A Travellerspoint blog

Yappy dogs and sweat.

Day 14, 17th August on the Move to Cartegena

sunny 32 °C

I'm writing this as we drive along the A30 towards Cartagena. With mum and dad with us the blogging fell to the way side so some major catching up has had to happen so with over seven hours on the road what a great chance.

Morning was a clean get away. Mum made lunch for everyone as we dismantled camp. We even got a discount for our Camping card as we had five people staying. Bonus.

Another bonus was that last night we spotted a camper van shop! So after hugs and farewells we all drove off our separate ways. Mum and Dad waved us off as they turned off towards Portugal and we went in search of the Van shop.

Thank you for phrase books. Going to an out of the way shop which very rarely gets any British in was a good test for our Spanish miming. Finding a replacement stopper was a long shot, so we walked out with an eye catching new BLUE waste container. Also a restock of Blue, please read previous blog for garbled description of Blue. Plus a new cooler box. Significantly lighter in pocket we head off again. Still at least the problem arose within spitting distance of this shop or else we really would of been snookered.

Almost half six and we are getting close fingers crossed they have a space for us.

Yes they have space, filled mostly with small yapping dogs. Once set up we strolled to the beach as it's part of the site. Checked out the restaurant for later, booked a table and set off for the shop for our new treat......ICE.

It is very hot and we are all sweating, even Bodhi's collar is ringing wet. Seeing the kids with sweat on their faces is strange. Something very wrong about seeing sweat dripping off an eight year old. During our walk we are continually bombarded with constant stares at Bodhi and small vocal dogs. How Bodhi kept his composure and didn't try to eat a few of the little beggers is beyond me. It was funny to watch the small snarling balls of fur freak out at Bodhi while their owners try desperately to keep them quiet. Especially as onlookers watch the "Grande" scarey dog walk quietly by. I can't help but feel a little smug as it's normally us going "sshhhh" "leave it" "spit it out!". (joke)

Unfortunately the shop is closed. It creates a very interesting situation as they have only just decided to shut. We are the first to be told, while figuring out what to do, other more locals appear. I do mean locals as over half this site is like a shanty town with permanent caravans, motor homes and small abodes. All different, some are very basic and are basically tarp pulled over their area whilst next door could be a gorgeous wooden built home right down to a fully tiled floor.

Anyway it became clear that the locals were saying "come on mate, its me, I only want....." to which he was clearly saying "I know but I just said no to them we're closed and if I let you it will look bad. Why don't you wait till they leave?" I know I don't have a clue what was actually said but I don't think I need to. It did make me laugh as Dan and I hung around as a small puppy had decided to join us and seemed reluctant to leave a rather surprised Bodhi. Eventually they all begrudgingly leave as we are taking so long. I can't catch the puppy so we opt for leaving assuming it will disappear home. Apparently not. The puppy is very keen on Bodhi and Bodhi really isn't sure what it is. Half way home a Lady tries to chat with us, it's not her puppy but she knows who's it is so between us we catch it for her. Once again I have no idea what she said, amazing how much you get from just watching body language and listening to someones tone.

Bodhi away we enjoy a lovely meal by the sea. The food is great and the waitress very friendly. We manage to order is Spanish which is great. We are surprised by the amount of British people here. It's almost weird to be with people who understand what you are saying and you them. We leave the usual tip for the waitress and she is very happy! So happy she gives the kids a kinder egg each. She obviously doesn't normally get one which is sad as the service was great and the food even better.

Kids to bed, Dan and I have a relaxing Honey Rum or three.

Posted by fordcrew 09:32 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

El Palmer surf and bar-b -q

Day 13. August 16th still above Cadiz.

sunny 29 °C

Last full day with Mum and Dad. We opt for a slow day as we all woke up late anyway. We have chosen to go to the beach today as it gives Dan and I a chance to surf together for the only time this trip and maybe the last surf anyway as we are heading away from the Atlantic and towards the Med from now on.

We need to restock the camper and get the van up together for the big drive tomorrow to Cartegena. Mum and Dad help me to restock water and empty the old. Slight cock up occurs when the stopper from the water waste tank gets flushed away down the pipe. Using various implements we struggle in vain to pull it back up the pipe but it's gone. Our hands are too big and Ethan seems to be uninterested in sticking his hand down for it? Dan tries a fix it job but not this time Mr Gadget. No bottle top fits so we will have to get sorted. Not having somewhere to drain the sinks will be a pain if we can't sort it out. Dad successfully fills the water tank with no issues. Once again Mum is unamused with our jokes about the loss of such a vital if small piece of equipment in her vicinity.

Dad and Mum take the kids in what turns out to be an interesting food shop while Dan and I empty the van and Hoover it out. Sort out beach gear and generally get things up together. The food gathers return. It turns out they picked the same time to shop that pretty much the entire surrounding village. Chaos and noise.

By the time we were on our way, nearly 5pm , we all pretty hot and bothered. We visited several beaches but either there was no surf or no dogs allowed. Eventually we pulled into El Palmer and were told by a local with very good English that all the beaches say no dogs but there will be loads down there. Ignore the signs, "welcome to Spain".

Staying away from the coast guard and at the back of the beach we set Bodhi and Dad up in a tent, for a bit of quiet time. We then head into FUN. Water was warm, waves were friendly and fast. Kids even ended up bodysurfing! All four of us got to play in the water together. Mum got to to play sand castles with the grand kids while Dan and I caught some waves together and Grandad got peace and quiet! Perfect.

Another Sunset saw us safely home to base. All showered and fresh; a very hot night still meant the 10pm meal was fine. A great barby again and pizza. We treated ourselves to a bag of ice. Good call. First real cold drink all day.

Honey rum. Good night.

Posted by fordcrew 09:23 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Broken bed, Apes and traffic

day 12, 15th August still just above Cadiz.

sunny 29 °C

Mum and Dad are up before us which I'm surprised at as they seemed tired. I come outside to find them very quiet. Apparently they were awoken early by a bang and the bed seemed to drop away on Mums side. Turns out the little button that pops out on the pole that keeps the bed up had sheared clean off. Mum was unamused by our jokes that it was her side not Dad's that broke.

Tool kit to the rescue again. Dan uses a button from the awning legs to fix the bed pole. All good.

Kids want to drive with Nanny and Grandad in the little Polo so we have to endure the trip with no whining or fighting. How will we cope?

Heading to Tarifa Today which takes as a s far as we can go south. So far in fact that we should be able to see Africa. Africa! Just across the sea like the Isle of wight. Then a quick skip round and into Gibraltar, somewhere I've always wanted to go. We can't go up the rock as we have Bodhi, although it would be an experience I'm not sure the apes or him are ready for.

Only fifteen minutes or so in we get a call from Mum to say our exhaust is hanging low. We all pull in and find the rubber ring has fallen off and a quick fix job is needed. Mum and Dad saw something small bounce across the road in front of them at a roundabout and think it was the rubber thingy. Mum does not think our jokes about her looking at it funny might have made it fall off at all funny?

A dirt covered Dan and ten or so zip ties later and we are away. We get to see a couple of German Sheps, other then the puppy thae are the only ones we have seen. They are guard dogs and none to friendly.

Tarifa has a a very long beach on the run up. Loads of campsites and hostels. A very busy place indeed. As we drive into the main town a que is forming down the hill back towards the beaches. It quickly becomes clear that we will not be able to park in the chaos that is the town and abandone the town in the hope to find a look out point on the way to Gibraltar.

As we turn out from Tarifa the que for the beaches has got even longer. As we follow the road round the que just goes on and on. We find a lookout and pull in. What a view. I can't get my head around the fact I'm looking at Africa. Just there is Morocco. Only a four hour boat ride away.

Bodhi loves the fresh breeze coming up as he puts his head over the wall. He even gets treated with us to an ice-cream. You can tell Mum is with us now! He yums it up.

Full up on ice cream and views we push on round to Gibraltar. That que, still there and it went on for a good three miles or more! Spanish don't seem to mind ques.

Wow again. The view of Gibraltar, Spain and Africa all at once is stunning. The rock just rises up out of nowhere and attaches to Spain. A rather complicated queing system and absolutely no passport checks and we are in!

To or surprise you can drive all the way round and Europa point has been refreshed. A free car park and play area for the kids. Once again we get amazing views of Africa and Spain. Dad can tell us all about how it was when he last visited when in the Navy. He can even point out in the water where a boat is anchored is roughly where the sub came up and they weren't allowed in for a few hours so they were allowed up on the casing for a Bar-B-Q. Hard life in the Navy.

On the drive round we even get to see some Gibralten apes. They are sat at the bus stop. We even get to drive through the rock in an underground tunnel; much to Mums amusment....not.

We stop off at Ocean Village to do some shopping. The main high street is all BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Peacocks etc. It's all separated by camera and tobacco/wine shops. Its like someone picked up Fareham and Lanzarote shook them together and this is what you get. I found it quite weird to see all the signs in English, using pounds and all the streets named things like Winston Churchill Avenue, even the police are wearing regular British uniforms right up to the hat and yet we are driving on the wrong side of the road for us and there is still a distinct Spanish flair and Spanish chit chat going on all around you.

Like good ol' blighty the kids are stung for a few pieces of memrobelia and in true British form we fill up on our duty free tobacco for my bro's and drink for us. As just as we hoped they sell Honey Rum. Like kids in a candy shop there is so much. A Huge bottle of my Navy Rum is only six pounds and eighty pence. Get in!

Once more unto the fray we work our way through and out of Gibraltar. Still no interest in our passports or if we have just filled the van to the gunnels with booze 'n' fags. A beautiful sunset follows us home to the trailer where we have a good ol' meal of baked beans with little sausages and cheese.

A night cap of Honey rum finished it all off. Words can not describe how good that stuff is.

I have a lovely chat with the Dutch lady camped next to us. They are struggling with the Spanish and say that the accent here is very strong. Apparently people who live in Madrid can find it hard to understand the Andulcian slant. Lucky for us bad Spanish is bad Spanish where ever we are in Spain and everyone has equally not understood us.They took a day trip to Morocco and found everyone there knew English and were very friendly. Wish we had time to pop over. Ha....still cant believe you can pop over to Africa from here.

What a great day. We all loved it and we all thought Gibraltar was nothing like we expected. We thought it would be older styled and a lot more crampt but it was gorgeous. No issues with the van. Great day.

Posted by fordcrew 09:05 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Pool time and more learning Spanish

Day 11. 14th August, Near Cadiz

sunny 29 °C

I awake early as the night was a little rough what with music, chatter and a farmyard musical. Plus it turns out that dogs are not the only animals to communicate over vast distances the Cockerels had a major debate over something. It must have been important as none of them wanted to give in to the others.

Luckily the toilets and showers here are good. Our toilet has taken a bit of heavy use at the last few sites and we are running low on Blue. You may or may not know what Blue is. Lets just say chemical toilets are like the world. You need a little blue and pink to make it work. Sometimes you can find blue that also works as pink, either way it works. Anyway I proceed to take the morning walk to find myself greeted by a curtain of flys outside our door. The joys of farm life.

A lazy morning ambles by and Mum and Dad arrive just in time for lunch. Fresh bread and fillings. YUM. Beds all rearranged and we are sorted. Maybe it should have felt strange but it seemed perfectly normal to meet them here. Bodhi found it a little surprising and gave them a warm welcome.

Dad offers to look after Bodhi and gives us a chance for the first time to swim as a family. It was so refreshing and the water was just right. Just needed as it was very hot.

For the evening we set off to the restaurant and leave Bodhi in the van as it has cooled off. He welcomes the van. We think it gives him a rest as he feels safe. The only people in and out he's ever seen are us so he can fully let his guard down and rest.

The meal is a funny affair. Our waiter has little or no English and at first he seems impatient and fed up but as we try our Spanish he seems to relax and begins to have a laugh. Dark rum is not something the Spanish seem to drink. After a few attempts we think we all understand. Order complete. Seconds later he's back, more sign language, I have to go and look at the bar with him. I select what turns out to be a very nice Caribbean rum. It was so relaxing and all set under twinkle lights in the tree branches overhead.

Dan and I get to walk Bodhi alone for the evening which again is a first and then that's the end of another day.

Posted by fordcrew 08:58 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Beach work out and smurfs.

9th day, 12th August Still in Portugal

sunny 28 °C

Happy birthday to my baby, baby bro! Missing you loads, especially on your special day. Hope you have a great day and are spoiled rotten. Avoid oversized bear feet and day glow wear and you should have a goodin'.

Due to the disaster of Dan not reaching surf yesterday we decided not to risk anything and headed off early in the hope to beat the crowd and the heat of the sun. It worked. It's Sunday and before 10am so we drive right down to the beach and get ready. Only snag is that I notice a sign saying no dogs! Luckily the van is well shaded by the cliff we have parked next to so we leave the windows open and go for a quick paddle.

Sandy beach and hardly anyone around at Lagua beach which is where the largest ever wave was surfed. High standards that we have no intention of trying to meet. The waves are shore dumping a little but about 5'-6'. We even saw some tubes. Dan is quick to get in the water and the kids and I get stuck into making a sand boat and a village.

The water is chilly but it's a real workout just trying to get out there with our long boards so just as well the water keeps us cool. Dan managed to stand and rode several in but I spent more time under the board then on it.

I chatted to a local who said that the beach further down would be better for our boards. We watched him show us how it's really done and then we headed off to collect our young Bodhi.

All showered and feeling fresh we spend time catching up with our blog and chatting to Mum and Dad who fly in tomorrow. Antony wasn't in when we called but we left a garbled rendition of happy birthday on the answer phone. Bonus chat with the other brother and then off for tea.

Another great cook off from Grill Sargent Dan. This time mini jacket potatoes with sausages and chicken with beans. Fresh bread, yum yum. Bodhi loved it all as well. The Dutch family next door moved on today so no extra food for him tonight.

A we pack away dinner and prepare the pitch for leaving tomorrow we all stop to admire the blue green light as the sun sets. We will miss it. Stunning view. Would love to come back here in convoy with Claire and Steve and co. I think there is a lot more to do here if we had the time.

Our night time walks still attract a lot of attention. Bodhi is the biggest dog we've seen on the trip and there are only few large dogs around. We saw a guard dog that was large but no pet dogs his size. There is a lot of staring at him but mostly through interest. A lot will come up to see if they can say hello or Hola.

While the kids watch the smurfs we plot out tomorrow and know a big drive will be happening as the next site is nearly seven hours away just below Cadiz in Spain. We have enjoyed Portugal but we prefer Spain so we will meet Mum and Dad there for a few nights and maybe get a day trip to Gibraltar and maybe Seville.

Posted by fordcrew 08:51 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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