652 nights : 24,534 miles travelled : countries visited: 25
“People go to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the people they ignore at home”. Dagobert D.Runes
While we try to travel with an open mind, we were hesitant about taking our snail to Spain. We had heard about the huge flocks of ‘snowbirds’, people who escape northern European winters to the kinder climes on the Spanish Med. In addition to those permanently resident are hundreds who chase the sun in motorhomes and it was suggested we call ahead to reserve spaces on camperparks and sites. This turned out to be excellent advice. Initially snooty about all the motorhomes casually parked on any available ground in Peniscola, Calpe and El Campello, we soon realised that most local sites were full and many people were waiting for a space to become available. Ironically, it sometimes seemed as though we were paying for less space than those squatting on every corner!
We paid to cosy up with others but at least we were close to the bar in Calpe !
We found more breathing space on a campsite near to the port town of Sagunto. Our route took us via a flooded road which was closed but it would seem the usually conformist Graham lives more in fear of Lucy the satnav than the Spanish authorities!
We were lucky to be on a pitch on the beachfront and soon understood why so many of our neighbours had returned many times to spend winter here. The site was a little frayed around the edges, but there were no tower blocks and a quiet dog friendly beach where we could gently stroll and register that we had made our own escape from the grey skies at home.
We have avoided the tolled motorways and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the roads in Spain, many of which are accompanied by cycleways and lycra clad athletes. Cycling seems to be really popular and our weekend in La Vall de Laguar was enlivened by excited Spanish families taking part in a local cycling festival and professional teams whizzing past on off season training routes. We enjoyed the hills and views at a more relaxed pace.
The whole valley was sprinkled with springs and the one just outside the campsite still had Campell’s traditional village laundry, fed directly by mountain water. (There was no hot wash cycle offered!)
Whilst our wheels did not stop turning in Benidorm, we experienced mass motorhome migration all along the Costa Blanca and met people like us who enjoy motorhoming, but who are happy to pitch up in one spot for months on end next to people like them. There is nothing wrong with that but we would miss the excitement of constantly changing vistas, the thrill of finding new local delicacies to enjoy with our coffee and the warmth felt when clumsily greeting someone new in their own language.
We know that is achievable here in Spain so we are snailing hard to avoid the all too common clichés from hereon.
M & G xx
Treat of the week: The N332 defines the margin of high rise coastal resorts from the rural plains where arid land miraculously produces many different crops. It is a road where you see two Spains meet. We found somewhere to stop and stare towards the saltpans and lagoons, home to flamingos and avocets and a different kind of tower.