Monday, 22 January 2018

Calp - Spain - Day 49 - 53

Thursday 18th - Monday 22nd January 2017

Thursday was the day that our 31 night stay at Monmar Camping came to an end, and so it was a sad farewell to a place that has not only provided a lovely base for exploration but also an excellent spot for lots of social activities and the making of new friends.  But, we've still got about 8 weeks of this tour to go so with that in mind we've picked out several more areas that seem to have plenty to offer - the first one being Calp which is about 100 miles further South.  However, finding somewhere to stay was a bit of a challenge because all the campsites seemed to have no room at the Inn - that was until I tried a new site called Camping Estrella Polar which was offering pitches for the bargain price of just 9 euros (without electric).  Therefore, an e-mail was quickly sent and our place was secured, but before we could settle again we had mundane tasks like filling with LPG (gas) and replenishing our food stocks to attend to.

We arrived at Estrella at 4ish only to find that it was siesta time and the reception wouldn't be open until 5, but by this stage we were starving (having missed lunch) so we picked a spot on the busy site and hoped we wouldn't be asked to move later!

Now, it has to be said, the site is a little 'rustic' and everybody seems to be parked in a higgledy piggildy fashion, the toilets and showers are in porta-cabins and it's got a lot fewer electric hook up points than it has pitches!  However, it's clean friendly and only 1 street back from the sea front so we very quickly decided it would suit us even if we did have to manage without the convenience of being able to plug in!

Friday was given over to exploring some of the area that we were settling into!  Calp is located at the foot of the Rock of Ifach - an area with is now a National Park and the thing that had most attracted us to this area.  We left the site and walked into Calp along the magnificent sea front promenade that starts only a couple of hundred downhill yards from the site and continues to the massive rock - Ifach and then beyond. 

During our walk we passed behind the Rock, through the lovely marina  and then continued along another prom which terminated after about another mile and a half, and along all of the way there was plenty to see!  We not only had the beautiful Med lapping against the sandy beach for company, but also lots of other strollers, lots of interesting shops and cafes, and a fair few of the usual "lookey lookey men "selling handbags, shoes and other 'designer' goods!

A hopeful pigeon who wanted to share! 

And for once, we hadn't taken our usual picnic, so on the way back we felt it would have been rude not to stop at one of the inviting cafes - therefore we treated ourselves to a pint and a Burger at Tango's - and it was probably one of the best we've ever had  and an excellent reward for an 8 mile walk!

Saturday was another strolling day - but this time in the opposite direction and along a lovely coastal walkway which we accessed almost from our doorstep and that stretched to the town of Benissa and a little beyond - about a 6 miles return journey.

However, our outing was very leisurely  because along the way there were loads of info boards that told about the coastline, the plant life, and the people and creatures who inhabit it.

The path followed the coastline closely, and although it had been built mostly as a tourist attraction it had been very sympathetically done with lots of pretty resting areas along with numerous twists, turns and stairways - it really was a delightful!

Once back at T4rdis2 we relaxed in the evening sunshine and later nipped down to one of 3 local watering holes - Grizzly's, where we indulged in steak for John and ribs for me all washed down with a very nice drop of vino tinto!

Then on Sunday we climbed the rock - an activity which was challenging, thrilling, exhausting  and possibly one that we shouldn't have indulged in!  The Penyal d'Ifac (it's proper name) is a massive limestone outcrop that emerges from the sea and is linked to the shore by rock debris.  It's a nesting colony for numerous sea birds and rises 332 metres in height making it a very prominent feature along the coast line.  The area has been a National Park since January 1987 and it's lower slopes have been landscaped with a steep but safe path that leads up to a long sloping tunnel that cuts through the rock.

But after that the going gets much tougher - but this happens only slowly so initially we were lulled into a false sense of security - however the clues are probably in the signs that prohibit children under 16 from going any further, and also  in the ropes and chains to which you have to cling to prevent yourself from taking the long plunge into the sea below.  Our trek was also hindered by the fact that I'd worn my old comfy trainers - old with worn smooth soles - which when put into contact with steep slippery glassy rocks didn't really make for a good combination!

In places the continuation of the 'path' was just foot holds and hand holds across short sheer sections, and in others it was just one boulder after another that needed to be scrambled over while heading in a sharply upwards direction - and if we thought it was hard climbing up it was bloody treacherous coming down.

But we did make it safely - both out towards the seaward tip of the rock and also to the top from where the views over the surrounding countryside and seawards where quite stunning - we could even make out the coast of Ibiza from our lofty peach - which I think really should have been only the province of seagulls!

And Monday - well that was to be our day of rest - that is after the housework was done!  So once washing, cleaning, and polishing of our solar panel (our only source of electric at the mo) was completed all we had left to do was enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the afternoon!

And that's exactly what I'm going to do - so cheerio for now 😙😙

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