Arriving at the camp I had a feeling of doom.
The Campsite was situated on the outskirts of Benidorm ‘close’ to the Levente Beach.
I say close.
In the ‘Caravan Club book’ they say this site is “300 metres from a Sandy Beach.” Actually it’s 1.5 Kilometres to the nearest beach and the bus stop is about 3-400 Metres away in the same direction so your nearly at the Beach.
Driving into the site took us through some pretty uninspiring parts of Spain more reminiscent of an industrial estate in an inner City Area rather than a beach resort.
It became apparent that most (if not all) of the Benidorm campsites are in this area and to be fair, this one is the closest site to the Beach but it’s still a bloody trek. There are other sites that are probably better situated (location, location) than this one such as Arena Blanca and Raco. They have a few shops an Bars close to hand and the Bus stop is right outside the Site.
So we checked in and were invited to pick a vacant pitch, then let reception know which one we had chosen. We went for plot 233 but I’m not sure why.
I think because it was near to but not next to, the toilet block. The neighbours looked old so no noise and we were fed up, so anything would do.
Some of the bigger plots have a metal frame across them on which they hang some form of shading, but this restricts the height so They aren’t suitable for Campers.
I immediately took a dislike to this site, much to Jaki’s annoyance but I just knew this wasn’t for me and I would have left without giving it another thought.
On the face of it the site seems OK.
It has a really nice pool (though it was dominated by a group of over weight teenagers whose entertainment involved throwing a foot ball at each other with the intention of hitting each other full in the face, or at least a red mark on any part of the body). A Bar which was open, a Restaurant , which was open and a Shop, again open. But it was basic, they had everything you’d need but nothing you’d ‘want’. A bit like a Bulgarian shop I visited once in Pamporova the had Vodka and apples. This place clearly catered for Brits with stock’s of Oxo cubes and Pork Pies on the shelves. Now I’m not against a portion of ‘Mushy Peas’ but I’m not sure I came to Spain to eat them.
The facilities, toilets showers are fine and they even provide toilet Paper, but the shower block nearest us didn’t have any disabled access, though it did have a ramp up to the dish washer area but nowhere else. The bar and restaurant were also up a steep set of steps and I didn’t see any other way in.
There are fresh water points dotted around the site but none had a facility for attaching a hose so it was repeated trips with the watering can.
We ate at the Restaurant and the food was fine. Jaki had two nice pieces of Fish fried in batter but after all’s said and done, it is only ‘Fish n Chips.’ We asked about Wi-Fi but there was none in the bar or restaurant and we were referred to reception.
Jaki bought two days supply of Wifi but it quickly became obvious this didn’t work, so I walked down to reception to complain. I waited whilst they dealt with 3 French Guys who’d rented a Bungalow and then explained the problem to the receptionist who tried in vane to get a signal.
Not to be beaten she left the office and strolled around the site trying to log on.
Her persistence paid off. With the I pad held at full stretch above her head, she stood in the middle of the drive, just behind the barrier and proudly exclaimed. ‘There, got it’.
But even her enthusiasm couldn’t explain how I could send a ‘Tweet’ with the iPad held in the air whilst passing traffic navigated around me.
Deflated, she admitted it was broken and agreed to phone the Engineer.
‘Come back in 10 minutes’ she advised. I did and she said it would be repaired in an hour. But it wasn’t and this morning it still isn’t!
We decided to go and explore Benidorm so got the bikes off the back of the camper and set off.
It wasn’t long before we entered the High Rise apartments that scar the sky line. We passed under the Intempo building, Spain’s tallest residential building Which was originally designed with 23 floors but for some reason they added an extra 27 floors but forgot to put the elevator shaft in so the top 27 don’t have lift access.
Finding our way through the one way system was confusing and there was a considerable amount of traffic both vehicular and pedestrian. There were more and more Bars now with lots of British names like the Winston Churchill, the Yorkshire pride, the Stretford End and the Ibrox Bar, ‘home of Glasgow Rangers Supporters’ as well as a range of bars offering lap dancing or sex shows.
By the time we hit the Beach the bile was rising.
The scene was rather Bizarre. It was like the centre of any big City at 3am, but with everyone semi naked. The bars were rammed with mainly young men proudly displaying their ‘Abb’s’, ‘Tat’s’ and ‘Bling’ along with their sun burn. Many sported the shaved head look which I assume is more hygienic in this weather and lots had matching ‘T’ shirts with ‘Chris’ or ‘Dugsy’ on the back which presumably makes it easier for the Guarda Civil when they arrest them?
They all appeared to have one thing in common. They were completely fried from a day in the sun and were intent on guzzling as much cheap lager as they could before they turned into a ‘Pork Scratching’.
We attempted to cycle to the Old Town but after a short time, we abandoned this. After a brief discussion we agreed this wasn’t for us and turned around and headed back to the Van, deciding to leave first thing in the morning.
It was on the return journey we saw a couple walking toward town, holding hands and wearing matching ‘Typhoon Tea Bag T Shirts’. I laughed so much I nearly fell of my bike. In fact Jaki did.
I pulled over to ask her if she’d seen them, she stopped and was laughing so much she wasn’t concentrating on what she was doing. She put her feet down but on her right side there was a drop of about 8 inches and so she very sedately toppled over like a Fred Dibnah Chimney. She tumbled to the ground, eating the gravel as she went. Yet again she’d fallen of a bike when it wasn’t moving. A Circus Skill indeed.
In need of a drink we headed for the bar only to find the British Foreign Office had stationed a delegation of Sun readers there to fly the flag. (Before you shout unfair stereotyping, they did have a copy of the Sun on the table). We watched and listened to them as they upheld the true Bull Dog spirit of the British UKIP Spirit. They swore and drank and swore some more. Then the only Female in the group, a lady about 65 sporting a natty range in tattoo’s dived into the pool fully clothed to win a €10 bet.
The challenge then was to try and look cool whilst sitting in soaking wet clothing as the Sun disappeared. We left her shivering like a set of spoons with rickets and sobering up very quickly.
Benidorm we agreed wasn’t for us. It has it’s place but it’s place is, as far as were concerned as far away from us as possible.
Pity really cause I loved it when I last came.
1970 I think!