Another 5 hours drive southwards and we stopped off for a week at Camping Torre la Sal 2 which is our first stop at a site that is open all year round. Its a very well run site with good size pitches and good facilities. Each pitch has its own outside sink with running cold water which Ann thought was marvellous. I just thought it a little odd, but hey the missus was happy.
Its a very large site split into 2 by a little used road to another site next door and a back road to a small fishing village one and a half kilometres away. One side is right next to a beautiful fine sandy beach. The site also has three swimming pools two restaurants extensive sporting facilities and its own bull ring which only seems to hold events during the main season.
Just down the road are large apartment complexes which at the time of us visiting were totally deserted. I found it very spooky and weird walking down long tree lined avenues with buildings all around and totally deserted. I felt like I was in one of those disaster movies where an entire city had been abandoned due to some deadly disease or nuclear accident. Even the sprinklers were still doing their job in the early morning just before dawn because they forgot turn them off.
Having spent the last two sites that were predominantly occupied by our German cousins I thought that maybe, being open all year, this would be one of the sites I have heard so much about where all my fellow countrymen winter. NO this one was even more German with a couple Dutch thrown in for good measure.
I am finding it very frustrating that when I am trying, and I do mean trying, to learn Spanish when everyone around me is talking German and the only bit of real practice I get is saying good morning or whatever to the security guard as I pass him three or four times a day on the way out with the dogs.
Whilst it is a great site it is somewhat out in the middle of nowhere and what was closeish was deserted and all closed up. I decided we would move on after only a week but this time try and find a site in, or at least close by, a town. Oh yes and we need to start looking for somewhere to fill up the LPG as we have now emptied one bottle and on to our second. Its lasted nearly a whole month so very pleased with it.
We noticed on the way through Spain that none of the motorway service stations have LPG unlike France that all have them, well most anyway, and checking the snooper sat nav it seems this may be a major issue as none were being shown anywhere within a 60 km radius. Doing a Google I found http://www.mylpg.eu/stations/spain and looks like there are plenty of places. (This is a very useful site and worth bookmarking).
This just left me to search out where we would head to next.
I decided to head to the ancient fishing village of Calpe in the heart of the Costa Blanca. Whilst this was only a 3 hour journey it ended up taking us considerably more time. Not because we made a small detour to fill up with LPG and Diesel but because we got held up when the A7, just outside Valencia, was closed due to an accident and vehicle fire but not just any vehicle, it had to be a lorry carrying gas cylinders. What gas I don’t know as by the time we got to go past it they were all blackened from the fire. We did get chatting to a lovely Spanish couple next to us who told us this kind of hold up was very unusual and I explained it was a daily occurrence in the UK especially on the M25 London orbital (or outer London car park as its affectionally known). I have to say that being stuck in traffic in the beautiful Spanish sunshine is much preferred to the M25 with the cold and rain lashing your windows.
We finally reached Camping Calpemar which is small site situated just a few hundred meters from the town and the beach. It has three sizes of pitches available small (suitable for camper vans and small motorhomes although you could squeeze a 7 meter MH in there), the medium size (more suitable for the larger motorhomes) and the big (reserved for those with the big A class and RV’s).
I opted for the medium size pitch which cost a little more (4 Euros a night extra) so we had plenty of space for us and the girls and managed to get the pitch right next to the restaurant/bar and pool, an absolute bonus I thought.
It seems that we have now passed the furthest south the majority of the Germans are willing to travel as there are only a handful here as far as I can tell. Mostly seems to be Brits with a smattering of other nationalities.
Being close to the town I decided it was a good opportunity to see if I can get my eyes tested as I am long overdue. Imagine my surprise to find a Specsavers just down the road with english speaking staff and optometrist. It appears this is quite a popular area for the British and just about all the shops here in Calpe are English speaking. Oh and guess what I need new glasses.
I also popped into a vets to enquire about a couple of rumours I had heard along our travels and seems they were true. Firstly the girls chips need to be scanned and registered here in Spain as they do not have access to the UK databases and if lost and found they are unable to identify who the dogs belong to. And secondly they need some protection against mosquitos in this region of Europe.
Having got all this done and it being lunchtime I thought this would be a good time to seek out some of the local cuisine among many of its bars and restaurants. It didn’t take long before I found a large sign outside of a restaurant saying “The original Indian Restaurant” or something like that. This led me quickly to thinking that I have not had a curry since leaving old Blighty and the thoughts of sampling the local dishes was thrown instantly in the bin.
The Punjabi Curry serves what I can only describe as one of the absolute best in curries. Not only does the staff speak excellent English but they are very helpful and most attentive. They even prepared a special curry for me as I wanted a Chicken Tikka Masala but a little hotter than normal (I was reasoning that a Tikka Madras was just too hot for the thirty odd degree weather). The waiter even came out with a small dish of the sauce they had prepared for me to try to check it was hot enough. I will certainly be returning during our stay in Caple.
The town, beach and promenade is lovely with such a vast array of shops, bars and restaurants and the warm dry climate makes it an absolute pleasure to wander around the shops. They do have a mall which was something of a very pathetic effort but then again why would malls catch on somewhere where there is no need to get out of the wind and rain northern Europe has to suffer.
We are certainly staying here for at least a couple of weeks, not only because I have to wait for my new glasses to be made but because I actually like it here and there is plenty to see and do…