Time to settle down, for a while…
NERJA TO MANILVA – 100 miles
Miles travelled so far: 1749 miles
Toll costs: 3.30 euros this week
Fuel costs: 57 euros this week
4th January. Day 3 Nerja
Not much happening today. It’s a lovely day, so we try and do some laundry but it’s too busy so we just give up. Better things to do.
H sits and does her written Jess diary while Del spends a good hour or two brushing up on his Spanish. It’s nice here, we don’t really need to go anywhere. We have our little cosy set up by the van and while the sun shines it’s perfect.
We are surrounded by avocado trees and one of them fell off so we have brought her into the van to see how she does. They grow them here so we bought one huge one on our arrival day. We stuck her in the fruit bowl next to the bananas, which helps the fruit to ripen. We shall see.
High wind is due tonight however so we will probably have to pack up later.
5th January. Day 5 Nerja
Today is the Epiphany, apparently. Time to get all those decs and trees down and put away for another year. In Spain, it’s King’s Day eve, the day when the three kings come. This is the real Christmas day for kids in Spain, the day when they get their new Xbox or PS5. Many towns do a procession depicting the three king’s arrival on a float. When we stayed in Barcelona on the boat, we used to watch the King’s Day parade which seemed to get bigger and more spectacular each year.
We take a leisurely stroll to Nerja along the beach, have a drink in an Irish bar that has spectacular views of the southern coastline. we make our way back, the walks have made us a little peckish.
There is a cracking little rough looking restaurant right on the beach near the campsite.
We can’t resist it. Soon we are feeding on seafood and spare ribs, helped along with a bottle of chilled rose. We know that back home the weather is not great, people are working and the news with all the talk about the virus and other stuff is pumped out just to make sure we stay miserable, but there is something quite liberating and calming about a cool drink and some good food in the sun right by the sea. Just for a moment, you forget about everything else that is happening, which can only be a good thing.
6th January Nerja to Almayate (King’s Day!)
We say goodbye to Nerja. It was a very pleasant stay but time to move on. We are doing a long trip today, all 24 miles of it! Jess is long overdue for a good wash. On the way into here, we spotted a car wash that had a platform that once your van was parked you could go onto the platform to wash the roof! Mega! Small things.
With a kind of clean van (no brushes so you can’t get stuck into all the muck, it’s just one of those high-pressure lances) we are on our way. It’s a beautiful day today. There was a heavy shower of rain last night and with the wind, the air is clean and fresh. With the sea on our left and the sun shining from a deep blue sky, we are heading west now along the Spanish coast.
One of Spain’s unofficial symbols is the “toro” or bull and there is one just outside our campsite.
Many of you may have seen it at some point on holiday or on TV, some people have a sticker of him on the back of their cars It’s the silhouette of a bull and they can be found on hills around Spain. These 14m tall and 4-tonne bulls were placed there by the drinks company Osborne many years ago and the government later decided that they should all come down. But after a public outcry to keep them there are about 90 left in Spain. You can see the full history here during your next tea break!
We arrive at the Almayate Costa Campsite. It’s a bit like a car park, everyone is rammed in, it’s not full but the vans that are here are really close-quartered. We choose a spot which is nice and close to everything we need, including a very short skip and a jump to the beach which is amazing. It’s long, clean and empty!
Jess is given some extra TLC with a clean cloth, basically what was not done properly at the car wash.
Time to check out this long beach that’s on our doorstep.
7th January – Day 2 Almayate
We are on our last day here. It seems to be getting warmer so after a short late morning walk into Almayate town, which doesn’t offer much (the whole area around here is agriculture) we pack a few things and head for the beach.
It’s very pleasant, not too hot, very slight cool edge but very nice. We spend a good hour on the beach, head back to the van and sit in the afternoon sun. H reads, Del updates the blog.
Tomorrow we are moving on to Manilva which is an hour and a half drive along the south coast where will set up and stay for 8 days. Lots to see and do around there hence the longer stay. We shall see.
We have acquired a friend here.
A duck. Yes, a duck. It seems he walks around the campsite clearly making friends that will feed him. He’s quite a large duck as a result. Del can’t help it and feeds him bread. Soon the friendly duck is following him back to the van for more. Later in the day when Del pops out, he’s there waiting just outside the van. He’s very tame, friendly and fat!
Dinners are sometimes themed on Jess, we don’t know why, but we pick a country and eat and theme the van with music etc.
Tonight is French night so it’s entrecote, potatoes, green beans and a tasty pepper sauce, oh and a Spanish red wine! (what?). French traditional music is provided by Spotify! A great night. (We didn’t want to eat our confit duck, that we bought in France, tonight with our friend waddling about outside!)
8th January – Almayate to Manilva 85 miles
Another clear blue sky to wake up to today, it’s expected to reach 18 degrees today which is perfect, it just doesn’t last. By 4 pm each afternoon, the chill is just starting to come in which leads us into quite a cool night.
We are packed up and ready to go on a journey heading west along the Spanish coast, but first we have to do our usual shop, supplies are starting to get low, so we head for an Aldi which has become our supermarket of choice in Spain. Very good, very cheap!
A very pleasant and thankfully uneventful drive. The coastline and towns start to have an American feel to them. The main A7 road runs along here so it’s quite busy, with lots of apartment blocks and shopping areas. If you have ever driven out of Los Angeles to go north up the coast, then it’s a bit like that. In the sun it looks great and with the windows down it was a lovely drive.
The campsite at Manilva is called the Camping La Bella Vista. A nice place. It’s a ‘corporate’ campsite, meaning that everything is immaculate, not a blade of grass out of place, with a gleaming reception area. Everything has to be paid in full in advance and you are given reams of paper telling you what the rules are, it’s a big contrast to the other campsites that we have been to. It’s nice though and our pitch is perfect. We are here now for 8 days. The sun is on us for most of the day, and we can see the sea, everything is on the pitch: power, clean water and you can empty your grey water tank as well. All good.
Once settled in we take the very short walk to the beach to check it out. It’s quite spectacular. Looking out to sea we can make out Gibraltar and north Africa on our right and the Spanish coastline weaving away to our left. The recent wind and rain have meant the visibility is clear and the air fresh. Lovely.
Another themed dinner night. Italian night. The works though. 4 courses: antipasti, pasta, homemade pizza, salad and dessert. Blimey!
9th January – Day 2 Manilva
Time to get some exercise done after the big Italian night. We get the bikes down, for the first time this year, and we cycle along the promenade for a couple of kilometres. It’s another one of those Spanish holiday weekends so everyone is out making the cycle ride more of an obstacle course than proper exercise. It’s very good though to see everyone out and about. The restaurants are full and the sun is shining. It’s another lovely day.
We get a bit fed up with weaving about, trying not to run children down and finally decide to settle into a little bar right on the front for a small cold beer and take the opportunity to call home and speak to some friends and family.
Tonight is Indian night. Not on the van. There is a very highly regarded Indian restaurant across the road from the campsite. We’ll pay that a visit, as it’s so close.
The campsite is on the main N-340 road, a very busy 4 carriageway road and the restaurant is just across that road, you can smell it sometimes from the campsite, you can see it all bright and welcoming, but you can’t just cross the N-340 with traffic flowing at 70 mph.
H finds a bridge so off we go, up, over and down to… nothing! It goes nowhere. Google shows a dirt track going back towards the restaurant so off we trot. Bad idea. Soon we are covered by large vegetation taller than us and after 5 minutes of trekking through this, we are brought to an abrupt stop by a small river. Great!
We retrace our steps and find another bridge, further down the fast N-340. By now our appetite has truly been sharpened. Once again we go up, across and down, this time with success! Ten minutes later we are in the very nice Indian restaurant which was well worth the 45-minute trip ‘just across the road’.
The food was excellent, great service and not too expensive. They do a very nice cheap lunch here, so we will be back during our stay. The walk back to the van felt long but soon we are settled in. It’s very windy tonight, the van gets rocked about a bit but it’s nice in Jess.
10th January – Day 3 Manilva
At last, the wind has died off to leave us with a stunning day. 19 degrees, clear blue sky. The morning is spent updating blogs: this one and H is doing a written one.
Beach day today. It has to be.
Jess is filled up with fresh water, grey tank emptied. However, Del has to do the chemical toilet, Nice. Then off we go on the short walk to the beach…
We spend a good two hours there, today is to be the best day as windy and cloudier weather is coming in, so we take advantage of it while we can.
Movie night tonight is Jimmy Carr – His Dark Material, not really a film. Good fun though, refreshing non PC humour which we could do with a bit more of today certainly not less.