The campsite is filling up as more and more people arrive to spend their winter here in Spain. We have our little motorhome, our awning, our sun canopy which we wind in and out as needed and in comparison to most others here then we are the least well equipped unit here. Four days ago, for instance, a large motor home with French number plates went passed our little plot towing a very large trailer which had a long roll of lino strapped on top of it. Most of the plots here are prebooked year after year by couples coming here to meet their “winter” friends. They headed to their pitch and lots of other campers came out to greet them. Three hours later and with the encouraging shouts and yells in many languages, they finally got their huge van in the desired resting spot. They have now spent two days setting up their camp. I just happened, or should I more honestly say, made sure that I was walking past when the trailer was opened. The first thing that came off the back was a full size twin tub washing machine! We have had a full report of everything else that came out of the trailer from Neil and Sybil as their pitch is directly opposite. Possibly the the French couple may have poor eyesight as a massive television was unloaded and dragged into their motor home. On their pitch they have a large awning and a separate square tent as big as our awning. The motorbike and bicycles also have their own covers and the whole pitch is covered by an enormous ground sheet.
Elaine was in the laundry room yesterday and was waiting for the wash to finish after having paid 4 euros to use the camp automatic washing machine. She was chatting with a Dutch lady who was hand washing some sheets in a sink. Elaine asked her why she didn’t use the machine and she said she too had her own washer and what she described as a centrifugue. Elaine was taken to her motor homewhere she was proudly shown an upright washer and a separate spin drier. So now we begin to think that we are being viewed as those poor Brits. We haven’t got a satellite dish as big as one of those you can see at air force bases around the country. How awful would it be if they found out we haven’t even brought a television with us. The game is on! We have just got back this evening to find the competition to see who can outdo the rest with impressive Christmas decorations has started on the site. Outside one caravan is a six foot white light decoration and all around you can see that , not to be outdone, other campers have been busy decorating their plots. Even the English couple who only brought their caravan here the other day, have put up a single strand of flashing coloured Christmas lights along the top of their awning. I would love to join the battle and show that us Brits are not to be scorned. I wanted to buy a 3 foot high, neon reindeer and sleigh to put outside our motor home that I saw in a charity shop in town but Elaine put her foot down and said that if I brought it then she would go home. After some thought I decided not to buy this great find. Was I right in making that decision?
It is fascinating to talk to the different nationalities to find out how and why they chose to spend upwards of 5 months on the same site in Spain every year. Tone, a dutch chap, who winters here was telling me that he got divorced so now he and his dog come here every year because it saves him so much money. As soon as he arrives here he swears an off the road notification (SORN) to the Dutch equivalent of the DVLA so he gets a refund on his road licence and his insurance and then drives around on his Lambretta motor scooter. He said he will licence and insure his motor home again just before he drives the vehicle home. So every day he can be seen going off on his scooter with his dog in between his feet. He does wonder if the Spanish police will object to his method of transporting his pet as he hasn’t got a crash helmet for it. He was saying that all the Dutch like him fly home for the first of April and the return immediately after they have made their benefit claim for the next 6 months.
Shopping trollies can be seen everywhere in Spain. In England I have only seen old ladies with these things and never really given them a lot of thought. Here they are pulled or pushed by men and women of all ages and even the beggars in the streets have their trolley by the side of their begging cup. There are two wheeled trollies, four wheeled trollies and yesterday we even saw a very posh looking gentleman with a 6 wheeled trolley; three wheels either side in a triangle formation to help to get the shopping trolley up and down high kerbsides. There does seem to be a certain amount of snobbery involved in the choice and ownership of a real posh trolley and you do have to admire the design of a ” Rolls Royce” trolley that has small mudguards over the wheels to stop the bottom of the bag getting splashed on a rainy day. I do think that there could be money to be made in producing accessories, and the person who first produces a battery powered, remote controlled shopping trolley like the electric golf trollies will be onto a fortune. A near grandma aged camper here spent hours going around the huge Wednesday market studying the different design features and finally made her choice. She bought her trolley and was so disappointed that she didn’t have enough shopping that she insisted in carrying all my vegetables I had bought, back to the camp site as well. When we got back she took everything out the shopper and lined it all up trying to impress Elaine with what she had carried back in her new purchase. I said to Elaine that we should get one but Elaine put her foot down and said If I bought one the she would go home. After some thought I decided not to buy one. Have I said that somewhere before?
Tomorrow we are off to Alicante by train to do some more sight seeing there and to visit the huge castle built on the hills above the city. Whilst we are there we will get our train tickets for our three day trip to Barcelona. The Hotel is all booked for the 9th, 10th and 11th of December and we have been discussing what we will wear during our trip . Jo said that as they did not bring any form of suitcase with them then she will carry their things in a shopping trolley but Elaine put her foot down and said………………………………………………………………………………………!
After all our previous cultural visits to the beautiful cities, towns and villages through France and Spain it may seem strange that we are so thoroughly enjoying our couple of months stay here. Whilst we were moving around then we would just get to meet folk then we were saying our goodbyes as we or they moved on. Here is different! People watching has a joy in its own right. At precisely 08.25 every morning the lady in the white dressing gown walks past our motor home on the way to the shower block. At quarter to nine the lady in the black dressing gown cycles past on her electric bike heading in the same direction. We have learned an awful lot about what is available here from the campers that have been coming here for years. As we walk through the town then it is nice when you are acknowledged by people from the campsite. Often the language barrier is just to big and all you can say is hello. So, as an experience, then this is an amazing one. Obviously when we we were moving around then it was very easy to write of our adventures but now we are here then all I can write about is what comes into my head about our every day experiences here.