Thursday 22nd January
I’ll never joke about the weather again after this week.
The aire at Alora was in the middle of nowhere, we were miles out of town so we went for a walk the other way and found nothing of interest other than loud dogs, surprisingly they didn’t keep us awake at night but the weather was getting cooler and the wind was picking up. We had put the washing on the line before we went out and when we got back the site owner was hoping that we could take ours off so she could get hers on before it started raining.
And then it started to rain and rain until about 8.30am the next morning when I heard a big scraping of metal, a couple of thunks and a bang. I flew out of bed thinking the other motorhome had fallen off his blocks got dressed and went outside. The aire was on a dog-leg in the road and a young chap in a white van had managed to roll the van and ended up in the ditch. He was dazed but didn’t need any help and soon his girlfriend had joined him in her car to slow the traffic coming from the blind side. After an hour a tow truck arrived and took him away.
Strange thing was that when you read your motoring guide to Spain it says you must have a hi viz jacket for every person in the vehicle and two warning triangles. Funny how I couldn’t see any triangles or hi viz jackets!
We had had enough of this aire and I was rather shocked when I went to pay. €10 per night plus €2.50 for electricity. That’s nearly proper campsite prices!
We ended up in a free aire just outside Feungirola, it was still raining and it stayed raining for nearly all of the two days we were there.
Other than elsan and rubbish bins there were no services at all. Can you see how big this aire is? Can you try and explain to me why when you park 3m away from the next van, someone will want to squeeze in between you? Along the back of the site is a line of trees and some units had managed to park amongst them but when we arrived it was looking a bit wet and churned up so we stayed on the flat stuff. Monday morning we were woken up at 5.30am to the sound of a recovery truck reversing in between us and the next van (Lucy had scowled at the in betweeners yesterday and they had thought better of parking right next to us).
You know how quiet these recovery guys can be and the last thing you need is one 2 feet away from your window with all his list flashing. He was there to pull out one of the motorhomes that had got stuck in the mud (or worried about the water levels) amongst the trees but why they had to do it so early in the morning I really don’t know. I imagine the conversation went something like, “Juan, I need pulling out of the mud”, “I am sorry, I’m fully booked up but I do have a 5.30am slot where I can squeeze you in”. Other than the rain this site was close to the beach although we didn’t visit it and 200m from a Lidls. GPS co-ordinates are at N36.50565, W4.68138.
After two days our water was getting low and we had to move on and we found one of the best aires we have been to so far at a small village called Benarraba. GPS N36.54932, W5.27913. It was quite a drive to get there, first along the coast road and we could see Gibralter and further afield Africa and then up into the mountains and we climbed and climbed passing the 3000’ mark along the normal twisty roads. Above is the view out of Frankies window when we arrived, very low clouds and chilly. More rain in the night as well.
We’ve got five bays, although it would be a squeeze to get five vans in. Each bay has it’s own waste water drain, water tap and elsan point. The road to the left is the only road into the village.
We also get lights and it looks like the original plan was to install electric points, if only…
The whole village has been revamped in an attempt to attract tourists to this part of the world and it worked for us, we’ll be revisiting. There are long distance footpaths, short circular paths and views in every direction.
All the pavements have been resurfaced and flower pots attached to the walls. This is by no means the steepest or narrowest road in the town but cars do get round and about. The bin lorry couldn’t so at the top of the village was a bin store and a little tipper truck spends it’s days moving bins up and down the narrow streets. We might have stopped for a beer or three in one of the bars whilst watching a TV quiz show. We can’t remember the name of the show but you have a big wheel that the contestants spin and then they have to guess the letters on the board and make up sayings. The set was exactly the same as the UK show but it seemed like the adverts were on for as long as the show was.
On the way out I took this picture and you can see the only road in on the right. Lucy wanted me to stop before this but it isn’t easy to stop on these roads, there is traffic and nowhere to pull over but she did have a very good reason for us to stop – she saw two Griffon Vultures, pointed them out to me and as I was looking for somewhere to stop she said “Wow, there’s loads of them.
After two days we left Benarraba mainly because our batteries were starting to get a bit low. Four days without hook up with the heating on for much of the time, so we made our way to Olvera stopping on the way at Ronda to look at the New Bridge. You can just see the old bridge in the distance.
And here is the new bridge. Built in 1751 to cross the 120m deep gorge carved by the Guadalevin River taking 42 years to build. Just above the central arch is a window behind which is a chamber used for a number of purposes, including as a prison. During the Civil war (1936-1939) it is alleged that both sides used it as a torture chamber for captured opponents, killing some by throwing them out of the window. We would have liked to stay longer and visit the exhibition but we had only managed to find one car park we could get in and we could only buy a ticket for a maximum of two hours.
I saw this on a roundabout in Ronda, I’m going to call it a Rondabout.
So far we have been messing about trying to work out where we can stay and for how long with the aim of arriving in Olvera on Friday. It nearly worked out but the weather was against us and we had to arrive a day early due to a nearly flat battery. It isn’t easy trying to juggle your water, waste and power needs against the facilities at various aires and having to be at a particular point on a certain date but I’m pretty pleased with myself and now I don’t have to do any more planning until June. But why would we want to arrive anywhere on a particular date you ask yourselves – all will be revealed in the next post (if we can find some internet).