12/17/2017 – Spain – Incorrect Coordinates led us to the best Paella

Sunday 17th December

Can’t believe how lucky we have been with the weather. Just another beautiful sunny day as we set off now heading north on the eastern side of Spain.  

Beginning to sound like a cracked gramma phone – probably am already as everything in Spain and Portugal has been fantastic – beautiful people, beautiful country, great food, fabulous weather and so many wonderful campsites with many being with the compliments of the local area – though at all times we give back by shopping, eating and drinking where possible.

Our campsite for tonight: Platja Altet, Alicante

Again we are right on the beachfront where fishermen are lined up and down the beach.  Sat in our deck chairs in the beautiful sunshine reading for some hours before setting off along the boardwalk.  

Alicante beachfront – hope they don’t get any high tides??

No town close by here but this strip contains around 50+ high rise apartment blocks and of course restaurants and bars to service them. Wind sprang up and once the sun began to hide behind the apartment blocks, it was time to step up the pace and head home.

The Navigator relaxing with the Kindle

We sat in the front seat until the remaining sun disappeared and watched the keen fishermen braving the cold. Not once did we see anything being caught.

Monday 18th December

Woke up to a chilly 8 degrees inside – hate to think what it was outside. The sun was up and the fishermen were again trying their luck but have to admit they were clad in super warm gear with beanies and gloves and boy did they look cold.

Lots of agriculture everywhere with citrus trees dominating the landscape. Might pick a fresh orange from a tree before we leave this area, they look so inviting and I am sure they wouldn’t miss just one!

NAVIE was taking us through the mountains and mountain passes and we are now a long way from the sea. We thought that as we were avoiding toll ways this was the only way around. Didn’t even think the co ordinates were wrong but they were seriously wrong. Checked our maps and found that we were further away than when we started. Not happy “Jan”. Everything had been travelling so smoothly until now so unhappily we headed back towards the coast and arrived at our destination very late in the afternoon.

Campsite for tonight: Camping Estrella Polar, Calpe (correct co ordinates 38.658566 0.077668)

Arrived at the seaside town of Calpe where houses and apartment blocks were literally steeped all the way down the mountainside (very spectacular) and then down into the valley to the touristy town.  This campsite is on the other side and a few kms outside of Calpe.

Nothing spectacular (view wise) this time. A small but well laid out motorhome park not very far from beach or town but given our extra long day driving, we decided to sit and enjoy what was left of the day. There was a small on site bar and restaurant so the Ziggy chef got the night off and we ordered a seafood paella for 7pm.

The seafood Paella to die for – Olga we think you need to give Chef a pay rise

The campsite was run by a beautiful young Russian girl, Olga Ivanova, her partner and a chef who has lived in just about every country on earth. They deserve to do well – they have a great setup with the bar and restaurant on-site.  We had the best paella we have had by a long shot with the chef and the owners joining us for a truly wonderful night.

Olga, partner and the Chef from the Stars

Tuesday & Wednesday 19 & 20 December

Said our goodbyes and left without visiting the town or beach – very rare for us not to explore each place we have stayed. Told the owners about the incorrect co ordinates and hope they rectify this as I am sure they would be missing out on business because of it.

Had another bad co ordinates day today with the first place we chose incorrect and when we finally found it – no way were we going to stay there.  Next choice again was too isolated with no other motorhomes there so decided it was a security risk so moved on.

Campsite for two nights: El Grao de Castellon, Castellon de la Plana

 Really tired now after two long days of frustrating co ordinate mistakes in the NKC APP. Insisted we stop here for a couple of nights and my driver did not argue.

This campsite is a credit to the community here. It is right next to a beach and Port with the town centre a short 15 minute walk away. The larger town of Castellon is just 4 kms away with a bus running every half hour.

Definitely a fishing based town???

Internet was provided here so spent a couple of restful days soaking up the sunshine, reading, relaxing and of course making use of the Internet. The Port area and harbour was fascinating with many large cargo vessels in and the marina housing a vast number of very large sailing and pleasure craft. The harbour boardwalk again lined with restaurants and bars – though only a couple were open.

An interesting harbour and marina

We befriended a German couple Walter and Christa who parked next door to us and we spent many hours talking about our combined travels.  They have a purpose built 4WD motorhome and have taken this across the high seas to every imaginable country around the world – some places we would never even attempt to visit, let alone go by motorhome.  They invited us to stay with them when we revisit Germany in the summer of 2018.

Thursday 21st December

Today, we decided to stay well away from large cities as it was Election Day in Catalonia.  Heard there may be some strife regardless of the outcome as Catalonia is voting on whether to break away from Spain or staying within – if they vote to break away could have some interesting implications in the Schengen Zone.

Our campsite for tonight: Casa de Fusta, Amposta

A very interesting place set amidst rice fields at the mouth of the L’Ebre Delta.  Rice had been harvested so all that was remaining was muddy looking water – not very pretty and we began to think we had selected another dud.

The campsite was an oasis in a desert of rice fields.   It is a nature park with bird watching one of the many activities provided here.  A purpose built tree house provided an excellent viewing platform and even though there was no rice growing, very picturesque.  All sorts of varieties of birds flying about and wading in the water.

View from the bird hide over the L’Ebre Delta

They also have an aviary here including a pheasant and turkeys and ducks as well as an assortment of animals.

The restaurant and cafe was well utilised with lots of patrons eating some very strange types of food (Spanish delicacies, I think).  This place would be booming in summertime as they have so many hire bikes, trikes, tandems, row boats and horse drawn carriages to keep you occupied.

Not sure what this tractor was doing in the rice fields – all the workers ended up in the restaurant at day’s end

A really worthwhile spot that was so interesting.

Friday 22nd December

We are back into the wine districts again and vineyards are now replacing citrus trees .  Wine producers here mostly making cava (not to be confused with the awful muddy drink of the same name from Fiji).  We are yet to taste this wine but believe it is predominately made into a sparkling white or rose and a Spanish version of champagne (don’t mention that word to the French).

Our Campsite for tonight:  Vilafranca del Penedes

A mixed parking area with 10 spots available for motorhomes at the bottom of a hill just outside of the town centre.  We are being very cautious about places we are parking in as we get closer to Barcelona.  We have heard some horrific stories of break ins and vandalism to motorhomes in the Barcelona city area.

Small town – small Cathedral

Only a small town centre with again a very large cathedral in the centre.  It is quite strange that with Xmas only a couple of days away, there does not seem to be a lot of the Xmas spirit here.   In the centre of town they had erected a temporary ice skating rink under a large tent.  The local kids were having a ball with parents looking on and taking happy snaps.  Strangely the music they used was 60’s English spoken rock music.  Was a lot of fun to watch.

This area is famous for building “people towers” as the statue depicts

Felt very safe and comfortable here as we were joined by a half dozen other motorhomes.