|I’ve called this lastest diary entry The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. So lets start with the good.
After leaving Moraira we found ourselves heading for Alicante and for good reason, we had a problem with the heating on the van, a new pressure valve is required and we have been put in touch with an Alde (heating manufacturer) engineer who lives around Benidorm and was willing to visit our chosen campsite to hopefully sort out the problem. The area we are in is very busy this time of year and many of the campsites and aires are heaving and so we found ourselves in a campsite south of Alicante near to Elche.
The campsite is the largest we have ever stayed on, it can accommodate over 1,200 campers and many of them are huge, Winnebago types that look to be there all year round. Such a contrast to the small, friendly campsite we had just come from. However, a large campsite does have its plus side, for a small fee, we were given our own router for unlimited internet, a connection to digital tv so we can watch some UK channels, use of a gym, spa and indoor swimming pool and a good shop with fresh bread every day, plus a bar, restaurant and entertainment (including line dancing, John was in his element)!!. So basically all the mod cons of a small village which does sometimes make life a little easier. We also had some very friendly English neighbours who were the fountain of all knowledge, anything we needed to know (and sometimes didn’t)!! they could tell us. Also, surprisingly quiet for such a large site.
And so we have been here for 2 weeks!!! The longest we have ever stayed on a campsite, who would have thought that when we first arrived. During our time here, we have hired a car for 4 days which gave us the opportunity to get around and discover our surroundings. More of that later.
So lets look at the bad, well as mentioned we needed a new pressure valve for heating, we don’t actually need heating at the moment but come the latter part of this trip, we will so its important we get it sorted. The Alde engineer promised to visit us either Thursday or Friday and he actually turned up on Thursday. Whilst getting the area that he would need to work in ready for him, we discovered that our water pump was leaking. The engineer repaired the pressure valve and came back the following day with a new pump. Two days later, on Valentines day having had a lovely lunch at the campsite and John settling down to watch the England rugby game, a sudden gust of wind took the roof light in our bedroom clean off and it smashed on the floor. So yet again we needed to find somebody who could fix this asap. The campsite gave us a number of a chap who came out the following day, measured up and came back and replaced it. A clear advantage of being in an area overrun by campers of varying nationalities, there will always be someone who needs something fixing, and these guys, first one Norwegian and the second one Dutch, are very busy this time of year. Fingers crossed things happen in three’s and thats it now.
Going back to the good, once all our technical issues with the van was sorted, looking at the weather, we decided it was better to stay put for a few more days so we took advantage of 7 days for the price of 6 and booked ourselves for the full second week. We thought hiring a car would be a great way to get about and our 4 days took us into the mountains, Cartagena and Alicante. The mountains are very barren with very little vegetation, the main produce in the area are olive trees and oranges and lemons, plenty of them. At times, the landscape reminded us of Morocco, without the donkeys and children running out to greet us.
Cartagena has a lovely marina as does Alicante with very pleasant promenades to stroll along. What we love is to be able to sit outside and have a drink, we love Spanish coffee, far superior to Starbucks!! and to sit out in the sunshine with a beer and people watch is great. When we were driving up in the hills, we had been recommended to go to a Bodega (wine tasting) in the middle of nowhere. It was full of lovely gifts and bottles of wine and we were able to order two coffees. This time we were served our coffees with pancakes and chocolate sauce!!!! Delicious and all included in the price of the coffee (3 Euros). I was given a sample of sweet red wine, which to me was a cross between Marsala Wine and Port. It was lovely and so we purchased a bottle, together with a 5 litre box of red wine which was only 8 Euros and surprisingly good (if my brother John reads this he will laugh at a wine being classed as good for that price)!!
Both Cartagena and Alicante have castles that overlook the city and give superb views. Cartagena has a lift that takes you up to the castle grounds, you aren’t allowed up any other way. Alicante on the other hand, allows you to walk the steep slopes up to the top, and its free!! Both cities have very elegant buildings in attractive tree lined streets. Many of the apartments have very ornate wrought iron balconies and interesting architecture, all presented in good order although there is plenty of graffiti in some places. We passed through some very pretty villages as we travelled about, but parts of this area is very industrialised too.
And finally the ugly, well dear reader I am not talking about John!! It has to be said that this campsite is ugly, like a large car park in reality and everything we hate about campsites. But it has served us well and has made us think that all campsites are different and that each one has its pros and cons and the beauty of being in a motor home is that if you don’t like somewhere you just move on, simple.
So tomorrow we move on and are hoping to go back to a campsite we stayed at last year with its warm swimming pool and nice terrace plots. Very different from this one, lets hope we can get in. The next weeks forecast is sunshine and 20 degrees so this will suit us nicely for a few days.
Oh and I forgot to mention, today in the campsite they had a dog agility competition, there were all types of dogs and nationalities taking place and we had great fun watching. Mind you it was all a bit serious, when a dog didn’t perform properly we started laughing, but we noticed nobody else did!! Our German neighbours opposite won first prize in their category. Apparently she trains her dog 5 hours a day for the last 5 years. I wonder if we can train Pudding and Littly?
See you in the next blog.