast and take the motorway to La Linea de la Conception, but where would the fun in that be. No for us, there was a nice small orange road right through the surrounding hills via the small town of Gaucin. Seems we like to take the less obvious routes when we can, although they do sometimes get us into trouble. I have to say that the views that we encountered was worth the slower road as we traversed around tight bends and over to top of the hills, to be greeted with spectacular views of the valleys and villages below. At first it seem coming from Ronda was the wrong way to take the mountain road, as every parking area or photo opportunity point was on the wrong side for us and we were unable to pull in, to take a photograph of the wondrous scenery we were enjoying. However once we were over the peaks and descending down the other side of the range, it was our turn to have all the photo spots open for our viewing pleasure. Along the route we noticed a good number of cafes and restaurants waiting for customers, some with ample parking for a small six metre motorhome like ours. We were out of food and had a long journey ahead so we declined the almost irresistible urge to stop and partake in some lunch and decided to wait until we had sorted our provisions and parked ourselves at ‘Sur Europa’.

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Wild About Meeting Victor

04

May

2010

the beautiful olive grove
The Beautiful Olive Grove.

Leaving Granada in a bit of an annoyed state, we decided that we had had enough of campsites again and rather than head back down the coast towards Malaga, for potentially some more of the same attitude. We would move cross country to a wild camping site near Antequera. We had a fallback position with a campsite shown just north of the town in a site called Saydo. The wild site we had found, was a part built campsite that was abandoned when they found out how much it would cost to get water connected to that area, or so we were told. We found it on a Spanish website called www.furgovw.org which seems to be a forum, allowing people to recommend site across Spain and Portugal for wild camping. At this time we did not know if it would prove useful but as we were in the mood we were, it was as good a place and time to find out.

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The Magic of the Alhambra

02

May

2010

the alhambra palace on the elm wooded sabika hills
The Alhambra Palace on the Elm Wooded Sabika Hills.

A six o’clock start for us is a very abnormal thing these days as it’s usually an eight thirty wake, finally getting our arses out of bed around nine, nine thirty and that’s only with the smell of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea coaxing me up. The Earl Grey tea situation is not desperate at the moment as I managed to find some loose leaf when we were in France, but as yet our forays into Spanish supermarkets has proved unfruitful, so I am getting a little worried. Fortunately the milk situation is stable as most large supermarkets; we have been able to find small caches of the stuff, hidden near the shelves upon shelves of the fake stuff they seem to love here. But today was different and a six o’clock start was required if we were to get into the centre of Granada and up to see the Alhambra Palace without a pre booking. Seems the place is so popular that you have to pre-book a few days in advance to get in or you have to turn up at eight o’clock at the latest and wait in a queue for an hour or so and see if you are lucky enough to get one of the few available tickets on the door. We meet two guys from the campsite at the bus stop as we wereawaiting the first bus of the day at seven. Seems they are also off to try and see Alhambra and we decide to search out and share a taxi once we reach the town centre.

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Nothing Changes But The Price

01

May

2010

a lovely place for a drink, if only it was open
A lovely place for a drink, if only it was open.

Camping Reina Isabel was the name of the site, I’m not sure if the ACSI reviewer had his rose tinted glasses on when he visited the site, but fortunately we didn’t. It is true this site was perfect for visiting Granada and to be honest with you, that’s all we really wanted the site for. However if it gave perfect shaded areas it was because the pitches were so small that the hedges or campervans shadows blocked out any sun that tried to get through. We had just enough space between our campervan and the hedge to put a chair out. The table was out of the question. The only way to spread out sufficiently was to place oneself at the edge of you pitch in the roadway.

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Nana P Diary Part 6

30

Apr

2010

Steve's DVDs and Missy's Long Drop
Steve’s DVDs and Missy’s Long Drop

Dearest Jessica,

There are two things that reminded me of you this week so i’ll talk about them , maybe you won’t understand but I’m sure Mum and Dad will laugh and share with you later on. Firstly I know how much you are enjoying the colours on Cee Beebies and we thought of you today. Grumps has got really into Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer in Spanish and I think of you watching it in Chatteris. Grumps watches an hour of each while he has his cup of tea each morning, it’s on our level right now 3 years plus. I wonder who is enjoying it most right now, maybe when we come back we can watch it together. The Dora is in English too so we can leave them with you to watch. I’m sure Sesame Street will be good for you too soon.

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Plastic Fields and Caged Animals

29

Apr

2010

a green oasis, between fields of plastic
A Green Oasis, Between Fields of Plastic.

I have been thinking about this particular blog for a little while and I’m not sure if I should make it about a campsite review or a travel story, as whilst both are interesting in their own right, neither makes enough of a story for a full blog. But together they may just be enough for an interesting story. Let’s start with the trip from Almería and the thought that a trip direct to Granada, our chosen destination, is a little too far for one journey. So we decide that we should head down the coast until the turn off north to Granada. This gave us a choice of three campsites and we decided as a novice picks a horse in a race, to choose the name we liked. So the chosen campsite was ‘Don Cactus’. Whether it was owned by a prickly mafia boss we never found out but the trip to get there was one of distaste, as we moved further along the south coast of Spain into what can only be described as plastic field country.

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TiTbiTs

29

Apr

2010

‘Why don’t you try barking like a dog?’

‘I’m happy to try that if you think it will help, I’m not having much luck with her by using my big stick’

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TiTbiTs

28

Apr

2010

Did you see the policeman today with the big gun and cuff links?

I saw his gun, but I unfortunately missed the nice sparkly cuff links. He had a big set of shiny handcuffs though….

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The Spain I Wanted To Find, Almería

28

Apr

2010

Avenue Federico Garcia Lorca
Avenue Federico Garcia Lorca.

It may have taken over a thousand kilometres to find the Spain I was looking for, but it was worth the wait. From our initial foray over the Pyrenees towards the centre of Spain, before deciding on our sudden detour towards the costas, it has been a route that has seen us complete almost the entire south eastern coast of Spain. The journey so far, has been one of conflicting emotions and adventure, wanting to stay away from the costas that we had no desire to explore only to be forced by campsite availability, to head back there on many an occasions. Maybe if we had visited some of the larger towns such as Barcelona or Valencia along our route we may have found something sooner. There are plenty of suggestions to say some of the modern buildings in the centre of these vast sprawling metropolis are worthy of attention. But it seems they do not make it easy for someone with a campervan to visit. But as we looked on from afar, travelling down the bypasses around the towns themselves, they reminded me of a large Petri dish that had been overrun with a bacterial infection. It was as if man had littered the landscape with uninspiring and cobbled together buildings with no ideas or planning. Like jumbled pieces of a construction set with no thought for beauty or sense of place. Almería in my opinion is in a different league.

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La Garrofa

27

Apr

2010

Could Clint Eastwood have stayed here in the Sixties?
Could Clint Eastwood have stayed here in the Sixties?

Reputed to be one of the oldest campsites in Spain and this is where we headed after our trip out to the Tabernas desert. I think I said in one of the blogs before when we spoke about campsites and what constituted a good campsite was sometimes just the feel of the place. The one I am currently on as I write this blog is a good example. The site is open, although the pool is still closed. The bar and restaurant is good and cooks traditional style food for the area. The WiFi is great and we also have a cash machine and fresh bread and sundries if we need them. It is around half a kilometre from the most perfect of desolate beaches with some of the best sand I have seen in a long while. The campervan pitches have electric and water on each pitch and is the best we have come across in a long while. Is the campsite perfect, well no as it lacks one important ingredient, the feel of the place, sure it’s growing on me and I would recommend it straight away, but the feel of the place was not like La Garrofa, this site we fell in love with despite all its faults.

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