Tues 14/06/16: Both woke wondering whether Mick would ever make it back out of Spain, but after a quick chat with him he confirmed that he was booked out again on a morning flight which after a bit of a delay and a very near even further delay- where a ‘day trip’ passenger wished to get back of the plane Mick finally made it back to good old Blighty- with many fond memories of the weekend visit!. We were pitched up on a lovely site in Javea which has the most amazing swimming pool, very good for proper length swimming and the site is well situated between the old town and the beach/port area of Javea. Lonely Planet describes Javea as “a gentle family oriented place that has a high expat population” and this is a good description with the camp site having a lot of long termers enjoying the benefits of location and an easy pace of life in the sun. We did a lovely cycle ride which took us out to Cap de la Nau which has stunning views all around the coast and again some wonderful villas perched on the hills surrounding the area. We opted for a light lunch in an attempt to gain control after our holiday weekend finding at the back of the port a lovely restaurant with a mix of locals and holidaymakers where we settled for some sardines, grilled boquerones and salad moped up with some bread and aioli. The fish was delightful and of course wonderfully fresh with the fishing boats sitting just yards from us
Wed 15/06/16: With the temperature now rising and having the benefit of a camp site we opted for a BBQ that evening and again making the most of another plus side to being in a holiday area- a very good choice of supermarkets. The nearby Lidl also had its own butchers and so we headed there for our meat choice. The plan was to marinade some chicken and make kebabs but spying exactly that in the butchers we opted to save ourselves the work and brought those along with the usual fayre of sausages and burgers. I’m not entirely sure how popular we were on site as an afternoon wind had picked up when we lit up the BBQ and that wonderful smell of grilled meats wafted all round our pitch area and caused quite a few comments from our neighbours- all favourable thankfully. With a local fiesta having just started in the town we caught our first taste of bull running. Well to be fair we didn’t actually last that long and just watched them bating the young bulls in the ring. To be honest it wasn’t for us and we just stayed for a few moments and then just had a few drinks nearby and just watched all the comings and goings of the locals making the most of their fiesta with music and partying well into the night.
Thurs 16/06/16: With a docking confirmed by my cousin Gary into Cartagena on the Sunday we headed back towards Mar Menor taking the coastal N332 through the built up holiday areas of Benidorm, Alicante and stopped for an overnighter just before Torrevieja in a seaside place by the name of Guardamar del Segura. The coastal drive was wonderful with stunning sea views interspersed with the overflow holiday trappings enjoyed by so many in this area. Oddly the campsite and area of Guardamar was the reverse with us and only a few others Northern Europeans being on site, the majority on this deluxe campsite being Spanish. This campsite is the Ritz of campsites, but that’s not the reason why we chose it – we were working more on the location but it was interesting to see what made it obtain that rating. All the facilities were clean and the pitches big. It also had an amazing swimming pool area with slides, fountains etc which kept the children of all ages entertained. We found the restaurant to be a bit industrial though and lacked the charm that so many campsite restaurants have had on our travels and so also wishing to see a bit more of the town we cycled in that evening and ate in a lovely restaurant called Rodero. It was early evening but the restaurant was fortunately open all day and when we arrived at about 7 it had a smattering of a few customers. After a quick review of the fish counter we both opted for sole which came with salad and chips- a steal at €10 and the sole was indeed a reasonable size fish certainly not a slip!. We were treated at the end with both small liquor and a very very sweet doughnut like desert.
Fri 17/06/16: With wonderful bread brought on site we had a lovely bacon sandwich before setting off and indeed returning to a lovely site in Los Alcazares on the Mar Menor and a spot fairly well known to us due to some wonderful holiday breaks with two local residents who treat us very well indeed- David’s aunt and Uncle. Again the positioning of this site is great with the seafront and promenade being just metres away. After settling NiKi into her new home David and I went for a stroll along the prom watching again both locals and holiday makers enjoying the sun. Fish again was our choice along with some chicken wings just to keep David’s meat quota up. The site is also next door to a lovely café/bar restaurant and so a few nibbles were also partaken in there as well whilst making full benefit of their internet!
Sat 18/06/16: Bikes down and a big cycle planned aiming for La Manga itself around the coast of the Mar Menor for as much as possible. However, David’s bike had other ideas and no sooner had we got the 50 metres or so to the prom than David sprung his first puncture. Sheltering in the shade of a small beach bar he did his first fix and off we set only to return moments later to the same spot to make the 2nd repair and of course it would have been rude not to have had a coffee con leche there as well as the bar opened. We weren’t the first customers as 2 Spanish gentlemen enjoyed their morning expresso along with a brandy. After a further repair we made it around the coast and within spitting distance of La Manga, but with a round trip of 50k’s we opted to stop where we stopped which was where the prom had finished with a beach bar blocking our way. A repeat lunch of sardines and boquerones was had but this time with some chips- doused with on mine with sherry vinegar and tommy ketchup- very English I know. For the evening we met with Auntie and Uncle along with two of their visiting friends and had a lovely Asian meal along the strip. The strip being just that- a strip of restaurants and bars meeting all dietary and drink requirements for holiday makers. I had a lovely spicy king prawn dish which helped top up my spice levels a bit. A lovely evening and again great to meet up with family and friends
Sun 19/06/16: With Gary’s cruise ship – The Queen Victoria berthing overnight and a favour of a loan of a car for ease of transport from D’s family we heading off to Cartagena to meet my family. The boat dominated the port and the whole area was alive with tourists not only from the boat. The port and old town area of Cartagena is really lovely and well worth a visit combining history, museums, shops and lovely restaurants. Moments after sitting watching the promenading people we spotted my Auntie June in the crowd and after hugs and kisses we waiting for Gary and wife of new Zoe to finish their tour before we all sat in the sun and caught up with all the gossip and tales from all. After a lovely 3 or 4 hours we bade them farewell as they boarded the boat again to head off for Gibraltar and then home on the last few days of their cruise. Absolutely lovely to see them all and afterwards we were treated to some lovely home cooking- as they would say in the Beano- a fish supper. Clams cooked 2 ways, the smaller ones in a spicy garlic sauce and the larger ones – o’naturale. Sardines (you can never have too many) on the BBQ and then tuna tartar- made to perfection and served with seaweed and wasabi. The cycle back to NiKi was only a bit wobbly but aided by a great cycle path- tyre and inner tube replaced on David’s bike.