Thurs 13/10/16: Valderrobres. Our overnight Aire stop after our cava tasting tour. Valderrobres is another Bonito village and the Aire is on the river just outside the walled town so a lovely spot. Parts of the town were bonito and others really needed some money and restoration done on them, but like so many places in Spain there is only so much money, time etc to go around. However, the Aire is lovely with good facilities so well done to them and hopefully the motorhome visitors will and do bring some money into the town. We left there with the sun still shining and headed to another bonito town close by –Calaceite. This one was more bonito, as we got the impression that the olive oil brought in some of its money and the town was much better keep, we visited a lovely co-operative shop in the town which sold oil, olives, wine etc at very competitive prices. Our plan at this point was then to head to Morella, another lovely village with a most amazing Aire where we had been before and to have lunch. Unfortunately we never made it there until after 3 and our restaurant of choice was full. Then the heavens opened with the temperature dropping as well. We were caught out on the road back to NiKi and as much as we whistled and called to NiKi unlike Herbie Rides Again our motorhome never came to fetch us so we got well and truly soaked. Dinner that night was a frugal arrabiata followed by some lovely Simon Coll chocolate.
Fri 14/10/16: The rain fell all night with temperatures staying in the single figures so we knew now was the time to really get going south and so after another village stop we headed on down towards and past Valencia. As we moved south so thankfully the weather improved as did our spirits and as we headed down on the motorway we realised how close we were to the best paella place in Valencia- El Palmar. Last chance saloon really on the paella front and so we with no other food options or meals planned headed there and made it for a lovely menu del dia paella lunch at 4pm. The restaurant in the paddy fields we went to was one we had previously been too with our friend mick back in June when he had missed his flight home. The food was good then and certainly was again on this occasion and in this area, the paella and rice’s are included in the MDD at no extra supplement. We left there with heavy bellies and stopped at a good paid for Aire just past Valencia. It was great to see the orange groves again on mass and this time ready for the first pickings. Unfortunately sad as per previous blog to see the working girls still out on the road.
Sat 15/10/16: Awake early as we listened to the ever present chiming church bells and this lot were not endearing at all and so we had decided on another pay for Aire on the coastal spot of Altea. The sun was shining with temperatures at very pleasant mid-twenties as we made the relatively short drive into Altea. We had been told about this Aire just on the sea front by a few people and so we were expecting it to be reasonably busy. How wrong we were, as we approached we could see the parking place full with motorhomes and optimistically we pulled in. We had no choice really as there was no road parking at all on the sea front but for the site there were cones blocking the rows every which way. Never ones to give up we headed for the reception but to no avail, no one was there. Why would you be if you’re full but eventually a very helpful woman came along to confirm that indeed the site was full. No room at this inn for sure and not wishing to spend camp site fee monies we headed further south to just another similar set up just outside Alicante. Again in my world I wasn’t expecting too much of a problem, after all this is October not summer season. The drive was just sort of the hour and again as we approached it was like déjà vu with the site being packed with lots of lovely white motorhomes. David by now was getting frantic as to why we hadn’t booked these places and should we be booking more as we went along. I had started to get a bit giggly as I do when D stresses and the plot thickens. We parked up outside and clutching our passports ready we made our advance on the reception with the young office girl coming out to meet us. Not a good sign when they are out of the front door but after verifying absolutely that we only wanted 2 nights and would be gone Monday she let us have the last spot thankfully. The site is lovely and only some 100 metres from a lovely sandy sea front and prom. So after a good few days of rain and no real exercise we had a lovely 5 mile walk along the prom before having chicken cous cous at home.
Sun 16/10/16: The site is mainly occupied by French, German and Dutch motorhomers with a small spattering of English and so it came as no real surprise that at before 9am when the bread delivery man comes that a crowd was gathering already. I would say queue but as we know the only ‘queuers’ in life are the English. Not to be outdone and with fear that the French would get all the bread I joined the mass, not even sure we wanted bread or not. The site is very well kept and clean but again there are a lot of motorhomers here with dogs on board and one lady had brought her small dog out with her to join the bread mass. Then it all went wrong- a pile of fresh, hot smelly dog poo ‘appeared’ just by the bread queue. The German lady was in horror- how terrible this was and disgusting- it wasn’t her dog, he would never do such a thing nor would she leave it there- it must be someone else and most likely the French- in her world and words. I remained in my place and watched as the drama unfolded with the poo pile remaining where it was. Everyone came along and had a look at the offending evidence (wasn’t doing much for the bread sales either) with all the shock, horror this is terrible noises and discussions that went with it. The German lady stood her ground, it wasn’t her dog she insisted- why would it be after all. Poo just appears doesn’t it and so the French motorhomers in the front row closest to the ‘pile’ were duly accused by the German lady and anyone else she could muster up into the argument. The divisions were made between the countries with the English keeping well out of it, well me at least as the row continued and built up. Forget EastEnders this was much better as blows were reached between the dog owners and also non dog owners who took their relevant sides. Seeing no end to drama I humbly got my bread and beat the retreat not without throwing in a few tuts and disgusting’s of my own. As ever campsites, Aires etc are a great source of amusement, someone really should write a book!!
So who was responsible for poo-gate, the French or the Germans ……………the Aire suddenly quietened down when an enormous van pulled on site with an equally enormous Alsatian on board. No one wanted that as a poo gate moment and ranks were suddenly united and peace restored.