We do love southern Spain the Costa del sol (land of the sun). We’ve been here three times over the last four years, this is the first time we’ve been in winter, we just keep getting drawn back to the beautiful coast of Andalusia and the mountains of Granada. This part of Spain is the warmest on mainland Europe, a lot of northern Europeans come here to escape the north European winter can’t blame them that’s what we’re doing. The weather in January and February has been good, warm bright sunny days but it gets cool a night. This part of Spain is very popular at this time of year most of the aires and campsites are full from December to March with motorhomes.
What a great time we’ve had in Cestell De Ferro, but it’s time to move on we can only stay in the European Union for 90 day now that we’re out of the European Union. It’s now 31st of March we have 16 days left to stay in Europe, we had a ferry booked with P&0 but P&O canceled because of all the disruption with P&O sacking 800 staff. What a way for a company to carry on👎. We now have a ferry home from Calais to Dover with dfds. We are now moving on up the Mediterranean coast to Almeria.
We’ve been to Almeria before 3 years ago it’s a lovely place worth a second visit. Almaria as plenty to offer a stunning coastline and beautiful beaches. Almeria has lots of historical places to visit Alcazaba Castle and a big Cathedral plus excellent museums and superb tapas bars and just out side of Almeria in the desert are the sorbas caves and Wild West film sets where many well-known cowboy films have been made. Next up on our travels Santiago de la Ribera
Santiago De La Ribera just above the city of Cartagena which has a fabulous natural harbour a big Castle and is one of Spain’s most Historical places, plus a beautiful old town we only have time to drive through but Cartagena is on our list of places to visit it looks fabulous. Santiago De La Ribera is situated on a very big bay with a beautiful beach and is surrounded by a peninsula of land making it a very safe place to swim and do lots of water sports. It was a bit too cold for a swim but the sun was shining and the sky was blue. We parked up for two days on Ribera campsites for €7 a night.
We had two lovely days here in Santiago De La Ribera we went for a walk the first day and we met up with some British people from our campsite, so we all met up at the campsite bar and had a chat and drank and played some music.
I’ve not been playing much just lately so it was great to play some music with these very friendly people, who made us very welcome. Most of them live here some of them live on the campsite in their motorhomes and some have bought a house, they meet up most days for chat, drink a meal and play music a great community thanks for inviting us. This campsite is very well run with great facilities and the rates are very reasonable we would come again.
If we had more time we would have stayed a bit longer. Our next stop is Benidorm we’ve never been to Benidorm before but we’ve heard a lot about it most of it not good, so we thought we’d have look and make our own mind up about Benidorm.
Benidorm is the most popular holiday resort in Spain for the Brits and the Irish a fifth of the Benidorm 70,000 population are British or Irish. It says in my lonely Planet book there are over 250 English pubs. We had a good look around, Benidorm has two Promenades and beaches and an old town in the middle. The beaches were very good and the promenades were very smart. The old town is the more historic with lots of shops, bars and restaurants and narrow streets, it’s very commercial but we expected it to be. It was not too busy most of the shops and bars were open plenty to do at this time of year. So what did we think of Benidorm, we liked it I’m sure we could have had a good time, but maybe not in the high season.
Today we’re going to Denia a place we’ve wanted to go for a few years so off we went it was pouring with rain and it’s forecast for the full day. We were driving down into Denia when we felt and heard a bang, I lost all power on my accelerator we slowly came to a stop. We were on a very busy two-way road with lots of traffic we were soon causing a problem a big queue built-up. So I rang my breakdown insurance up, it took them two hours to come and pick us up. By that time we had the police directing traffic around us, we were causing a major incident. Eventually, the breakdown truck came and took us 5 miles into Denia. They dropped us off outside the breakdown depot on the road and it’s still raining. The insurance said we can not find a garage to look at our van today it will be tomorrow. They said we’ll get you a hotel, but there was no way we were leaving our van on the main road overnight, so we spent a rainy night parked on a busy road, not the best night we’ve ever had ☹
It rained all night bang bang on the roof plus traffic passing we now know what sick a parrot means. The next morning about 11 o’clock the breakdown truck came and took us 30 miles to Gandia to the garage to get our van diagnosed. We waited 2 hours till the fitter came to have a look, after 15 minutes he told us this is very bad news your engine cam belt as broken and will have damage your engine. I was hoping it would not be as bad as that, but it is, so we’ll just have to get on with it, we’re both ok that’s the main, one good thing is it’s stopped raining, 😀. I rang the insurance up and told them the bad news they agreed to let us have a hire car to get home and they will transport our van back to my garage in Hull for the repairs. The garage said we could leave our van at their garage it will be locked up and safe. So we stayed in a hotel for the next two nights till we got things sorted out.
We had a walk around Gandia it’s a lovely place but we just could not drum up any enthusiasm to look around Gandia, I think it’s time to go home. The next day we pick up our hire car then we went to our van to get some clothes and stuff. We can not take the hire car out of Spain we have to pick another one up in France. So next morning we set off to San Sebastian dropped off the car and a taxi took us to our hotel for the night. The next morning a taxi took us to France about 30 miles to pick up another hire car. We drove to Le Man’s and stayed the night in a hotel. The next day we drove to Calais and parked up for the night in our hotel park. In the morning we went to the Calais ferry terminal ticket office, but we were told that they don’t take foot passengers on the ferry, so I asked if we could get Eurostar to London, no it doesn’t stop at Calais, so I asked how do we get across the channel to get to England, they said you’ll have to go to Lillie and catch the Eurostar none stop to London. So off we go 60 miles to Lilli to catch the 1 30pm Eurostar. What a performance 🙃 .
We have a train booked at kings x on Hull trains, which should get us home for about 6 30pm
The insurance company paid and booked all the Hotels, trains, hire cars and taxis and transportation of our motorhome to our garage for repairs in Hull. We will have to pay for the repairs to the engine. Our garage said it could be a new engine a small repair or replace the cam belt fingers crossed. 🤞 It pays to have good insurance. Thanks for reading our blog x Derek and Pat .💜