SUNDAY 26-5-24

Another peaceful night here at Playa de San Juan, just north of Alicante. This morning we needed to be up at a reasonable time because we had the hand washing to get done so that it had plenty of time to dry, though given the temperatures here are in the high twenties I doubt there would be a problem.

After having lunch we went for a nice long walk along the promenade, this time in the opposite direction.

The beach was an awful lot busier today, but given its enormous size there was still plenty of room for everybody. Many beachgoers had large umbrellas up, which reflects the high temperatures here and the power of the sun. This really is a nice area, and it's a shame we've only just discovered it. I'm sure we could have enjoyed a week or two here in the days when we came down this way to escape the worst of the British winters.

We walked for an hour before buying a large ice cream each and making our way back. I'd never seen so much naked brown flesh.

About half way back an SUV parked in a herring-boned parking space just ahead and to our left suddenly shot forward causing the right front of the car to mount a small wall leaving it at a rather nasty angle. Once we passed the incident I felt a warm glow come across me. A young Jack-the-Lad with his girlfriend had obviously got his forward and reverse gears mixed up and shot forward rather than backwards resulting in quite a lot of damage to his car, but what made me feel so good was that he had very wrongly been parked in a disabled parking bay.

Back home with the temperature really high we made a start on the housework and other bits and pieces. We need to have everything done and ready to go tomorrow morning as we will be heading northwest three hundred miles to Zaragoza, our stopping off point for the night before completing our journey to the Pyrenees.

I've enjoyed our stay here with the added bonus that we've paid a fair price for our pitch. For some strange reason there seem to be an awful lot of the larger Class 'A' motorhomes here. Perhaps word has got around that the pitches are a very reasonable size and can take such vehicles. Speaking of a very reasonable size, I've noticed there are a lot of gay men getting in to motorhoming. We've got a couple three pitches down from us who arrived today with their three dogs. They carry a large motorbike around with them and this evening, having fed and watered the dogs they've locked them in the vehicle (currently we're showing 28°C indoors) and ridden off presumably wearing their Village People T shirts to visit the gay bars of Alicante.

So it's bye-bye Spain. We are unlikely ever to return. It's time to find some new places to go and not having to drive to them necessarily.

I shall start a new chapter tomorrow which may well last us until Calais travelling alongside the river Dordogne all being well.

SATURDAY 25-5-24

Yesterday evening's entertainment was the first three episodes of 'The Office' with Rick Gervais. We've seen it before but thought it was a bit of easy watching. We carry nearly one-hundred DVD's in a handy pouch. They cover a wide spectrum of subjects but we've found from experience the short thirty-minute programmes go down the best, by the evening whilst travelling, our attention span isn't good enough to watch a whole film. That's not to say we don't have a number of them including the award winning 'Oppenheimer', which we bought along with the intention of watching on a wet and windy stay-at-home day, but as yet we've barely seen any rain.

Last night was another peaceful one. Thankfully although there are numerous dogs on the site we don't hear them. I feel sorry for the poor dogs because the lovely beach down the road bans dogs, so I don't know where they get dragged by the collar to on hot tarmac.

We hung around this morning doing not very much other than look at our options further up the road. Having shown the Chef views of Oliva on Google Maps Street View she's decided she doesn't want to go there. That left just Camping Bonterra Park Resort  at Benicassim, north of Valencia. We've got a bit of a soft spot for the campsite as we've spent numerous weeks there over the years, although I have to say we weren't too impressed with it on our last visit and neither were numerous other campers.

Having gone online to book three nights we were disappointed to find they had no vacancies at all. Oh well, never mind. This now means we'll be leaving here and heading across country to the bottom left-hand corner of France via Zaragoza in Spain and the Pyrenees.

For that reason, rather than leave here tomorrow heading for Oliva we're now going to stay here another day and get chores done and the vehicle prepared for potentially a number of days living independently.

We decided this morning that rather than cope with crowds going somewhere on the tram we'd stay here and have our lunch on the beach. Lunch consisting yet again of the Iberian ham and chilled Manzanilla sherry, supplemented with beer, crisps, crackers and cheese.

It was glorious down on the beach, and considering it was a weekend, not crowded at all. The sand is dry and fine grained, just like you'd go and buy from Travis Perkins if you asked for kiln dried sand. We only stayed for two hours, and that was a conscious decision we made before we even set out.

After returning, and for the first time, we hung up one of two king-size bed sheets we carry for just such a use on the side of the awning to create some shade as the sun was streaming through the side. That made a huge difference to our comfort.

This evenings fine dining experience is to be a barbie. We may as well start emptying the freezer as we're now sort of on our way home.

I just hope tomorrow will be a little cooler as it's been awfully hot here.

FRIDAY 24-5-24

We were up at a reasonable time because we wanted to get on the road and hopefully bag a parking place at our next destination before all the Spanish weekenders with their brat kids turn up.

Again we had to be mean with our water because we couldn't be sure how the day would work out. If it went well then it would be water and showers all round, if it didn't then we'd have to continue conserving water for another couple of days.

Once we were ready for the road it was a quick 'U' turn then a right at the roundabout on to a road with a dead end  only about three hundred yards down. I guess there are plans to build another sprawling community for expats up there one day, but for today it suited our needs. And with the deed done we were on our way with empty tanks to the Lidl store at Garrucha just up the road. As usual I stayed with the vehicle while The Chef popped in for a few bits and pieces.

Then it was off to hopefully get our hands on some Autogas. We carry two large 11kg cylinders, which is a lot of gas, but it does allow us not to have to worry about running out. I swapped over from our first tank after three weeks of living pretty much independently, and that's when we start keeping an eye out for a filling station to refill - and we've been doing that since Portugal. There was a time when Autogas was advertised and sold in so many garages in Spain especially, but on this trip it's been very difficult to find. Thanks to Kim and Dave who beavered away online they came up with a BP garage on the edge of Vera which is supposed to sell it.

Off we went and at the end of the satnav rainbow we found the garage and were able to take on just over twenty litres of gas, so now we can be confident we have ample to get us home. Then it was down  to business - a three hour journey to Playa de San Juan, just north of Alicante.

Again there was lots of barren landscape in this hot and dusty part of Spain. I was fearful the satnav would take us on the toll road close to the holiday resorts, but thankfully today it behaved itself and took us along our preferred route of the E15/A7 passing through Lorca/Mercia/Elche/Alicante.

The original Camperstop I had earmarked was closed and I can only assume they open it up in the peak season when other motorhome facilities cannot cope. So it was off to the second option, only to be frustrated by not being able to find the way in. We were parked at the exit with a barrier arm down, but we just couldn't find the way in, so instead we found ourselves at a much nicer little place further down the road - Area Natur Playamuchavista (N38.392280° W0.413102°). It's €17.50 a night including electricity and we have much more space than the campers do down the road.

After lunch we went for a very nice walk along the seafront then back along the beach at the water's edge.

They have the tram system here on which, by changing trams once, you can get from Denia to Alicante. We did the trip in both directions from Benidorm on a previous visit.

Tomorrow remains a mystery. We shall either have a ride to somewhere on the tram, or we'll take a lunch down on to the beach, after all we still have some Mazanilla sherry and Imberico ham left. Frankly we're just wasting time until the weekend is over. We leave here on Sunday morning heading for Oliva which The Chef fancies taking a look at. There are only parking facilities there and so I'm hoping we'll be able to park overnight after the busy weekend comes to a close.

THURSDAY 23-5-24

We finished the first series of 'The Worst Week of My life' last night before turning in for a peaceful night's sleep.

This morning we had a bit of a lie in as we hadn't anything to do until Kim and Dave picked us up at 12:45 (our exact position is N37.164207° W1.827727°)

After a bit of housework I went for a wander to see what was around us resource-wise, then returned to demonstrate my stupidity by attempting another couple of crosswords in a book I have.

Kim and Dave were right on time and having shown them around the vehicle we made our way to the Roof Terrace Restaurant above the Commercial Centre down near the beach.

It was a delicious lunch, after which Kim and Dave showed us around the area including a quick look at Mojacar Pueblo from where there are magnificent views and at which point I wished I'd bought my proper camera which can do a widescreen montage of pictures, rather than the small pocket camera The Chef uses for photographing crash barriers, before taking us to their home for a nice cup of tea and a look round. They've put a lot of work in to it and it really is a lovely home.

On the way back they were trying to find us a filling station which sold Autogas. We think we now have one up the road at a place called Vera.

So that was that really. The get together was a private one and as such it would be inappropriate to share it on the blog.

Tomorrow we will be dumping what we can where we can before heading off down the road to the Lidl store at Garrucha. Then it's play hunt the filling station in Vera before heading towards our next destination which will be who knows where, depending on whether or not we can get a parking space. That's why we're currently having to conserve our water as much as we can.


It was a shame to be leaving Camping Cabopino at Calahonda. I think it was because we'd been lucky enough to get a really good, private pitch with few but quiet neighbours. It makes such a difference.

We left at around ten as I had hoped and then popped down the road to the local Lidl store where The Chef bought some bits and pieces before we hit the road.

The beginning of the journey was along the very busy Costa Racetrack. Honestly, there are now just too many people living along that stretch of coastline and many of them are quite prepared to pull out of a slip road right in front of us confident that we're not going to want to hit them.

It seemed a rather long journey today, and as the miles passed under our wheels the scenery looked drier and drier. We passed through the area with acres and acres of poly tunnels growing fruit and vegetables to landscapes that looked like something out of the movies, which is hardly surprising as that was the area Spaghetti Westerns were filmed. So much of the journey was spent up and down like a yo-yo in the mountains, though fortunately it was all on motorways.

We continue to be frustrated by the lack of garages offering Autogas at their pumps. I can only assume they're stopping selling it as the demand must have dropped now that we have electric cars, the latest big Green Con, just as converting engines to run on LPG was.

Finally we arrived at the beachside at Mojacar Playa and decided to cruise along its length looking for a suitable place to park for a couple of nights. Having found a spot right next to the beach on level ground we made ourselves comfortable. Next I sent a picture and details of our location to Kim and Dave so that they can pick us up tomorrow.

It wasn't long after that a jobsworth copper arrived and told us we couldn't park there as we were longer than five metres. It was a rule, so that longer vehicles don't spoil other peoples sea view. Having parked as we did I saw no possible reason why the length of our vehicle would have made any difference to people's sea view, but that was that. He did say we could park across the road on tarmac, but not sideways, we had to park in a herringboned car space, which naturally enough were nothing like long enough. If I had parked in one our back end would have completely blocked the path behind us.

So off we drove for another up and down of the seafront. Finally we spotted a row of car parking spaces leading up to a hotel and on which a coach was also parked sideways across numerous car spaces. Having copied its parking method we decided to take a closer look up the road for any more options. Thankfully we spotted a van conversion motorhome in what appeared to be a side road to the side of the Alegria Palacio Mojacar Hotel. So it was back to the vehicle and up the hill. We parked behind the campervan and we're all legitimate now, well until another jobsworth finds another rule we've broken. Our new neighbours are Belgians and if they're anything like us they'll be pleased of another camper close by. Safety in numbers and all that.

There is good news this evening for all those keen to add to their picture collection of 'Crash Barriers of Spain'. My resident photographer had produced more artistic gems, bless her heart.

So tomorrow Kim & Dave will be picking us up at 12:45 for our lunch with them down the road. We're looking forward to it. We're then hoping to spend tomorrow night here as well before heading further up the Costa Del Boy, ultimately ending up at Benicassim where we'll stay three nights before striking out across Spain to the bottom of the Pyrenees.

TUESDAY  21-5-24

Last night's DVD entertainment was the start of the first series of  'The Worst Week of My Life' starring Ben Miller. We've watched the series a couple of times in the past, but it's still very funny.

This morning we were up at a reasonable time as I had a bit of hand washing to do as well as a few chores. As we're back on the road tomorrow we're trying to get everything as up to date as possible.

Today we visited the beach and took a lunch with us. To reach Cocoa Beach we had to pass through the marina and so I was able to take a few pictures as we did so.

Today was to be the day we sampled Rick Stein's suggestion of thin slices of Imberica ham and chilled Manzanilla sherry. As a back up The Chef packed some cheese, crisps, crackers and a couple of cold beers. We were both pleasantly surprised at the combination though I wouldn't rush to do it again, well not until after we've eaten and drunk what's left. The ham was very greasy on the hand and rather salty, but then I suppose it's going to be. Whilst sat on the beach and thinking about it, I suppose we were in fact eating glorified raw bacon which had been cured then hauled up on to somebody's ceiling to age.

We were down on the beach about three hours which is a lot for us as we're not really beach people, and both burn quite easily.

Upon our return to the campsite we got sorted and showered, before I did my bits of ironing.

We have both agreed that of the three visits we've made here to Camping Cabopino this has been by far the most pleasant. We have a great pitch, it's quiet and not too many barking dogs. This was the first campsite we stayed at when we came down here for our first winter in Spain. We were here for a month, spending Christmas here, leaving on New Year's Eve. I really don't know how we kept ourselves amused for all that time. I know we went on the bus to Fuengirola just down the road on one day (once was enough), and we did the same in the opposite direction to Marbella a couple of times, though we did have our folding bikes with us then.

This evenings culinary delight is to be toast believe it or not. Were not eating as much on this trip and it's silly trying to eat food when we're really not hungry. This will be the first time we've had toast on this trip. We normally have it for lunch when stale baguette needs eating up or throwing away.

So tomorrow we head for Mojacar where we'll meet up with Kim and Dave for lunch on Thursday before continuing to head north. With a weekend then due and the availability of pitches on campsites a big unknown, we will have to be prepared to fend for ourselves independently  for a few days.

Hotel Don Alfonso

This is the strip the rich used to slowly drive their fancy cars along.

Monday 20-5-24

Most odd. Yesterday afternoon we had a young Spanish family with their caravan opposite us, but come the evening as we sat indoors enjoying our evening meal I could see in the vehicles mirrors the caravan slowly on the move. I stuck my head out in case they needed a hand manoeuvering it before noticing they had the electric movers fitted and it was all being controlled with a remote control. But I never heard a car engine running or activity around hooking the caravan up, instead, the pitch was empty, they had vanished. I can only assume that the friends who visited them yesterday told them that a pitch had become vacant near them and they'd decided to go and join them. So I guess they used the caravan movers to relocate the caravan elsewhere on the site without ever hooking it up to a car.

We are really pleased with the pitch we chose out of only about five or six which were available. Most of the site is 'open plan', whilst we have a tall hedge on either side of us. Thanks to foliage there's only one caravan that can look down on to us from the tier above. It makes such a difference getting a pitch you're happy with.

Last night's entertainment was a DVD of the 25th anniversary of the stage performance of 'Miss Saigon'. Well that's two and a half hours of my life I'll never get back again.

It was a lovely peaceful night which made it easier for us to get up at a reasonable time and get ready for our little trip in to Marbella.

It was the 220 service at 10:34 that took us there. It's a very busy bus route and even running every half an hour they struggle to cope. The bus runs backwards and forwards between Fuengirola and Marbella. After a journey of about forty minutes we arrived on familiar territory, though there was a cool keen breeze which took the fun out of walking along the seafront. We soon tired of that and decided to spend our time looking around the old town, with much time spent trying to find Hotel Alfredo where we stayed for a couple of nights during a fact finding tour about ten years ago along the Costa's in a hire car trying to find suitable locations to bring the motorhome to for the winter. Fortunately we found it in the end.

After a nice little sit down lunch we wandered around a bit more before deciding we'd seen it all before anyway, and there was no point in hanging around unnecessarily. Just after that the battery on my camera just died on me. It's the second time it's done that to me and so the battery was donated to a rubbish bin in Marbella. I've had good use out of it and I carry two spares so it hasn't caused me a problem

When the bendy bus pulled up at the stop it was like the doors opening at the January sales. I did my usual and stood to one side blocking the queue jumpers from getting on whilst those who were before us got on.

We were keeping our eyes peeled on the return journey trying to spot a garage selling Autogas as we're getting a bit low, but not low enough to be concerned. We have been surprised on this trip just how few filling stations seem to offer Autogas these days. Luckily we spotted one not far from the campsite, but it will be on the wrong side of the road when we leave here and so I popped in to Reception when we got back and the guy there says he uses one near Benalmadena, so we'll keep an eye out for it.

The Chef is considering serving up a filled jacket potato for this evening's meal as we've already eaten - but then again she might not. Life's full of surprises.

Tomorrow we'll be staying local and going down to the beach for a bit of a picnic when I will be testing out the Rick Stein recommendation of Imberica ham served with chilled Manzanilla sherry.

SUNDAY 19-5-24

We were so pleased to be leaving La Bella Vista this morning. Yesterday afternoon whilst wandering around the campsite I noticed a wedding party, complete with bridesmaids hanging around the Reception area. Yup, believe it or not the campsite rent out the campers community area for functions, and yesterday it was a wedding. This meant of course the campers had to share the bar with the Spanish wedding party and as the evening went on the live music got louder and louder. Fortunately the campsite has a rule of no noise after 23:00, so thankfully they had to abide by their own rules and it finished at 23:10. It really isn't on. People pay good money to camp here and I'm sure most of them would not want to feel they were parked outside a nightclub. That was two night's noise on the run as the previous night was the campsite weekly live entertainment and on Friday it was 'Stelvis', I kid you not, predictably, an Elvis tribute act.

Getting out of our pitch was a bit tricky. Fortunately the guy directly across from us moved his car without asking which then left just the bike chained to a tree between our pitch and the neighbours. He came out to monitor my progress before submitting to the need to unlock his bike and get it out of my way. So glad we'll never return.

It was only about forty-five minutes to our next location - Camping Cabopino, at Calahonda (N36.488706° W4.743016°), we walked around to pick our pitch and settled for a nice one towards the back of the campsite. We're opposite a young Spanish family with their caravan, but they seem reasonably quiet. At the end of the day, this is now the Spanish holiday season and we'll just have to put up with it.

After lunch we went for a nice walk around the marina and beach area, which we will revisit for a big chunk of the day on Tuesday.

Tomorrow will be a bus trip in to Marbella for one last look round before we leave on Wednesday morning.