It’s been raining quite heavily all night.
I woke at 0400 and hear the metallic tapping of rain on the roof.
It’s usually quite therapeutic, cuddled up in bed with the sound of rain outside but this is different. We were pitched slightly under a tree, so some of the drips running off the leaves and branches are bigger and random, making loud clunks or thuds that have no rhythm. It’s a bit like listening to a Jazz band rather than and orchestra.
So now it’s light, I’ve been awake on and off for the last 4 hours and we have to make up camp and drive to Cadiz. So we will get wet.
And wet we did. The usual routine of packing things away and stowing them in various places was made even more tedious by the rain which had turned the plot’s into sandy slush pits and the pebbled walks ways were treacherously slippery. Worst of all the awning had done it’s job in protecting us from the worst of the rain but it was covered in leaves and debris and It needed a full scale assault with the brush to get it all off.
Which meant exposing myself to the rain and the run off water.
Eventually we were packed up, paid up and on our way.
We headed to Cadiz and encountered our second Toll road ( time it was €7.25) but the forked off just before Cadiz headed toward El Puerto de Santa Maria, looking for ‘Camping Playa Las Dunas de San Anton’ which Caravan Europe (Spain and Portugal) 2014 display on page 193.
The first thing to say is that the directions given in the book would not, on their own, have led us to find this place in a Million years. Luckily we spent some time learning how to enter the longitude and latitude coordinates into Tom ( the TomTom) and that saved the day.
The site didn’t look very appealing in the rain and the fortress that was reception didn’t seem very welcoming but perhaps the weather was making things seem worse than they were?
We booked 3 nights camping and asked about ‘Whiffy’ which was €4 euros per day or €10 per week, so we took a week. But we had to pay cash for the Whiffy. Is this a way of avoiding tax?
The WiFi isn’t worth having as it’s so slow you can’t even send a Tweet without it timing out, so tomorrow I’ll complain but I suspect it will fall on deaf ears.
Best advice for anyone coming to Spain, get your SIM card for WiFi sorted in the UK before you come, even if it is expensive. The Spanish service is awful and extremely frustrating.
We were met on site by a thoroughly fed up and wet guy who showed us to our plot but when we asked where the fresh water was he physically started to steam as he led us back over the ground we had just covered and pointed in the general direction of the Sea.
We discovered the Camper van Service Point was a real Heath Robinson affair. In the first instance, we had to back out of the lane and reverse back in to get to the water supply which had a fixed hose of about 2 metres length. Once inserted into our fill up point we had to press a button and a measured amount of water dribbled into our tank. To fill up we needed to go through this process 20 times.
Then we emptied the chemical waste from the cassette and nearly showered ourselves in waste when I turned on the tap. The water pressure was so strong it blew back up the cassette outlet and we both had to dive for cover. There was another button to press to flush away the contents once emptied. However, it all worked swimmingly.
Back on our plot, two of the electricity points didn’t have any electricity at all and two were reverse polarity, so we hooked up to a post several plots over. Thank goodness we opted to carry two electric cables.
We abandoned the idea of putting up our awning, not because of the weather but because there just wasn’t enough space at the side of the camper to fit it in. So we brewed a cup of tea, turned up the heating and settled down to chill.
I started reading ‘The Long and Whining Road’ by Simeon Courtie, a story about a family of five who take off around the world in a VW camper called Penny (after Penny Lane by the Beatles).
This was a present from my mate Steve who is himself the owner of a VW camper so he knows how temperamental they can be. He once borrowed a camper called ‘Lance’ to use for Glastonbury. The van was an ex ambulance and the letters ‘AMBU’ had dropped off leaving the word ‘LANCE’ emblazoned along its side. Hence it’s name.
It is a real good read even if some of it is a bit too relevant given the circumstances, but now I can’t put it down so it won’t last too long.
I must admit to dropping off at one point and when I woke it had stopped raining and people were springing out of their campers like regular Jack’s in the box.
We set off to find some food as our stores were now diminished. We didn’t need to go far as the site Restaurant was open so we ordered a bottle of white at €10 and two meal’s of the day, again €10 each though this was very disappointing.
Jaki’s chicken soup was thin and contained more rice than an Indian wedding. Her Assorted Fried fish was just that, a load of different shaped fish fried in some sort of coating that overpowered the fish and made everything taste salty. It didn’t come with anything else, no dip, no dressing, no chips just a slice of Lemon.
My Chickpea with meat soup was a little better in that it had Chickpeas (and Butter Beans which I love) but the meat was odd. There was a large lump of fat placed top dead centre, a piece of black pudding and a lump of gristle. But the overall taste was good if a little ‘alternative’.
My stew with potatoes was some sort of meat stew with chips. The stew needed masses of salt and pepper and was crying out for some fresh herbs and the chips were, well, just chips and not nice ones at that.
The sweet didn’t fare much better. I ordered the ‘pudding’ which was a sort of sticky cake with something dribbled over it and Jaki the rice which came in a plastic pot.
In summary we won’t be eating there again.
After which we took a short stroll, got lost, found a supermarket, bought some stuff, resumed being lost, found a policeman, asked directions, got lost again and eventually arrived at the road we came in on so knew we only had an hours walk and we’d be back at the van.
As I finish this the rain has started again and I’m wondering how long it would take to drive home, get to Heathrow and bugger off back to Thailand.