Thursday 14th January
I can’t believe that it’s been ten days since my last blog. We had really got settled in at Mikki’s Place and the bad weather didn’t make us feel like moving on.
You would have thought by our last day we would have worked out a plan for where to go next but it all changed next morning. We were going to go to Portimao but Lucy decided that she would prefer to get moving again so I can write the blog and let her know where we’ve been.
You may know that we needed new batteries and the best price I had seen for them was in Ayamonte which is just over the Spanish border across the Guadiana from Villa Real San Antonio and eventually found the shop but nowhere to park. Ordered two 110aH batteries for €127 each and asked where I could park to pick them up. “Just outside the shop” was the answer, “On the roundabout”? asks I, “yes, of course”. It does seem strange parking on a roundabout but everyone does it.
I vaguely knew of an overnight stop in Ayamonte but couldn’t find it so we headed south and ended up parked in the far corner of Spain. There were four of us there and we had a view of the sea. No camping, out of the way and very quiet except for the waves crashing on the beach.
Next morning we wake up to a beautiful sunny day. The tide was far out but there were lots of people paddling about in the shallows so I went to investigate.
Most of them have the contraption shown above. The guy walks backward churning up the sand and rocking the handle backwards and forwards.
Every so often he stops and examines the catch. Good stuff goes into the net, everything else is rejected.
And this is what they are catching. Not really certain what they are but they could be very small clams.
This guy just has a small net and kicks the sand up with his boot, scooping up the good stuff. I spoke to this chap for a few minutes, he has two children 8 and 10 years of age and a wife and this is his sole source of income.
Good views but time to move on.
We keep being told about a town called El Rocio and decided to give it a go. We had co-ordinates for overnight parking (€1 per night) and whizzed up the motorway and parked next to a very large lake. You can see Flamingoes, Spoonbills and Egrets in the photo above. As you can see the water is very shallow and it does dry up in the Summer.
El Rocio is a place of pilgrimage for upto 1 million people every Whitsun. They will walk or ride a horse for days to see the Black Madonna.
A typical street. Note the railings for tying up your horse and the sandy roads. Cars are allowed into the town but there weren’t many.
Most of the locals were out and about on their horses, I am told that these are a pair of Andalusians, note the docked tails!
This must be one of the oldest Olive trees known. When we went to Turkey we were shown 500 year old trees and the trunks were less than half the size of this monster.
The Black Madonna.
And votive candles. We were going to visit the church but we were both wearing shorts which was forbidden and as it was such a nice day we joined other happy campers and got our chairs out for a few beers. It was so nice to have the sun warming us again and we planned to spend a couple of days here before moving on.
Ian and Julie, our neighbours and cyber stalkers (they found us through Julie and Jason’s blog) came over for a glass or ten of red wine and we had a very enjoyable evening.
Next morning it was overcast and chilly so instead of staying another day we moved on again and are now sitting in a small harbour on the outskirts of Seville. Lucy is planning tomorrows visit into the city and I’m charging up the camera battery.
I hope to send out another blog tomorrow with our latest exploits. Meanwhile I will leave you with something that was posted to me on Facebook, it seemed apt bearing in mind we are surrounded by foreigners.
THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY “THOMAS COOK VACATIONS” FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS:
1. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”
2. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”
3. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”
4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”
5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”
6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”
7. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallartato close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”
8. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”
9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”
10. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”
12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”
13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”
14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort.’ We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”
15. “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”
16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”
17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”
19. “My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”