These two travel everywhere with us on the dashboard of our van, they have kept us safe through our European tours so far.
Our blog starts here despite the fact that we have been in Spain for four months already. The first few paragraphs will give a brief description of our stay so far. We took the ferry from Portsmouth on the 4th October 2017 and after an overnight stop at the animal park just outside Santander, we took two days to get down to Camping Cabapino. The route took us straight down through the outskirts of Madrid. Cabapino is between Malaga and Marbella and on a clear day you can see Gibraltar and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco from our pitch on I row, on the campsite. If there are no gales, then we leave here on the 5th of February and our next adventure starts then. Our 4month stay has been memorable and we have had a great time. We have travelled all around the area, many times by bus but for two separate months we hired a car, so we could travel further afield.
We haven’t exactly been on our own during our stay. We have met up with people that were on the site when we came here in previous years. We have met new people and we made firm friends with Jim (a Glaswegian) and his lovely Westie dog called Corrie. What a charmer and Jim was great company as well.
I will never forget our St Andrews day celebration and the generous Spanish alcohol measures. Our friends, that we met in Fordingbridge, Jean and Brian and their dog Holly, arrived and we went out and about with them and spent lots of time in their company.
Then a motorhome with “Aussies on Tour” on the back of the van turned up and took a pitch on the same row as us and then the fun really started. It was our friends Wendy and Brian (they do not have a dog; just a stuffed Kangaroo and a stuffed Koala Bear).
How good was it to have met this pair down in Croatia on a previous European tour? We have become firm friends and we were meeting up again to spend the Christmas and New Year together.
A British couple Janice and Allen, have been coming to Cabopino for years so were right in with the “in-crowd”. They kept saying how amazed they were just how many friends and relations that came to the site to see us and be with us. Pam and John, Sue and David from Fordingbridge, my brother Jerry and his friend Debbie, the daughter Lynsey and her husband, Gary and of course the Aussies all spent time with us on the site.
However, this blog is not about our four months stay. This blog is about our travels from now on.
The red line is a rough guide of our intended route
Our plans are that we will make a slow move up the coast of Spain to give time for the weather to get a little warmer. We will then travel around the French Riviera, so we can get to northern Italy. This time we want to do the coastal route of Slovenia so our route across Italy will take us past Venice. We will visit Bologna and Ravenna on the way. After Slovenia, we will take the Adriatic Road which is the toll road that connects Rijeka and Dubrovnik which is the most scenic route in Croatia. From up there on the motorway you can see the 1000 islands that border this wonderful country.
On the way down to Dubrovnik we will certainly have a look at a couple of places in Bosnia. Our route will then take us through Montenegro and then into Albania once we managed to get through the border control. We just hope that the extra paperwork we have brought with us is to the border guards liking.
Depending on our route through Albania we will either go straight into Greece or visit Macedonia and then drive into Greece. By that time, it should be quite warm in this lovely country and the anticipation of the golden sands, the clear seas, the wonderful Greek food and the friendliness of the people makes it very tempting to copy Wendy and Brian, the Aussies. They are going to drive to the port at Ancona, in Italy, and take a ferry from there straight down to Greece. As tempting as this is, we love to explore new places and our planned route will certainly give us that.
With no time frame in mind, we will head north out of Greece for a visit to Bulgaria and have a few “must see” places in mind. Romania, Hungary and Slovakia will be on our route to the next country we aim to spend some time in. We have had many great reports about Poland and the DK Eyewitness book shows many places we will need to see. By that time, we will be wanting to head back home to England so, after leaving Poland, we will head west across Germany and Belgium towards a port or the Channel Tunnel to get us home. We will aim to get home sometime in July and, by then, the awful weather going on the UK will just be a forgotten memory.
11th February 2018
We have left Cabapino after having said our goodbyes and spent two days wild camping by the beach at Roquetes de Mar and walked most of the promenade to the harbour and visited the modernised castle / art gallery. We then moved up the coast, passed Alicante to El Compello. Here we visited friends, Roy, Sue and their dog Murphy and had two good days in their company.
The Australian pair, Wendy and Brian by this time were nicely settled in at a site in the centre of Benidorm. So that is where we are now. The main preoccupation here is people watching. I know it is a corny analogy, but Benidorm is like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. Like Blackpool on steroids, tacky is king. Walking down to the centre yesterday morning we watched eleven grown men file out of a hotel. One was dressed as Snow White and the other ten were all €dressed as dwarfs. What state will they be in when they return later. You can turn your nose up at the antics these groups get up to but we chose to smile as we enjoy the free entertainment they give us.
We are probably going to stay here in Benidorm until Friday, so we will have time to have our fill of the town and the surrounding area. For those that have never been then let me give you a little snapshot of the place. There are basically two, totally opposite sides to the town. There is the “Spanish” side with the long promenades running alongside the beach. There are lots of nice looking restaurants, swings and exercise machines and no loud noises other than that made from the traffic that runs alongside. The Spanish do love to promenade.
A very popular beach side bar
The “Brit” side is completely different. Bar after bar, all competing for custom. Loud music is heard from many of them and many sell a brandy and a coffee for €1.50 and we have seen a pint of lager for as little as €1.25. The side streets off the front abound with night clubs and huge bars and most of these establishments have people outside trying to entice you in with free shots. I do not think the concept of responsible drinking is given much credence in Benidorm.
There are as many tandem mobility scooters as the solo kind weaving in amongst those walking up and down the front. Since we have been here we have had a really good fish and chips in a small restaurant for €3.95 and a great Sunday roast (our first for a long time) at the “Yorkshire Pride” café/bar for €6.95. Please do not tell anyone! We just love the place.
We are now going to stop here until Monday the 19th. As the further north we go, the colder it is getting, we do need to slow down and what better place to stay than Benidorm. We will get in another Sunday roast before we leave.