1 – 10 January 2020
This first post of 2020 is a bit late as we seem to have been constantly on the move since New Year. The repairs needed for our home-on-wheels led to a change of plan; our return to England brought forward by a couple of months. We had intended to spend January & February exploring the Spanish coast but now we had just over a week before our ferry from Bilbao giving us just enough time for a couple of quick catch-ups with friends on the Costas.
First we headed along the coast to the Costa del Sol and deliberately drove through Marbella – horrible one-way-system – and Malaga to see what they were about. Then we escaped the traffic by heading inland
We found an overnight spot at Villanueva de Algaidas, a quiet agricultural town in olive country with an interesting line in Xmas decorations – the largest cross-stitch we have ever seen!
The morning brought beautiful mists that lingered in the valleys as we rolled through troglodyte country around Guadix and carried on east towards the Costa Cálida.
Just before Mazarron we parked up outside Phil & Denise’s home and settled in for a good catch up, which it was. They looked after us a treat and we’ll just say that any night that ends up with uninhibited singing and dancing in the kitchen has got to be a good one!
We were all a little delicate over an excellent full English breakfast the next day but while they could relax we had some serious miles to do. Given the state of our batteries we aimed for an Aire with electricity at Calpe but hadn’t factored in that it was the Three Kings weekend and everywhere – including the campsites – were full. So we looked for a wild-camp. Which led us on to some interesting roads, one of which we had to give up on as it just got too bad.
We did eventually find a nice secluded spot – only to be joined 10 minutes later by an interesting Dutch rig with a young couple and their 2 children who also live on the road. The bit we didn’t envy was the pop-up tent for sleeping in on the roof – a bit too chilly at night for that.
Next day we joined Peter & Alison on a campsite on the Costa Blanca near Denia and had a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days with them. We went into the town for the Three Kings parade which was good fun, the adults as well as the children gathering in as many of the sweets thrown out by each of the Kings’ floats as possible.
We also got in nice a walk in, making the most of the sunshine before the inevitable grey of an English winter.
We left Peter & Alison as they headed out on an energetic bike ride and set off to cover the 500 miles to Bilbao. The drive north through ever-changing countryside through the expanse of Spain was really enjoyable. Spain is so big, an its constituent parts so varied, that it is an endless source of fascination for us. We love it. And we found a couple of lovely, isolated overnight spots where we were able to run the engine when the batteries needed topping up. One of them was near an observatory and gave us a lovely sunset as well as great dark skies for star-gazing.
Finally we were at the ferry. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day and we were completely baffled to find that our ferry would take 12-hours longer because of bad weather in the Bay of Biscay. Luckily we aren’t superstitious (much) but it still felt odd to be leaving the mainland after 8 months. And yes, the weather was rough and sleep impossible given a cabin in the prow of the ship, But we rolled onto the shore back in the UK just before midnight on Friday 10 January. Next stage – repairs and re-connecting with family & friends.