From Bonterra to Ametlla Camping…

Well Bonterra Park came highly recommended by our friends Anne and David and I must admit it really did not disappoint us, and we would also highly recommend stopping here if you get the chance its €19 per night on ACSI in off season with 4kw electric free each day… and well worth the money!!! If in a taller/bigger motorhome or towing cars/trailers etc like ourselves we would advise going to the pitches near the top of the campsite if possible as it will be much easier to maneuver into and out of the pitches (otherwise you will find that in a motorhome you will need to either reverse (impossible if towing without unattaching) into the alleys or reverse back out of them after your stay, they were pretty narrow camp alleyways, plus with the pretty Mulberry tree branches over head to navigate through to reach a pitch (lovely if you don’t have a bulkhead height to think about!!!), we were on pitch D9-5 in the newer area with small freshly planted small young trees and shrubbery, the pitch was a superior pitch with ehu, water and drainage all on pitch and at no extra cost, just the €19 per night, then for a weeks wifi which was very adequate and worked fine which cost us another €12 and it is €18 for a months wifi connection which seems reasonable… the facilities and bathrooms are being freshly renovated the facility block which we used in the middle of the camp was superb clean and fresh, with plenty of hot water, the site also has good washing machines at €4 a load, we unfortunately didn’t get to use the restaurant as each time we did try the tables were all reserved, but it looked superb and was very popular.

 

 

The campsite was extremely busy yet still had an air of peaceful calm and tranquil quiet about it, the site is extremely well maintained and the Mulberry trees in the campsite aisles which were mostly tall enough and well trimmed all looked extremely pretty with branches sweeping and arching above and across to each other…

 

The surrounding areas were great to explore and you could just go on forever, the town was a fantastic place as was the beach nearby, it looked fantastic and very inviting, but no dogs allowed which was a total tease for Toffi who wanted nothing more than to romp in and out of the waves…

 

When we arrived and booked in we were given the camp rules for having a dog with us which were to be fair pretty strict and we were advised that under no circumstances was the dog to toilet anywhere inside the campsite, there was just a zero tolerance (I am not sure if they expect people to put a cork in their animals… but sometimes accidents do happen… if you accept animals on site then at least have an adequate sized area for pets, please sites be a little more tolerant and just then ask that you be responsible of course, I do not mean owners should allow their dogs to go do their business just anywhere or on other peoples pitches etc but be aware that, sometimes, if you gotta go you… just gotta go!!!… I have no problem clearing and cleaning up after my dog if an accident or business does occur and we always do), but sticking to the camp rules Toffi did really well and managed to cross her little legs and get by, luckily for us we were also very close to the dog exit gate which leads to the outside of the campsite, I’m not sure she would have made it so well had we have been in the mid section of camp, We were also expected to put down a €5 deposit for a key to gain access to this pet exit as it was locked from 7pm in the evening until 7 or 8am…

We stayed here for 7 nights, there were a lot of British people on site here overwintering or just passing through, everyone we met were welcoming and friendly, we were pitched next to a lovely British couple Billy and Sophia (I hope I have remembered their names correctly because Pete said the ladies name was Sylvia which has made me doubt myself now!!) well anyway they had a superbly behaved and lovely looking Saint Bernard dog named Polly with them… what an awesome and cute dog she was!!! while there, we were approached on our pitches by a man who was selling Oranges and jars of Marmalade at a whopping €5 a jar, both Sophia and myself were shocked at that price and Sophia said she really missed and they’d really wanted Marmalade, so Pete and I  gave the neighbours a jar of our home made Marmalade and strawberry Jam instead (after all Pete alone was never going to get through all the jars I had made), the lovely couple we had met at Camping El Tranquilo, Karen and Gary had also posted that they were enjoying their jar of marmalade I had given them the week before and so it had been given the thumbs up… yay… high fives all round!!!  Enjoy the marmalade everyone!!!

It was soon time to move on from Bonterra Park and our next stop was about 90 miles to a campsite called Ametlla Cat 1 eco camp at €15 per night, we travelled most of this via a traffic free toll road which cost us €12.65 for 60+ of those miles, after leaving the toll road the journey got a little more… well interesting, when the sat nav took us into the narrow streets of the nearby town around tight corners with cars parked at the corners either side, I almost navigated us up a no entry road trying to avoid a tight right turn at one point but noticed and stopped us just at the last minute, at which point I then had to exit the vehicle and help Pete reverse a few foot back, we had a short queue of cars and luckily very tolerant drivers behind us… who allowed us space to turn the corner, a lady in one of the cars who had parked too close to the corner had a look of concerned panic on her face as she realised her mistake of parking there while watching us taking the corner pretty closely between her car and another on the other side of the road!!!… After a few more of these tight town corner turns we managed to miss a turn and reached a main road which then took us up back around and finally we came to an unmade road way and headed to the campsite… I am pretty sure we went the wrong way to approach this site as in more recent ACSI reviews it does state that they have had a new roadway built to alleviate having to navigate some parts but our sat nav was never updated before we left the UK… so oups!!! but we made it… finally!!!

Pete booked us in and paid for 7 nights all before we had even taken a look, I think he is already secretly dreading my fantastic navigating skills getting us back through and out of the town again, when we finally disembark the area!!! so after walking around the site, we chose pitch A-9, and settled ourselves in, and once we’d pitched up we allowed ourselves a well deserved beer… after this we took a walk to check the place out, I am thankfully glad to report the facilities are immaculate, again with plentiful hot water, there are even cubicles here with a toilet, shower and wash basins in them or there are separate cubicles if you’d prefer for each job!!! (oh the luxuries of a camping life!!!) the site itself is set in a nature reserve and has lots of fantastic coastal walks nearby, the site has a restaurant, large supermarket, cafe, 2 lovely looking swimming pools along with tennis, football and basketball courts, Theatre/cinema entertainment areas for the children and what seemed like hundreds of lovely but mostly empty holiday cabins… everything looks good so far here, the only thing I can grumble a little about was although it is lovely and quiet during the day, really quiet and peaceful, the quiet of the evenings seem to magnify the noise from a busy road nearby… although this may be down to any wind direction perhaps… it was only our first night here so we will see…

 

For some reason I was expecting the site to be rather small but it’s fairly large, there’s also another camping area available with bigger pitches with water and drainage on pitch for an extra €3 per night but the pitch we have is adequate in size to take the motorhome, trailer and give us space for outside lounging and give a table area!!! When we arrived Pete asked reception about dog walking and dog rules etc they handed him a roll of doggy bags, each with the wording “poop happens” on them, and was told it’s all good its a woodland area, with plenty of walks, all we ask if that she is kept under control and that you are responsible and clear up after her!!! as said before, we always clean up after her anyway and keep a very close eye on her at all times, so that’s definitely the way a camp should respond, and look… just how cool are these???!!!

IMG_4256

 

What a busy week and so much accomplished, well for us it was anyway… I knew I had to do my tax return this year and needed to declare the rent income from the house rental plus whatever I had earned in the first 8 months of last year at work, but how awkward can the taxman make it really… first you have to register for a user ID which they then post to you (can take upto 28 days!) then you have to login with that and register for a UTR number which again you have to wait for also via post (again can take upto 28 days!) I am just glad we had started with the procedure in advance and given ourselves plenty of time to get these things sorted, and of course thanks to my employers for making a total balls up with taxes for employees this year (yeah that was helpful… but we forgive you!!!) and we are also eternally and humbly utterly grateful to our  beautiful and wonderful relatives Karen and Graham for their acceptance of the mundane responsibility of looking after our snail mail and notifying us of or forwarding whatever we needed… we really are grateful to you both…

Well tax return done and fingers crossed a small refund due our way, as the tax I had already paid in those first 5 months of the working tax year of 2017 was way plenty to cover the taxes and lack of earnings for the rest of the outstanding tax year… yay go me!!!  Now just to sort out National Insurance status for the year and the year ahead well to be honest I have already been assured on this as well when I telephoned the helpline last year… hopefully I will gain protected NI contributions status via tax declarations due to low earnings for now, I think after paying them for the last 28 years non stop I am due a break in paying out over £120 a week out of my wages/earnings per week!!! plus the current British government can suck my bollards…. I begrudge and I don’t actually want to pay into the system at present!!!

We also managed to get a campsite booked called Dolbeare a 5* camping park for our return… it was the closest to Plymouth we could achieve as Riverside camp site in Plymouth was already completely booked solid and I didn’t really want to camp in B&Q’s car park (although thinking about it, it could have perhaps been great advertising for them if they chucked in some free equipment ie garden chairs, loungers, BBQ, sun umbrellas and tables etc… we could have had a fenced off part of the car park and shown all their kit in full use for them!!!), but I think B&Q might have taken offence to us just rolling on up, parking and making ourselves at home, they’d probably have towed us off or fined us after all they have a max parking of about a 2 hr restricted  limit… so Dolbeare campsite it is… it’s near Saltash just 4 miles the other side of the Tamar Bridge!!! we are booked in there from the 12th August 2018, the site is definitely not cheap at nearly £200 per week!!! Roll on the end of the summer campsite rated/pricing  fee season!!!

All that is left now to organise for our return journey to the UK is the dog’s welfare she has to be seen by a vet who then check her innoculations and papers are up to date, her microchip is correct and that she is deemed fit and well for travel and be given the worming treatment between 5 days and 24 hrs before entering back into the UK and get through the customs who again check her chip and paperwork!!!

Well time for lunch and more adventures!!!

Take care all

Donna x

 

Campsite Bonterra Park Cat 1, GPS Coords N40°3’25”  E0°4’28”   €19 per night ACSI with 4kw electric free per day. wifi €12 per week, camp fee total paid €135 + wifi

Camping Ametlla Cat 1, GPS Coords N40°51’54” E0°46’43”   €15 per night ACSI (7nights for price of 6) plus with free wifi.      total camp fee total paid €97 including tax