Wednesday 7th January 2015
Up and at ’em!
We left the Playa Granada Gratuito Parking lot at 08:30 for the short drive down to Motril to find the Fiat dealers – simple to find the place (thanks to the route info from Phil & Pauline) – but the dealership was closed.
I made enquiries at the Peugeot dealership next door (which was open); my fear being that today may be a tag-on holiday to yesterday’s ‘Three Kings’ National Holiday and they informed me that the Fiat dealership does not open until 09:00 – Okeedokey.
At 08:58 a chap rode up to the dealership gate – on a Suzuki V-Strom 650 – overcame security (he had a key for the lock) and opened the showroom entrance doors.
I followed him in and we mutually discovered that his knowledge of English matched my knowledge of Spanish.
He indicated for me to wait 5 minutes – could have been 5 hours, 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years for all I knew, but I took the gamble and spent the time admiring the many new cars in the showroom.
5 minutes later, with his PC booted up, we started conversing through Google Translate and short-cut a process that would have taken a Neanderthal Luddite the rest of the day to communicate.
I was able to communicate our problem and give him Twernt’s year and model information, etc.
The next employee to arrive must have been a mechanic, Twernt’s status was relayed to him by Mr. V-Strom – Mr, Five-Foot-and-a-Peppermint-Mechanic collected some techie equipment (a torch) and followed me out to Twernt.
5 minutes later the Spanish equivalent of ‘Kaput’ was announced and ‘Peppermint’ spoke what was probably the only word of English that he knows – ‘Document’ (he must be a former Traffic Cop – unless there’s a height requirement for traffic cops) – and then, with Twernt’s V5 in his mitts, we both returned to the showroom/office (to make these dealerships financially viable they are multi-franchise – in this case they are Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Jeep new car dealers).
The entire dealership only had about 4 or 5 employees – plus a cleaner – there was a very nice, very new, Jeep Renegade in the showroom – wouldn’t mind that on a trailer!
Mr. V-Strom then made a couple of calls before returning to Google Translate on his PC screen.
The gist of his input was ‘the part will be here in 2 days, it has to come from Madrid, you return on Friday at 4:00pm, the cost will be €290 and you must leave a deposit of €150 to permit order processing’.
Well, thank you Portugal! – I muttered something to do with Ragmans & Trumpets under my breathe and returned to Twernt (parked outside the dealership) to retrieve my debit card, from my wallet – in Amanda’s handbag.
At this point, the cost of this replacement part and the delay to get it would mean hanging out at Playa Granada Gratuito Parking for another 2 nights and our plans will now being leap-frogged by other priorities – hassles over water in, waste water out, sanitation, internet, etc. – plus I have to tell Amanda about this delay I prefer only having to report negative events to Tilley.
“Amanda, quick – I need the debit card to make a payment” – not a time to invite ‘attitude’ admonishment.
The ‘quick’ did it! – the debit card was thrust into my hand and the ‘urgency’ of the situation over-rode the desire to gain detailed knowledge, in the form of a blow-by-blow recount, of what had led to this audacious request for Amanda to be dispossessed of my debit card.
The devious coward returned to the dealership showroom/office and was greeted by Mr. V-Strom who was pointing at his PC screen.
Google Translate then informed me that the gibberish in the right-side translation panel of his PC in some way actually meant ‘Part will be here today, return at 4:00pm for fitting’ (in a proper language fit for human consumption and understanding – well, as far as this human is concerned anyroad).
The sun was shining and my world was rapidly coming together to be as one with it.
I don’t kiss geezers but Mr. V-Strom came pretty close to being the first.
I made the payment, returned to Twernt and told Amanda that we needed to be back here at 4:00pm to have the diesel filter housing replaced.
We decided to spend the next 5 hours or so at Playa Granada beach enjoying the sunshine that was now in bursting through the sky.
Post mortem: Had my debit card, in my wallet, been in my pocket when Mr. V-Strom asked for the deposit, I would have made the payment, left the dealership and returned 2 days later to get the part fitted.
We can learn from this – don’t drive on Portuguese roads
We had a great day doing no more than people watching on the promenade and walking the dogs on the beach (Tilley is in love with the sea and makes a dash for it once released from her lead, she then stands in the ‘paddly-bit’ staring back at us!).
We had lunch in Twernt and the time flew by before we returned to the dealership, we had the part fitted in 20 minutes, paid the balance and then returned to the ‘wilding’ park at Playa Granada for our final night in the Motril area.
Thursday 8th January 2015
At last! Everything is together and we’re ready for moving on, we have 5 or 6 stopovers planned (with coordinates) until we reach the San Javier area; no rush and we’ll settle for a few days wherever the camping and location come together to meet our expectations – if none do then we will have made a mistake by choosing to travel up this coastline and we could end up in Ol’ Blighty whilst the snow is still around.
Of course, we might find great camping with easy-to-reach ‘naff’ locations or vice-versa – another reason why we need adequate secondary transport – it would increase our options – great camping and good locations for day visits that are within 10-20 miles or so – with adequate secondary transport we would be ‘sorted’.
Poor camping but great location then we can push on to better camping and return more easily to explore great locations that we can travel to using adequate secondary transport.
Win, win with secondary transport win some, lose some without
Today we’re heading for Almeria and an Aire listed in ‘All The Aires – Spain & Portugal 2014’.
The Satnav took us to the garage forecourt that fronts the Aire.
The guy in the garage informed me that the Aire had been closed down in January 2013 – Bugger! – how come the ATA book states that they inspected it in 2013?
Maybe I should stop criticising when our plans have been scuppered – Maybe it was inspected on January 1st and not closed until January 31st – That’s very bad luck on you guys at the ATA publication centre – but even worse luck on us
There was another option listed in the Camperstops book, I’d been put off of that by a comment that large vehicles may find it difficult to leave by the exit route and should perhaps leave early in the morning using the ‘entrance’ route into the Aire – after the Camping Playa Granada saga we didn’t want to take the risk.
We decided to press on to the Aire at Vera listed in the Camperstops book – ‘Oasis al Mar’ ……
This recently developed Aire is situated twixt Vera and Vera Playa.
We learnt that Wolfgang, the owner, is a German chap who, along with his wife, had been MoHo full-timers for two and a half years after ‘selling up’ in Germany.
They have now ‘settled’ here at Vera/Costa developing ‘Oasis al Mar’ opposite their villa – Wolfgang and his wife open the Aire from 1st October to 31st May and they then return to their MoHo travels for 4 months.
Their Esterel MoHo is parked by the Aire entrance and Wolfgang uses it as his office each day – he spends time relaxing outside his MoHo just like every other MoHo traveller at this camping – he could be in his villa but I suspect that his love of the lifestyle brings him to operate ‘Oasis al Mar’ this way.
Another couple, who I think may be related to him, also have their MoHo by the entrance, they greet newcomers and undertake Aire management duties.
There is a small office building and Wolfgangs wife visits each day from 5:00pm to 6:00pm when all visitors have to call in to pay their fee dues. You can see who controls the ‘do-re-mi’ here then – is this a MoHo thing?
A very well laid out site, with some very large MoHo’s present – mostly German – further development appears to be taking place but it accommodates 50 MoHo’s in its current state.
It has all the facilities that you need – unless you need a shower/toilet block and a shop, in which case it doesn’t have what you need.
There are 4 tiered terraces with ample room to manoeuvre, not all pitches have EHU but there are signs that this is work-in-progress.
There is a supermarket in a nearby urbanisation (about 1 mile away) and the beach is a similar distance away.
Looking very good
‘Oasis al Mar’ also has a laundry room (€3) and a clothes drying area plus a drive-over waste water dump alongside the chemical toilet disposal point – except you can’t dispose of the contents of Thetfords, etc. that have had chemicals added (other than AquaKem Green).
There is also a Pétanque-Boules court and ‘Whiffy’ is provided free from two routers with antennae located on the top and third-from-top tiers of the parking terraces.
A neat and tidy site with good company and we’d be happy to stay here for a while – cost is €8/night plus €3/night if you’re lucky enough to get a pitch where EHU exists ……. and yes, you’ve guessed it – we weren’t lucky enough to get a pitch where EHU is provided – but we did put our name on the list to get EHU at the earliest availability. We booked and paid for 5 nights – enough time to get our internet stuff sorted out and to get some shopping in plus filling up with water, etc. to ‘prep’ Twernt for a few days of ‘wilding’ again – the next 2 stops that we have planned are both ‘wilding’ locations.
Friday 9th January 2015
The internet is slow but, patience being a virtue, we will endeavour to struggle on – hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way (Floyd).
Before I am out of my dressing gown, Wolfgang’s-suspected-relative informs us that we can move ‘right now’ to an EHU pitch.
Ten minutes later we are there
And, from this pitch, the ‘Whiffy’ is the fastest that we have experienced since leaving England!
It’s all about Karma!
So I ‘blog away’ to get matters up to date – ‘pages’ update first (Live Location, Sites and ‘Costings’).
An ‘idle’ day is therefore spent blogging and carrying out sundry Twernt duties (empty the ‘fridge as I ‘blog away’).
I succeeded in publishing the Map and ‘costings’ updates and then I was able to start work on one of the two blogs that are needed to bring our ‘activities’ postings up to date – getting there!
We also had heard that Beth, Nathaniel, Alfie and Tom will be heading for this Aire tomorrow – Great news! – we follow their blog – A Major Break – their van was robbed on Three Kings Day in Alicante and a LOT of stuff was stolen.
They are understandably disillusioned, so we hope there may be some way that we can help them.
Saturday 10th January 2015
With one out of two blogs completed, I published and then started work inputting stuff for the second blog (this one!), until my hearing receptor doofah thingies had ‘incoming’ …. “Let’s get the bikes out, fix the trailers on and ride over to the supermarket”.
I knew that getting Mintoes was a remote and unlikely possibility but I duly complied with the order request
In the evening, I abandoned the updating of ‘blog two’ and we took advantage of the fast internet speed and watched multiple soaps and other programmes from YouTube.
We also welcomed Beth, Nathaniel, Alfie and Tom to this ‘Oasis’ Aire – we just hope that a couple of oldies and their dogs can give them a reason or two to put their chins up and not let the thieving gits in Ailcante stop their dream from happening.
Nathaniel is originally a ‘Blidarth’ lad (Blidworth, Mansfield) and did his own conversion of their van. Top man.