The Wandering Tortoise

We are still at Palomares, we managed to sit through “Cyclone Hugo” and survived to tell the tale “twas a tad windy” we stayed inside the van and waited for it to pass, while being rocked about and anxiously wondering if the next gust of wind would manage to blow us over…

While staying here I ordered some more Internet on legs sims for our mifi unit from Amazon and at £30 a sim for 12gb of data they most definitely are not cheap, but we were running low and although we have data on our mifi contract and our phones etc its all limited as we are outside of the UK for over 2 months, we have campsite wifi while here but are only allowed to use that on one item of technology at any given time, also I like to make sure we will not get stranded somewhere else along our journey without mifi, mainly because we plan our next stops as we go along using the internet and not every campsite has wifi… I expected the postage to take a little longer than it did and was amazed at how quickly they turned up and the nice camp warden even brought the post down to us, I hadn’t mentioned to them that we were even expecting post and had meant to let them know later that day thinking it would still take a few more days to arrive…

We have lounged around enjoying the lovely sunshine that is once the cyclone was over and we’ve just been terribly lazy for much of the time here apart from Toffi’s beach visits, shopping and the windscreen repair we just hadn’t really ventured far from the campsite in the past week or so until today when lounging around finally got too boring and I became restless and wanted to explore, we found another abandoned urbanization project nearby it was massive and went on and on with roads, pathways and cycle paths all laid but leading to absolutely no where…

Walking these places is to me and of course for Toffi marvelous, not only because it’s such easy walking with the paths and tarmacked roads but other than the odd person here and there, they are just abandoned places, there’s also no traffic as the roads are shut off which make them so peaceful…  It’s somewhat like walking through the aftermath of some apocalypse with weeds growing up through the paving etc, I have such an overactive imagination it runs wild and I half expect the film set of the walking dead to appear and any minute we’ll have to start fighting Zombies off, I absolutely love it!!! Then we came across a skeleton of some sort which again obviously really helped with my imagination!!!

It’s just amazing to see all of these unfinished projects that are just left rotting away where development plans have either failed or been put on hold for one reason or another, In one place we visited a month or so ago there was what we named the “stairway to nowhere”, another half finished and abandoned development with huge lovely patterned paved stone steps which we of course wandered and climbed up to the top of, only to find they led to… yep… “nowhere” but it did have a lovely view from the top!!!

While slowly wandering today along the unfinished housing project we found a rough stony path off of the tarmac road that actually led to a type of natural reed bed and a spring water oasis with the water meandering its way down to it from the nearby hills and mountains, we climbed down to the spring and stood listening to the wildlife around us, I was saddened to think of how much of their habitat the abandoned project must have taken from them, and then we came across a Tortoise, I really didn’t expect to see it and Toffi had never seen one before and must have thought it was just a rock until this “rock” suddenly moved, amusingly it scared the living daylights out of her, she then frightened the poor thing back into its shell by barking incessantly at it… After taking a couple of pictures we left it in peace again… The tortoises here are a protected species, well who knew!!

Happy Easter holidays to everyone, enjoy!!!

Oh and finally a little get well message for a friend of ours who had a bit of a nasty accident this week, Debbie B we hope you recuperate and recover quickly, take care and put your feet up for a while, get better soon xx

Until next time

Take care

Donna x

GPS Coords, Camping Cuevas Mar Palomares N37°14’16”  W1°47’56”  €17 per night + paid for wifi €10 per week

Palomares

We are currently at the campsite in Palomares called camping Cuevas Mar we have been here since 9th March 2018, we are considering staying here until Easter is done and dusted as we are not sure if the other campsites will be packed solid in Spain for those few days… Plus I had to order some more Internet on legs sims for the Mifi unit, so we shall wait for them to be delivered and make up our minds from there… The site pitches are large and sunny so it’s nice to be able to stretch out and relax…

The area has also been good for us to explore and take walks along the coast and beach, we also visited the local market on Wednesday morning which was up in the town a couple of km’s away, we purchased some fresh fruit for just €3, we got a new pair of slippers each at €5 a pair, I got a lovely blue cotton top for €20 and a lovely bracelet for another €5, exhausted after all that shopping we sat outside a cafe and enjoyed a coffee and watched the world go by, before a leisurely stroll back to the campsite…

We’ve had some fantastic weather here with temperatures hitting a good 18-23°, while we’ve waited for the insurance company to source out a place to get our windscreen replaced, we had told them there was no rush the screen would hold out for a few days anyway and we were currently parked up comfortably…

After a couple of days our insurance had us booked in and even had an English man named Tom contact us and give us all the details with detailed instructions of how to get there from the campsite, we would have to pay the €83 excess for the insurance screen cover policy, so on the Friday we drove to a company called Glass drive… A small garage type workshop that repairs and replaces windscreens… The look of sheer horror on the poor blokes face was hilarious as we turned into the tiny 2 car parking area just outside his low roofed repair workshop (I think he was expecting a much smaller and low profile motorhome, than a big one with a bulkhead) but he had the correct screen waiting and informed us it would take 2-3 hours for fitting and adhesive to be set enough for us to drive off, he offered for us to wait in the workshop if we wanted or said it would be fine for us to venture the area and come back in a couple of hours…

Of course we opted to venture into the town called Vera, anxiously leaving our home on wheels behind, we strolled along the main road and stumbled upon an all British supermarket… Iceland’s which sold all the English products that you get to miss while over here long term… Clover margarine amongst some other favourites, so I took the opportunity to top up on some decent t-bags buying 3 x big 240 bag boxes (the teabags over here are mainly herbal or fruit flavoured and around €3 for about 10 classic tea bags of which I have actually found red tea mites in!!! nasty!!!) plus I bought some Bisto gravy too… I was in heaven!!! I have informed Pete we shall need to revisit this shop on our exit out of the area and top up of any other things I think of in the meantime… Plus side is they are also selling chocolate Easter eggs there too!!!…. There is a Mercadona supermarket in Vera too, and there’s also a Consum supermarket just a mile from the campsite which is handy…

While waiting for the screen repair we had a couple of coffees and a hamburger each for lunch in cafes along the high streets of Vera, all for €8 before heading back to collect the motorhome and take ourselves back to camp, we had decided to stay at the campsite for at least another week to make sure the windscreen is fine so it should be well and truly set before we take off on any longer journeys… but we are waiting on post now and wondering still whether to stay here while Easter gets out of the way…

The campsite at Palomares is in the province of the Tabernas Desert which is apparently one of Europe’s semi-deserts, located within Spain’s southeastern province of Almería which could explain why the weather has been so great!!!

We spoke with our friends David and Anne who were making their way back to the UK last week, the weather at the top of Spain on their journey was bad and driving conditions were poor for them, their ferry company had told them of a delay for their ferry so they had extra time, so no hurry… or so they thought!… But as they turned up to Santander they watched as their ferry was just leaving the dock!!! The ferry company had forgotten to tell them the ferry had got back on an earlier schedule… They then had to travel to Bilbao and catch the ferry from there the next day!!! The joys of travelling!!! With a rough journey on the ferry and a longer drive through the UK at the other end,  they thankfully made it home safely… and all in time to enjoy the snow!!!

Toffi has loved her stay here so far, with walks and runs on the beach, although she keeps chasing and eating any wasps and bees that get unlucky enough to be in her range (she has managed to eat 4 wasps today alone and is unsurprisingly now feeling a tad bit sorry for herself!!! but this is now a regular occurrence and she seems to be upping her tolerance level to them each day!!) We’ve also been feeding the local small flock of finches with biscuit crumbs, so everyday they come by and see what goodies are around for them…

There are some lovely people on the site here opposite us we have a couple called Louise and Ian with a lovely little terrier called Bracken (Toffi and Bracken seem to have a love/hate relationship going on so they have a barking match everytime they see each other… It must be love!!), then there’s another lovely couple Mickey and I didn’t catch his wife’s name (grrr… my bad!!!) they have a lovely doberman, and almost everyone else says hello in passing… Although Pete did say one of the blokes on reception was a bit miserable and sharp with him, so it was left to me to go in there the next time and he seemed ok with me… So… what can I say!!!

I try not to be a judgemental person… after all I have tattoos and own one of those so called “devil dogs” in the form of a Toffi, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier… but I would give you my last £ if you needed it, and am trained in first aid so that could be useful at some point, but anyway I am hardly the person to judge you, unless of course I feel I am being judged… Then that’s a whole new ball game!!!

So for example a long termer came up to our pitch the other morning stood right next to me as I was hanging some washing on an airer and stole the washing line hanging from the poles on our pitch… (now ok that’s fine, it’s not like I own the line that was taken, but it’s on our pitch, he could have at least asked if I might be using it in the very near future!!! I had actually used it the day before!!), but while I just smiled and said hi while quizzically looking at him in a way that universally said, what you up to bud?… he again just looked at me like I had 2 frigging heads, then handed the line to another bloke to use, now that was it… geezer that’s well cheeky and all whilst giving me the stink eye!!! (but then I was like… ok keep the peace but actually… this is game on!!!)

So here’s what I tend to do… instead of causing a stink which indeed I am actually quite capable of doing, instead I keep my mouth shut and I just give suitable nicknames to any unfriendly or annoying people I meet along the way… just of course for my own entertainment value and its probably better than being arrested over a washing line, right?… I have a lot of time on my hands now to think up some real good and suitable nicknames… so…. said geezer is now Worzel Gummidge and said geezer’s wife (who also didn’t smile when I said hi to her a few days ago)… is now known as the artists Beryl Cook’s bikini beach model…. both for pretty self explanatory reasons!!! and to be honest when it’s the next time for me to wash and dry my big items such as my knickers or bedding I am thinking of just going and hanging them on the washing lines that they themselves use situated on a spare pitch just behind their motorhome!!!

Now this is also a new one on me and it’s the first time I have seen it in the 6 months we have been travelling… I’ve seen people with parrots on their shoulders, canaries in cages, cats in baby holsters and some on leads etc but just who brings a weight bench and weights along with you in a motorhome??? seriously it must take them way over their weight allowance on said motorhomes… but there are at least 2 blokes currently here with weight benches (yep… worzels one…) and neither of them are big strapping muscle men, the blokes only doing a whole 4 lifts a day… is it worth hauling all that equipment around with you? to me that’s just crazy!!! surely you could just lift a large full water carrier up a few times a day instead…

Oh and finally we figured out we can stream English TV here, only as long as the campsites internet isn’t too bad otherwise it swallows mifi data like crazy… we are using easyview.EU so instead of having to download a film or stream from Netflix, I can now watch Corrie & Emmerdale… yay… yes of course Pete’s well chuffed with that!!!

Well enough of my entertaining banter for now…

Take care all,

Donna x

GPS Coords, Camping Cuevas Mar Palomares N37°14’16”  W1°47’56”  €17 per night + paid for wifi €10 per week

Six months on the road

While we were still at Mar Azul, Balerma we took a long walk alongside the nasty polluted beach to a nearby castle type building up on the top of a hill (we assumed this building was the advertised Roman ruins but can’t be sure… as it wasn’t actually a ruin!!!)

We moved on from Camping Mar Azul after 3 nights and left on Friday 9th March, we travelled about 120 km on to Palomares and onto a site called Cuevas Mar priced at €17 a night we booked for 3 nights originally but are considering staying 7 instead but we will explore the surroundings and make a decision from there…

The site at Palomares has large pitches with plenty of sunshine, the other long term campers here have been friendly, facilities are clean and have plenty of hot water in the showers, the campsite itself is situated near to a beach and has a couple of towns nearby with plenty of walks to take for the dog and ourselves to enjoy…

 

After Pete had finished relaxing and trying his hardest to top up his tan, we took a stroll to see the surroundings and were pleased to find the massive beach was in good condition and Toffi enjoyed herself chasing the waves…

 

There are a lot of motorhomes wild camping down at the beach, we were thinking of joining them after our stay here… but on one of our walks there they were all getting told to move on and being given fines by the civil police, pretty disappointed as we really wanted to wild there just a night or two beside the beach to enjoy the view and listen to the waves crashing in, the car park there is massive, but to be fair it’s not worth a hefty fine for a couple of nights, we were also amazed by a cladded van who arrived and parked up while we were there, it was a mobile pool and sauna van… of course us campers cannot possibly go without the luxury’s!!!

 

We’ve just noticed we have been on the road full time living in a motorhome now for over 6 months, well 6 months and 13 days to be exact… and we’ve survived… just Wow… time really flies!!!

What an adventure it’s been so far… we have visited over 30 different campsites as we’ve toured down through France, Portugal and we’re already nearly halfway through Spain. We’ve seen and done things we would never have done in the UK, and yes of course things go wrong… right now we need to get a new windscreen as ours has a crack caused by a stone hitting the screen… but it can be fixed as soon as we find a company capable that is…

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We have walked for miles today, Toffi had a lovely time again on the beach but its chill out time now and time for us to rest our weary feet, there are some great cycling paths also around here which makes a change… Oh and I hear it’s local market day tomorrow (wednesday) morning and I really fancy taking a stroll up there just to be nosey… I will let you know of any weird or wonderful things I find and also if I find any bargains!!

Enjoy the pics

Take Care

Donna x

GPS Coords, Camping Cuevas Mar Palomares N37°14’16”  W1°47’56”  €17 per night + paid for wifi €10 per week

 

 

Balerma and Sangria

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Finally the storm passed and we managed an escape from the mountains of the Sierra Nevada on the morning of Tuesday 6th March we meandered our way steadily back down the twisty, winding mountain roads from campsite Orgiva (total bill for 7 nights was €127) then we headed back towards the coast, we travelled on for another 60 km, although the weather had eased the wind was still lurking about awaiting the unwary up high upon the viaducts, we had looked at a campsite not too far from the bottom of the mountains but decided to head just a little further instead and hopefully find some sun…

We stopped at Camping Mar Azul in Balerma €17 per night, it was time to get up to date with the boring stuff like bedding & clothes washing, cleaning and just generally sorting ourselves out, washing machines here are €4.50 per load, tumble dryers were €3 per load, we washed 3 loads of which we managed to dry 2 loads on the line and 1 load in the dryers, over €15 spent on this alone, getting your washing clean costs a small fortune when your on the road, and although you can hand wash some stuff… that is ok if you just need to freshen things up… but you certainly miss not having a washing machine!!!

We will be staying at Camping Mar Azul in Balerma for 3 nights and shall be moving on, on Friday 9th, the campsite itself is lovely, good sized pitches with sun, attractive, the site is very clean and tended too extremely well by the staff here, who are also friendly, the facilities are clean, although I found the hot water in the women’s showers to be a little hit and miss at times… there’s free wifi here which is a bonus but it also can be a bit hit and miss, there are play areas for football, basketball, Boules, tennis, table tennis and also a playpark for the smaller children along with some very attractive looking swimming pools but because it is out of season these are currently closed…

The campsite is placed on the coast and is surrounded by fields and fields of plastic covered polytunnels, the sat nav sent us on roads through these fields to get here, these are not really noticeable from inside the campsite but give the surrounding landscape a rather unkempt look upon travelling through the field areas, along with a lot of evidence of plastic contamination also littering the area, but I guess whatever they are growing inside those tunnels need the protection either from pests or the weather…

While at Camping Mar Azul we decided to go for a lunch at midday in the campsites cafe only to find they were not serving food until 6pm… so instead we shared a jug of Sangria for €8 which came with some free Tapas to tide us over consisting of a selection of 4 slices of meats, olives and cheese and we decided to come back later for a meal…

Unbeknownst to us Pete had mistakenly paid twice for the lunchtime Sangria thinking he was paying a deposit for a reservation for later that evening… so he’d actually paid €16 at lunchtime, we returned at 6pm for Paella at €12 each and another jug of Sangria at €8 upon paying the bill in the evening is where we realised that Pete hadn’t paid a deposit for the reservation but accidently paid twice for the Sangria at lunch time instead and we were then billed €32 and having no change available Pete then gave €40 for the bill and told the waiter to keep the rest as tip (now I am not tight and we always give a 10% tip as is expected here) but we are also travelling on a budget, so I was not amused at realising we had now spent nearly €60 for a Paella each and 2 jugs of Sangria which should have come to only €40 or €44 with a tip this is the reason we are becoming reluctant to eat out anymore and at this rate I shall have to return to work or we will be begging in the streets… almost every meal we have eaten out at so far on our tour we have unfortunately been overcharged for… although it would seem more our own fault for the overcharge this time I shall in future be keeping a stricter eye on the costs if we eat and drink out and limit our gaffes… but I must admit both the Sangria and Paella were extremely good, as were the serving staff…

The bill for 3 nights Camping Mar Azul in Balerma will come to €51 plus extra for any electric used over the 4kw allowance given per day, we liked the site very much but are moving on due to a lack of places to go and adventure outside of the site, there is a beach just across the road which we thought would be ideal, but we were extremely disappointed to find the beach so contaminated with litter it was far from the ideal place, Toffi came out in hives and another nasty rash after just 5 minutes of walking there, so it was now a no go area, it is such a shame as it would have been such a lovely beach for visitors and we would have stayed longer if this was the case, but for the state of the outside area at a guess you would need a party of up to a thousand volunteers to clean this beach as it went on for what looked like miles as did the litter… litter as far as the eyes could see!!!

Although we have visited some lovely beaches on our tour so far, I have also been disappointed by the state of some of Spain’s beaches and saddened to see the huge amount of plastic contamination and litter on many of them, but it would seem the water quality on some of these beaches can also be a hidden danger too, so far our dog has been made ill/injured twice in just the last couple of months both of these by beach visit related incidents, as we come from Devon in the UK with lots of coastline and beaches on our doorstep we know all too well how hard it can be environmentally to keep beaches clean and protect the nature, but to also attract tourists and keep locals happy at the same time and we know a lot of money goes into making this happen in the UK… So it’s a sorry state of affairs to see such a contaminated beach that could with a little effort be such a welcoming place to visit…

We saw some signs to a Roman ruins site so we shall try to visit that either today or upon leaving here tomorrow and see where we end up from there, we really want to find somewhere that will be good for exploring and with somewhere for the dog to have a good old romp around…

Catch up soon

Take Care

Donna x

Camping Orgiva N36.8875 W-3.4170  €20.50 per night

Camping Mar Azul Balerma N36°43’22”   W2°52’40”  €17 per night with an allowance of 4kw electric free per day

On hold due to Storm Emma

Well we have had to stay at campsite Orgiva longer than we had planned due to severe stormy weather, Storm Emma had made life harder for most of Europe and we certainly didn’t escape it in the south of Spain either, we had planned to stay only 3 nights here, but the bad weather continued with extremely strong gusts of wind and heavy rainfall that went on and on for days, all we could do was wait for the storm to pass and hope all family and friends here and at home caught up in it were doing the same, we saw pictures and reports of snow and bad weather causing chaos all over Europe and lots of updates from the UK regarding the snow there too, the likes of which the country hadn’t seen for years…

We had to arrange to stay at the site until the 6th March now, due to the weather warnings the campsite has been fairly busy for such a small site, and of course due to the weather conditions we have been a little trapped, those with smaller campervans have managed to escape during the short lulls in the weather… but for us with higher sided vehicles or caravans, well we’ve had to stay put… it’s been hard to explore too much of the area and we have stayed much of the time inside keeping warm and dry… 5-6 whole days parked up sheltering from the weather has made us a little restless… so far we have watched three whole seasons of Narcos, and now started on The Frankenstein Chronicles thanks to Netflix… at least the internet is free here…

It’s Monday the 5th March as I write this the wind and rain has just picked up again for the time being, but watching the weather radar it should be clear enough in the morning for us to move on, our escape from the mountains is in sight, we will then try to catch back up with the elusive sun….

Stay safe and warm wherever you are…

Take care

Donna x