Chalk and Cheese. Monday 28 th April.

Today we are leaving Camping El Cantal, Mojacar for pastures new.

I’ll be sorry to go, I’ve enjoyed the 12 nights we’ve spent here. Not that the site is anything special.

It doesn’t have anything posh like a pool or a tennis court. The toilets and showers are functional but a bit hit and miss. After a while you know which one to use and which to avoid. There are some with hooks for you towel and some without locks. There’s no hot water for washing up dishes, no soap or toilet paper in the loo’s (so you tend to leave guiltily without washing hands as it’s easier to do that back at your Van). The plots are a bit dusty and poorly marked out with no screening to mark the boundaries. The fresh water supplies are a bit suspect and we found lots of muck floating in the tank that just wouldn’t go. The tap connection here was a much bigger size than our UK one so I had to buy a connector (but at Los Madriles, the connection is smaller than the UK, I’ll need yet another one)!

The site is full of Eucalyptus tree’s which are protected and as such have saved the site from development into yet another Hotel complex (though why anyone would build more Hotel’s when the biggest two in Mojacar are closed down putting 3000 people out of work) I don’t know. The site is huge and at the top its designated as a fire break so during peak season it can’t be used for camping.

Everywhere we’ve been we’ve been told tourist numbers are dropping off, year on year and El Cantal had only 8-10 people on it when we left.

But it has a charm. There are a few ‘Old Boys’ who stay there all year round and they make the place interesting.

‘Rambo’ lives in an ex GPO lorry (with has been converted to include a 6 foot bath that he says he’s never used) with his dog and he acts as the local host for all the British visitors, bringing the local paper and offering advice on where to go, local markets etc.

‘Seth’ on the other hand lives in a huge American RV. A Georgie Boy. He’s from Brixham in Devon (he says) but he has a Brummy accent to accompany his ‘Buffalo Bill’ style white hair. He used to drive out to Spain in the Camper with his wife with a Car in tow ( the 6 Lite engine made it easy) but since she passed away, he stays out here for most of the year, only returning in June and July when the camp site fills to capacity with youngsters and it’s non stop party time. This year though he’s thinking of staying all year, SORN-ing the van and saving £1000 on travel costs.

So we said goodbye to J&J and the Old Boys, paid our fee’s ( they gave us 25% discount for staying 12 nights) and set off to Vera to get the Tyre replaced at 1230.

Once that was done we found a Cafe with Wifi, had a coffee and the worst toasted cheese sandwich I’ve ever eaten and planned our next stop.

We chose Camping Los Madriles near Cartagena mainly because we didn’t want a very long journey time as we didn’t know how long the tyre would take to fit and how long it would take for me to get over paying the €175.

As it worked out, this was an inspired choice. The site is close to two villages which we’ll explore on the bikes later and the Beach is about 500 metres away.

There’s a shop, a bar (that closed at 1830 yesterday) a restaurant (not open on Monday) and two heated pools. One inside, one out. A very comfortable grassy area with ample loungers and umbrellas to satisfy demand.

The pitches are beautifully laid out with high hedging separating each one which offers shade and privacy. The view to the Sea at the front was great at sunset and the mountains behind (which offer shelter from any breeze) turned a beautiful Pink. Though this morning they’re shrouded in mist.

Toilets, showers, washing up etc are first class and even I cannot find fault with them.

There are very few Brits on the site it’s primarily Dutch and German and that does seem to reflect a pattern. The sites most popular with Brits are yer BHS or yer ASDA where as the Dutch and Germans go for M&S.

Though I’m sure ALDI will soon corner the market!

Both sites are about the same price but are like ‘chalk and cheese’ in comparison. So if your planning a trip, look at Dutch & German web sites as well as British or you could end up with more ‘roast beef and Danny Boy’ than is good for you.


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