Tuesday, 16 February 2010

200 miles for 3 nights near Alicante

2000miles for 3 nights near Alicante!

A combination of continuing bitterly cold weather and the forecast of rain for at least the next eight days, and Dad worryingly still in hospital after four weeks, pushed us to make the decision to cut and run.
Specifically, the tipping point was waiting for nearly 30mins in the biting wind for a bus to Alicante, and thinking what are we doing here? It’s not really us sitting around on a site in a fairly unattractive area, waiting for the weather to improve. The van’s great, heating working well. But you can’t sit outside because it’s so cold, and after a while, you start to think “I could do what I’m doing now, whilst sitting at home in the kitchen!!” Ian’s tried cycling but has returned absolutely frozen! The site’s superb with a heated, indoor pool, but we could swim and go to the gym at home. And with Dad still not discharged from hospital and Mum needing the odd lift in, it just felt wrong.
So we changed the ferry date from Santander, to the first trip of this year to Plymouth and planned our drive across, via Madrid.
Our evening meal was a fairly solitary affair, and we realised it was because they weren’t offering their cut-price 5.95euro deal, so the campers were staying away in droves!!

The following day we set off on a practically toll-free 400k to Madrid. There were snowy showers over the high plains of Albacete and Cuenca. A bitterly cold, barren, desolate terrain. Freezing in winter, and boiling hot in summer. 400k of almost desert landscape and we promised ourselves not to return this way again. The journey was very speedy and straightforward, and we arrived at Picos de Miel campsite in time for a brief walk in the sunshine. A quiet site with a backdrop of impressive, jagged peaks and snow-capped Sierras behind, a welcome break from the bleak plains we’d just driven through.
With the Picos de Europa to the North, the prospect of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia and Asturia to explore, and a cheaper, speedier journey down to the Algarve, it is unlikely we’ll come down this way again. It’s not worked out this time, but the van’s been great and we’ve narrowed down our scope of exploration a bit. We had a lovely visit to Glyn and Caroline’s, and Pauline and Bill’s, but it’s been a long journey and the weather’s been much bleaker than we expected. France and Spain, the Canaries and the Algarve are all forecasted to have continuing poor weather, with more snow back in the UK. On the up side, I’ve got a whole stash of pristine T-shirts, which can go straight back in the wardrobe!!

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