Monday, 8 November 2010

28 Around La Manga

Wednesday 3rd Nov
We packed a picnic today and headed off for a walk in the hills that surround us.  Ray had planned a route of about 12k’s and we set off. 

The weather was lovely, not too warm, but definitely a lot warmer than you are having in Britain.  The area is National park and is quite a gentle walk from one side of the peninsular to the other.  Whilst we were strolling along, I noticed that the soil was very hard caked and red in colour, and made the mistake of asking Ray if it was clay.  I then got a ten minute lecture on the size of grains of grit and soil, consistancy and blah blah blah, (he was a civil engineer for a while), needless to say I was very careful with future questions, so when Ray pointed to the rocks and asked me how they got that gorgeous purple colour, I was a tad hesitant in how I answered, and then was totally floored when he burst into the song, Purple rain, the one by Prince.
"Purple rain, purple rain" ,,,,,
At about halfway we stopped on the beach for lunch and a beer and finished off our trek. Unfortunately whilst we ate, I was eaten by an assortment of bugs, in all I had about 20 bites. We actually did about 9ks in the end.

Who's eating who?

It's alright, I'll carry everything!

Thursday 4th Nov
We decided just to do a bit of shopping, and once done, headed to the Irish pub. 
Traditional Spanish Irish Bar

It was probably the sunshine and the wine, but we both got quite happy and after leaving there, decided to get the push bikes and cycle to another English bar and do the quiz night.  At Brambles Bar, we thoroughly enjoyed the very Spanish size measures of vodka and gin.  Unfortunately they didn’t help our brain power and we came second last, didn’t even manage the booby prize.  It was really weird being the youngest people in the bar, apart from a couple of the staff, and as I remember, the questions reflected that.  That is my story and I’m sticking to it.  Anyway, we left there, and got onto the bikes, well I did, Ray, got on and promptly fell straight off.  It was all I could do to keep myself upright and I couldn’t stop laughing.  Ray was flat out on the ground laughing as well and although it seemed like a long time, I suppose it was only minutes before a couple of OAP’s came out to see if they could help.   After declining their kind offer we set off along the beach for home.  I’d like to say that it was all plain sailing after that, but I can’t.  I fell off in the sand, luckily it didn’t hurt, and between us I think we must have cycled an extra mile with all the side to side riding we were doing.  Somewhere in the fog, I do remember getting off the bike and pushing it through gravel so that I didn’t fall off and hurt myself there. One little bit of sense that survived the night, I don’t know how though.
I apologised to the camping neighbours the next day for our noisy arrival back home. They were not bothered at all but they went to the same bar the day after and we were the talk of the pub with everyone laughing at my demise. Hey, as long as they enjoyed it!
Friday 5th Nov
We felt too sorry for ourselves from last night, so a very quiet day had by both of us.
Saturday 6th Nov
Back to being fighting fit, raring to go.  On Wallace we headed off into hills, another set this time and much bigger. We went via the supermarket again and this time, saw all these lovely Flamingos at the bird reserve on route.
Shy flamingos
The journey from there took us back past Cartagena and into the mountains to the West of Murcia. It was a bit of a drag on the motorway for an hour or so but when he hit a small town called Alhama De Murcia it was all change, lovely tight hairpin bends with steep drop offs at the sides. Just my kind of  touring. We stopped for a bit of lunch at a lovely bar cum hotel on the side of a mountain that looks out onto what is described as “badlands”. 

It consists of uninhabited semi desert with a large lake interspersed between. Unfortunately, the lake is hidden behind the first row of hills. 
View from the lunch terrace

The grub tasted great and the place was run by an English couple and their son was the waiter. He also takes groups of people out on quad bike rides and kayaking around the badlands. We may partake at some other time.
We set off again and after about 6 km I turned onto a dirt track that I had programmed into the GPS. It did not take long to get used to the bike skipping about on the gravel and I thought “well, this is not too bad for Karens first proper dirt track riding”. 

We rode for about 15km on this track and then suddenly things got horrible.
We rode round a bend and the track changed to a rock strewn nightmare with rocks about fist size covering the whole track. 
Lumpy bumpy roads

It was so rough that the only way to ride it was standing up a-la motocross fashion. This is not normally a problem with one person on the bike, but with 2 it’s a bitch. However we both stood up, unfortunately at different times to start with and Karen had my bum firmly placed in her face. We eventually got our act together and Karen learned quickly how to be part of the ride as opposed to just a passenger. We drove along this nightmare for about 4 km and it eventually got better so we stopped for a long earned rest. 
Enjoying the view

I was competely knackered and Karen although also knackered had survived her trial by fire very well. A couple of kilometers further on we rejoined the tarmac and set off towards home via a long and twisty road back down the mountain. I modified the route back to get home quick as the sun was setting fast.
We did not quite make it home,  just before sunset we popped into a English bar, “Hotshots” in Los Balones,  the next village from the campsite. I managed to get a proper Fosters and lime. Do you think we should be integrating more ??  We are struggling to find places that are not festooned with brits. It’s nice for communication reasons but we are not getting a chance to practice our Spanish.
Sunday 7th Nov.
A slow start with Karen cooking a fry-up breakfast.  She got halfway through and the gas turned itself off. Luverly. I messed about with the regulator and bottles for a couple of hours to no avail having had a luke warm breakfast of the bits she managed to cook. We were now flapping a bit not knowing if we could get it fixed in Spain. I had another go later and the bloody thing started working again.
Monday 8th Nov
Dick, a guy in the plot opposite us, took me to the local caravan shop and I managed to order a new regulator – another 120 euros! On the way back, Dick took me to a local butchers shop, again run by Brits, as well as meat they also sell Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, custard pies and Walkers crisps – absolute heaven – thank you God. They buy the pastry in all the way from Cornwall. Needless to say I came away with bags of goodies.
Dick needs a bit of explaining, Karen has mentioned him before, he’s the guy from Buckhurst Hill. Anyway he has retired from a family run manufacturing business and lives here permenantly but his wife Jenny still works in finance in central London and is a work-a-holic. So he just sits here sunbathing  every day. The man has made doing nothing and laziness into an art form.  Before Jenny came out for a weeks visit, Dick put out a deck chair for her with a broom against it.  When she got here, the first thing she did was swept up! 
I have arranged for him to give me lessons!    

Always knew your medic course would come to serve you well dear.

Are those clouds ???

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