Saturday 6th December 2014
At midnight plus 15 minutes I left Twernt and walked down to the camping entrance to stand at the roadside and become a ‘live’ version of a ‘Google Earth Placemark/Pin’ for Ed & Will arriving from Malaga in their rental car.
It’s possible to arrive here from either direction so I needed to check out the cars travelling both ways.
I had sensibly donned my Schoffel Fleece (the ONE you wear in ‘brass monkey’ conditions) but then, living up to my ‘pensioner status’, I’d overlooked that I was wearing this BLACK fleece jacket when I should have been portraying myself as a yellow ‘Google Earth Pin’. ‘My bad’ – as they say in the modern vernacular.
Not to worry – I’ll stand waving and dancing in the middle of road once I’ve identified the lads car and hope that they check their rear-view mirror.
With the risks now assessed and my attire-fail contingency plan in place I arrived at the camping entrance ……………………… and it was locked.
An electric solid-steel panelled gate of about 5 feet high and 15-20 feet long was in the ‘you will not leave or enter this camping site’ mode.
Hmmm… should have thought of it that earlier – I’d missed ‘tasks needed to exit camping’ from my risk assessment evaluation and I had no contingency plan – it wasn’t an option to wake up the park owners (well it was an option, but I’m English and it’s not the done thing old chap).
Quickly re-assessing the situation I decided that the gate could be climbed – not by me you understand – I figured that our healthier offspring, in the throes of mutual salutations being exchanged, wouldn’t object too much about having to ‘hop’ over the gate – it’s just a shame that I didn’t know at the time that a hidden button exists allowing the gate to open about 3 feet or so. Sorry lads!
Their flight had landed at 10:55pm, so I took the temporary possession of a brain that used to be mine and figured on between 5 and 20 minutes to clear customs (they only had hand luggage), between 10 and 30 minutes to occupy a rental car and then between 70 and 90 minutes to scoot the 60 miles east to us.
That gave an ETA window of between 0020 – 0115 hours.
Due to the gate ‘situation’, I decided to stay ‘in situ’ instead of using our pre-planned ‘be there for 5 minutes every 20 minutes’ arrangement – I didn’t want them to pass this locked gate.
They arrived at 0145 hours, 30 minutes after my worst-case ETA and during that 30 minute period I was grateful for having taken my simvastatin, ramipril, amlodipine, etc., just a few hours before.
There’s another ‘plan-fail’ – I should have have arrived ‘three sheets to the wind’ – it wouldn’t have been so cold then and my head wouldn’t be processing untold speculative scenario’s to explain their lateness.
It transpired that, after a detour via Estepona (west of Malaga!), they then turned east but the only navigation aid they had was what they could remember from our on-line conversation about one week before their trip.
I was not happy (and I was cold!), their only ‘excuse’ was “It’s what you do when you’re young Dad”.
I thumped them 6 shades from Mary and told them, “And that’s what you do when you’re a dad, lads”.
Seriously though, we were really happy to see them both and looking forward to the next 34.75 hours (amazing what you can conjure up from a rusted brain when you apply yourself!) ahead of us.
We were also happy that they had a rental car!
The BIGGEST mistake we’ve made on this trip is to not tow a car down with us – this applies more so for anyone that has a dog – or dogs in our case – we ‘did’ 3 locations (plus a Lidl visit) with the lads before 6:00pm and without a car that would not have been possible; We don’t know the rules in Spain but it can be a major hassle in Portugal to take dogs on public transport – there were times in Portugal that we envied the caravan brigade as they headed out each day to explore areas up to 50 or so miles away from the camping – we were limited to the local area. Who wants to use public transport anyway – it takes forever!
Without dogs, a scooter or motorbike would be my preferred solution (no trailer, just a tow mount rack).
Some motorhome owners bring their own cars down in tow – you have to question why large and expensive motorhomes park up in one place for many months and use their ‘toad’ for transport – why not just buy a car and caravan? I’m guessing it’s for the journey to/from their home but I’ve come across a lot of ‘buying justifications’ based on something that is ’employed’ for just a small percentage of time when living this lifestyle.
UK in the summer? Warmer climes in the winter? – you need a RWD, double-skinned floor, fortress built, lorry-like to drive motorhome my son, and, for the 5 hours that you spend on the road out of every week, just make sure it does 20 miles to the gallon and not 17, tut-tut.
I’ve seen £70K+ motorhomes proud to be wildcamping on a dingy car parks to save on campsite fees – why? Hey, spend £50k on a motorhome and buy some decent facilities and surroundings on camping sites for the next n years!
Van conversions with twin singles at the rear and a dinette arrangement at the front are starting to appeal to us as being good ‘all-rounders’ – plus a quick-erect on-site tent and outdoor living set-up. Twernt had better behave or it may become Twas!
That’s down the line though, we agreed that Twernt was a minimum 2-3 year purchase and we’re wise enough to know that we may feel differently as we gain more experience!
We love the ‘moving on’ aspect of this lifestyle and will hopefully come to enjoy the ‘stay put’ periods more – but ‘stay put’ for more than a month? I don’t think so, there is SO much to see, and, so far, we’ve seen less than we could have. I could quite happily concentrate just on Spain as a winter destination, and, if it gets any colder before sunrise, then maybe Morocco – but we’ll see how Eric & Shazza ( Big Momma) get on over there first!
After ‘silly o’clock’ greetings with the lads, we all slept soundly until almost 8:00am (that would be about 4.5 hours then!) and, ablutions and breakfast behind us, we set out for our day of re-visiting locations from 2004.
First up, we decided to try and find the villa that we had stayed in.
This was located in the exclusive hillside urbanisation above Salobrena – almost all of these properties are €0.5m+.
After a few wrong turns we found the villa:
Meanwhile. Ed, still searching for the origin of the smell that he’d detected earlier, found a big clue…..
We drove from the Marina del Este to Motril to visit Lidl in Motril for a vittles re-stocking exercise.
When we got there we discovered that it was closed due to ‘the festival weekend’ – we did not know that this weekend was a national 3 day holiday observing the ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception’.
Well ‘F&%$ me’ (Aha, that’s what it should really be called, the truth will out!) …
Undeterred (and without supplies) we drove back to Twernt.
Later we had a few beers in the beach-bar across the road from our camping and then returned to Twernt to watch ‘The Business’ on Youtube.
I retired to bed early (midnight) whilst Amanda and the boys stayed up chatting until after 3:00am…………(fools)….
Sunday 7th December 2014
3 out of 4 of us were up bright and early knowing that the lads needed to leave by noon.
We planned to walk along the promenade towards El Varadero and ….after BLT’s all round …… I waited outside of the camping……
The lads arrived safely back at EMA, snow is forecast for that area – tough it out lads and one day……………………