Psychologists say that it’s the herd instinct that makes people do it but if that’s the case, I’m not part of the herd because it’s the last thing I’d want to do. . It used to make me quite angry, but now I’m just left wondering why. I’m talking about people who want to park alongside you. Quite late last Friday evening, long after I’d pulled up the drawbridge, I became aware of the revving of engines and slamming of doors. I presumed that it was a late arrival coming on
Another dank foggy day at Cordoba. A quick decision needs to be taken, and I think I’ll move on. Forty-five minutes later and I was hitched on ready to leave. A stop at reception on the way out to settle the bill, and within five minutes I was bowling along the A4 towards Cordoba. A new toll-free motorway, the A45 goes from Cordoba, through Antequera and down to Malaga. When I last travelled this route in 1998 the only way through the mountains was the N-331, a twist
Yesterday was another pleasant day weather wise so I did a bike ride around the village. During the late afternoon dark clouds rolled in and not too much later the rain started. But then the temperature plummeted and the rain turned to snow. My Trumatic heater worked overtime in it’s endeavours to combat the 1. 5oC outside. Very soon the snow stopped but the temperature remained low throughout the night.
By10am today I was the l
Several times throughout the night I heard the rain. Sometimes hammering; sometimes pattering. By breakfast there was no let up so I switched on the computer to check the forecast for Madrid. Rain all day! I decided that if it eased for a while, I would prepare to move on.
By 10am I was ready to roll and not too wet. The shortest way south is to go through Aranjuez but the roads around the Royal Palace are narrow and lined with high curb stones. Instead I headed
During the morning, in the cafe I got to talking with a fellow traveller. It was his first journey with Brittany Ferries and he thought the service was brilliant, whereas compared with the two cruise ferries, IMHO its OK. He is a self-employed joiner who has been working in USA for ten years but decided to return to the UK last year. Now he has bought a 22 year old Abbey caravan and with his Transit van is travelling to Benidorm where, if he finds work, he intends to remain.
Yes – it will.…..
The older I get, the happier I am in familiar surroundings….. at least for this long winter visit. So it’s to be another winter spent at El Pino in Torrox. But then a lot of younger people must feel the same as me because I know that I’ll be meeting up with a lot of friends from previous years. But that’s not to say I follow the same route across Spain each year. I like to take a couple of weeks to meander from north to south, stopping off at interesting
Every year, during the summer my two daughters and grandson rent a cottage or house at a seaside resort. For the past few years I’ve joined them by taking my caravan and staying on a site nearby. This year they decided on Dawlish in south Devon, a resort where in 1979, we towed our caravan and stayed at the Ladys Mile Site. I didn’t want to stay on a commercial site, so I opted for a Caravan Club CL. By the end of April we had everything booked and were looking forward to going.
Several weeks ago as I was browsing my maps and looking for an area to visit, I thought it might be interesting to go back to Somerset where nearly 70 years ago I spent more than two years as a soldier. As I remember it, Yeovil was a small market town where after leaving the train station, you were very soon walking along country roads with fields on either side. After walking for a mile or so through the countryside, you arrived at two huge army camps, one on each side of the road. To the ri
Fortunately the rain had stopped well before I was ready to leave. The ground, which I hadnt noticed when I arrived was a firm packed sand. Consequently, by the time I had packed away the hook-up cable and water containers, the surface was quite firm, so I pulled away easily.
Within minutes I was back on the motorway with just twenty miles to do before reaching the highest point on the entire journey Puerto de Somosierra a pass over the Sierra de Guadarrama. The road reaches a height o
It’s nearly four months since this adventure began and it was time to start thinking about returning home. I had planned to leave Torrox on Saturday the 20th but during the week the weather suddenly turned wet and it prevented me from taking down the awning and getting it packed away. Consequently I left three days later which required a change of route plan. Instead of spending two nights at each stop, giving me a day to sight-see, the journey north had to be done quicker and more direct.
Having visited the Costa del Sol each year for nearly twenty years one would think there would no longer be any new places to see. But not so!. A couple of weeks ago my friend Willy asked me if I'd been to Marina del Este, further along the coast. Apparently he had arrived at it by chance but I was unable to visualize the route he described. I spent some time searching on Google Earth. Eventually I found it along the coastline on one of the headlands. I noted down the GPS coordinates and on
There's nothing the Spanish like better than a street party with a fancy dress parade around the town. They do it eight or nine times every year. Already, here at Nerja we're just into February, and they've already had their third carnival. This latest one, held during the past week was some serious partying because it went on for four days.
Most Spanish fiestas have a religious connection and this one is to mark the beginning of Lent, and in the distant past was the start of a period of
A few days ago I was sitting having a chat with my new neighbour, Sean. We got to talking about the 19th Century villa which is set back off the main road at Torrox Costa. It's known as the Villa El Recreo; a beautiful building with a still imposing driveway, in spite of the avenue of palm trees having been cut down. Sadly a large Aldi supermarket has now been built to the left of it but much closer to the road, wth a Lidl supermarket built to its rear. A high rise apartment block has been b
It was chilly first thing but there wasn't a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind. By 9 o'clock the sun was peeping over the hill tops. And by 10, I was sitting out in the awning with a coffee. What should I do on such a beautiful day? How about packing up some lunch and a can of San Miguel and setting off on the bike to do a circular ride? I was ready to leave by 10. 45 so I began by cycling down “the road which leads nowhere”. That's a surfaced road which stretches up into the hills fo
Spanish families are equally divided as to whether Christmas Day or the 6th January is the more important. For those who celebrate on the 6th, most towns throughout Spain organize a Fiesta de los Tres Reyes a Three Kings Carnival. Some caravanners staying here make the journey to Malaga to take part in their Fiesta, but I usually go into nearby Nerja. The carnival forms up in a large carpark on the edge of the town with local groups making up their own section. Young people who have joined
Over the past four weeks so many people here at El Pino have talked about the Malaga Christmas lights that I thought I should go and see them for myself before they are turned off for the last time tomorrow night. Tonight (the 5th of January) is the Fiesta de los Tres Reyes – the arrival of the Three Kings. In traditional Spanish families it's tonight when children receive their presents and Christmas is not considered to be over until the end of the 6th. Later tonight the Three Kings Fiesta
The good news is that I've got my bike back from the repairers. The mechanic had difficulty finding a rim of the correct width. . One was finally found but 350 miles away in Madrid. Then it was a time consuming job removing the motor from the damaged wheel and rebuilding it into the new rim. Together with some new spokes, a new brake cable and new blocks, I was pleasantly surprised to be charged only 49 Euros the equivalent of £35 for the complete job. It was great to have my own bike again.
We are now well into December. One or two caravanners have said a temporary farewell as they make their way to Malaga airport on their way home to spend Christmas with family. Those who are staying have already dressed their awnings and vans with decorations and lights.
I've had my first breakdown in four years of ownership with my electric bike. One side of the rear brake rim has a short piece broken out. It may have been like that for some time but once I'd se
It's more than two weeks since I arrived here at El Pino and nearly a month since I set off from home. Almost every day there are friends and acquaintances from previous years arriving on site so it's nice to catch up with their news. The weather is superb still, and there's been no rain since since those few wet days as I travelled to Salamanca. Most afternoons I take a bike ride down the hill to the lighthouse then along the promenade. Next door to the lighthouse is a raised
I was hitched up and ready to leave Camping Pueblo Blanco by 9am, so I made my way down to the reception area, only to find it all locked and barred. I rattled the door without any effect so I went along to another door where I rang a bell. Eventually the door was opened (by the maintenance man) and I pointed along the road and questioned, “Reception?”, only to be told that it would open at 10am. I was appalled at the prospect of having to wait almost an hour when I wanted to g
I thought it was time to drag myself away from this lovely site at Caceres. Ithe facilities really are first class. First there is the site-wide free wifi which has a good speed Then there are the individual shower rooms attached to each pitch. The key to the room also serves as the electronic tag to operate the barrier. Each shower room is around 4 square metres in area and beautifully tiled both on the walls and floor. The room has lighting, a toilet pan, a handbasin with
A slight change of plan. I should have moved on today to tow the fifty miles down the motorway to Merida where I intended to stay for two nights. So instead of winding the legs and hitching on, I decided to see Merida just as a day trip. I was ready to leave by 9am and with the motorway being almost free of traffic, I reached Merida before ten. I'd already noted the parking area by the river on street view of Google Earth, so with the GPS coords put into Tomtom, it took me to where I wanted
Today is the first time I have seen the sun since leaving the ferry on Tuesday morning. ..............................................In the early hours of Wednesday morning my CO detector woke me. My gas bottle was turned off so assuming the device was faulty, I removed the battery. Next morning I replaced the battery but 30 minutes later the beeping started again. I took the battery out again. Later in the day I noticed in the caravan an unpleasant smell. I began looking for a likely caus
By bedtime the rain had really got going and continued throughout the night. Daylight didn't provide any let up for it continued through the morning and right up till lunchtime. By early afternoon the rain stopped but the sky still stayed leaden. I decided to drive the three miles into town where I found a parking spot close by the Lidl supermarket. I unloaded my bike and set off along the bike track running along the river bank. Within 300 yards I came to the Puente Romano where I needed t
It doesn't seem possible that it's time to head off to Spain again. But it is - it's the start of November. This will be my twenty-second winter spent in Spain or Portugal with a caravan, having sampled it for the first time in 1994 by staying just four weeks. Earlier winter trips we had done by flight and apartment rental. Over the ensuing years, as family commitments reduced, so the period away got longer. Now I go for the maximum time allowed by my Red Pennant travel policy – four months