Tuesday, 2 November 2010

27 La Manga

Our apologies for not updating this sooner, we have been enjoying the sunshine and getting things cleaned up, and strange as it seems, for two retired persons, relaxing.
Thursday 14th of Oct
We set off from Blanes on our journey south.  We had a place called La Manga in mind, my friend Marietta has a place down there and had always talked very fondly of it, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.  We drove all day Thursday and stopped overnight on a site in Valencia, the following day we drove another couple of hundred kilometers and finally reached Camping La Manga at about 1.30pm.  It was gloriously sunny and warm and we went into reception, not knowing how long we would be staying for.  As it turns out, we can stay for as long as we like and pay at the end of our stay, which will probably be early to mid December.
The site is over half a mile long, from reception to the beach, and has an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, plus a beach bar which has different theme foods everyday and music at the weekend, and also a supermarket.  We had a long walk around and found a pitch that suited us. We are in amongst several Brits who come down every year for the winter, and also some who actually live here all year round.  Infact, some of the mobile homes make ours look positively tiny, which is strange because we are used to being the big guys on the site.
Our first couple of days were just getting to know some of our new neighbours and getting to know where the big supermarkets are and local bits and pieces, (you know, like where to get Sunday roast and all day breakfast and the obligatory Irish Pub in any Spanish town).
Monday 18th  Oct 
We carted the canoe down to the beach on the back of the bike.  It was a beautiful day again and we set off to row, with our picnic and headed off for a bit of land in the distance.  We actually got the hang of it quite quickly, although I was slightly envious of the guys motoring past us at a great rate of knots in their motor boats.  We parked up, or rather moored up and had our picnic, enjoyed the sunshine and after a wee while decided to paddle back to our bit of main land.   It was really enjoyable, and very relaxing.
 We have some work to do before the 2012 olympics

Tuesday 19th  Oct 
Started off by riding into Cartegena, which is one of the bigger towns nearby.  We were after a motorhome/caravan shop for a couple of bits and pieces and we managed to get lost a couple of times, but found it just as it was shutting for the siesta time, so nothing for it but to go for a little ride around and get a beer.  We went down to the harbour area and sat watching all the tourists and people off of one very huge ocean liner.  A very pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.
The fauna are friendly, obviously learned early about the table scraps.
Wednesday 20th  Oct 
Leon needed his stitches removed from his tail and also a couple of booster jabs, so today was about finding a vet and making an appointment.  We found a great little one and he spoke a little English, but I had written down keys phrases in Spanish, so we were able to explain what we wanted and he seemed to understand and booked us an appointment for tomorrow. Today we toured La Manga itself, and found a lovely restaurant on the beach for lunch.  I don’t get fed up of the views or the sunshine.  We then rode as far as we could along the peninsular, sea on one side, lagoon on the other. Ray decided to do a bit of off roading, it took us ten minutes to pull the bike out of the sand, I made him take me for another beer.
At the beach bar in the campsite.
The lagoon at La Manga

Thursday 21st. Oct
Across the path from us on the site, is a lovely bloke called Dick.  He is from Buckhurst Hill, which is near where I worked when I was stationed at Chingford. When we arrived, he assisted us with directions and getting a signal for our new sky+ box. Infact he gave us a clue as to where the vets were and all the things that we Brits hold dear.   He spends about 6 months of the year here, whilst his wife works in London. She arrived for two weeks on Tuesday and her first trip was to take Ray, Leon and me to the vets, as she couldn’t bear the thought of him (leon that is)  being strapped to the back of the bike, not literally you understand, he would have been in his box, covered up. If I’m honest, I didn’t want that either, but you know Ray, and I quote “he’ll be fine” The boy is 78 in cat years, he has been through enough.
Anyway, I digress, Dick and Jenny dropped us off at the vet and Leon passed with flying colours, and he was very brave.  He is back exploring around and is totally chilled out.
Leon doing the  - its cool for cats thing.
I don’t think I’d mentioned our sky box before. With all the rain we had previously had, unfortunately in a double whammy, the rain came in through a small bit of the roof, and it was right above the sky box, Ray was sitting in the lounge and saw a flash, heard a bang and then there was no more sky box.  The roof has been repaired, but the sky box proved trickier.  We got a free view box and were able to get some channels, but as soon as we were south of Barcelona, we couldn’t get a signal, anyway we were looking at having only news channels, when we saw an advert in the reception area of the site, someone had a sky+ box for sale, second hand and only 40 euros, it now has pride of place in our home, we can’t get BBC, but we are back with most programmes, and again, thanks to Dick for helping with his satellite meter.
The last few days have been very relaxed, topping up the tan, having a Sunday roast (saddo’s I know). We’ve had BBQ’s, made our selves very much at home.  I have to say that I can understand people staying here for months at a time.  (Apparently, you either love or hate this place, and I love it). The weather has been lovely for late October.  We have only had one or two small showers and the worst part was some very blustery winds, and when it blows, you need to tie everything down.

Whist karen was sunbathing, I was working my cotton socks off. Wallace suffered realy badly with the salt from the tornado in Blanes and the spokes and discs were suffering badly with rust. I spent 3 days stripping the wheels apart and cleaning them up and coating them with laquer. All nice and shiny now but I have placed a warranty claim with Yamaha and I await the outcome of that. Actually I lied about karen sunbathing all the time, she also did all the washing and cleaned Lizzy like a new pin.
I hate salt - except on my chips

One of the funniest things was on Halloween, in fact on the 30th,  Saturday night, we heard a knock on the front of the motorhome, and were greeted with shouts of trick or treat. There were two Spanish kids dressed up brilliantly in full scarey costume and we gave them a euro each, (we are pensioners now) and to be honest who would have thought they would turn up on the site, no one warned us about that, so the next night, I made sure I had plenty of sweets and sure enough, we were got again.

This photo does not do this justice, these costumes were good - fair play to them.

If I’m honest, I’m not convinced it wasn’t the same two and they’d swapped costumes…….  They got a handful of sweets each for their efforts.  We’d also visited the local market on Sunday morning.  I have never seen this area so busy.  If you have a certain purchase in mind, I’m sure the market is great,  but we couldn’t wait to get out of there quick enough however, I will make another trip to I in a couple of weeks when I’ve forgotten how crowded it was.
Monday 1st November
We have had a thoroughly indulgent day today.  We went on a road trip around some of the smaller mountain villages.  We visited Portman, which has black volcanic sandy beaches and then via all back roads, industrial areas, (wrong turn), back to Cartegena and then to parts of La Manga that we hadn’t seen, a lovely little place called Cabo De Palos, and at every stop off, we tried a couple of different Tapas, Spanish starters and just enjoyed the ambience.  Everyone we have met, have been really friendly and happy, and that in itself, is very infectious.
Portman bay.

It looks cold but the jackets are needed for protection. The air Temp is relatively cool but the sun is marvellous.

Black sand on a surfers beach - like Lanzarotte

Rugged coastline and surf

Ray doing his Jesus act

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