|Yes dear reader, the last two weeks has been a bit like boot camp. We have done lots of cycling, swimming, walking in the mountains and even some tennis. So you would be forgiven for thinking we have probably lost loads of weight, but no, I’m afraid not. Reason being is despite the exercise, we have also been eating and drinking well.
So we managed to get into campsite Los Madrilles, we had a choice of 3 spaces and chose the one with a sea view. This is the campsite with the warm sea water swimming pool. Lovely to get in but if its a bit windy, cold when you get out.
The row we were in was mostly Germans, all seeming to be good friends. Each afternoon they would put their table and chairs out in the middle of the lane and chat with drinks and nibbles. The average age was 80 and they were tucked up in bed by 9pm. A very friendly crowd and when two of the party left, they all waved them off with bits of loo roll (unused I hasten to add)! and one lady was in tears, quite sweet really. I don’t think the old boy wanted to go as he kept delaying getting in his car (they were caravaners). Eventually they drove off and within minutes two Brit campers arrived in their place. England 4 Germany 3!!
During our stay at Isla Plana we cycled a couple of times into Mazarron and had the most amazing 4 course lunch in a restaurant overlooking the marina. The cost of the 4 course menu del dia was only 10 Euros and that included a drink. We had coffee to round it off and the whole meal with a tip for us both was 25 Euros. If we lived in the area we could go there every day and eat and it would be cheaper than buying and cooking ourselves. The food was good and plentiful. We think the cost of living is cheaper here than ever, no wonder the Brits come here in their droves. Cycling back up the hills with a full tummy was tiring to say the least.
The campsite is surrounded by mountains and the largest one is Penas Blancas, the white rock. We climbed up to it one day with vertigo inducing sheer drops down one side, and also walked under it which was just as thrillling. The Spanish aren't very good with their footpaths, we tried our hardest to find the path for the circular walk under the white rock. We thought we had found the path and it turned out not to be the case, we continued up the steep side of a hill with sharp, prickly shrubs scratching our legs until finally we found the path. We walked with the aromatic smell of rosemary, lavender and thyme which was growing in abundance. The only thing that spoilt the view was once again the vast amounts of plastic greenhouses growing mostly tomatoes for the English supermarkets. Fortunately the locals sell ones that actually have some taste to them.
Possibly one of the hardest days was the 18 mile circular ride to the Castilitos, defensive batteries with 4 huge guns (built by the British) built between 1926 and 1933. Most of the way was uphill and it was pretty hard work, going back on the other hand was much easier!! It was worth it as it was an interesting place to look around and the views were good too.
We stayed at Isla Plana for nearly two weeks before moving on via the coast road to Los Escullos, a small beach with a campsite close to Almeria. We spent a couple of days here one of which we cycled (again) about 8 km to a very pretty seaside town called San Jose. We passed a runners race along the way as one of the drinks stations was just outside the campsite. The finishing line was in San Jose and I managed to establish from a young Spanish chap who had completed the race of 29km in 1 hour 28 minutes. He looked as if he had been for a stroll in the park!! We cycled up yet another bloody hill to get to a footpath that took us to a beautiful beach, Playa de Los Geneves. A beautiful stretch of unspoilt sand and blue sea. We ditched the bikes whilst we walked along the beach and managed to climb up to a headland for some good views.
I think we are getting fitter but not thinner at the moment. On the whole the weather has been pretty good, lots of sunshine but on some occasions, quite windy which made if feel much cooler. We like the area around Isla Plana very much, it does attract holiday makers but is not built up and as yet, is relatively unspoilt.
As I type this it is now 7th March and we need to be thinking about moving on and reaching Portugal. Tomorrow we leave Los Escullos and will continue along the coast road south until we feel like stopping. My next diary entry will be in Portugal.