16th March…..El Campello, Spain
Due to computer problems there has been quite a delay since the last blog. As much as we were all enjoying Portugal the weather was getting us down. The high winds that kept coming in now we were on the Atlantic coast of Portugal were bringing rain at times but it was the temperatures that were the deciding factor. Earlier in the trip we had already visited Portugal and then hightailed it out of there so we could enjoy the better weather in the south of Spain. As exploring Portugal was part of the original plan, the four of us vowed to drive back and vowed also to see it out whatever the weather.
The internet kept us up to date with the weather and we saw that there were much warmer temperatures in the south of Spain but suddenly we were seeing dire warnings of yet another big storm on the way over the Atlantic that would bring heavy rain, low temperatures for the west coast of this lovely country, the northern areas of Spain and southern France and it looked as though it was going to last for quite a while. What should we do? There was much discussion so there was a consensus that we should contact the small campsite in the Alicante area to see if there were two spaces available. We all enjoyed our long stay there last year so if there was space then we were on our way. The next day the reply came that they had accepted our reservation. We decided that we would not let our friends Roy and Susan, who we knew were staying on the site, know that we were on our way. We worked it out so that we would break the journey twice leaving us with three days of around 200 miles each day so we set off on Sunday the 6th of March.
We drove that day 236 miles and managed to avoid the toll roads around Lisbon and wild camped in a town in Spain called Don Bonito. As usual we kept in touch with each other using the walkie-talkies with Elaine and Jo pointing out different things to look out for. Next day we st off and we were aiming for another free camping night at a small place called Lezuza. We started to climb and we were at 800 meters above sea level when we started to see signs warning us of snow above 1000 meters. In the distance we could see snow on the mountains but drove on regardless because we had to find a place to stop for the night. A little further on we could see a lorry with flashing orange lights and as we came up to it we saw it was a snowplow that was gritting the roads. The roads still climbed and on either side of us the fields were white with snow. We pulled into Lezuza and found the sports place that was designated as a motorhome stopping place. To say it was cold is a little bit of an under statement and the forecast was that it was going to be a lot worse by nightfall. That certainly was not to be a place to be stuck at and as Tom and I felt fine we decided to drive on to El Campello. That day we drove 386 miles and we were both quite relieved to see the the orange walls of Camping Costa Blanca. As soon as we were both set up we went straight round to Roy and Susan’s caravan and Roy came rushing out to see who all the people were that were staring in through his awning windows. What a greeting we got and Susan even changed out of her pajamas to come out and join in with all the excited noise and laughter. We were recognized by lots of others from all different countries that we had met last year……… the noisy Brits have arrived. The next day we heard the news which made us so glad we had driven on. The area around Lezuza got 25 centimeters of snow that night and the following day,the west coast of Portugal, Northern Spain and southern France were all hit by storms, snow and ice.The next day, Wednesday, was Jo’s birthday the four of us and Roy and Susan went into town to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate her great day. Elaine and I brought a cake and took it there at lunchtime for them to bring it out at the end of the meal. They brought it out with the 4 and 7 candles the wrong way round and an outdoor firework roaring away.
Every Thursday there is a lunchtime meal at the campsite with music provided by a Norwegian camper named Tobyn. After the food, the tables are cleared and the dancing starts. We joined in and we were still dancing and singing late into the evening. He will be missed when he goes back to Norway soon. There are other entertainments arranged at the bar and what with bingo on Saturdays and a petanque tournament during the week then there is always something to keep you entertained. We all like El Campello and because we came here last year then we know where all the shops are and the best places to go and visit.
Since we have been out we have been snorkeling, straight-lining, cycling, walking and now I have taken up Tabata training which is helping me to get my shoulders working after the operations on my two shoulders so there is always something to do every day.Mind you Rock and Roll on Thursday lunchtimes is also helping me with my shoulder exercises.
We will stay here until after Easter because by that time the weather should be fine for our travels across Italy and on down to Croatia. Unless anything happens worth mentioning in the meantime, I shall continue with the blog once we start travelling again.