Last year I started what maybe a trend and sent an email to everyone
on what I did on my jollys that Christmas. It was a truly stunning
holiday to South Africa. How to follow that?
Well, wanting to ride my own bike abroad this winter I dreamt up the
idea of putting my old BMW R80 G/S in the back of the van, hitch up my
new caravan and head for the sun in Spain and Portugal via France. When
I'm there I simply unload the bike and ride around in the sun. What a
blast eh! Miss all the 'orrible weather France has to offer in December
and travel in warmth, comfort and a little style(?)
So the plan was hatched and on the 12 December I got a tearful
farewell from my Grandma who happened to be celebrating her 100th
birthday that day. Gale force winds greeted me as I landed in Calais.
But why should I care for I was in the warmth of the van and to the
caravans credit it never snaked once in the whole 6.000 mile trip -
something to do with a longer A frame and blah, blah, blah.
So I blasted on down to Spain in an easy 3 days, sleeping when I
wanted, eating when I felt like it, and instead of the dribble on the
radio listened some tapes I hadn't heard in 20 years. This is great !
Life is so easy !
I had to drop a mates bike off in Malaga and spent a couple
of enjoyable days camped on the drive, trail riding with him on an XT350
rented from toro trail, a local rental company my mate had hooked up
with for some riding.
I headed east a little to Almeria - years ago I had heard this place
was the driest and warmest area in Spain, but every time I've been there
its been cold or wet. This year was different - a tremendous
thunderstorm - actually shaking the caravan, and flooding the site.
Rain? It would have passed through your pristine Belstaffs like an
Aussie cricket ball through the England X1.
So I hightailed it back to the Malaga area and holed up on a campsite
near town and a beach and waited for El Blondy to arrive and Xmas.
Finally unloaded the bike and had some great rides around the hills,
Xmas came and went and El Blondy arrived in time for New Year. Now I'd
deliberately stayed at this site cos it was close to town and seemed to
have plenty of bars and restaurants, so I thought New Year would be a
huge party with lots to do and em well I don't know what I thought...
Absolutely nothing happened in that town from midday onwards. We spent
N.Y.E. in the one bar we found open, praying the other 3 customers
didn't leave before us and watching the owners family turn up for their
private meal/party in the pub. We were back in the caravan just after 12
after checking out the square where there was the 12 grapes thing (weird
Spanish ritual)(ZZZ Zzzzz)
Back on the road and we free camped down to Portugal and saw a stage
of the Dakar at Portimo. It was a great day though the most memorable
for me was queuing for over 30 minutes at a portakabin giving away
stuff. I shall briefly explain... I saw the queue - joined it - no idea
what for - got to the front - there was a lottery terminal and money
being handed over - puzzled I asked for one of the free goody bags
everyone got - oh no not for me - I hadn't played Euromillions - but I
don't want to play the lottery - this is the greatest race in the world
- gimme a bag - oh no - we are sponsors for the Dakar this year - and
those words on your shirt (I bought earlier) in big letters say
Euromillions in Spanish - Oh Err - no bag then - I took the shirt off.
So we wound our way back along the coast calling in Gibraltar for
some duty free. £9.35 in total for a litre each of brandy, whisky and
vodka. From then on we pledged to drink at least a £1.00's worth of
spirits every night.
A stop in Alicante at some English friends and a quick stop in
Benidorm to see friends and refresh my memory on the 'Brits abroad'
status and standing.(Low).
Another stop in Dijon at an old friend and a great tour around the
crypt in the cathedral.
What did I think to Spain? A little depressing in winter. That
coastline... if you can't see a bloody holiday home complex or - 6
building cranes on the horizon building more holiday homes or - huge
swathes of plastic covering crops or - a golf course - you're not on the
coast. I know its got glorious scenery inland - but not for visiting
even in a caravan in winter. I hear folk are now moving away from the
coast and moving inland be quick and visit soon.
I've just looked through my photos of the trip and for the first
time have really struggled to find a good photo. Was it really that
boring! Well yes it was! It really was. Never again a caravan holiday
for me. Life is very easy yes, but its thoroughly thoroughly boring.
Take my word for it. Biking/camping by its very nature means you have to
meet folk all the time and look for activities to do. I took enough
baked beans and custard to last me 3 weeks so it meant never having to
shop/interact in France and very little in Spain. Add in fuel and tolls
and caravanning ain't that cheap either.
Folk are very friendly on the campsites but once the sun goes down,
its on with the telly and out with sudoko till tomorrow when you'll see
'em again on their way to the toilet to empty the toilet.
4 things I learnt in a month.
25,000 Rumanians and Bulgarians are entitled to vote this
year in Alicante.
The landing fee in Malaga for a light aircraft is 8
euros. Its £330.00 in Gibraltar.
Sudoko puzzle books are the same in any part of the world
Gambling is illegal in Spain - so underground bingo
exists in Benidorm
On the pedestrian mall in Torre del Marre is the attached
It sums up what I think to caravanning in Spain in the
winter. Feliz Navidad.
Glynn and El Blondy