European Escapades

Plastic Fields and Caged Animals




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.

Fields upon fields of grey and green and dirty transparent plastic sheeting as far as the eye can see, along the roadway and out into the distance. Crawling like a plague up the hillsides until the slopes were too hard for it to climb, allowing the beautiful mountain vistas to finally penetrate the plastic wilderness below them. I have seen the areas of green netting in Tenerife, protecting the banana harvests, but this was on a scale I couldn’t believe. Maybe I have rose tinted spectacles as I think back to English or even French farms with the harvests of rapeseed, yellow in the sun and a heavy fragrance hanging in the air, fields of corn and wheat swaying gently in the summer breeze. The green bushes of potato plants, row upon row of neat lines of stacked earth ready to be harvested. But this was like no other farming I have seen and on such a large scale. I’m not a farmer I will admit, but surely one should be growing crops that are suited to the terrain or environment you have been given? As we drove pass these unnatural fields we wondered what they were growing beneath the plastic sheeting and how much fresh water they must be using to keep the required conditions for the crops they were growing. I associate Spain for crops like oranges, lemons, wine and olives, the kind of crops that thrive in this sunny and dry environment. Are all the other things they now grow also suited to this environment, from the look of the countryside around me, I guess not.

Here is a link to a photo showing the south coast in 1974 and in 2000, which shows the dramatic change to the area and also talks about the environmental impact of the greenhouse farming.

We pull off of the main road and turn left towards the seashore again and head down a dirt track with plastic walls now on either side of us, but not now from a comfortable distance as we see close up the tatty sheets of torn plastic blowing in the wind beside us. We emerge out onto roadway running parallel to a wide deserted shingle beach with azure water lapping at the shore. Turning left again we head to the entrance for ‘Don Cactus and are greeting by a green oasis within the plastic fields. It seems the campsite is the only game in town for miles as we enter an area thronging with both adults and children. We see children playing on the swings and the adults sunning themselves by the pool or enjoying a drink on the terrace. It seems the entire campsite is alive and open and we have all the facilities that we could hope for. The bar was busy serving the campers and locals with drinks and tapas, and we noted an interesting looking restaurant off to one side of the bar area. There was a reasonable sized supermarket under the bar/restaurant. We also had free WiFi in the bar area available or a pay as you go WiFi in the convenience of your campervan if you wanted it. In fact I cannot think too many negative things to say about the campsite apart from its location and the impersonal size of the place. Would we stay again or recommend, the short answer is no. As the one thing letting this campsite down in my opining was one of ethics and this factor blew away all the good work they had done up to that point.

Down by the children’s play ground, they had some cages and fenced off areas. In one small round cage that looked like an overlarge domed parrot cage, with a fairly bare and sad looking tree stuck in the middle of it, was a monkey. Personally the cage although large, was not big enough for him and I felt the shaded areas he had was insufficient. Apart from that, as monkeys are social animal why was he on his own? At the base of the cage in a second ringed fence were two ducks, again ducks and ponds are a perfect match in my mind. These had absolutely no water or a pool in which to do whatever ducks do and I guess that their wings had been clipped to prevent them from flying out of there. Because If I was one of those ducks, that would have been the last place I would want to have stayed. The other enclosure had the more normal chicken and such wandering around scratching at the ground. These I had no issues with as they had reasonable shaded areas and enough room to move freely around and socialise. But the lonely looking red kangaroo, on its own in the cage with them had no such pleasures. If an institution or company is going to keep animals I would at least want them to provide ample space and freedom of movement and some form of semi natural environment for them. Here I feel there was nothing and if the campsite owners thought that this would provide some interest or happiness for the campers, I have to disagree. For us it was a put off and we could not with the situation we witnesses promote or recommend this site because of it.

A few days stay and it was off for more supplies of red wine and a campsite just outside of Granada where we could plan our foray into this we have been told beautiful and historic city…

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 29th, 2010 at 10:28 pm and is filed under Campsite Review, 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.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>