Batten down the hatches

We were sad to leave the sunshine, the fun and the friends we’d made at Camping Marjal near Alicante but we were ready for a new adventure. It’s not normally our style to stand still on a site for more than a few days – I guess that says a lot about what a brilliant place it is.

Just before we left our Dutch neighbour came over and said, “It’s going to rain tomorrow – a lot.” We laughed and said “Hey, we live in Scotland. You can’t scare us!”

So we set off, stopping first at Santa Pola so that Shirley could take photos of the flamingos. We’d tried the other day but couldn’t find a place to stop the van. This time we went armed with Google information – which frankly turned out to be useless and as so often happens, we found a place to park by Serendipity. (If you don’t know Serendipity, it’s a place just to the right of where you were looking all along).

Shirley leapt out with her camera and nearly got blown off her feet. Half an hour later she came back with her hair stood on end and a few precious photos that she’d managed to take without having the camera wobbled by the howling gale.

Flamingoes wading

Wading Flamingo

Birds in the water
And an Egret too

Boo stopped crying (he does that when Shirley goes out without him) and we got back on the road. It was a long road and we got to our destination, Teruel, at about 5.30p.m. We’d been told that motorhomes are welcome to park for free at Dinopolis and that there is a supermarket and garage just at the entrance to the car park. We arrived and found a couple of motorhomes already there, plus hundreds of cars. It’s obviously a very popular place. To our surprise, it being Sunday evening, the supermarket and garage were open so we stocked up and filled up with the necessaries and rolled in to the carpark, cuddling up close to a Spanish motorhome.

It seems to be the norm in Europe for motorhomers to park close together when in free stopovers. It suits us as we feel more secure that way and if anyone asked questions in Spanish we could presumably rely on the neighbours to answer them. We were a little alarmed by growling and rumbling noises apparently coming from their van but realized quite quickly they were coming from the Dinosaur exhibition.

As we settled for the night we agreed that we would get up early in the morning and head for the Somport tunnel. You enter it in Spain and get spat out in the high Pyrenees in France. Sounds like fun we thought.

Using our 3g mifi to get on the Internet we were able to find a place to empty waste water, fill up with fresh and empty the chemical cludgie. Rather late on in our foray into Spain we found a link to this great resource. There are literally dozens of stopovers and service points not mentioned in the ‘All the Aires Spain and Portugal’ book.

We were just rolling into the motorhome service area 30 miles north of Teruel when the Dutchman’s prophecy came to pass. The rain came down in a torrent, bouncing off the road and up my trouser legs because I was outside filling up the water tanks at the time. By the time we had done all the practical things we were all four soaked. The dogs had come out to join in and to water the grass. Not that it needed it, as it turned out. We stayed parked up for a while, until it was possible to see through the windscreen with the wipers on full pelt. Shirley trotted into the deluge to a little direct wine seller right next to the service point, after all, she pointed out, it would be rude not to give him our business after we had used his facilities. 5 litres of wine was duly added to our load and a fresh loaf of bread and we were off again.

The rain and the wind became increasingly fearsome as we approached Zaragoza so we decided not to attempt the run up to the tunnel until tomorrow. Apart from anything else we wanted to be able to see the Pyrenees. Back to the Spanish motorhomers resource and we found a place to stay over north of Zaragoza and in the right general direction for our journey onwards tomorrow. Hitting the motorway in Zaragoza was like entering a wind tunnel complete with random gusts from every conceivable direction. We realized very quickly that the planned 30 mile trip on it was putting us at risk of coming to a messy end, so we hopped off and changed our plan to yet another stopover closer to the city.

We had rejected it earlier because the reviews said it could be noisy but under the circumstances noisy is better than the other option so we accepted its hospitality gratefully.

To our immense relief we found a British motorhome already there and we could park at a distance from the truckers, who were the ones reported as noisy in the reviews. Less of a relief was the discovery that the hatch above the bed was leaking.

We had to strategically place buckets on the bed in an attempt to keep it dry
We had to strategically place buckets on the bed in an attempt to keep it dry

After that we put heating on, took the downie off the bed and hung it up to dry á la Chinese laundry of an earlier post. Now we’re sitting here hoping that the respite in the rain will continue so that we can sleep in the bed. If not we have to make up the front seats into a bed which involves skills similar to doing Tangram puzzles with cushions and slidey out bits. I can only imagine the chaos that will ensue – and how will we stop the dogs trying to join us? Can this really be the same country we were in 48 hours ago, when we were sitting by the pool applying the suntan lotion?

3 thoughts on “Batten down the hatches

  1. I’m a bit late catching up with your blog.But doesn’t it never caece to amaze you how a day can change in the Moho.I will be reading some more now,wondering how you get on.?……Martin

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