We have enjoyed the most wonderful weather this past weekend, so it was perfect for lots of lovely Valentine’s outings.
Here are a couple of pictures showing our campsite beach…
On Saturday we went up to our favourite cafe and met a chap who had an interesting coffee companion! We saw him there a week or so ago, when we took this photo (it was a bit more of a breezy day on that occasion – which is why Al is sporting sleeves!)
(it’s a ferret!)
Then on Sunday we spent the day at San Pedro del Pinatar, where there is the most wonderful promenade, lined with lovely cafes, as well as a big harbour. It was a gloriously hot day and plenty of people were out, but it was still really peaceful and relaxing.
Once again, we met a family who had an interesting dinner companion!
It seems impossible that it is four weeks since I last posted. The days and weeks go by and there always seems to be plenty to do – is this what retirement feels like…?! The site is quite busy now, with lots of people arriving from England, Germany and Holland during January and February.
We thought you might like to see a sample of some of the motorhomes on site. Many of them keep a pitch here all year round and then come and go, using it as their holiday home. They have a lot of freedom about what they do with their pitches, so you can see all kinds of layouts (no parish council to worry about here!).
We have had some good news on the planning front – our planning application for an extra six pitches has been approved! So, when we get back we will be busy running in new electric hook-ups for the extra pitches, as well as converting part of the big garage to provide shower cubicles and a washing up area for campers.
It’s good news because it will mean that now we can take any and all touring caravans and motorhomes – not just those owned by Caravan club members. Last year we had a lot of enquiries from European travellers who wanted to stay a night or two – so now we can welcome them with open arms – should be good fun.
Here’s a reminder of Fieldgate and how it probably looks now on a chilly January day…
Today the wind is up and we chose the best place for our morning coffee. There is a cafe and restaurant which we like, just up the road at a place called Los Nietos. The owner – Antonio – is married to Clare – the English hairdresser who we have got to know over the last couple of years. Antonio opened up his own restaurant last year and it is right on the beach. All the kitesurfers were out today and we really enjoyed watching them while we had our coffee. We had two lovely coffees, plus Al had a toasted sandwich and I had toast and the whole lot only came to five euros! Less than half the price that it would have cost in the UK. Also we had a lovely chat to Antonio (his English is coming along very well) and heard all about their excitement – as in one month’s time they are expecting their first baby! A son who will be called Lorenzo!
Near to our campsite is the La Manga resort. The resort is a large community with four (very posh) golf courses, some beautiful apartments and villas and they have their own shops, cafes, and even their own petrol station. This is the place where the English football team have trained in the past and where you can pay between one and two million pounds for a place. We had a wander round there a couple of days ago and pretended to be house-hunting. We asked one of the estate agents how much the ongoing annual maintenance charges would be – it turns out that it is anything from £6,000 to £12,000 just for the privilege of living there – and that doesn’t even include the golf!
Of course, we didn’t let on that we live in a caravan on a campsite!
Anyway, there is no charge for looking so enjoy these pictures…
Justin had discovered that the Spanish have another tradition which involves cake! Around the time of the three Kings you can buy a special cake with a hidden ‘bean’ inside. The story goes that whoever gets the piece with the bean has to buy the cake next year. I guess it is a bit like our tradition of the sixpence in the Christmas pudding.
You can see the cake below – it was delicious – and the bonus was that I got the bean, so I will just need to be back here next year to buy another one…!
In past years we have heard reports about the procession of the three Kings, which is something that happens throughout Spain on the 5th January. The idea is that the three Kings are en route, ready for the feast day of the Epiphany on the 6th January, which they celebrate in a big way – much like our Christmas Day.
We hadn’t managed to see one of these processions, so I was delighted when Carol and Justin suggested we could go along to see it all taking place in Castellon. We checked the times in the local information office and made sure we were in the main square at 7pm, just in time for the fun to begin. It seemed as though the whole town was out – families with children of every age. The procession was much like our summer carnival processions – with musical bands of all kinds, and colourful floats decorated with bright lights. It lasted for well over an hour and the final floats were what all the children were waiting for. As each of the three Kings passed they threw out loads of sweets – literally boxes of them!
The photos hopefully give you a flavour of the evening’s excitement…
Then, once the procession was over we decided to visit one of Carol and Justin’s favourite tapas restaurants. The food looked delicious, so it was no surprise that all the tables – both inside and out – were fully booked. But we were not to be deterred and the lovely waiter set another table for us and invited us to sit – outside!! Here we are enjoying the complimentary dessert at the end of the meal – by this time it was around 10pm and around 10 degrees – hence we are quite well wrapped! But it was easily worth it – and as a bonus we got to see the fireworks go off in the central square.
It was lovely to have a chance to see a new part of Spain. Castellon is very pretty – a big town, but one with lots of lovely plazas and plenty of space to wander. Also nearby is the beach with a harbour and long seafront . We made the most of the sunny days and made sure we had plenty of cafe visits and relaxing walks. Here are a few highlights…
Last week I had a chance to experience the excellent trains of Spain. My lovely mate Carol has come to live in Spain, with her lovely man Justin. They have had an exciting first few months, both getting used to new jobs, a new home, new language and new lifestyle. Seeing them for the first time since they arrived here, I would say it certainly suits them.
They are living in Castellon de la Plana, which is just above Valencia. I planned to travel by train from Cartagena directly to Valencia, where Justin was able to pick me to drive the 40 minutes of so to Castellon. The train journey was just about four hours, but certainly one to recommend. The views, of course, were great – plains, hills, planted fields, orange and lemon groves – plenty to look at. Everyone on the train automatically has a numbered seat booked, so although the train was very busy beyond Alicante, there was no worry about people having to stand. On the outward journey everyone was also provided with free headphones so that you could plug into listen to onboard music, or to follow the soundtrack of the film that was shown. I was happy with my book – but it was certainly a nice idea. The train itself seemed much smoother than the English intercity trains – just like Spanish life it seems the trains too don’t rush.
When I arrived in Valencia I was so taken with the beautiful architecture of the station and the nearby buildings. It was great that I had a chance to have a longer look when we all came back into the city a few hours before my return journey. Here are a few pics below to give you a bit of a flavour of the place.