Mon 24/10/16: After a lovely weekend getting back in touch with my wrist again and doing what gentle exercise I thought was appropriate for it we got the call to say I had a proper physio session that afternoon at four. This is beyond any coverage on our health insurance cards and our insurance cover does exactly the opposite of that- it doesn’t cover it. Not any costs incurred for this incident. However, the physio comes highly recommended and at €20 seems a bargain not to be missed. An added enticement of home cooked Indian after sealed the deal. The physio session was done by charades and quite often very painful faces on my part as my wrist was put through its paces after 5 plus weeks of confinement. The gentle massage to begin with lulled me into a false sense of security before my wrist and hand was bent backwards and forwards torturously. However, I survived and at the end my wrist did feel better- another 2 sessions was recommended the next being booked in for the Wednesday. So off we headed back to Stan and Frances where Auntie Jeanne was in charge of cooking two of her favourites- aloo gobi and dal makhani. Well both David and I agreed that they really were top notch. The spices for the makhani were pre-mixed and came from a home spun company in Ireland. I had as many helpings as I could before heading home with a very full belly.
Tues 25/10/16: An early start as David was getting in another game of golf while he could at the Roda course. I amused myself by doing my wrist exercises and taking in some more exercise walking. The weather like yesterday was cloudy and no topping up of tan was to be obtained on these two days. The weather suited David for golf and after a quick bite in the nearby Roda bar-where lunch of 3 courses, bread and coffee can be obtained at €5 we headed off to do some chores. One of the chores involved going to Iceland. Not a shop I ever go into at home as generally everything in there is for families. This Iceland is actually more of an ‘International’ shop rather than the Iceland we might all know. But British it certainly was with mince pies and Christmas chocolates on sale already. Hooray I knew Santa would catch up with us eventually. But the real plus point beyond the 2 cans of baked beans I had to buy was the fact it had good old Robinsons squash. We have been looking for this in all supermarkets for an absolute age to help boost our water intake. There have been close runners like the syrups but no actual squash and here it was in an abundance of flavours with orange and pineapple being settled upon. The price for this luxury €3.80 so not UK prices, although to be fair it was a big bottle. The mince pies and Christmas chocolates were left on the shelf although I did wonder if that was a mistake- you never can tell when and where your next mince pie might appear.
Wed 26/10/16: Before meeting up with Aunties and Stan for lunch another attempt at cycling was made along our normal sea front prom. A nicer day and the wrist with a bit of wriggling held up to the challenge and fortunately not too many obstacles in my way to avoid that involved braking, which is still a bit of a strength challenge for the wrist. Lunch was a series of tapas at one of the local beach bars in Santiago de Riberia- a lovely spot and good food. After my 2nd physio where I proved that I could count to 10 in Spanish much quicker than the physio (which didn’t work I still had to do the full painful 10 properly) it was time to say goodbye to Jeanne as she headed back home to Ireland. For David and I it has been absolutely wonderful to catch up with her as it’s been about 2 years since D saw her and longer for me. After dropping her at the airport David drove Frances, Stan and I to the cheap and cheerful Chinese just along from theirs. Like so many restaurants here, it’s huge but the value can’t be beaten. My choice of menu was the €6.95 one- for which I had hot and sour soup, chicken curry and ice-cream along with a half bottle of red. Ugh must be rubbish I hear you say, but in all honesty it’s not. Perhaps not the best Chinese but I’ve certainly had far worse and paid far more- a good value tasty option.
Thurs 27/10/16: Time for a move. We thought we would take this opportunity whilst in the area to visit a camp site in La Manga for a change of scenery as much as anything else. Plus it gave me my first real opportunity to drive NiKi again after my incarceration and for not too many miles. Another David plus point was the was La Manga Golf Club and another addition to his obsessive collection of ball markers- so off we headed with the sun shining. The camp site was a bit of a shock to us as over the last few weeks we have been on Aires and this camp site was massive. Very well run and the onsite Spar had a butchers and a rib of beef that would put Borough Market to shame. But what we love about the Spaniards is their ability to turn the small into the big on the housing front and some of the permanents here were brilliant examples. Small square feet of spaces turned into as much covered living space as they can possibly manage and dare I say Phil and Kirsty would find it hard to put on spin on some of these places. For us it was just the night and the restaurant had a lovely view and spot right on the beach so after our cycle to La Manga G.C we had a quick drink before doing some of our long awaited home cooking. We have over the last week as ever been spoilt by family but also just the ease of eating out and so tonight it was simple food of pasta, bacon and pasta. Yum and as much as we tried we could find no chocolate anywhere on board for puddingFri 28/10/16: Another glorious start to the day and a quick coffee on the beach to take in the sun and sea views before heading back for my last physio session before heading off on the road again. All chicks have to leave home sometime and we are in fact old roosters now so time to leave Frances and Stan in peace before their next lot of visitors, but not before one more final lunch with them close to theirs. We also managed to find time before leaving the camp site to throw in another key drama!. Whilst packing to leave site David was about to unplug the electricity and pack away the cable in the outside storage area when suddenly he came flying into Niki saying 2 of the keys are missing. The two that lock the outside storage area in fact. We have learnt to keep keys as far as possible separate from each other to minimalize our risk on the key front which we seem both to specialise in. The driving keys are on the Duck and the habitation keys on the Hare- simples. But somehow the hare bear keys were missing. After much routing around on the floor in the gravel, checking of pockets and inside the van, I managed to get David to try and retrace his steps. We had them on site as we plugged into the electricity and then in the afternoon I had asked him about how much gas we had left. So upon a quick look in that storage unit which was oddly unlocked, no sign. However forensics were called in when David found the key loop (you know the bit that connects) lying on the base. Therefore somewhere in that unit the keys had to be and after rummaging in his tool bag they thankfully appeared. A close shave as it was 11.50 and we have to be off site by 12. The keys were firmly reattached to hare bear without the weak link and off we went. Lunch was lovely and a new choice for us of a great tapas bar in San Javier and so after a few picks and a physio session we headed off inland to a rural spot – Totana Sat 29/10/16: Camping Sierra Espuna at Totana- what a great example of what paid for Aires can be. The small area in amongst the lemons, oranges and table grapes was well laid out and had a small room with local maps, a washing machine, shower, books and outside great little sitting picnic areas and all for €7 (10 with electricity) We arrived quite late so couldn’t see much of the area but after breakfast we headed off on one of the marked routes. The views etc were lovely and great to be able to walk through the orchards etc and see the amazing table grapes. However, for us it was just a stopping point as we headed further westward and inland. Our next destination was in a lovely small town called Velez Rubio on our way to Guadix and Ubeda. The old town had the usual array of lovely squares and churches. Dinner again was simple home cooked fayre of stir fried chicken. David was in his past a great stir fry fan, but somehow we never seemed to have that many when at home in the UK and when the time came to cook this one all his memory of said dish seemed to have left him. I was no help as I have never really quite got the combination right (same with salads for me-it’s all or nothing and neither seem to work) but somehow the overall dish was tasty. Again chocolate eluded us but again we can only be grateful for that on our waistlines.
Sun 30/10/16: On to Guadix, a small town just on the road to Granada and on the edge of many sierra’s but highly recommended to us by fellow motorhomers- Bez and Tez. Our home for the night was the town car park where the weekly market is held that also seems not to mind motorhomes parking up. The town is dominated by an amazing cathedral and Yes we have seen a good few here, but this one has a presence and the town also has a lot of history. The approach into this town and onwards to Ubeda is olive country and it’s great to see the changing landscapes again with much of this area used in major films such as – Indiana Jones, Don Quixote. We found a lovely small square where the sun was ablaze on one side and pushed our way through to a table in the sun. That’s absolutely not true as we are now at the end of October and all the Spanish are now firmly wrapped up in jackets, scarfs and boots but still seem adverse to sitting and warming themselves in the heat. So front row sun seats were readily available for us, plus the abundance of wasps and flies again. So now to the real reason why we are here, never mind the old buildings, scenery etc- this is FREE TAPA territory and so a loud whoopee was yelled when a plate of migas arrived with our first round of drinks. A couple of nights here and we might get back on budget again. After a wander and another sun moment we headed back to NiKi, all alone in the massive car park and with the night air now taking on a chill we had a mini roast dinner of lamb chops, crushed potatoes (!!) broccoli, gravy and mint sauce- heaven. Our night is now being spent watching the locals arrive music blaring using our motorhome as a roundabout- all well.
Footnote- the squash that we were so desperate to get and to buy for months remains –UNOPENED!