Thursday, 20 October 2016

Some great views and a disappointment

Tuesday 18th October.   There's an expression - "You should never go back". Whilst it's not always true sometimes it is. We are parked up tonight at La Garrofa campsite just outside Almeria (36.82573 -2.51642) and we should never have come back! We've stopped here a couple of times before, in 2013 and 2014 and whilst the site has always been a little "tired" and needing a few euros spending on it there was always a certain charm here. The site is right on the beach and there are some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. When we stopped before there were a few folk that we got to know who stopped over the winter and there was a nice community feel about the place. We put up with the faults before because of the atmosphere and because Malcolm, from Scotland, who has worked here for years as a general handyman always made everybody welcome and was full of advice. When we arrived today I jokingly asked one of the two sisters who own the site if the WiFi was as bad as before. "Ah, no WiFi now" she replied. Phil went for a shower this evening - no hot water. We met Malcolm who said that none of the previous long-termers come here anymore, just people stopping off for a night or two on their way somewhere else. The restaurant used to offer good, traditional Spanish food; now it's hamburgers, chicken or pork with chips. The final straw was being charged €2.50 for a small beer. On arrival we said we would stop for a few days but we're off tomorrow. It's a shame, because with not a lot of money spent this could be a great site. It's close to Almeria and there are no other sites nearby and it's a while since we stopped anywhere where we could listen to the sea with the waves breaking on the rocky beach. The fact that most of the folk who stopped here previously for the winter have moved elsewhere should give the owners a clue but apparently not.   Last night we stayed on a campsite a bus ride from Granada, Beas de Granada (37.22468 -3.48865). Again, it's a site we've stopped on before but this time we were glad we went back. Its 1,100 meters in the foothills and we look up to the snow capped Sierra Nevada whilst basking in warm sunshine and the site is clean and everything works. The restaurant provided us with a delicious meal for not a lot of money and, although we didn't take advantage this time, there is a bus stop outside and the service takes you right into the centre of Granada. The bus ride itself is a great trip as it winds down the hills into the city with fantastic views and the owner of the site can arrange trips to the Alhambra (you have to book tickets). Yesterday we paid €15, today it's €17. We should have stayed there an extra day.   Thursday 20th October.     We arrived here (37.26455 -1.85723) yesterday. It's a tennis club with space for about 50 motorhomes with all facilities and excellent WiFi, there's a bar/cafe, swimming pool and gym. The only downsides are that it's a long way from anywhere and they are currently carrying out "improvements" to the site. When we arrived there was nobody in the office so another English couple here said to just park up and the lady from the office would be along shortly. Unfortunately we didn't realize that we were parking next to the concrete mixer! Better than an alarm clock at 8am! But the weather is ok and this is just a stopping off point on our way to Bolnuevo. We are booked in there on our usual pitch from tomorrow and then we'll get our stuff out of storage and set the van up for the winter months. We're looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. And this year we are going to stick at the Duolingo and try and get a better grasp of Spanish. Phil is already two days in front of me and is apparently 1% fluent so I've got a bit of catching up to do. Just realised that I haven't mentioned our stop in Antequera last Sunday. It's a smashing town dating from Roman times with an astonishing number of churches, over 30 according to the guide book. The Alcazaba is worth a visit as is the Municipal Museum and the Iglesia del Carmen. Unfortunately we missed them all as they are only open for a limited time on Sundays and we got our timings all wrong. But we strolled around the town and up to the outside of the Alcazabar which afforded some great views. We stayed overnight at a free parking area for motorhomes next to the football stadium (37.02139 -4.57191) and yes there was a match on the Sunday evening which (I think) the home team lost 0-1 but don't quote me on that. I'm reaching that conclusion from the announcements and the level of applause. Some views of Antequera:
And a panoramic:
The view from the restaurant on the campsite at Beas Granada with the Sierra Nevada in the background:


  1. Thank you for your blog. I have been reading it steadily and learning much. We are preparing for our first long trip - nothing like as long as yours! - and it is great to get some idea of what we are letting ourselves into. You make it sound great and when I get a fit of the wobbles, I just read a few more posts and back comes the optimism. :-)

    1. Hi Helen, Thanks for your comment. Don't get the wobbles! I don't know where you're planning to travel but if you go with a smile on your face you'll be sure of a warm welcome. And all the things you're worrying about probably won't happen and if they do you'll laugh about them afterwoods. Happy Travels,