Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

199811 Spain

Sunday 1 November 1998  Up at 7.30am to appreciate a beautiful sunrise before setting off at 8.00am.  There are two Naturist beaches shown on the Ebro delta so we are going to check them out.  The first beach is signposted but the road leads out through the delta and then starts to deteriorate and narrow.  We finally give up with no sign of a beach and get bitten to death by mosquitoes whilst turning the van around.  The second beach is not sign posted so we don’t even try.  The weather is good so we give up trying to find a Naturist Beach and stop at Benicasim on the promenade behind the long sandy beach.  Two Spanish motorhomes are there and they say we are OK to park in the day but must move at night.  Steve takes a stroll and finds a nearby side street with good parking.
Monday 2 November  Make a late start and follow the N340 coast road.  Shop at Lidl  and then turn off to the Naturist beach which the book shows as Malvasur but is actually Malva Rosa – you have to use a bit of detective work most of the time.  A super spot with a car park immediately behind the sandy beach, sunny skies but a bit of a wind.  As seems to be par for the course it clouds over late afternoon but we will have at least another day here.  Steve in his wisdom decides that we should do some exercises each evening and spends half an hour trying to do one proper sit up.  He gives up when I lie down and do them with no problem.
Tuesday 3 November Up at 8.00am and Steve sets out at 8.10am for a jog along the beach – and returns at 8.15am (couldn’t get up to a good speed on the sand!).  Manage just over 1 hour on the beach before it clouds over and we even get a few spots of rain.  A walk around the nearby "Ghost town" reveals 3 campsites and one actually open but with no sign of life.  A Dutch camper van joins us on the car park but they don’t speak much English and so unusually for us we do not invite them round.  Steve tries exercising once again much to my amusement.
Wednesday 4 November  Steve wakes with a bad back which needs massaging to get him moving.  Manage to find a sheltered spot and sunbathe until 3.00pm.  Give Steve a quick hair cut in the afternoon so at least he can see where he is going now.  A gang of 5 people arrive in 2 vehicles and proceed to water the plants near the beach with water from small pop bottles.  The wind changes direction and brings with it a night of quite heavy rain.  Bet the people will think their drop of water has done the world of good when they come back.  I give Steve a massage again in the evening but I am not going to fall into the trap which I did in Turkey when he pretended his back was bad for 6 weeks when it had healed up after 2.
Thursday 5 November  Drizzly morning so off into Valencia.  Very difficult for parking and having accidentally driven through the centre of the town we are just giving up and leaving when we see some waste ground with cars parked.  It has stopped raining so we hike the mile or so back into the city.  Lovely bridges span the area of the original river which has now been diverted South of the city to avoid flood problems.  The Holy Grail is kept in the cathedral here but unfortunately the whole cathedral is closed for restoration.  Shortly after leaving at 2.30pm it starts to rain again.  Hugging the coast on the CV500 road we notice lots of traffic lights in the towns.  You first see a light with two flashing amber’s followed shortly by what looks like a conventional light but turns out to be red at the top and two flashing amber’s below.  It is a speed reducing system which makes the light turn red if you are approaching above the speed limit.  A marked increase in the number of motorhomes that we are now passing and also a lot of cars with GB plates.  Just North of Cullera we see a sign for the Naturist beach.  The road takes us through the orange groves with lots of 90 degree bends.  It eventually gets so narrow that we cannot continue but during our 33 point turn manoeuvre we catch above the cab on a porch roof and rip the rubber sheeting.  Totally brassed off we drive on in silence and stop in the large but deserted resort of Xeraco by the beach.  Judging by the number of apartment blocks this coast must be heaving in summer.
Friday 6 November   Rain all through the night and not so warm.  Don’t quite manage the planned early start and leave at 10.00am only to stop half an hour later at a hypermarket.  We have about 6 things on the shopping list but come out having filled a trolley.  The diesel is cheap here at  83.9 ptas (37p) litre and if you spend over 1500 ptas (£6.50) in the store you get 8 ptas off – only you don’t.  The 8 ptas is off the recommended price of 87.9 and not the already discounted price of 83.9 and so we end up paying 79.9 (35p) which is still the best so far.  I actually manage to find all this out with my night school Spanish.  Down past Calpe with the big rock and onto Altea.  On our first trip in the Solifer in March 1997 we spent a night here on a pebbly beach but they have now put no camping signs up.  It has stopped raining so we stay on the town car park and Steve mends the van roof.  We telephone a lady called Clare who is a friend of Sandra Lambert’s and lives a little further South of here.  Her husband Jim answers and says we must call when we get to Torrevieja and meet up with them.  A steep climb takes us up to the top of the old town with an interesting church (according to the book as a funeral was taking place so we did not enter).  We are having chicken tonight as an offer at the supermarket had whole chickens at 199 ptas (90p) kilo.  Steve is rather shocked as he unwraps it and the neck and head dangle down and then the feet fall off.  They did say whole chickens but we certainly got more than we had bargained for.  A bit of butchering does the trick and we enjoy a "Sunday" roast.  I am woken in the night by scratching noises which sound like a mouse.  Steve checks in the cupboard and finds a net of onions within a plastic bag which are creaking.  He makes a big Basil Faulty style show of killing the naughty "mouse" and putting it in the bin. Another mouse wakes me shortly after and he has to admit that we have a visitor but cannot do much about it tonight.
Saturday 7 November  As we detour inland we note that behind all the existing resorts big housing complexes are being developed in the nearby mountain villages.  The journey into the mountains is spectacular with the early morning mist.  Huge areas of trees are covered with netting which sometimes covers the farm house as well with a hole made for the chimney.  The Algar falls are superb.  A path has been made into the gorge to follow the river and as you climb higher there are pools of water, some deep with a diving board and others very shallow.  Seats have been cut into the nearby rocks and the whole are has been transformed in a very environmentally friendly way.  Steve skinny dips in one of the pools before we return to the van via the Arboretum.   Next stop Guadalest the fortified town and church on a high rock with superb views.  Drop back on the N332 coast road neatly avoiding Benidorm.  In Villajoyosa we see a Scandinavian Solifer identical to our first van.  It looks very small now that we have got used to "Charlie".  Lots of nice parking spots here but also lots of signs forbidding overnight camping.  At Muchavista beach we stop for lunch and Steve clears out the cupboard to check on the mouse damage.  Lots of droppings and nibbles taken from a packet of pizza snacks.  Clear the area up and lay some bait.  Holes lead through from the kitchen cupboard to the bathroom and we find a nest under the bath made from pieces of our foam.  Pull up a little further south at Sant Joan as we want to visit Alicante tomorrow morning.   Enjoy and afternoon in the sun parked near 2 Dutch motorhomes.
Sunday 8 November  Much less traffic on the road today and we park by Alicante harbour.  Walking around the town at 10.00am we notice "Twits" disco still in full fling with lots of the twits coming and going.  The town hall (on the steps is a place where altitude for all of Spain is gauged as this is considered sea level) is closed and one church has a service on and the other is closed for restoration.  Well the beach and promenade are very nice.  Manage to fill up with LPG near Alicante.  We are served by a man stinking of alcohol and smoking a cigarette!  Spend the day behind the beach at Platja dels Arenals del Sol.  Get cracking on a few odd jobs and Steve checks the roof repair and fills a few more potential leaking spots and then carries on to clean the van.  I find a damp patch at the bottom of the bed and end up stripping the bed and putting the foisty smelling pieces of foam outside to air.  The mouse called again last night and took the small piece of pizza cracker that I had put with the poison so will give him another dose tonight.
Monday 9 November  Another 5 miles further South I have pin pointed a potentially nice parking place.  We pull up at Platja del Pinet (Pine beach)  to see an English P reg motorhome already parked up.  Stan and Judy Witton are also travellers and have been doing so for the last 9 years.  They do a lot of back packing in the far East and are Naturists.  Stan fell off his bike a few days ago and they had planned to travel further today but his bruised foot would make driving difficult.  The are returning to their home in Moseley at the end of the month for Stan’s 60th birthday party then plan to go to South Africa in January.   George and Barbara cycle by and join us.  Again motorhomers but they are parked further down the coast.  Spend the rest of the day chatting and playing boules.  Stan feels better after an aromatherapy foot massage but is now complaining of aches higher up!  Judy makes me laugh when she says that her claim to fame is that she can still talk whilst cleaning her teeth – must give it a try.  Stan and Judy join us for a combined meal and drinks.  The fisherman arrive and overcome the problem of no lights by having individual red or green lights on the end of their rods.  Our first late night this trip as we chat until well after midnight.
Tuesday 10 November  Another sunny day and the beach nearby turns out to be Naturist so we sunbathe until dinner time when we start up the joint BBQ.  Stan’s claim to fame is that he was on the generation game as a sword dancer dressed in a nappy.  He is very much like Steve and Judy is like me which makes for an excellent rapport.  We try to re arrange our plans so that we can spend more time together. Afternoon Boules follows and we play until it starts to get dark at 6.00pm.  In their van we spend the evening learning the basics of Bridge. 
Wednesday 11 November  Beautiful sunrise at 8.00am.  Stan and Judy leave early to go to another spot just down the coast where there is a water tap as they need to wash some clothes.   We sunbathe until 3.00pm and then drive on to join them in the national park at Guardamar del Segura.  As we drive through the town we see a sign showing 25 degrees – not bad for November.  A big car park with lots of  motorhomes but the high dunes stop us having a sea view.  Steve and Stan go for a cycle ride to the phone box.  Steve calls Clare in Spain and then Claire in England with an address for our mail.  More bridge lessons follow.  Steve’s back is now considerably worse and he thinks the bike ride hasn’t helped so I relent and give him another rub down.
Thursday 12 November  We all decide that Pinet was a much nicer spot and so drive back there in the early morning.  As so often happens the clouds come over mid afternoon so we go back to the van and chat.  Barbara has walked over to join us and she picks my brains about Greece where they hope to go next year.  The local Police and Guardia Civil  patrol around regularly but we don’t bother us.   At 8.00pm Stan and Judy arrive and we are just finishing our first drink before Bridge when we hear another van arriving.  The van is followed by a Police car and he drives over to us and tells us we cannot stay overnight and must move now. He tries to say it is a problem with "bandidos" but it doesn’t quite make sense to us.  Fortunately Judy knows of two places where George and Barbara park so we follow them in convoy.  The first spot is deserted and we begin to think the Police are having a blitz on the area and rounding up all the Wild campers.  The other spot is on the hill above La Marina but although we can see the  vans in the distance we cannot see the track to get to them.  Make numerous trips up and down the road trying to see in the dark and eventually pull up facing the other vans with our headlights shining towards them.  One of them flashes to us with his lights and then we see a torch heading our way.  A German man comes to us and gets in the van to show us the way around the back of a derelict building.  We are quite relieved to get parked up at 9.30pm but none of us feel up to Bridge so settle for Yahtzee instead.
Friday 13 November  Although we were all grateful to have found this spot last night it is not somewhere we would like to stay in the day.  Drive back to Pinet for breakfast on the beach.  We play Scrabble and Bridge and I end up giving Stan a haircut.  I have a problem shaving his neck as he is a very hairy person and I don’t know quite where to stop!  Leave late afternoon for the drive to Torrevieja.  Stan and Judy are going to follow us as we think we will have more idea of our plans once we have spoken to Clare.  We eventually find Lomas del Mar and Jim makes us most welcome as do their 4 dogs and 7 cats.  Clare used to do Tupperware with Sandra in England and they came out to live in Spain 12 years ago.  She now teaches Spanish 5 days a week.  At 7.30pm they pick us up in the car to go to the International Club.  Friday night is Bingo and dancing night and although an International Club most people are English.  We recognise one of the people as the character "Dave" who had the Winchester Bar in Minder.  Another person used to be the Royal chauffeur and his children played with the Royal children.  The president of the Hymer motorhome club is also here as well as a chap called Alan Shiels who has a motorhome and knows our friend Peter in England.  One of the ladies does home baking and we buy a large Apple Pie and a couple of individual Minced Beef ones.  We are surprised at just how many British people live out here and the extent of the facilities available.  I am lucky to win a line at Bingo and the prize is 2,000 ptas (£9) of grocery vouchers. We manage a couple of dances but it is mainly ballroom dancing and not our scene – yet.  Leave at 11.30pm and head down to the Melody Bar which is owned by their friend John who is the pianist there.  Both Jim and Clare have developed healing hands following visits to an awareness group.  Clare puts her hand around Steve’s hand with the broken finger and he gets strange twitching sensations and a very hot feeling and then involuntary tears start to trickle down his cheeks.  Next she puts her hands on his shoulders and he slides down the chair like a floppy doll.  Jim tries an experiment with me but I don’t seem to be so receptive, or maybe there is nothing wrong with me!  They are both extremely friendly people and we return at 1.15am having had a super evening.
Saturday 14 November  There doesn’t seem to be much chance of our mail coming for quite a few days so we part company with Stan and Judy and they will phone on Tuesday to see what we are doing.  Jim and Clare take us up in the mountains to the hot springs at Archena.  A lovely setting with rocky hills surrounding the resort where there is a hot water swimming pool.  Out in the evening to a restaurant in Mil Palmeras where we join Alan and June and their visitors John and Betty.  A superb menu with 31 choices on the 3 course menu of the day at 1500 ptas (£6.50) including a bottle of wine between 4 people.  Dancing follows with more of our type of music.  Jim takes the stage and sings a couple of songs.  Both he and Clare like to sing and have set up a group in the area and do shows for charity.  Another late night, back at 12.30am.
Sunday 15 November  Jim and Clare keep an eye on friend’s apartments when they are away and we join them for their inspection.  In one block a friend is selling an apartment and we become interested in it as an investment.  It is furnished and Clare thinks it will be cheap.    Although it is a very small 2 bedroom one it is on the sea front meaning that nothing can be built in front as happens all to often here.  We are wandering whether Mavis and Trevor would like to rent it from us in the Winter and then we will let it ourselves in the Summer.  The main town of Torrevieja has now grown and joins up with the other smaller beaches and resorts around the bay.  Playa del Cura is where we take a morning stroll and are surprised by the number of people on the beach and actually in the sea even though it is quite cloudy.  Spend the afternoon working on the computer and then join Jim and Clare for Scrabble in the evening.  Our friends John and Maureen from England phone up and they are leaving England next Sunday in their motorhome.  We attempt to make plans to meet up before spending our Christmas together but it is not easy.
Monday 16 November  The clouds are still hovering although it is quite warm.  Stroll down to the beach to have another look at the apartment and get the agents details.  Catch the bus into Torrevieja 95 ptas one way (40p).  Hop off by the sea front and stroll around to the harbour.  A very pleasant town with lots of squares, fountains and seating areas.  The estate agents make arrangements for us to be shown the apartment tomorrow morning.  She is English as every other person here seems to be.  They deal mainly with new property and have people coming out from England regularly on inspection flights.  This area is very popular as it is warmer and drier than Benidorm and only a degree or two cooler than the Costa del Sol.  Property and prices for most things are also cheaper here and there are lots of flights from nearby Alicante airport at less than £100 return.  My annual Christmas Newsletter and condensed Diary take some doing this year and the mailing list consists of 21 overseas addresses and 20 English ones – that’s in addition to those of you who are already receiving this full unabridged addition.  Jim and Clare come to us for a meal in the evening and for the first time the Chilli Pasta is not as good as usual.  I bought a large tin of what I thought were chopped tomatoes but they turn out to be rather more than chopped and almost tomato juice which makes for quite a sloppy sauce.  They have heard that I like cream cakes and bring a selection for desert although once again the cream is not as good as English fresh cream.  Enjoy another pleasant evening chatting and playing Scrabble.
Tuesday 17 November  Meet the estate agent but unfortunately he doesn’t have the keys to the apartment we want to see but shows us a couple nearby which are slightly larger – and also more expensive!  Manage to get a bit of sunbathing on the nice long stretch of La Mata beach but true to form the clouds roll in late afternoon.  Stan and Judy phone and as the weather has not been so good they have moved on further round the coast and say they will catch up with us in England in January.  This means that we can stay in this area a bit longer as our only deadline is that we want to be on "Camping Almanzora" near Garrucha by the beginning of December to take advantage of the reduced price for 1 month stays.  Back to the International Club in the evening followed by the Melody Bar.  Jim & Clare both get up to the Karaoke.  Return after 1.00am.  Feel sorry for Clare who has to go to work.
Wednesday 18 November  Take a walk along the coast to La Mata.  Doing the Christmas diary has put me in the mood and I buy a 6" decorated Chritsmas tree and some Christmas candles.  There is an interesting street market where we would normally have bought fruit and veg but we seem to be eating out all the time at the moment.  Stop to sunbathe on the beach on the way back but around 1pm  thick clouds come over and a cold wind starts to blow off the sea.  Call at Alan and June’s Villa "El Paradiso" in the evening.  A 4 bed Villa with sunken bath/jacuzzi etc and a granny flat attached.  Aptly named as the garden swimming pool completes the picture.  They lived in the Villa for 3 years but June missed her grandchildren too much.  They now rent the Villa out and live in England and either come for short holidays and use the Granny flat or long stays when they use the Villa and the Villa tenants use the Granny flat – even that is bigger than most apartments.  We all go out to Villa Martin a golf club/complex just South of here.  Fairways is a lovely restaurant – one of many on two levels set around a large courtyard.  A three course meal is excellent value at 2050 ptas (£9) the price being about the only thing that makes you realise you are in Spain as all the staff and customers are English.
Thursday 19 November   Fast walk to La Mata for the weekly market.  Call at the estate agents office and make arrangements to view.   At Cabo Cervera the apartment is small but if we can get if for the right price it could prove a good investment.  The agent wants to show us brand new places and as we have time to kill we go along for the ride.  All very tightly packed in with no sign of building work ever finishing as is the norm in Spain.  Manage to find a sheltered spot back on the beach hidden behind the ice cream kiosk as the sun is hot enough but the sea breeze is chilly.  We take Clare and Jim out for a meal in the evening and they suggest a Chinese.  An excellent menu for 4 including 2 bottles of wine at a total of 4350 ptas (£19.50).  They even have an individual menu with 3 courses and half a bottle of wine at 590 ptas (£2.65) a head.  Superb value and a very nice restaurant.
Friday 20 November  A last shower in the house prior to our departure.  The mail from Claire has not arrived so we will have it redirected.  A quick snack with Clare and Jim at the local Tapas bar before our departure at 1.00pm.  Call at Todo’s to spend the vouchers we won at bingo and then Lidl for a big shop.  I buy a bag of chocolate Christmas tree ornaments to hang around the van (just incase any children call) and a chocolate advent calendar (for decoration purposes).  A little further South of Torrevieja we spot a lot of motorhomes parked up and closer inspection reveals 2  British ones.  Playa Flamenca is a lovely spot between two beaches.     Graham and Ann (late 50’s) have a mobile home in France but travel in the winter.  Pete (74) and Pam (75) have been together touring for 3 years (her husband died 5 years ago – she woke up in their motorhome to find him dead in bed besides her) and what a lively couple – you would never credit how old they.   They all come into our van for drinks and a chat in the evening.  We realise we are in Zenia only 12 miles from Torrevieja so will call Clare tomorrow to see if the mail arrived after we left.
Saturday 21 November  An old GB van with New Zealand stickers pulled up late last night and we think it may be Barbara and Malcolm whom we met last winter in Turkey.   Leave a note on the windscreen.  It isn’t them but Ron, Jenny and daughter Rhonda from Auckland.  Their neighbour has a motorhome and they think that a swap may be possible for us and so we exchange details.  Touring until next June in an old van picked up for £2,000  they say we must visit them when we get to New Zealand.  Sadly they are moving on today.  Many nationalities in the vans here – Swedish, German, Dutch, Belgian and British.  We notice a German man sat outside his van with something plugged into a free standing solar panel and a drip bottle hanging from the van and going into his arm.  Who says bad health stops you travelling.  Find a nice sheltered spot on the beach.  At lunch time I return to the van with instructions to take Steve a sandwich and a beer back.  Sit outside the van to eat mine and I am just finishing my wine when some hands go over my eyes with a "guess who?".  It’s George and Barbara whom we last saw at Pinet about 10 days ago.  They spot the wine and I feel obliged to ask them to join me.  Pete and Pam return from their shopping trip and park next to us and so the party grows.  Jamaican/Dutch Jimmy strolls past and joins us.  A couple of hours later a starving Steve pops up to ask where his sandwich is.  He of course joins us as do Graham and Ann.  The party is in full swing with everyone bringing out more wine and beer.  Steve borrows Graham’s scooter and drives off to phone Clare.  The mail arrived half an hour after we left also Stan and Judy have phoned to ask us to meet up with them at Aguilas.  We move behind the van to follow the sun and Pete puts a tape on with his favourite new record "I’m in love with a big panty woman".  Pete and Pam dance and she amazes us all when she finishes up doing the splits!  Jimmy gets out his guitar and we all enjoy a sing song.  It gets to joke telling time and Pam comes out with some smashers.  Remind me to tell you when we see you again.  Hope we can manage such a fun day at Christmas.  
Sunday 22nd November   Having swapped information on good places to free camp we arrange to meet up with Pete & Pam and Jimmy and his wife at a spot on Mar Menor.  Return to Torrevieja to collect our mail then head South again.  Pull over to fill up with spring water and we both end up with free showers as the hose pipe keeps blowing off from the tap.  Arrive at Lo Pagan a beautiful spot with a spit of land cutting off the sea from Mar Menor.  This means we can park with sea on both sides of us and a personal stretch of beach.  The New Zealanders are here but no sign of the others.  Another hot sunny day with over 20 motorhomes lined up.  We spot another couple of British vans and one of them has come from the area we now think the others are but says no one else was there.  The New Zealanders join us in the evening for drinks and we have little doubt we will meet up again as we are following the same route.
Monday 23 November  Away at 10.00am and into Cartagena for LPG.  Should ring a bell from History lessons and the Carthaginians.  The harbour area is nice with the oldest submarine in existence preserved there as a memorial.  El Portus Naturist site nearby is expensive, very quiet and unappealing at this time of year.  Following the N332 SW a slight detour takes us to Bolnuevo with the famous rock formation but after Turkey they are a bit tame.  On to Aguilas to try and find Stan and Judy.  We find the beach that they named but no one is there.  The message did not make it clear as to whether they would be there on Monday or until Monday so they must have moved on.   Drive to Garrucha where we check out a conventional campsite.  Steve miss judges the roundabout and dents the bottom of the van leaving metal strips hanging off.  He manages to knock it back into shape and screw the strips back on but it will need a bit of professional attention to totally cover up the damage.  The Half textile/ half Naturist site of Almanzora looks a bit more promising with more people staying there and cheaper prices.  Will probably spend a few weeks here around Christmas and New Year.  A little further West at the end of the Naturist beach we come across over 40 motorhomes parked up.  A large area with plenty of flat grass to park on and people wandering around naked – truly free camping.  This will do us for a good while.  Our "neighbours" Mike and Shirley tell us they were moved on last year as the campsite owners asked the Police to do it but as only one van out of about 70 went onto a site they have not bothered this year.  The bread man drives round at about 8.30am tooting his horn and you can walk along the beach to the Naturist complex with supermarket etc.  Steve checks this out and phones Jo and Han who should be in this area but are still in Walsall finalising the house sale but should catch us up in a couple of weeks.
Tuesday 24 November  Steve is out at 8.00am jogging along the beach – in order to phone Claire before she goes to work.  We need to get a message to John and Maureen to tell them where we are and also to sort out a few more "David" problems.  Mick and Shirley join us for coffee – think they are around 60 but as drop outs with long hair it is hard to judge.  Perhaps Steve was right when he started growing his.  The sun gets hot by about 10.00am so we strip off and sunbathe until it clouds over around 3.00pm.  Can’t complain as it has to be better than England in November.
Wednesday 25 November  Cold morning but hot enough to sunbathe as the day progresses.  Clouds late afternoon produce a fabulous sunset that looks like huge balls of fire.  Our evening stroll around the site reveals John an English man with an old car and caravan.  He is a writer and shuts himself away in the van for days on end with his typewriter.
Thursday 26 November  Warm but windy night and windy morning so we will walk to Garrucha.  As we head West we hear the sound of a car skidding and then an almighty crash.  Both us and another camper run towards the sound.  There is a wrecked car off the road badly smashed up but no one inside it.  The driver has climbed out and is sitting in the car of some other drivers who have pulled up.  We think a lorry was pulling out of the side road and the car came round the bend too fast to see him, braked hard then swerved off the road and through some waste land  finally grinding to a halt when it hit a large raised manhole.  The man looks OK so we decide to walk along the road and return along the sea front.  The village we thought was Garrucha turns out to be Puerto Rey and as Garrucha is a further 4km we turn back along the sea front as it is now even hotter than yesterday.  Manage a quick swim in the sea but it is too chilly to linger.
Friday 27 November  Cloudy windy morning so we walk along the beach to the campsite which constitutes our daily exercise.  Still manage some sunbathing later on.  Play boules with Shirley and Mick late afternoon .
Saturday 28 November  Ron the New Zealander calls on us – they arrived late last night after dark.  We tell them we are going onto the site tomorrow to charge our batteries but will be back after that and will meet up for a chat etc.  We have been talking about Christmas and think we will change our plans and surprise everyone by returning to England to spend Christmas and New Year with family and friends as it is quite likely we will be abroad for the next 2.  I give Steve a hair trim as he will need one when we get back to England – if it grows any longer he will have a ridiculous tide mark where his suntan stops.  A German couple nearby follow my lead and give each other hair cuts in the nude.   Another British camper has arrived and looks like a traditional wooden gypsy van with balcony on the back but mounted on a lorry chassis.  Makes us look quite normal.  Mick and Shirley join us for a game of 5s and 3s Dominoes and drinks in the evening.
Sunday 29 November  A late start as we did not sleep too well last night having gone to bed later and drunker than normal.  As we leave we spot yet another British camper – this time a converted lorry with the caravan part having a traditional Georgian wooden house door including a brass letter box!   Drive the short distance to the site and begin our Christmas plans.  Confirm with the Australians that the exchange is definite and then phone Pete to make tentative plans for New Years eve.  We want to surprise as many people as possible so will have to be quite secretive in our calls to Claire.  I sit outside the van with the computer plugged in and catch up on some work whilst Steve sunbathes (it’s all right for some).  We are the only people in this quiet corner of the site until 2 car loads of Spaniards pull up by their caravan to spend the day there with all the kids.  Peace returns late afternoon when they leave but shortly after the builders start work on the Hotel opposite knocking balconies out and bricking them up.  They work until 11.00pm
Monday 30 November  Woken at 8.00am when the builders resume work.  We have no sea view, gravel instead of grass around us, small pitches with black canopies for shade and the sun disappears behind the Hotel mid afternoon.  Not a patch on our free camping spot.  Steve actually writes a letter – to Mom and Dad to pre warn them of our early return.  A fax arrives from Australia confirming they are expecting us around the 25th January.  I write to our Romanian friends who now live in Bangkok to see if they fancy a visit from us if we can get a stop over.  So much to do now that we have made our decision to return early.  Back to the beach parking at 4.45pm but pull up at the entrance as we intend to go shopping first thing tomorrow.  We start our evening stroll and spot Graham and Ann’s van.  They haul us in for a beer – or two.  Steve pops to see Mick and John to invite them shopping or to give us a list.  Now that we have more friends here we consider the idea of having a BBQ on Saturday to celebrate my Birthday.  Graham even more a born organiser than me says it is a must and that we should ask people to bring a bottle and something to put on the BBQ so that we can invite loads of people without it being too expensive.  John calls at Grahams van with a shopping list and also joins us.  It turns out he has friends in France whom Graham and Ann also know.  The Beer runs out but 3 litres if Wine later at 9.30pm we stagger home.

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