Four nights and five days in Sitges was like a little holiday. That might seem strange, after all we’re effectively in the first month of a several month holiday, or so it might appear. In reality, life on the road doing a long tour just becomes normal life. We think about where we will buy our food, where we will restock our necessities such as water and LPG to run the heating and hot water and where we will stay overnight. Every decision is a bit more complicated than at home because we usually don’t know much about the area we are in and we have to make decisions about almost every small thing. This might sound like stress – and to be honest sometimes it is – but it’s the challenge that keeps us coming back for more. We love the unexpected pleasures, the moments of victory over what feels like a problem and we especially love looking at our options and feeling the freedom of deciding day by day where to go next.
Sitges, after several years of holidays here, is a different experience altogether. We know some of the restaurants and bars, we know some of Chris’s friends and we can find our way about without having to think too much about it. It’s a really beautiful place, a little bit upmarket compared to many Spanish resorts yet friendly and welcoming. Being on a campsite meant we could spread out and also do some of the niggling little jobs in the motorhome that start to irritate after a few weeks.
Don’t glue your poodle to the floor
We visited the Ferreteria (ironmonger) and the Chinese Bazaar to buy some mould cleaner (don’t ask), rubber wedges (ditto) and superglue (hence the title). I then set about removing old sealant in the bathroom, cleaning the inevitable black mould and resealing the basin. It is far from a professional job but the bathroom looks tons better. I realised, perhaps a little late, that we wouldn’t be able to use the basin until the next morning so we had to wash and do teeth in the kitchen sink. A small price to pay and a wee reminder that compared to many others we live in luxury in our van.
I then set about trying to repair a small split in the vinyl floor with the superglue. From here onwards things slid gently downhill. This was super cheap superglue and it was very runny. I managed to get the stuff on the back of the small flap of vinyl and then fold it over, pressing on it in an attempt to hold it down until it stuck fast. I was wearing disposable rubber gloves and as I pressed down I realised that the fingers of the gloves were stuck together … that’s one near disaster diverted. However, as I sat there, bending double over the repair I glanced to my right and saw that the glue had dribbled onto the floor and Boo was just about to jump down onto it from his perch on the bench seat. I was then in an awful dilemma. How to extricate myself from holding the vinyl down whilst catching Boo before he got stuck to the floor and without getting my gloves stuck to the poodle. Sensing my alarm, he hesitated on the edge of the seat and I yelled at him to stay, dashing over to get the kitchen roll and mop up the glue. Thankfully Boo was safe but my repair job was not. Discarding the gloves with some difficulty I decided that being this concerned about a small fault in the flooring was ridiculous. You can take things too far.
In case you are wondering about the rubber wedges – and who wouldn’t be? – these were for wedging under the bike wheels when they are on their rack in the trailer. Our rack is the kind that is designed to go in a motorhome garage and would normally be fitted flat against the back of the garage. Our trailer design meant that ours had to be fitted front to back along one wall and therefore the bikes are prone to movement backwards and forwards with the movement of the trailer. Having had to untangle the pedals numerous times and struggle with the shifting load whenever we tried to get the bikes out we decided that small rubber wedges might stop the movement. The wedges are in and the jury is out. More on this if I can’t think of anything more interesting to write about later.
A smashing time
We enjoyed a final evening in Sitges at Parrots Bar with Chris, Melanie and Biz and Lee. It was perfectly grand sitting there chatting about travel, life as expats and laughing together at everyone’s stories. As any readers who know me will understand, alcohol and I don’t mix well and one glass of wine is enough to get me pickled. At Parrots bar, one glass of red wine is approximately a third of a bottle. I was feeling rather proud of the fact that I had indeed managed to get to the bottom of my one glass without slipping half of it into Shirley’s glass or falling off my seat, when we all decided that we should make for home and an early night. The bill was paid, hugs and kisses shared all round and I swung my little shoulder bag on. There was a crash, then another, and to my horror several glasses hit the ground, helpless in the face of my exuberant handbag swinging. Every face on the terrace of the bar swivelled my way, not one of them smiling or sympathetic. I don’t know why everyone ducked when I went into the bar to confess my sins but the barman reassured me that it was okay whilst carefully steering me out into the street before I could do any more damage. This is the second occasion when I have smashed glasses in bars in the Iberian Peninsula. I may never be allowed back in.
Security in Mind
We discussed our next stop with Melanie and Biz and our plans had a bit of a serious edge to them. Melanie and Biz had had their van broken into in broad daylight on a motorhome parking in Girona and they were feeling a bit cautious about using places that weren’t secure. Of course their experience had a similar effect on us and we all agreed that we should never take risks or ignore a niggling feeling that a parking place is unsafe. We are always careful but it seems that robberies of motorhome contents are rising in frequency so we decided to adopt an even more stringent approach to choosing our parking spots. On a lighter note, Melanie and Biz had hidden away any valuables in their van and the robbers had got away with two sets of well used and unwashed running outfits and two faux fur blankets. Even with the serious nature of our discussion we couldn’t help being amused by their pronunciation of faux fur throws in their native Hull accents.
Plans change like the weather on a trip like this and sometimes they change because of the weather. We had originally planned to head west from Sitges and go into Portugal from the north. We love the country so much and there is so much to see in the unspoilt north that we were looking forward to a slow route south exploring more of Portugal as we went. Another advantage would have been that we could meet up with our friend Mary who is travelling down the west side as we speak. Unfortunately we hadn’t accounted for either the distance this route would add to our journey south and also the weather as we crossed over to the west side. In parts of Northern Spain it has been snowing and we would effectively be adding about 700 miles to our trip to get cold. Reluctantly, because of our fondness for our Pal Mary and also our desire to explore more of Northern Portugal, we changed our plans and decided to head south. Another plan that was scuppered by the weather was a game of golf on a lovely par 3 course near Sitges. We woke up to find pouring rain and shelved that idea pronto. It’s a good thing we’re from Scotland where we have gained a lifetime’s experience in changing plans because of the weather.
In the end we made our way south to the Ebro Delta where we could park up in a secure and well established motorhome park next to miles of marshland and the chance to view numerous kinds of wading birds and water fowl.
We’ve been here before and loved the peace of the place and the well laid out parking, designed exclusively for motorhomes. As a general rule if a place is only for motorhomes it is secure because users would notice the arrival of a strange car, or any suspicious activity. We have also learned that the motorhoming community is mutually supportive and we appreciate being surrounded by others. Parking is free here and they have thoughtfully provided especially long parking spaces for vans with trailers.The strange thing about this particular motorhome park is that the services are only open for a couple of hours in the morning and, for the princely sum of 3€ you can fill up and empty during that time. The rest of the time they are locked up so it’s hard luck if you turn up in the afternoon with no water on board.
We’ll be here for two nights and then move on south to the pretty seaside town of Denia. Here we will stay on a campsite for a few days, take a rest and explore the town. We’re told it is an unspoilt place with lots of interesting places to visit. So we’ll report more on that in a few days. In the meantime be careful with your superglue.