A poor weather week but with a great ending!
MANILVA TO LA LINEA DE LA CONCEPCION THEN BACK TO NERJA 134 miles
Miles travelled so far: 1883 miles
Toll costs: 10.2 euros this week
Fuel costs: 47.00 euros this week
11th January – Day 4 Manilva
There is a change in the weather, it’s windy, very windy. The sea is starting to look and sound rough but the sun is still out even though the clouds are starting to gather.
After breakfast today we are off for a bike ride, not far just a short one to find a good seafood restaurant for lunch. We find one and it’s brilliant, a lovely place with nice friendly staff.
After a good feed and a bottle of cold rose right next to the sea, we cycle back, it’s late afternoon and the air is getting cooler as it usually does at around 4:30. Hot tea and the heating on in Jess soon sort that out.
Movie night tonight is an excellent film about two scientists that find that an asteroid is going to hit earth in six months but have difficulties convincing everyone. Far far better than it sounds, great fun and quite thought-provoking. Don’t Look Up. Well worth the time.
The wind is really blowing hard now. The van is being pushed about and it is noisy. A bad night’s sleep. Oh well.
12th January – Day 5 Manilva
Not a good night last night, very little sleep thanks to a vicious Levante wind. The Levante wind was one of the winds that used to plague us as sailors. It blows hard for several days from the east and can be very unpleasant. We always did our best to make sure that we were tucked up in a marina before it blew in.
It’s windy all day with the odd shower of rain. The weather has changed dramatically and we are expecting it to be this way now for a few days with more rain forecast from tomorrow.
It’s a day in today, which is unusual as we like to either go for a walk or get the bikes out, but with the unsettled weather, it doesn’t happen. But what’s this, the clouds have cleared away and despite the wind it turns out to be a beautiful afternoon, warm in the sun. We hurry out on the bikes to a local tapas bar for two or three tapas and a small cold beer, then we are off for a good cycle. It was smashing, a warm, sunny afternoon and well worth it.
Movie night tonight is Revolutionary Road. A definite watch. About a couple and their endeavour for “life” blimey!
13th January – Day 6 Manilva
Despite the howling wind and odd rain shower last night, we slept really well, best in a while. The weather today is brutal. The wind is even stronger than yesterday, we estimate a force 7 which is about 38 mph. Breezy. We are getting regular rain showers and the sea is very rough and noisy but quite spectacular to watch.
Big move today. Massive. We have to move three pitches down. We extended our stay here but had to move to another pitch. The new pitch has a good sea view and a little bit of wind shade. You can get fed up with the noise of the wind, and we are at that stage now. It’s been unrelenting all day every day for the past three days, which might not sound much, but when you are in it…!
The freshwater tank needs a fill-up, so Del sticks the hose in the side of the van to fill the tank and wanders off to do something else only to be called in 5 mins later by H with news that there is water in the living quarters of the van… Yikes! The tank has filled but because the pressure was too high and an effective seal was created on the intake hole, the cap of the tank had leaked and started to run into the van.
We had to effectively rip the living area apart and do a full mop out, no damage just water to mop up. It was a good opportunity however to clean out areas that we can’t normally get to of a few years of dust. Nice. Within 30 minutes everything was cleared up and dried and there was no evidence of any mishap. Lesson learnt: don’t have the water pressure too high when filling up and more importantly don’t leave it filling up unattended. Simple.
Smashing lunch at the same Indian restaurant the other night, this time we went over the correct bridge! Brilliant.
Movie night tonight is Annihilation. About a force field thing that takes over the earth. Some army women are sent in to find out what’s going on. Some die. Not brilliant we know but you can’t knock a coconut down every time.
14th January – Day 7 Manilva
More wind which just goes on and on. Oh and more rain. We manage a walkout and buy some expensive Bellota ham: regarded as the best ham in Spain. The pigs are acorn-fed to produce high quality, good tasting ham. It can be pricey, but we buy a small amount just to try it and can definitely taste the difference.
Despite the wind, we manage to find a restaurant and have a paella (again) outside in a little windbreak in the brief sunshine. It was smashing.
All in all a very wet, cold and windy day. It’s so windy!
15th January – Day 8 Manilva
We are not sure if we have mentioned it but it has been very windy and wet here. Today it is still the same.
We have a small shower leak now, it’s only a little one and it always depends on how much slope there is on the van when we are parked up. A local hardware shop has all we need. A strip of plastic and some silicone and a silicone gun. Back at the van, we get the repair done and leave it 24 hours to cure.
Manilva was supposed to be the place where we were supposed to get the best weather, right down in the south of Spain, in a lovely site, right by the beach, however, the reality has been far from that. Out of the 8 nights, we stayed only three days were good weather, the rest were dreadful with strong winds and sometimes heavy rain and cold! No matter it’s all part of it. For our last night, we go to the Indian restaurant across the dangerous road. What a great dinner we had there. Best Indian EVER!
16th January – Manilva to Linea De Concepcion 21 miles
Tomorrow is the day when we need to turn around and give ourselves a good two weeks to get back to the UK, sure you can do it in less but we want to take our time and see more.
We have had long conversations about what route back we should take. We have a Euro Tunnel ticket from Calais to Folkstone as well as a ferry from Santander to Portsmouth.
Do we go back the way we came, or do we go up the middle of Spain? We looked at going back through Portugal but they have strict Covid testing requirements so that’s probably not going to happen. Things have calmed down a little in France, some restrictions have been lifted so we decide to go back the way we came.
Today however we are going to La Linea de Concepcion which is on the land border between Spain and Gibraltar. We have been trying to find out what, if any, the requirements are for testing for covid etc, but it’s hopeless. Unless you are flying in from the UK then any information is hard to find, for a UK citizen on foot going from Spain into Gibraltar for a lunch then going back again on foot into Spain the information is non-existent.
The weather has improved greatly so off we go, leaving windswept and rainy Manilva, in fact, it’s a lovely day and after about an hour and a bit, we are settled into a great campervan parking place with a view of “The Rock”. Separating it from us is the Gibraltar airport runway. An odd arrangement.
Del gets talking to a British couple and asks if they know anything about what the requirements are to get into Gibraltar. It appears you need nothing but your passport, so armed with said documents we do the short walk to the border and sure enough, all that happens is customs say ‘hola’ stamp your passport and you are done!
The high street in Gibraltar is a bit disappointing really, so after a splendid typical Sunday turkey roast lunch, we get a taxi tour.
For 25 euros each they will take you on a tour for about 45 to 60 minutes. Our driver, called Chris who was Spanish but spoke the most perfect English, drove us around the main tourist spots of Gibraltar. It was brilliant and well worth the money. Chris was fantastic and provided us with a history lesson as we drove around, stopping at some wonderful views of the Straits of Gibraltar with a clear view of North Africa and southern Spain.
Going higher he took us to see the famous monkeys of Gibraltar, the Skywalk and to see the first-ever cannon that the British placed when they took Gibraltar from the Spanish in 1704. (See we paid attention to our guide).
A wonderful afternoon, finished off with a cold beer in the marina, we head back across the border, after watching a plane land at the airport and back to the van for a peaceful night sitting in the front seats with the blinds open and watching as the north side of the Gibraltar rock face is lit up. Beautiful. All in all a great day.
17th January – Linea De Concepcion to Nerja 116 miles
Today is the turnaround day. A day we don’t like to see but it has to come at some point. Today we are leaving our place on the Spanish, Gibraltar border, and more or less retracing our steps back to Calais to make our crossing on the 30th of January.
It was a great day yesterday and back at the van the night started peaceful enough, however by early morning the wind had built up once again and was giving Jess a bit of a battering. Breakfast, clear up and we are off by 10 am. H is doing all the driving today.
We are going back to Nerja and to the campsite with the avocado trees. We liked it there, but we are only doing one day. We have to pass Manilva, the place where we were basically windbound for 5 days! It’s a lovely day today once we get away from the wind in Gib. Blue sky no wind and a very pleasant morning drive along the coast.
The chap at the Nerja campsite recognises us and we are checked in quite quick however our pitch is somewhat in the shade this time. No matter, we are not here for long and as soon as we are settled and a little sit in the shade, we are off to a place where we enjoyed a rather splendid lunch by the sea a couple of weeks ago.
Lunch was fantastic, just sitting in the sun talking about our immediate travel plans and our long term future plans.
Full of food and wine we do the 20-minute walk to the van for showers and a very comfortable and peaceful night in. On the move again tomorrow to Almerimar marina, again for a one-night stopover.