Sun Sun Sun
We decided to come to Spain for the winter to get some of this glorious warm weather and sun that everybody talks about. Well, I’m happy to report, after a few false starts, we’ve managed to find it and I’m writing this blog while laying on a beautiful sandy beach just South of Valencia, looking out over crystal clear turquoise sea. While we’re happy that we’ve found the sun at last, we’re full of feeling for family and friends back in the UK who are now wrapping up in winter coats and trudging off to that work thingy every morning in the knowledge that winter’s only just starting. Our thoughts are – briefly – with your suffering every day ?, then we give each other a little grin, sit back and lap up the sunshine. (Sorry folks back home!)
The climate here seemed to change as soon as we crossed the border into Spain just South of Perpignan, we could see more sun, and feel the temperature rising with every mile we drove south. Our Spanish adventure didn’t start totally sunny though.
Our first port of call was Begur, home of good friends Roger & Beckie, who’ve lived out here for more than a decade now. On our way into Begur, we were deluged with rain, when the heavens opened; we had floods of water running down the roads, our kayak was better suited for those conditions than the Motorhome. Still, the joys of a Motorhome; it was impossible to drive, so we pulled in to the side of the road, made a cup of tea, and watched the onslaught outside.
We spent a fabulous weekend with Roger & Beckie, and once again enjoyed a gastronomic delight as they cooked for us on Saturday and Sunday nights – with Sunday a super home cooked curry night.
Best curry we’ve had for months, we do miss English food !!!!
The other joy of visiting friends is that we can get our washing done properly. Thanks to everyone who’s helped us out so far. Every Motorhome has a weight limit, which restricts what we can pack, and so we’re limited with the amount of clothes and bedding we carry. This means every couple of weeks we need to find somewhere to get our washing done. This is usually at a launderette on a site, but in between Carol’s often hand washing bits and pieces in a bucket. The washing is the easy bit, the challenge is getting everything dry when the weathers not so good. We do carry a mini rotary drier but that does need some wind at least, and preferably some sun. Hopefully this will get easier now we’re down into the warmth of sunny Spain.
Did I mention wind? Yes we’ve had tons of it, three days worth in fact. Not as a result of Roger’s curry, but a westerly wind, gusting up to 50 mph that felt ready to blow the van off the road. When the winds came, we were fortunate to be parked up on the side of a mountain in the middle of acres and acres of olive groves in one of the most quaint sites we’d ever stayed in. Run by a young Dutch couple, “Finca Poc a Poc” is an eco friendly site that is just so chilled we could’ve stayed for weeks. However after three nights of laying wide-awake in our van being relentlessly pummelled and shaken by the wind, we were desperate for the sanctuary of the beach and the sea, so when the wind stopped, we headed back to the coast.
We pulled into a free stopover North of Valencia next to a young English couple, Dom and Shanna, who were on a four month trip around Europe in their VW Campervan. We’ve met so few English travellers on this trip, it was a delight to have some fellow Brits to chat with as we sat out in the sun. We also shared rather too much red wine and RonMiel (honey rum). It was only at the end of a laughter filled evening that we found we all enjoyed playing poker, and in a drunken state we agreed to have a poker night the next night. Sore heads all round the next morning, and we sensibly agreed we’d save our poker night for another time.
As soon as we left France, we’d put away our French language course and made a start on our Spanish. Yes – we know, pretty stupid starting our first Spanish lesson the day we arrived in Spain, but – we’d been trying to improve our French, and the Spanish just got waylaid. When we did start, what a shock it was starting a new language from scratch. The most we knew between us wasn’t much more than “Si”, “Gracias” and “dos biers por favor”. We’re now two weeks into the course and we can probably just about book a room at a hotel – a great start for Motorhomers!!!
With all the visits, and wind delays, and after by-passing Barcelona, we finally made our way down to Valencia. Neither of us have been before and it was high on our list of places to visit. Having parked up 20 km outside of Spain’s third largest City, we hopped on their metro and took the train into town. We loved Valencia, beautiful old buildings and rich in history, but as usual, we gravitated to the green areas, and what an amazing green area Valencia has. 60 years ago, three quarters of the city was flooded when the river Turia burst its banks flooding three quarters of the city. The following year, the city devised a plan to divert the river – think the river Thames and London! They ultimately turned the resultant dry river bed into the “Jardín del Turia” a beautiful green space winding through the centre of Valencia, with all of the original bridges still intact. We spent a few fabulous hours wandering along this amazing space in the middle of their city. It was easy to see the English tourists, there were we in shorts sandals and T-shirts, all the locals were in hats, coats and scarves – lightweights!
And now, as I said at the start of the blog, we’re South of Valencia gazing out over the sea, enjoying a very peaceful Sunday. Earlier we went for a swim, and to say the sea was bloody cold would be an understatement (it was actually a profanity upwards from bloody but this is a family blog!).
Tomorrow we’re leaving here and heading down to meet up with our real life neighbours and fellow travellers, Brian and Karen, who’ve rented out an apartment in Alicante for a couple of months.
Just perfect; somewhere else to do our washing, and more friends to share lots of food and wine with. Happy Days
Adiós, hasta luego amigos