Thursday, 21 November 2019

2019/20 Winter Tour and Xmas Stopover. Majal Costa Blanca in Spain Week 1

Friday 15th - Thursday 21st November 21019   Mostly ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž⛅⛅⛅๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž
Parking Co-ordinates 38.18085, -0.8119

It's hard to believe that almost a week has gone by since we arrived here last Wednesday afternoon, and as I haven't made any notes to jog my memory, it's now quite difficult to remember exactly how we've passed our time๐Ÿค”.  Much of it has gone by socialising with friends over the odd bevvy or three๐Ÿน, and just for good health, I've managed to fit in a 'stre_____ch'  class, a gym session and together we've done several fairly long walks.

Our Home for the Next 10 weeks
At the weekend we visited The Natural Park of El Hondo which is only about two miles away from the campsite, and which was involved in extensive flooding only a couple of months ago.   Within it's boundary there are two very large lagoons that were swelled by the flood water and now it seems that more birds than usual have taken up residence.  When we cycled through on Saturday the new visitors included a large flock of flamingos but we'd forgotten our binoculars and they were too far away to see clearly.  Therefore, we quickly decided to go back on foot on Sunday but only to be initially disappointed because it looked as if they'd flown the coop, but no, they'd just moved over into the second lagoon where about 100 of them were busy grazing from the watery lagoon floor.

Monday morning was the Rally's coffee morning where we were informed of the weeks activities and forthcoming trips, but the only one that we wanted to participate in was the Tuesday Hill Walk that apparently isn't for the faint (or weak) hearted!!!  However, for this week only the leader had decided to go easy on everyone and really it just turned out to be a meander through the high hills that form part of the range that lie behind us - or in other words the foot hills of The Penya de la Mina.

One of the quarries where marble is chipped out to send to China!!
Apparently, some of the future walks will be much longer, tougher and often traverse tight ledges and very rocky river beds but we've got the gear so we're quite looking forward to the challenge especially as a guide will be there to lead the way.

Wednesday was our day to pick up our hire car from Alicante Airport ✈, and although the procedure was a bit drawn out because of queues, it was all fairly straight forward and incredibly cheap!!  We've got a Skoda Fabia for the next 9 days and it's cost was just €8.50 for the whole hire period, and then when we take that back we're expecting to get a similar car and that will be only €17.50 for 20 days.  Of course they tried to sell us an upgrade and their own insurance but we didn't need either because we've got a policy that covers everything that their enhanced collision weaver does, and back in the UK we only paid £30 for it for the whole year!

I only ate half the chips - honest๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
So once mobile we were soon on our way to the town of Quesada where we found a fantastic English Fish and Chip Shop and indulged in some of the best Fish & Chips we've ever had either in England or abroad!  And we also spent some time doing some very much needed food shopping, first at the English butcher - The Chop Shop, and later at trusty old Lidl.  Then after all that it was back to the van to shoe horn it all into our cupboards, and then to flop into our deckchairs to soak up the last few of the day's rays ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž!

Thursday dawned a bit overcast and cool after some overnight rain so in the morning we occupied our time with 'housework' and cooking but none of that took very long.  So around 11ish when the sun came to play we packed up our picnic and took ourselves off to a nearby beach at a place called La Marina.  There we were able to walk on the golden sands with the Mediterranean lapping at our feet for several miles but unfortunately our picnic had to be gobbled in the car because in the early afternoon more heavy drops of wet stuff fell!

I feel just like him popping
up out of my burrow to inspect
my surroundings๐Ÿ˜‚
Finally, before I go I suppose I ought to tell you how we are after last weeks traumatic night time break in; it has to be said it's taking a while for us to settle down and recommence properly enjoying ourselves.  Neither of us are sleeping very well, and initially this wasn't aided by the fact that our next door neighbours had a flag waving at the edge of their pitch (but just above my bed)!  As it flapped in the breeze it sounded just like someone creeping about outside so in the middle of the night I'd find myself popping up out of my burrow of covers to ensure everything was as it should be, and even though it was my adrenaline would be surging and my heart pumping fast so it was impossible to go back to sleep ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ’ค!  Luckily, when I asked and explained what had happened our neighbours were quite happy to take it down so things have improved a bit since then.  And John hasn't fared much better because he's been waking early and then thinking dark thoughts about the dangers that may befall us on our travels, but time is a good healer and he seems to be settling a bit better and for longer now.

However, one of the biggest things for us both now is deciding how we're going to continue this tour!  Our initial plan was to stay here at Marjal until the 20th January and then possibly move further south towards Portugal indulging in some wild camping along the way.  That idea has now been totally abandoned and we've extended our stay here until 30th January, and after that we're going to move onto another big site further North near Barcelona!  I think it's fair to say that our confidence has been knocked quite badly and we're still not sure how our roving life will continue, but as we've now had two bad episodes in Spain (our bikes were nicked back in 2015) this country may well be excluded from our future itineraries.

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