Elda, Calpe, Guadalest, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura
216 days away
237 miles / 381 km since last post
9,690 miles / 15,595 km total
On Monday we left Pinoso. After saying farewell to Paco next door, we drove into Pinoso briefly, just so we could pop in on Steve to return the house keys and pay up for the internet usage. Then we stopped at the Carrefour in Elda once again to stock up on food. After this we headed to Calpe, on the coast, which had a campsite we had intended on staying at. As we got closer we saw quite a few motorhomes were parked just down the road from the site. We parked up along with them, and Stu wandered over to the site to enquire about staying. It turned out that the site was full, and we were advised not to park out on the road as the police normally move people on. However, a minute later a French lady came over to us, and she advised us to park a few roads away from the site. We headed straight over, and saw some other motorhomes parked there, so assumed they knew what they were doing and decided to stay here the night.
The next day we took a lovely walk along the coast, and up to Penon De Ifach, a 332 metre high limestone outcrop which emerges from the sea. We decided to attempt the ascent, the start of which is nothing too tricky with a fairly well laid path. About a third of the way up however, things get a little more difficult as you enter the tunnel which burrows through to the other side of the rock. There is no longer a path in the tunnel, and the rock beneath our feet became much more tricky and slippery, as it has smoothed under people's feet over the years. Thankfully there was a rope fixed to either side of the tunnel to make this a bit easier. Once through the tunnel, we made a fairly quick decision not to proceed any further. There was no path as such, but just a rather dangerous looking, uneven, rocky route to take you further up and around the other side of the rock, with a sheer drop on one side. There were plenty of signs around making it clear that this route was very dangerous, so we were happy that this was the furthest we would go. On the way back down we stopped at a bench and had the lunch we'd brought with us, while observing the lovely view below. We opted for another night at our free stop.
On Wednesday we drove to Guadalest, and here we visited the remains of the San Jose Castle and Orduna House. We had a look around the Orduna House, and besides a fantastic collection of books dating back to the 17th century, I didn't find it especially interesting. I think we found the most impressive thing to be the view from the top - amazing view across the landscape and down to the reservoir below. It was a beautiful sunny day too - something we are getting quite used to in Spain now - an impressive 23 degrees.
After leaving Guadalest we headed around 100km south, having found a good camper stop to stay at from our book. Unable to find it at first, I parked up along the side of the road while Stu did a quick scout up a small road to try and locate it. He did find it, but said it would be a bit of a squeeze for our motorhome, so we decided to try somewhere else. The next couple of camper stops we tried were both closed, so Stu called a nearby campsite. They wanted €39 for the night, or it was half price if we arrived after 7pm and left before 10am - no thanks! Our final option was another camperstop near Santa Pola - by this time it was approaching 7pm and we just wanted to stop driving and relax for the night. Thankfully, this place was open and had plenty of space, and was a far more reasonable €9 for the night with wifi included. We were happy to park up and get settled.
On Thursday we opted to just stay around the site for the day, as it was a nice stop and pretty cheap. We met some fellow Brits who were parked just opposite us, Hazel and David. They had been travelling since August, and had also been to Morocco a few times in their motorhome, so it was great to chat to them and swap travelling stories. After doing a spot of knitting over the Christmas break, and having bought a new stash of wool from the Carrefour the other day, I took this day as a great opportunity to begin a new knitting project. This will keep me busy during the down time of our trip.
We left our site on Friday, and drove further into Santa Pola, eventually finding a parking spot after a few drives around the outside of the town. We could then take a short walk into the town - yet another beautiful warm day for it too. We headed for the beach and harbour area, and had a lovely walk along here, ending up at a tapas place for a spot of lunch. On our return walk to the motorhome, we passed through the town once again where they had begun setting up various stalls for the marathon happening at the weekend. Stu was quite taken with one stall that was selling a one-wheeled vehicle, powered in a similar way to a Segway but without the long handle bars. It looked pretty cool, and I think Stu would like to buy one!
Once back in the motorhome we took the short 10km drive down to Guardamar. We had hoped that there was a wild camping area next to the beach, but on arrival we saw all the "no camping" signs quite clearly. The other Brits who were just leaving as we arrived told us that the police come around quite often and move people along, so we knew we wouldn't be able to stay here. However, we parked up for a short while so we could sit on the beach, which was lovely.
We headed to an Aires camping site, which the Brits had told us about, just a mile or so away from the beach. Quite a lot of Brits here too - I guess Spain is the obvious place to go for the winter.
On Saturday we decided we would stay at the Aires site another night, so we could leave the motorhome and take the bikes fro a ride into Guardamar. Upon arrival, we found that there was not a huge amount going on there, but there was a very long beach. It was only when we looked at the beach that we remembered we had actually come here once before - when we came out to stay at his Mum's place back in the summer of 2009. We found a place along the seafront for some lunch, before heading back to the site on the bikes.