Friday 2nd January
Okay, I admit it, we are losing all track of time which is why the last blog had the wrong date on it.
We moved on from the aire at Cartagena looking for a spot of wild camping. We’d been told that Mazarron was a good place to look so 20 miles later, after negotiating some great mountain passes we arrived in Isla Plane just to the east of Mazarron and we had a quick look along the coast even further east reaching a small fishing port called La Azohia just before the road runs out.
As we are driving along we see a large car park with big “no camping” signs, that’s the place for us then. As you can see, the weather is a bit grotty today, we have some clouds. I want to be a Spanish weather forecaster, what an easy job. Sunny today, sunny tomorrow, sunny next week…
We’ve got a dead end road in front of us and then a 6km long cycle track. Bins are to the left. Wherever we have been in Spain there have always been lots of bins, sometimes there are the different bins for glass, paper, cardboard, etc and they all get emptied very early in the morning, sometimes as early as 2am. This morning it was 8.30am which isn’t too bad.
We went for a walk along the front reaching La Azohia which is world famous as a tuna fishing port. The sign board made it sound like a very impressive place but without a harbour and just a short jetty I have my doubts. In the above photo Isla Plana is straight ahead and we are parked over to the right. The beach is stony for most of the coast here so tourism is very low key but there are summer houses all the way along the coast.
Heres a photo for Andrew, he wanted to see some sun and our photos are the only chance he gets. The view out of Frankies front window.
Luckily they did manage to get the Discovery started and moved it out of our way.
Friday saw us on our bikes and cycling past Isla Plana and then a well earned rest on the beach with lunch.
Lucy spent most of the time paddling.
When we got back to our wild camping spot there were a couple of caravans that had arrived. Lucy started complaining that they had no right to be parked here. I had to point out that the sign actually said no tents, no caravans, no motorhomes and none of us should be here. I thought it was quite nice having a couple of caravans amongst 40 motorhomes, it felt just like an East Essex meet.
Lucy has a pair of black trainers that she uses for cycling and she has managed to wear the toes out. I think she uses her toes to slow down instead of wearing out her brakes so we had to go and get her replacements. Incredibly she found a replacement pair almost exactly the same as the ones she had, for the princely sum of €8.90
We’ve had some fun with oranges. As you know an orange is an orange except when it is a tangerine, mandarine, satsuma, clementine, seville, jaffa, etc. I didn’t give it too much thought so when I saw 4kg of oranges for €1.79 I thought we’d have them. Not the best oranges I have ever had and it turns out that these oranges are meant for juicing, not eating. Eric and Ann gave us a small juicer before we left so we spent the afternoon juicing oranges and mixing it with the champagne we were given at the last aire. We’ve had a lovely day!
Over the last three or four weeks the weather has got noticeably better, even the solar panel is starting to do it’s job properly. I did do some research which tells me that I should have a dedicated Schaudt solar regulator which tells the main unit how much charge is being put into the battery. I came to the the conclusion that maybe the main unit is losing track of the battery condition and showing the wrong percentage of capacity left. The voltage was still at 12.7v which is OK. We’ll keep an eye on it and look at uprating the batteries when we get back to England and possibly getting a new regulator.
Forgot to tell you that Cartagena is home to Licor 43, one of Lucy’s top 100 drinks to try before it gets dark tonight. The name comes from the number of ingredients they use to make it so we had to try a taste test and see how many we could recognise. Top of the list was vanilla and a splash of alcohol. We know that there should be citrus, spices and some herbs but we have struggled to work out what is in there. In the end we made a list of all the herbs and spice we could think of and then concentrated on each one to see if we could detect any subtle hints. We’ve crossed off rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, parsley, dill, oregano, marjoram and coriander. The more time you spend on this type of research the harder it gets but Lucy is an expert, (we don’t call her glug glug for nothing).
After two days free camping we decided to move on. Mazarron is just down the coast and we’ve been told there are ample wild camping opportunities there. We found them, but they were all in residential areas, far too near houses for our liking so we kept moving on. The roundabout above is just outside Mazarron, don’t know why I haven’t done it before but this time I stopped and took a photo. Nearly every big roundabout that we have seen in France or Spain has been landscaped, it could be a fancy statue or sculpture or something relevant to the area, obviously Mazarron is next to the sea and has a fishing fleet. This is one of the best roundabouts we have seen and they all put ours to shame.
We drove through Mazarron and found a huge empty car park, these rock formations were just behind them and looked rather smart. The car park was really huge and since there was only one motorhome there and it was right by a camp site we decided to move on, the day was still young.
Before coming to Spain I didn’t realise just how mountainous the country is and it means that there are parts of the coast you just can’t get to but we had a lovely drive through more mountains eventually reaching Aquillas where we tried to stop in the Lidls but it was a city centre branch and there was no way we were getting under the height restrictions so onward we drove.
And then we see a gaggle of motorhomes parked up by the beach so we had to go and join them. There we are over the the right, 20m from the sandy beach.
And from the other direction.
Can you see us now? After the first night we realised that where we had parked was in the shade of a hill but by moving we got the sun for an extra hour and a half. Map reference is 37º22”36, W1º37”44. There is another spot about 200 yards to the south of us as well.
First morning the Civil Guardia came round and he wasn’t very happy. We had a caravan and a fifth wheeler on the aire, both sets of occupants had gone off for the day so after banging on their doors for 10 minutes and getting no response he decided to lay down the law. Any one with a satellite dish up, blocks under the wheels, chairs out or even a door mat had to produce all of their documents and stop being naughty. You’re not allowed to camp, you can park but if you put anything other than four wheels on the floor or stick anything up in the air you’re camping. Luckily we had found a spot that had just the right slope on it that we didn’t need chocks.
I’m writing this on the 5th January, our aim is to head for Vera which has two aires so we can get the washing done, buy some food, empty the tanks and toilet but we think we may have made a little booboo because there are only three of us left here, everyone else snuck off early this morning and it has taken us a little while to work out a possible reason. Tomorrow is a bank holiday and all the shops will be closed, 6th January is the big day. Luckily we have lots of food, wine and Licor 43, we can manage until Wednesday.