Just about everything we said about the last place was true. It was a beautifully kept site with a great (cold) pool and lovely (warm) staff. All the facilities were clean, including your underwear if you didn’t put them in a plastic bag before taking a shower. Then, on the last night, we got the darker side of the place. They had entertainment! And it went on and on and got louder and louder. At midnight they were singing Happy Birthday at about 100 Decibels, which for the uninitiated is the average sound of a rock concert – ok maybe make that 110 (a hammer drill).
After it was all over, crowds of children kept walking past our van shouting loudly and re-enacting their favourite parts of the evening. Poppy and Boo, clearly alarmed at the thought they were coming in to join us, kept barking. We were wide awake and drinking tea by 2.00 a.m. when it finally went quiet.
Checking out at reception the next morning Shirley mentioned the noise. The receptionist shrugged and said, “It will be quieter now, the Spanish are going home.” Being Spanish herself, we felt she was being rather scathing of her compatriots but on the other hand she might have just been realistic. The Spanish, lovely people as they are, do seem to make a lot of noise.
So the decision to move was the right one and we were off that pitch and out of Calafell by 9.30 a.m. The expression You couldn’t see us for dust is particularly apt on this occasion.
If you’re keeping your eye on the ball you will know that our plan was to move to Peniscola. However, here is the news – we didn’t. Before we left Calafell our nice Dutch neighbour advised us that a wee place called Alcossebre is even nicer and that the camp site there is excellent – and quiet.
We set off down the motorway, realised too late that it was a toll road and there was no need to spend good money on motorway tolls, got off the motorway and bought some diesel. I just want to mention the diesel here because of the price. 98c per litre! Yes really! That’s about 73p per litre in our money. Going home is going to be more painful than I had imagined.
So, we were happily rumbling along the coast road when we thought it would be good to stop for coffee. Here comes the 115th good reason to travel in a motorhome – you find a nice spot, put the kettle on, have a pee if required, make coffee, sigh, wash up and move on. Very soon we saw a sign for the beach and turned off the road. The road got narrower and narrower. Very soon calling it a road would be an exaggeration. We slowed right down and noticed that two cyclists ahead of us were going faster than we were. Twists and turns, olive groves and fincas and the single track road rumbled on with no sign of the beach. Eventually we saw a sign Playa 6km! We began to consider the possibility of turning the van round but all in all the option to keep moving seemed easier – but only marginally. Finally we found the beach! It was tiny and there was no parking. Our hearts sank and the desire for coffee rose.
Hitting the road again we decided to put the satnav on and ask it to take us on to our destination thinking that surely we would find somewhere to put the kettle on? Not 3 km later we turned a corner and found a huge beach, plenty of parking and the main coast road visible from where we parked. I thought about this while Shirley took the dogs for their mid journey pee stop and I put the kettle on.
Isn’t it just like life? You follow what seems like the obvious route to what you want and the way is winding, bumpy and distinctly uncomfortable. Then you find what you thought you wanted and it turns out not to fit the bill at all – it’s only when you give up that you turn the next corner and what you needed all the time is waiting for you.
Enough of the philosophicals – let’s talk about Alcossebre and Camping Playa Tropicana.
Camping is the right word for this place. The entry way just couldn’t be more camp. Greek statues as far as the eye can see and an archway straight out of a 70s sitcom.
We pulled up and I went to book in and I have to say I was impressed. If you have dogs with you they put you in a separate part of the site with all the other doggy people. At first I thought we were being sent to the scruffy end but then we discovered there is no scruffy end. This site is immaculate and the doggy bit is right by the gate so you can get them outside quickly to do their stuff without messing the place up. Pitches are huge, facilities top notch (DB score of 10) and a heated swimming pool. Now you’re talking.
From where we are pitched, in our own private spot surrounded by hedges, we can hear the sound of the sea. As we settled down to sleep last night we were soothed by its gentle rhythmic swoosh on the shoreline and after that I remember nothing at all …zzzzz