Monday, 10 December 2018

Marjal Costa Blanca Post 2

Tuesday 4th - Monday 10th December 2018 🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞 - another week of more lovely warm sunshine.
No Motorhome Miles
Parking Co-ordinates 38.18085, -0.8119

As I suggested in my last post, because we're stationary at the mo, it's quite hard to know what to write about that might be interesting to others, so this post might just ramble on about some of the things we've learnt while we've been out and about!

On Tuesday we joined a group of other Ralliers and trotted off for a 'Hill Walk' that had it's main 'exhibits' identified as a water feature and a πŸ–πŸ·πŸ– farm!

The Water Feature that we needed to cross!!
The total distance was only about 6 miles but in places the going was tough and rough, but that was made up for by the views, vistas and company while we walked.  And additionally we learnt about pine processionary caterpillars who make their nests in pine trees and can cause considerable harm to humans,dogs and other mammals!

It seems we've met these nasties before in the Sanlucar and Donana National Park (back in 2016) and although the nests only look like innocent white candyfloss a single one can harbour up to 300 tiny eggs which take about a month to hatch into caterpillars.

They then stay in the tree to feed on the pine needles until they're ready to leave the nest - usually between February and April.  At this point the caterpillars make their way to the ground in a long chain which is where their name comes from, and it is also at this point that they become dangerous because if they are threatened they can eject toxic hairs that act like little harpoons that can penetrate exposed skin causing a nasty rash, and they also give off a dust that if inhaled can cause very unpleasant respiratory problems.  And for dogs it's even worse because the issues caused to  them can be fatal.

On Wednesday we took ourselves back out for a 26 mile circular ride around more of The Hondo National Park area, and while we were riding we spotted loads of palm trees with their tops bound up in black plastic and we couldn't quite fathom what this was for!

Apparently it's to make the fronds turn white so that they can be used to construct crosses and other ornaments for Palm Sunday which is the commemoration of the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem and thus marks the beginning of Holy Week and the final week of Lent.

Thursday was spent being very lazy because here in Spain it's a 'RED DAY'- a bank holiday for Constitution Day which is always celebrated on December 6th.  Generally, Spain has been run with a Monarchy but there was a dictatorship period of Francisco Franco from 1938 until 1978.  Franco died in 1975 and after a general election in 1977 the Spanish Parliament drafted and approved the new 'Constitution' which marked the end of the Dictatorship and the change back to a Monarchy led Democracy.

We'd planned to go out and do some more exploring and shopping but as most of the shops were shut we quickly changed our minds and spent the day just sunbathing, pottering about on the campsite and socialising with our neighbours - 'Oh it is a hard life but someone's got to do it'πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚!

And Friday - well we didn't do much more on that day either!!  But we did persuade ourselves to get off our butts and potter into the nearby town of Catral where we indulged in a Spanish three course Indian Menu del dia πŸ˜• that included a drink and a final brandy all for the princely sum of about 9 quid - very nice but it was a bit spicy so it was a good job we'd got tall 🍻to cool our burning palettesπŸ˜›!

Saturday was another bank holiday - The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Now I mistakenly thought that this referred to Jesus' conception - and the fact that he was born just 18 days later would make it a pregnancy that many would like to emulate!  But the day actually celebrates the belief that Mary was born without sin and that was why God chose her to be Jesus' mother!

Anyway, bank holiday or not we didn't laze about and neither did we feast!  Instead we joined the weekly cycle ride which took us on a 24 mile ride out to the coastal town of Guardamar were I though we might sit by a beach while we sipped our coffee but that didn't quite happen because the ride halted at a sightly inland cafe and then turned homewards!  However, it did provide some much needed exercise and the sun shone on us all the way so we weren't complaining.

Then later we went to a beetle drive and sausage sizzle - another very social and amusing evening that lasted until nearly midnight.

On Sunday we weren't the least bit bleary eyed πŸ˜† - honest πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚!!   We were up and out for 10.30 (😲) with another group of ralliers for a stroll to Catral to see their beautiful nativity model which is situated just outside the town's church.  And on this walk we'd been set a bit of a task!

Apparently nativity scenes here in Mercia (and in many other regions of Spain) often have a male figurine hiding somewhere within them, in the action of having a πŸ’©!  He is called 'El Caganer' which literally translates to 'the crapper' or 'the shitter' - but although we looked very hard we couldn't find him so I stole the pic opposite from google!

Then later at our coffee stop we were treated to another typically Spanish display - Bull Running!  There we were sitting in a cafe minding our own business when suddenly a band struck up - and the next minute the bulls were charging down the street sending the crowds dashing for cover as they gently shoved squealing children and other crowd members out of the way!  It was quite a hilarious sight to behold and it certainly made us glad we'd participated in this outing.

And that brings us back to today - Monday - and I think I can probably fit all of it's events into one sentence!  First came coffee morning where we were informed of all this weeks rally activities, then we nipped to Cafe Uno for a full English (at just 3 euros each), and after that we cycled (and diced with death πŸ•±) into the busy town of Almoradi where we called at Lidl to restock our dwindling supplies. However, as I'm still here to tell the tale we obviously came to no harm but I don't think we'll be repeating that challenging outing any time soon!

Additionally, our day finished very well because the lady next door but one 'accidentally' made too much paella so when she asked if we'd help her out by finishing it up it would have been rude to refuse.  She piled our dish high and to save on washing up we just plonked it in the middle of the table and shared the yummy treat!

See you again next week
Take care πŸ˜™πŸ˜™

And finally, just another little anecdote that might make you smile:-

A new fancy supermarket has just opened up on the site! 
It's got an automatic water mister to keep the produce freshπŸ™‚. 
Just before it starts you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh rain! 
When you approach the milk cases you hear πŸ‚ mooing. 
When you approach the eggs you hear πŸ₯πŸ¦† cluck 
and smell the lovely aroma of bacon and eggs frying. 
The veg department features the smell of fresh buttered corn
  -  but I've decided I'm not going to buy toilet paper from there anymore !!
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