Friday, 7 September 2018

Libby's Spanish Odysey - week 1



Day 1 of Libby's Spanish road trip. 
Still in France, near St  Cyrien, With the med and Pyrenees as a back drop. A bit cloudy though. Good day for kite surfing....if only I was 30kgs lighter!


Day 2, Libby's Spanish Odyssey
I suppose I should explain that Libby (Sunday name: LMC Libery) is our 18 year old campervan. We bought her to see if it was a holiday lifestyle we would enjoy and, two years later, believe it is. We had even considered trading her in for a newer model but find that the solid German build of this machine is mostly superior to the newer lighter models on sale today, so she stays, for another year or so at least. 
So, we have embarked on a 3 week tour around the coast of Spain, my wife, 2 dogs and I, and this is now day 2.
Last night we stayed in Argeles, on the Mediterranean coast just north of the Spanish border in France. Although our mission is to mainly park in remote areas, known to many as 'wild camping' for the 1st couple of nights it was easier to settle into a campsite, park up and hook up, and relax a while. The spot we chose was right near the beach, so we could walk the dogs, Pooper and Louis on the sand, and then fire up the bbq. Before dinner we ventured to the bar to find it was just about to launch one of its dreadful 'entertainment evenings', something which campers, especially the French, seem to enjoy. Well not I. I am not good in company at best of times, and definitely not amongst French pop music.
Anyway, after a previous evenings party till the small hours before we left our parish in Lot et Garonne, it had been a tiring drive of nearly 4 hours so, after a deliciousl meal of bbq pork, an early night was called for, complete with earplugs to drown out the offensive.
This morning I dusted off my bike, a rusty affair which is even older than the camper, and took to the path alongside the beach for  few miles, avoiding the numerous athletes running the same course. What is it with folks that, even when they are on hols, feel the need to go running everyday? Beats me. I mention the age of the bike and suppose I have to come clean here and admit it is one I stole from an Indian, be it many moons ago. To explain further would only dig a deeper hole in the sand but suffice to say it was left lying around in an office I had been working in, so one day I rode it home without sufficient permission from the owner, one Shrikant Kanteti, a guy I knew and liked. I do keep in touch with him on social media, so SK, if you get to read this... I have your bike, sorry pal. It is alive and well and, for sure, nobody will steal it from me as it cant be worth more than 50p!
From Argeles it is a short trip across the border to Barcelona, which brings me back to the present, another campsite, this time in Casteldefels, about 10kms from the city. I have to admit that, so far, it isnt great but we will make the most of another night amongst socalled civilisation before we drop anchor somewhere more rural. Tomorrow a trip into the city is planned, by bus, as my wife wishes to show me the sights of a place she has frequented, but one that is new to me. I am not great with cities, either, but will view with an open mid and open lens. The remainder of today will be spent in a bar, on the beach, as is the remit of holidays the world over. See you tomorrow campers.
PS, my new laptop does not have any software on it, so writing this in notepad. Pls excuse the spelling, I will tidy it up, one day.


Day 3 - Libby goes au naturale..
I have never been in Barcelona airport, yet today I feel like I have lived there for a month! On the runway, in a tent!  Nowhere in the brochure for this hellhole of a campsite did it mention that it was positioned right under the main flightpath, with planes arriving every 30 seconds, delivering more hoards of tourists to pollute the area further. Couple that with enough feral children to keep the Fagin in business for a few years, except these ones all ride on brand new bikes, probably all stolen, while their trailer bound parents sit around smoking Camel and ignoring them - til one oclock in the morning. Add in a decibellia of yapping dogs and you have a situation even the industrial strength ear plugs I packed for the journey fail to negate. To top it all, stifling heat, still air, and then cacophonous thunderstorms add to the hopefully forgetable experience of this place. At least we didnt need an alarm clock to wake us at first light, so we could rapidly vacate. Asta la vista, Castelldefels, we wont be back!
Just a few kms down the road, we dropped into the massive harbour at Port Ginesta, where our friends Mike and Jane have just bought a boat. Well, to call it a boat is like calling a stretched limmo a family car; so huge is this vessel. They hadnt got the keys to it yet, so we couldnt take it for a spin, not that I would know what to do with a 57 foot yatch, although the gangplank was down and I was temped to step aboard and and at least try out the furniture.
After our poor experience in Barcelona's suburbs, with its gypsy ghettos and overhead traffic, we decided to leave the place behind us, and visit it another day in a more civilised manor, possibly by air or sea, and certainly stay more centrally in a 5 star lux.
So now, 5 hours later, we have our 1st thousand clicks behind us and are stationed up in a forest somewhere near Valencia. It took a bit of navigating to, this gravel patch in the Sierra Caldrona, part of a Parc National, but apart from a distant hum of a motorway, the only other sound is that of the crickets and the occasional cork popping. Tonights dinner is a pork tenderloin marinated in mango salsa on the bbq, with some fresh veg and cool water melon. Sadly the stream we are parked next to has long dried up through the summer months, so no outdoor bathing tonight, but have all other equipment onboard. And, of course, the doors will be firmly locked, such is the isolation of the venue. If this blog ends here, you will know we have been either eaten by bears or wolves, or kidnapped by yiks and condemned to dance and squeal to the tune of a banjo for the remainder of our days!


Day 4. Nothing to declare
What it says above. Arrived here in the midst of nowhere yesterday afternoon after 1000 kms journey. Intentions of going into Valencia market this morning evaporated after a poor nights sleep blighted by intense heat and mozzies, all of which were far more concentrated inside a campervan. A naked sortie outside at 3am did cool things a wee bit but I think the additional heat may have contributed to my wife's nasal issues, which transpired into a snuffling sound that even mother nature would have been scared to tackle around here. It May have kept me awake but certainly kept the coyotes away! Anyway, after a late breakfast, and a long walk in the mountains with 2 tired dogs, we decided that an oeuf was an oeuf  (French joke) and stayed put, spending the afternoon playing scrabble, connect 4, and a few other games that I narrowly managed to win. So a day without my bum behind the wheel has been well received.
Tonight I am gourmeting (Good scrabble word) sweetcorn with chicken in a whisky sauce, with intentions of drinking the latter later! Well, it is a bottle of Scapa, DB Clem


Day 5 - life's a beach
I have often scoffed at folks who go on holiday then sit on the beach for 2 weeks, next to thousands doing the same. Well, today we join them. Except there aren't that many around here. It is obvious we are travelling further south as we are starting to hear more british voices, but our spot here in Oliva, just north of Denia  is very quiet and, dare I say it, has a touch more class.
We never did get the market in Valencia, not for the want if trying.  For nearly an hour we manourvered Libby through its charming but clogged up streets looking for a place to park for an hour, but no cigar. Note to self...come back again, by air; Valencia looks beautiful.  
I have and never will own a caravan but, for insurance purposes only, we joined their club and am thus a card carrying member, much to my embarrassment. However it has its uses as we not only discovered this place through their website but it affords us a discount. Compared to a few other gypsy ghettos we have looked at, the campsite here at Kikoport is clean, upmarket and secure. It is so close the beach that by the time Wendy has unpacked her underwear I was already in the med, cooling my bits. A lunch of garlic prawns and various fried fish, and its a bottle of chilled blanco in a beach bar wondering but not caring what day it is.
They even let dogs on the beach, although possibly not ones who bark for hours and want to fight with the locals! Tonight I might even hoy the gas barbie down to the beach and rustle up a fishy treat, if I can be arsed.  Or even sleep there myself. 
What day was it again? Or yes, it's couldnt-give-a-f*ck day!

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