48 hr LeMans

After the snow that descended upon us while at camping de Montreal, so I could take some loverly pictures, we wanted to move on north so we planned to leave on the Friday after checking the weather forecast etc. Thursday was a beautiful day with sunshine but with a brisk wind and all the snow had gone. Friday morning we woke to find another load of snow dumped in the area and not only that it had rained and froze also. We are not going anywhere. The campsite is at the bottom of a hill in a valley and the only way out is uphill. We waited until 11 o’clock and thought let’s go as we really wanted to spend some time up at tours. We got out the campsite but as soon as we got on the uphill road we were going nowhere. Hazard lights on and roll backwards and reverse into campsite road. A couple of other cars also came by us and got stuck.

By this time Hans the owner of the campsite had come up to us to make sure everything was ok. We said we would be staying another night. No problem he says have a free night on me. So back onto our pitch we went. Later that day we went for a walk up into the village and the roads were a lot better by then but to late for us to leave. Manana !

By the time we got up on Saturday the snow had all gone. Only the molehills had snow on them which looked really weird. Why did that bit not melt.

The campsite at Tours we were heading for is right by the river Loire and a cycle path runs for miles in both directions which is why we chose to go there. The weather was not being kind to us again, lots of rain and wind. The campsite opens at 3 pm. As we’re getting towards the area we can see there’s a huge traveller community in the area. The campsite has a huge big Gate at the entrance, I wonder why. Booked in by a French guy who spoke very good English he assures us it’s safe on site. We get parked up and set up. Then the electric keeps tripping. I wander over to reception and tell the man. He comes out and looks at it, discovers one of the big fuses is hot and has burnt out wire connecting it. So he plugs me into the one next to it and wiggles the wire in the burnt out one until it breaks and that is it, he has fixed it.

We left there this morning heading for a site just by Le Mans for two days, 48 hrs with good electric. We came here last year on our way home. The sun is shining at the moment but rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Room with a view

We left the farm stay the next day in the rain and headed out on the motorway for Grisolles. Another aire for the night which is a leisure centre carpark we have used before. As we came off the motorway just north of Toulouse we saw our first yellow vests stood on a roundabout with their shelters etc. We gave them a toot and a wave. We also saw speed cameras all covered up with bin bags and some were burnt out. And at one of the tolls the barriers were ripped off. We got to the aire just in time, just after we got there the carpark filled up because there was something going on in the leisure centre. By the look of the peaple going in, youngest being about 90 it was not going to be a late night. My worry was all those peaple getting in their cars after a sherry or two. And as sure as eggs are eggs about 8pm they started to leave and bang, crash, a shout of WOW and a lot of French shouting. A coach coming to pick up the sherry drinking fossils had hit a car.

On the road the next morning heading for the A20 which would take us to the campsite we were heading for, camping De Montréal at St Germain les belles. Run by a Dutch couple it’s a great site in a real oldie French village. The site has loads of old bits and pieces everywhere you look. We had a choice of pitches and chose one with a view.

It was cold outside and snow forecast for the next day, but we are warm inside. The next morning it was about -2 that’s what the weather app said. There was no frost but the ground was all crunchy. And then it started to snow lightly. We don’t like to be cooped up inside all day so decided to go for a small walk round the village in the snow. As we walked up past the school there was a load of kids all shouting and waving out the windows. You would think they have never seen a bloke in shorts in the snow before. What sheltered lives they must live. We also saw a snow plough going out which wasn’t a good sign. Back to the warmth of the camper for lunch and then the snow started to really come down. 24 hours after the first picture this is what it looked like. And there is more forecast for today. We like it here which is a good job because we won’t be able to get out the village today. We are at the bottom of a hill and the road to get back on the main road is up and down and very winding. We have some days to play with before the ferry so no problem. …….hopefully.

Down at the farm

We left Benicarlo this morning after a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon on toast. In bright sunshine we were heading for an aire just outside Girona. Not too much traffic about even getting around Barcelona was easy, although I would have hated to take a wrong turn and ended up in the city itself.

We got to the aire in good time. Sat nav doing a great job. I must say this new sat nav has been fantastic. The aire is on a working farm a stones throw from a village called Salitja just south of Girona. As the crow flys not far from the airport. The farm has been in the same family since 1909. When they first started they had four cows and now have 1150, I counted them all. The manure from the cows produces electricity through a biogas plant which runs the farm. So basically I am sat here in my camper, a cow is stood over the road from me, the cow shits, the farmer picks it up, puts it in a machine so I can turn a light on in my camper. What a wonderful world we live in.

The aire is free, but it’s nice to buy something from the farm shop. I really like this idea so we went and bought some eggs, yoghurt, and steak. The steak never came from the cow that supplied me with my electric. There is also a museum at the farm full of old farm machinery, old tools etc which would all have been used on the farm over the years. This is also free to look around.

Tomorrow we leave here and cross the border into France, not looking forward to that because it’s going to be cold. I looked at the forecast for the next few days of where we are heading and it looks like our run of sunny days is going to end, as there is some snow forecast and rain. Hope we don’t get too much snow, not fun driving in the snow when you’re 9 metres long and five ton in weight. Another thing we have to dodge is the yellow vest brigade who are still demonstrating on the roads over the fuel prices. We filled up today in spain as it’s cheaper so should keep us going for a while into France. Our yellow vests will be on the dashboard and will hoot as we pass to show we agree with them, which I do. The cost of fuel in France has gone up so much and they are doing something about it. I don’t agree with all the violence but do agree with if you don’t like something do something about it.

Cough, sneeze, splutter.

We left Villajoyosa on Sunday 13th January after saying our goodbyes to all our friends. The last week there was really special because we had friends Zoe and Sam arrive. These are one of the couples we did our work experience with back in August. We had such a laugh then and as they were in spain and we were in spain it seemed a great idea to meet up. They are very much like us, they like to meet up but not every day and also like their own space so it works well. A lot of the peaple on the site want to meet up all the time, same places same peaple every day. Not for us.

Almost everyone on the site had or has a bug which is going round. A cold, sore throat, aching limbs etc. Nikki got it before me and I thought I had got away with it but then it caught up with me. Of course mine was the worst bug going. I even checked in the Guinness book of records and they could not remember such a bad case. But I kept going.

We drove up the AP7 motorway to get to Benicarlo. It’s a good road, although its a toll road it gets you there easier, and Sunday is a good driving day because no lorries are on the roads unless they are carrying perishable goods. We don’t catch the ferry until the 31st so have plenty of time but I don’t like to rush things. The weather all the way was glorious and is forecast to be all the time we are here, which is until Saturday. Then we will be heading for an aire just outside Girona. We have been to this site before, it’s a good site to stop in on our way south or on our return. It’s by the sea and you can hear the waves lapping the shore at night, or even in the day as you chill in the sun trying to recover from the worst bug ever.

Bug or no bug you need to get on with life, you still need shopping, so a walk to the supermarket. The walk takes you all along side the beach, past the marina into the town. If you have to go shopping it’s a great walk.

And talking of shopping, Nikki wanted some more footwear to wear with her posh dress for the last evening of our training course. Dressing up is optional I think. I will make an effort and put my posh jeans on. Nikki will look loverly so that will take all the eyes of me. Shoe shopping, do you know how many shoe shops we looked in while still at Villajoyosa. Loads and none of them had what she wanted which meant we had to look in some more bloody shoe shops when we got here in Benicarlo. Luckily for me she found what she wanted in about the fourth shop.

Nikki’s new shoes or boots.

I will take a picture of her on the evening of the night out with her posh dress on also. So what do you do after shopping. I needed my hair cut, so while walking around in between the shoe shops I spotted a barbers, but there was a queue so walked around a bit more and returned. The guy only had two more to cut and said come back in half an hour. So we went for a coffee and a hot chocolate for me. Nikki ordered it all in Spanish and we got what we wanted so she must have got it right. My hot chocolate was the best one ever, I think they put a bar of chocolate in a mug then zapped it in the microwave, you could have stood the spoon up in it. Yum yum.

Back to the barbers for the hair cut. The guy was a real character. So I am sat there with a Moroccan barber who is in spain and has also spent ten years in Holland cutting hair. His English was ok and we had a laugh. All the time he was cutting my hair he was laughing and joking, dealing with peaple coming in to book appointments. At one stage on the road outside, a one way system, a car pulled up and started to shout to him, so he grabbed his appointment book and made him an appointment and then he drove off. All this entertainment and a hair cut for €6 and the haircut was one of the best I have ever had.

Aitana mountain

As I write this we only have a week left on this site. The spanish winter has started now. It’s been frosty in the mornings but by 10am the suns up. A bit cooler than normal but still ok for shorts and T shirt. And no rain or strong winds.

We went out for a meal at lunchtime last Friday with our friends Tony and Lynne to a restaurant overlooking the reservoir. They took us there last year. They do the most glorious sticky ribs, other meals are available, but for me it had to be the ribs. Nikki also had her eyes on the ribs this time. Good choice I thought as I knew she would not eat them all so made sure I sat right next to her. Mine were all gone, apart from the bits of sauce that were stuck in my beard. Not really the sort of meal to have when you have a beard. Fingers all covered with rib sauce and eyeing up Nikki’s ribs. I can’t eat them all she says. Yipppee I say, pass them over. Back to the camper to rest and digest the meal. No tea that night.

The mountain range in the distance we can see from the site is called Aitana. Sitting on the top is a army base with all the radars etc that track the boats and planes etc to make sure they are supposed to be where they are. I made it a mission to cycle up to the top of that mountain. My first attempt failed. Not because the radar spotted me and shot me down, but because my legs refused to work anymore. As I said in one of my posts I was gutted because when I checked the route out on google etc I was only about 5.5 KM away. I said to Nikki I am going to get to the top of that mountain before we leave here. I wonder what day the man who operates the radar has off because I am sure they spotted me and slowed my bike down last time. So yesterday I got into my biking gear, all in stealth mode and off I went shouting to Nikki if I don’t come back they have spotted me again. I must make it clear here that the roads up to top are public roads, you can’t actually get to the radars because at the top of the mountain is a bloody big gate with cameras etc all looking at you and apparently they don’t like it if you hover round them. The pics below are of the domes or radars taken off google. I never took my camera, it would have slowed me down.

So up and up I cycled, round and round all the hairpin bends, that’s why it takes so long because the roads are not straight, the cold air making my breathing harder. Picking my way through the frosty bits of road. Am I painting a picture here. My legs were burning but I had a goal and I was going to do it. That man in the radar control room was not going to get me this time. I must admit I did nearly give in a couple of times. And yes I made it. I stopped just the other side of the road from the gate to admire the view and so the man in the radar room would just think I was a ol boy on his bike, no threat to Spain. I could barely lift my drinks bottle to have some water let alone threaten spain. Sip of water and head for home, all down hill but not as fast as would normally go because of the frosty sections on the road. I had a grin from ear to ear because I had done it, and the radar man missed me.

Some facts of my ride.

I did not stop from when I left the campsite until I got to the top.

Distance cycled total = 54.5 km

Average speed = 22.4 km

Max speed = 56.9 km

Total Elevation = 1215 metres

Max elevation = 1030 metres

Moving time = 2 hrs 25 minutes 52 seconds

Rest day today.

One month left

As I sit here and start to write this I can’t believe we only have one month left in Europe. We are on the ferry from Cherbourg to Poole on the 31st January. Our route from here will be Benicarlo, Girona, Grissoles, Tours, portbail, Cherbourg. Or something along them lines depending on weather and if I change my mind or get lost. We still have a months, well five weeks actually holiday then in the Uk before we start our new jobs. We have a lot to do in that time including our stay for five nights in a hotel. The camper will be in the hotel carpark so not to far away for me if I find hotel life strange. The time spent on this campsite has flown by. We have been here for fifty days and only had two days rain. I know you don’t want to hear things like that but you are reading my blog so I have to tell you these things, I can’t lie.

Christmas is over, yipeee and new year is upon us. Tonight will be noisy as the spanish do like a good party. Any excuse for them to let off fireworks. And they all get together as big family’s. I think a lot of them have hearing problems also because they don’t seem to be able to play music at a normal volume. And then all the dogs will join in which will set the cockerel off because he will think it’s time to get up, not that he knows the time anyway. Hope you all have a good one whatever you do.

My list of jobs to do on a rainy day is getting bigger. You know one of those lists where the jobs needs doing but it can wait, it’s not important. So because we have not had a rainy day for such a long time my list has got bigger, and another problem is half the things on my list are outside jobs so I can’t do them in the rain. I know what your thinking, do the outside jobs while the weathers good. I am on holiday you know.

Next winters trip. I know we have eight months of work in between. But we are already thinking about it. We are not coming back to this site for long stays anymore. It’s a great site and love the area. We have a loverly pitch and once we give it up we will never have it again. The only reason we have had this pitch the last three years is that when the site first opened we had this pitch just out of sure luck it was a really nice sunny one. Because we had it first we had first choice of booking it for the next year, like a loyalty thing. So we did and again for this year. But now it’s time to get on the road again. I like to move about more and Nikki is ready for a change. It will mean more driving but we will see so many more places and meet so many more peaple and hear there travel story’s. I will take more pictures and can do more on my blog so all you lucky peaple can read more of our adventures. We want to go back to Portugal, we might just do Portugal and Spain. Who knows. Time will tell. Whatever we do it will be an adventure before dementia.

Happy new year to you all and thanks for reading my blog.

Mike and Nikki XX

Above the madness

Benidorm love it or hate it. We are not big fans of it but we have a lot of friends who do like it. I don’t mind going in there to visit but I do like getting on the tram to come out of there. It amazes me with all the skyscrapers and bars and mad people. You can see why it has a name for itself. At the far end of the beach is a hill with a cross on the top. I have always wanted to walk up to the cross. Not for religious reasons, just to go up there and admire the veiw above the madness. Our friends Rob and Jean who were down in Devon on the same campsite as the one we were on have rented a apartment in Benidorm. They rented it last year also and we went in to see them. They contacted us about going to meet them for the day. Rob likes walking so a golden opportunity for me to go for a walk with him up to the cross and leave Nikki and Jean to sip wine on the seafront. The story of the cross goes like this.

Once upon a time when Benidorm was just a God fearing fishing village, (with 7km of white sands) a young Mayor, Don Pedro Zaragoza, with much vision, designed an urban plan that would convert Benidorm in to a tourist magnet and a skyline on a par with New York (hence the city is still sometimes referred to as Beni-York). But along the way he encountered PLENTY of opposition … from the landowners who were wary of giving up their sheep grazing meadows to make way for roads and skyscrapers, to the locals who were simply scared of change. But the sector he upset most was the church, when, following a road trip on his Vespa to Madrid, Mayor Pedro Zaragoza obtained special permission from General Franco for tourists to wear bikinis on the beach. This was HUGE news in the fifties; bikinis were considered sinful and were banned in Franco’s Catholic Spain, yet Pedro argued if they couldn’t wear bikinis, the tourists wouldn’t come and so Franco relented … 
But to allow ‘foreigners’ to wear bikinis on our beaches was a bittersweet victory; it actually brought Benidorm the fame it craved … but for all the wrong reasons. Benidorm was hailed a sinful place and the Bishop of Alicante threatened to hang a sign at the entrance to the town naming it ‘HELL’ so visitors could be forewarned.

So to appease the masses and especially the church, quick action was needed and it was Benidorm’s priest Father Salvador Perona that saved the day organizing that a giant cross be made from wooden lamp-posts and erected at the highest point to symbolically restore some goodness into the town.

And so it came about that on a chilly morning in the last week of December 1961, following an official blessing ceremony, the wooden cross was carried on the shoulders of the locals from the Church of San Jaime on the headland between the two Benidorm bays, across the town and up the Sierra Helada mountain, where it was erected and has stood for the last 55 years.

The whole town turned out to help with the journey, with the children dressed in their Sunday best, and so successful was the event that it was later declared by the church as ‘Day of Pardon’ as the souls of the ‘Benidormense’ people had been saved from sin!

It is unclear exactly when the original cross was replaced with today’s more sturdy concrete version that lights up at night, but today the cross is a much loved landmark, visited by thousands of people every year. Some, just to walk off the excess holiday calories, others, local youngsters, to hold ‘botellón’ late night drinking parties. It is also a favourite lovers landmark – most Spanish couples have locked lips at ‘la cruz’ as it’s known locally … and even the final resting place to hundreds of Benidorm fans who have specifically requested their ashes be scattered there.

Made it, even with them little legs.

The veiw from the top, that’s from the top of the hill not the cross.

We walked from the far end of that beach in the photo to the top. You really get an idea how far it was when you look at it from the top. While we were walking along the front by the beach I looked up and thought, bloody hell thats a long way up to that cross, which you could just see on the top of the hill.

While walking along the seafront you see all sorts of peaple from newly weds to nearly deads. And the sellers trying to sell there copy Rolex watches and football shirts etc. And the pea peaple, who are the pea peaple. The pea peaple are con artists. They have a table with three cups on and a pea. The idea being the pea goes under one of the cups and the guy shuffles them about and you put money on which one the pea is under. They work in gangs of about 4/6 The one guy doing the shuffling theothers are an instant crowd which draws their prey in, they place bets and obviously win which encourages the victims to place bets. You won’t win so walk on by. As we were walking along there was a police car stopped, we walked passed and heard a shout the pea men scattered throwing their table on the beach and they all dissapered into the crowd, after the police car had gone by they all started going back to where they were.

Another building I wanted to see close up was the Intempo building. To much to do that day so I biked out there today, it’s only a round trip of 12 miles. The Intempo building is a huge gold skyscraper. In 2005 a 92 million euro loan was obtained from Caixa Bank to begin the build. Work began in 2007 and should have finished in 2009. There were problems all along the way and eventually building stopped because the property developer filed for bankruptcy. The main building was done but still a lot more to do.

Intempo has 47 floors and stands 192 metres tall. The gap between the towers is 20 metres or 66 feet, I don’t know if that is exactly but I think it will be near enough. And is all connected by the cone shape between floors 38-44. All this has been stood like this for a while. Now sold again recently and due to be finished in 2019. It will have apartments, 398 car parking spaces and 133 storerooms. Prices for the apartments have not been released yet but I can confirm I will not be buying one. Start saving if you want one. Enjoy the photos there free. I will not charge for biking time and photo shoot.

Half way

I can’t believe we are half way through our winter trip already. We only have six weeks left before we get back into the Uk. The reason we are having to go back early this trip is because we have changed our jobs and have to go back for 5 days training at the beginning of February. We will be put up in a hotel for that time. Hope they don’t expect me to put trousers on. Our new job is working as wardens for the caravan and motorhome club. We will be based on a site near Fareham in Hampshire next year. It’s a loverly site, we actually stayed there before coming away this year. We are really looking forward to it.

The other morning there was the first bit of snow up on the mountains in the distance, it didn’t last long, as soon as the sun came up it melted it. As usual I have been out on my bike and have been out on smaller rides with Nikki, even taking her off road the other day, only because we got lost but some good photo opportunities. I like derelict buildings and can imagine what they would be like when they were lived in etc. What a view this one below would have had.

And through the square window today.

It’s so peaceful up in the hills with a few old houses scattered about and a few that are still lived in, not like the one in the photo. Every now and then you might see a person walking along with his goats or sheep, or sat in the shade. Also this week I have had my hair cut. Always a great experience in spain when they don’t understand you and you don’t understand them. I don’t really mind because I don’t have to look at it and it must have been ok because I haven’t had to many strange looks while walking about. No more than usual anyway. All around the campsite its quite funny, everyone is excited about Xmas and there are lights everywhere, up the trees around their caravans or motorhomes except for one pitch. Yes you’re right, that’s our pitch. We don’t do Xmas, it’s just another day but this year we have made an effort for you all. So below is what Xmas is about to us, as I say just another day. Happy Xmas.

Sun Sun Sun

As the title says sun, sun, sun, we have had such a good run of lovely weather here in Villajoyosa. And what do you need when the weather is hot, you need some shade. What do I have on the side of the camper, a sun shade….that broke last February when we were here. What did I not fix this summer. Yes you got it in one. I bought the new bit, the gearbox winder but just never got round to fitting it. I got put off by people saying it’s a nightmare of a job to do. The other day I thought, it’s calm, sunny, I have nothing to do I will look at it. Managed to get the end cap off and and work out how it all goes only to discover that there is another part that is also broken, so I put it all back together and put it on my list of jobs to do next year, or to be more precise a job for the professionals to do next year. Luckily as I was wandering around the campsite, there outside someone’s camper was a sun shade for sale. Nothing like the one we have attached to the camper but one that you can just attach when you want it. Talking to the guy he said it was brand new, he cannot put it up on his own so it’s for sale. €40 offered him €30 about £27 and it was mine. Walked back to our pitch and put it up. Bargain and some shade for Nikki. Brand new it would have been £110. So that will keep us shaded now, don’t want my beer getting too warm.

Bill who I went out with on my bike the other day has now left to go home but before he went he wanted to go out one more time on the bikes with me and Steve the other guy who used to go out with him. We had a really good ride, up and down mountain roads, up and down dirt roads, up and down tarmac roads. Some great roads and all in all we did 24 miles, not far if you’re just going on the road but believe me when it’s up and down and on dirt roads it’s a long way. The next day my legs were aching.

A couple of days after that ride I went out on my own to the reservoir Embalse De Amadorio to take some photos. The light was good and the reflections were great.

And of course I had to take photos of my new bike in the climate it likes.

Our friends Jeff and Jan, the ones we went out for coffee with the other day said about going out again to a great fish restaurant they know in Benidorm. So we checked the wallet and decided, what the hell we’re on holiday let’s go for it. Not a big fan of Benidorm but ok to dip in and get out. We caught the tram in which takes about 15 minutes and then walked down the hill from the tram to a little cafe for the first stop. Jeff and Jan love Benidorm and because they live out here know all the good spots to go. The restaurant we were going to was called Las Gaviotas, Very popular with the spanish so much so if you don’t get there before 1pm you have to queue so we knew it was going to be good. We got there just before 1pm so had a choice of seats. I told Jeff we should sit next to the windows because that way you get bigger portions because when people are walking by they look in and think wow look at that let’s go in here!

The food was fantastic. So this is what we had. Tostadas which is toast with Alioli and tomatoes on it, a huge salad plate and the main meal the fish platter, which consisted of a variety of fish covered in tempura which is a light batter. Now your licking your lips this was all washed down with a couple of bottles of wine and a Diet Coke for me. By the time we were half way through our meal the queue was already out the door. And all that for the four of us came to €45 just over £40.

We left there to go to a hotel for a drink where Geoff wanted to show us the view from the top. The hotel is called Hotel Madeira. It has a lift on the outside made of glass so as you go up you have this great view of Benidorm. Out the lift and to the bar and out on to the terrace. WOW what a view. Ok you pay a bit more for your beer and wine. When I say a bit more I mean another fifty cents per drink. Well worth it. Shame the light was not brilliant, slightly hazy but still nice.

Out the hotel and head for the tram home, one more stop in another spanish pub for a beer and a couple of games of pool. A great time was had by all. And no bad heads today. Apart from mine in that photo, god I need a haircut so bad. Something to do next week.

Over the rainbow

The mountains in the distance on one side of us change colour with all the different conditions. Sometimes just stark dark mountains but still beautiful. The best time and colour is in the morning when the sun comes up and shines on them, they change from pinkish, through to yellow, red etc. The other morning the sun was coming up but over the mountains were very dark clouds, really heavy dark clouds full of rain. The sky was clear in the east where the sun was coming up. As the sun rose it cast its light on the mountains a fantastic rainbow appeared. The colours were fantastic.

After the sky’s cleared, we never got any rain from those sky’s by the way. Just thought I would mention that. I decided to go out on my bike. I had been looking at google and found a route which I was going to build myself up to for a couple of weeks time. As I went down the campsite driveway I thought I am going to go to Finestrat today and back. To get to Finestrat is all up hill about 7 km. I was having a good day and the legs were feeling good, and the help from the e bikes motor was doing well on a low setting. The bike has four settings of assistance, I was still on number one as I like to actually push myself. With an e bike you do still have to pedal and you only get assistance when you pedal. A lot of peaple think you just flick a switch and away you go. I got to Finestrat and turned left at the junction thinking I am going to go on, a nice downhill, I do like the downhills. As I was going down that hill I was thinking that I have to go on now because I don’t want to turn around and go back up that hill. I carried on up and down more hills and a couple of really nice hairpin bends then through the town of Orxeta. The scenery was fantastic but no time to stop and take photos I was on a mission. Besides I never had my camera with me and I think if I had of stopped my legs would have seized up. An hour later I was back on the campsite having done 22.7 km, an elevation of 408 metres, an average speed of 23 km per hour and a max speed of 50 km per hour that was the downhill bit.

Jeff and Jan our friends who live on this site said about going out for a coffee one day. They know we don’t do the big group going out days or nights but are happy to go out with just another couple. They come from Newton abbot in south Devon but Jeff spent the first ten years of his life in Barnstaple as a kid. I was telling him how much it has changed and he was telling me as a kid how it was. All very interesting. So off we strolled for a coffee or tea to a village called Ermita about a 20 min walk away. It’s the sort of village that has a church, a pharmacy, and a bar/ coffee shop. And locals that when you walk into the village stop talking and stare and mutter to each other….new blood. We set of at about 11 am and after coffee and tea we started to walk back a different way towards the sea and town of Villajoyosa as we were getting hungry now and thought a spot of lunch would be a good idea. Sat outside the cafe in the sun having a spot of lunch, with a beer or wine to wash it down. How very civilised. After lunch and a couple of drinks we started to head back for the campsite. Another pit stop at another bar Jeff and Jan go to just to refuel of course. Out of there and one more for the road up here says Jeff. Another small local bar. Well what can I say. We sat there drinking, chatting, laughing, and eating the tapas that kept appearing in front of us. Outside it had gone dark by now. One more for the road he said, I think we had one for every bloody road in spain. We got back to the campsite and have to pass the bar/ restaurant as you go through the entrance. You guessed it, a last night cap. So after going out for a coffee/ tea at 11 am it was now 10 pm. That night the wind got up (outside) really gusting and was blowing our huge mat we have down, all over the place, so in the middle of the night We were outside fighting to get that gathered up and put in the garage. The next day was very quiet for us, with me in bed most of it and Nikki being a bit fragile but a lot better than me. But as we say all the best times are the ones that are not planned.

We have had some really sunny days all this week, cold mornings but beautiful days. Long may it continue.