Monday 24th November 2014 – Sunday 30th November 2014
Leaving Manilva, we stopped to ‘diesel-up’ on the N-340 and then drove on through Estepona until we got to Marbella; great sea views throughout the drive, but, as you can imagine for this popular area, a lot of traffic.
We’ve never been to any of the places along this coastline and the camping that we’d stayed at (Camping Bellavista) looked to be a good base from which to launch discovery visits.
Next year I would favour heading down to Seville as a trip starting point and then down to Cadiz before following the coast road around to Salobrena.
From Salobrena up to Granada, hook into the N-342 east to the Aguilas area and then more coast road ‘hugging’ north until reaching France. More coast-hugging up the French west coast to the north and then east to scoot down the French side of the Alps, then across the French Riviera, back into Spain and down the west side of Spain to complete a ‘figure of 8’.
On this leg of such a trip a dive into the Andalucian mountains from Marbella would also not go amiss.
And that’s what we did today – heading for Coin for Amanda’s Lidl visit before driving a few miles east to the camping at Finca de la Piedra.
Once at Lidl in Coin we re-stocked our food supplies and then headed out to Villafranco del Guadalhorce. Finca de la Piedra is a mile or so beyond the village.
We had heard that the lane leading down to the camping can be troublesome for large MoHo’s but we had no difficulty in getting down nor in entering the site and pitching up overlooking the valley.
Jeff & Irene are the perfect camping hosts and they are seasoned caravanners/MoHo’ers themselves. They have been here for some 12 years since leaving blighty and they provided us with a lot of information about the area and more, thanks both.
This is a stunning location and we had mostly great weather throughout – the pictures simply do not do justice to the area.
It was frustrating to be able to see villages and other landmarks in the distance and yet we couldn’t visit them.
Our cycles are good for ‘fun’ trips – Amanda doesn’t do ‘dangerous’ (that is to say, dangerous by Amanda’s definition, not yours and not mine either!), a fatality in a car accident just outside camping whilst here put paid to any chance of getting her to change her mind. We need a toad …………. or a tow-vehicle/caravan!
Before SatNav’s we would perhaps have headed in the direction of, say, a village that is visible in the distance, and then, after making wrong turns, having a few cross words, etc., we would possibly find the place we were looking for – but not always.
We already use our Snooper to guide us to Lidl’s in the areas that we have visited thus far – Amanda finds a Lidl on Google Earth, puts a Google Earth ‘pin’ on the building and by then right-clicking on the pin reference in the sidebar the locations’ coordinates are displayed.
A useful tool for feeding co-ords to your SatNav.
We could do something similar by ‘pinpointing’ places like a village in the distance or any other landmarks – or places that we read about or places that we see on Google Earth or places that we have a visual ‘fix’ on – useful for trips out, locating dog walks, etc.
We have since learnt that Lidl’s have a SatNav download for over 20 different SatNav models (just not Snooper!) and you can find this at http://www.lidl.co.uk/en/787.htm – thanks Dave (johnontheroad) for the info
Many other ideas abound for using your SatNav – many of which can enhance this lifestyle by swerving ‘manual’ searches that waste time (and money!) – POI files exist from many sources that can be uploaded to your SatNav. A SatNav can be a lot more than a route finder, especially for us MoHo-ers.
Keeping your SatNav updated is key – we hadn’t done this before we set out but we encountered numerous examples where new roads, roundabouts, etc. existed – but they weren’t in our Snooper. At the first opportunity (decent-ish WiFi) I updated both the SatNav software and the EU maps (at zero cost because we have ‘lifetime’ updates with the Snooper -as many Satnavs now also have).
SatNav’s are not perfect and I have found that if you rely on ‘audio only’ then many wrong turns can ensue – the best/worst example of this being at roundabouts; if you don’t look at the map and visually check the roundabout exit road needed (indicated on your SatNav by following the red route line) then by taking, say, the 3rd exit as audio-instructed will be down to your interpretation of what the software has ‘counted’ as an exit. Sometimes the 3rd exit is actually the 2nd – or even the 1st – due to the software including some non-existing or minor ‘blip’ that exists on the roundabout (a pull-off ‘cul-de-sac’, a road yet to be built, etc.).
A quick visual check of your SatNav as you approach the roundabout will reveal the general direction of the intended exit lane from the roundabout plus I also quickly check the road number and City/Town/Village name displayed on Snooper – this can be verified against the road signs as you approach the roundabout and also as you prepare to exit. It becomes second nature and avoids time-wasting route errors.
Routing is but one functional benefit of a SatNav – you just need to get to know any pitfalls associated and compensate accordingly.
On the EU mainland I have also found the speed display to be of value – Snooper has a large display of the prevailing speed limit (having taken into account your vehicle type – input when you set up your SatNav) and it also displays your actual speed next to this prevailing speed limit (Snooper converts both to mph – again according to how you set-up your SatNav).
Should your actual speed exceed the prevailing speed limit Snooper will turn the display of your actual speed to red. If your actual speed becomes excessively above the speed limit Snooper will ‘beep’ at you to let you know that you are a worthless bad-ass irresponsible driver.
Good bit of kit – I’ve had Tom Tom’s and Garmin’s but Snooper has become my favourite.
Regardless of any technology’s ability to accurately locate desirable destinations, without any ‘secondary powered transport’ (capable of accommodating two wrinklies and two dogs) we were ‘housebound’ during our stay.
Not that we were complaining, this is a stunning area and we were both happy to just tootle around each day.
Analogously, we are already discovering what’s at the end of the MoHo rainbow that we set out to find.
In Finca de la Piedra we found our nirvana in the Andalucian mountains.