Large bottle of tomato sauce / The big catch up.

Since the update of the app I use to write my blog, I have had great difficulties in continuing the tale.  Hopefully all is sorted now.

4th January
Took our old bus Bertha for a spin and with Tom and Jo in the back.  We headed up the mountains to go to a village / small town called Busot.  Our lycra clad friends, the dreaded cyclists, were out in force as it was a Sunday and of course they love to cycle 3 abreast especially when the roads are as narrow and windy as the road was up the mountain.  Half way up, we stopped in a lay by and had a magnificent view of Alicante and the area around it.  That did mean that having finally passed a large group of cyclists, they then went passed us whilst we were stopped but the view was worth it.  I do hope I am not sounding too much like Victor Meldrew, with my moans!  Busot was a beautiful place and after exploring the place we drove back down a main road towards Alicante to avoid all the cyclists doing the return journey.  We pulled up near a beach and ejoyed the rest of the day.

5th January
As mentioned in a previous blog the 5th of January is an important part of the Spanish Christmas celebrations.  So the four of us went down to the port to see the Three Kings come in by boat before the carnival type procession which winds its way around the town throwing sweets out to the people lining the streets.  The children believe that the Three Kings come bringing the rest of the presents that they didn’t get Christmas day.  Needless to say, the port area was packed with people and all the kids carried large bags in anticipation of the procession later.  We moved out of the port and went up to the road above which overlooks the harbour to get out of the throngs of people.  As each boat deposited a King then very loud fireworks were let off from the watch tower.  At dusk the possession started and we four collected sweets and gave them to the children around us.  Jo kept dashing across the road in between the passing floats to take sweets to a little girl who had started to cry because she wasn’t getting anything to put in her bag.  It was great to witness this special Spanish custom.

6th January
Epiphany is a bank holiday in Spain.  The four of us went in their VW camper van to Guadalest which is 15 km north of Benidorm.  Guadelest is a must visit place which is set in a beautiful valley and the whole township is set up a large rocky hill with a castle that sits at the very top.  Although it was quite obvious that the whole place is now set out to cater for visitors who flock to this tourist attraction, it is really quite tasteful.  As we went higher through the town over a wall, far below there was a fantastically shaped reservoir where a river which once meandered through the valley had been turned into this addition to the wonders of the place.  Whilst there we went into a museum of microminiatures.  We saw the Statue of Liberty inside the eye of a needle and lots of faces on grains of rice, elephants engraved on the eyes of a mosquito and many more works of art by a man called Manual Ussa.  All of these things were looked at through microscopes and although it sounds quite naff, even Jo enjoyed it and for her, unless its in a shop with a price tag on it then it would not hold her attention.

7th, 8th, 9th 10th January
Generally just enjoyed the days, walking into town and would normally walk along the front as the view was something you would never get fed up with.  We did go out in the VW again so that we could do a little retail therapy. The evenings were generally spent at ours or theirs playing Rummikub Sequence or cards. On the 10th we went into Alicante by train to a large shopping plaza and had lunch in an American Diner.  Tom and I spent most of the time hanging around outside one store after another while Elaine and Jo spent endless time looking at every last item each shop had on display.  We then walked into the centre of Alicante, all along by the beach and then caught the train back.  Note to self………next time shopping centre visit planned,  feign ilness!

11th January
Back to Alicante, again by train to meet up with Brenda and John, the friends that we had stopped with earlier in our Journey.  We had a great catch up in a cafe and then decided that another visit to the castle was good for all of us.  Whilst John and I enjoyed the beatiful, stunning views Elaine and Brenda just chatted endlessly and barely even noticed their surroundings.  We then went back down and found a small back street restaurant and had 3 courses and a drink for 10 euros each.  The great thing was that B and J’s Spanish meant Elaine and I knew exactly what to order and knew what would be brought out on our plates.  We had talked about the superb ice cream shop we had discovered  on a previous visit,  so despite the lunch we had just finished that was our next port of call.  I do not have the descriptive power to be able to describe the joy the tub of Mango and mint choc chip ice cream, pure heaven comes to mind!.  We walked down to the Passeo opposite the port, we said our goodbyes and we made our way back to the station .  

13th January
Up early and we are off again in Tom and Jo’s campervan for a day of exploration.  We headed south to La Manga and went to look at a huge campsite there.  You had to wonder if there was anyone left in Britain because the site was big enough to house 1000 caravans and motor homes and virtually all the cars parked around the site were British.  La Manga itself is an amazing place because there is a strip of land 23 km. long that forms an enclosed lake, so as you drive up the strip you have the sea to your right and enclosed lake to your left.  We stopped for a picnic before visiting a very posh campsite at Mils Pamaris  which was very isolated and the small town a few km away was eerily deserted. Another place bought up by second home owners. We all agreed that the small campsite we are on was a great choice.  On the way back we went in to Lo Pagan which was a place Brenda and John had recommended that we visit.  We walked to the lake which has volcanic warm mud that people bathe themselves in to cure, goodness knows what.  Honestly, it did not look too inviting and even though we had all brought our swimwear with us especially, Tom wasn’t too keen in case we didn’t do a good a job washing the mud off us before getting into his posh van.  Across the lakes, you could see flocks of flamingoes and in the distance massive mountains of salt were visible as salt production from the sea water in the lakes gives employment to the locals in the area.

Things have changed in the camp.  The people running the bar and restaurant have gone.  Thank goodness!  Only the ardent drinkers used the place because they overcharged, and weren’t very good at giving the correct change.  Now the owner of the site has taken on the bar and everything is totally different as suddenly the place is being used and a few times a week he is organizing functions, with food at very reasonable prices.  We have changed the date when we leave here as Lou is coming out to see us on the 12th of February and it is much easier for us to stop here for the extra time before getting our tour on the road again.  More news.  Tom and Jo had booked to stay here until the 14th of February but now they need to get home earlier so they are busily making arrangements to leave here by the 31st of January.  We are going to miss them!

To bring us right up to date The French people that we got quite friendly with have gone.  Different vans and motorhomes arrive daily.  We have enjoyed a paella lunch with music and wine followed up by a very memorable trip into town to a Chinese restaurant.  Tom and I played in a boules tournement and I am pleased to say that my team of three ended up higher than Tom’s team.  Mind you the two Dutch people I was teamed up with groaned when my first throw hit high up an overhanging tree and everyone had to scatter to avoid my heavy metal ball.  It did get better as time went on.  Lots of days are spent relaxing, sun bathing and Elaine and I have had a thorough sort out of the van and T and J are going to take lots of the surplus things we brought out with us, back with them when they leave.

Periodically we go off on the train and following the recommendation of Rabby, a Scots guy, we took the train to Denia which is two and a half hours away and the cost was €10.40 return.  Rabby promised us spectacular views as we do the second part of the journey by diesel train over the mountains.  We four were all a little disappointed as the journey did not live up to its billing but we had a great day topped off by a meal in a very nice restaurant opposite the port there. 

Another do at the bar found us surrounded by Brits as we enjoyed a chicken dinner and a drink for €5 each.  The whole place was packed and a French guy played the organ and there was a lot of dancing and a lot of beer and wine drank.  So much so that Tone, the Dutch guy, from a motor home just up from us, fell in the pool and had to be dragged out.  Jo and I took him back to his motor home  and the following day the lady from the caravan next to his was heard to ask if anything had gone on that she had missed because all she heard were two English people telling Tone to get his clothes off straight away. Some unkind Dutch people were overheard saying that we should have left him in the pool and just thrown him some soap.

31st January
We were up early so we could say our goodbyes to Tom and Jo.  They left at 8o/c for a straight through drive to Santander.  Last night the wind got up and it must have been strong during the night as a large branch came down from one of the trees.  Jo tried to make out that it was the wind that brought tears to her eyes but she really would have cried if she had seen the streamers and balloons we had ready for the moment they drove out of the gate.  Jo, enjoy reading the blog!   Rather them than me crossing the Bay of Biscay tomorrow and on top of it all, we have just had a text from them and they are 90 km from Santander and that they are driving through high winds and a blizzard, and thats before they get to England.

If you have enjoyed reading about our adventures, please tell others and message me through wordpress with any likes or comments.

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This is all about our year long meander around Europe in our motor home. It is a way of passing on what is happening, where we are and thoughts on what we have seen or done. Please comment as it is, firstly, nice to know this stuff is being read, and also tell me if there are other things you would like to hear about.

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