Friday, 3 January 2014

Our first full day in Altea

Happy New Year to all our friends and followers 

We awoke late and had enough milk left for tea, but we needed provisions today so we set off for a walk into town in hope that we might find a supermarket open on a bank holiday!!!!! We had seen a map in reception and it didn’t look far and we had the general idea of where we were heading to. We walked and walked and walked and didn’t find anything so we turned around and headed back, then I said, let’s just try up here and if there’s nothing then we’ll go back. Well there it was – the shopping centre – and not that far away, we had turned right too soon.  Unfortunately all the supermarkets and shops were shut – but we did find one shop that sold bread and no milk but they did have BEER – so I bought a large bottle. What did surprise me was the range of different restaurants available, tapas, greek, Italian, Indian, Chinese, even a Romanian one – not sure what that’s going to do for our budget but I’m sure we will give most of them a try at some time.

We came back to the campsite and had lunch and then relaxed for the afternoon.

I had a little walk around the campsite to scout around for a better pitch.  As I said we had a choice of 6 yesterday and only 2 we could fit on.  Some of the pitches here are enormous and people have caravans, awnings, cars and still have enough room for a bit of garden and then others are really tiny that only a VW camper size can fit onto – yet it seems they are all the same price?
Even though a lot of people are here long-term, there does seem to be some transitional people and I saw a few leaving as I was walking around.  I had a chat with Iain who wasn’t enamoured with any of the available pitches except one, but even then he wasn’t sure.  Did we take this pitch or wait and see if a better one comes along another day?  Well while we were making a decision a German couple arrived and took the pitch so that made the decision for us.

Then while Iain was in the shower  I saw a caravan leave – where did that leave from? I asked myself.  Well it was the pitch next to the one we had dithered over.  The German couple were being sorted for the electricity so I asked the attendant if this pitch was available.  He spoke no English at all and I spoke no Spanish. This was going to be difficult.  We then went off on a wild goose chase.  He beckoned me to follow him and he took me off to a pitch that was up a narrow path with overhanging trees and quite frankly I didn’t like the pitch at all.  I’m not sure why he was trying to get me to move onto this pitch so I tried to explain that I would talk to my husband and if we wanted the pitch we would go to reception.  Well he had no idea what I was saying so he again beckoned me to follow. It was pretty obvious that he was now looking for a translator. We then interrupted a very well-dressed woman whom I think was Dutch, she greeted him and me with hugs and kisses and happy new year’s.  She was wearing full make-up and had a perfect set of dentures top and bottom, and appeared to be alone, she was very friendly.  Only one problem – she hadn’t got a clue what I was saying either. So off the three of us went together to find Tom.  This was becoming something like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz,  I should have brought the dog. I haven’t got a clue who Tom was but he was also very friendly and more hugs and kisses. Luckily Tom who I also think was Dutch had a slightly better understanding of English and I think I got my message across – well I thought I had until the guy followed me back to our pitch and started to disconnect our electricity. No, No, No I didn’t want to move – not yet anyway, and I didn’t want the pitch that he wanted to move me to.
Iain returned from the shower just as I managed to guy  to stop disconnecting our electricity and hadn’t got a clue what was going on. The poor bloke was trying to be very helpful, but we just weren’t communicating.   I really must take up those Spanish lessons that they do on the campsite.

Anyway I showed Iain the new pitch I had found and he agreed that it was good and we would just fit on it lengthways.

So I trundled off to reception to ask if we could move – ok was the reply (I think they only allow you to move once) – all was set and she would send the attendant down to sort out the electrics.  This new guy spoke better English.

Our New Pitch - bikes ready

Within 10 minutes we were on our new pitch and this was much more suitable for us.
Well I suppose that reading the above you must be thinking that this place is horrible, I hate it here and can’t wait to go somewhere else.  Well you’re wrong.  I absolutely love it.
The campsite, whilst being basic and doesn’t have a pool has a very clean toilet block and fantastic showers.  It’s right opposite the beach with a long stretch of flat promenade so that we can go for quite a long way with our bikes, it’s right near the bars and we can walk to the supermarkets and town centre (now that we’ve found it).  I had expected the campsite to be filled with Brits, like every other van, but was surprised to find that it’s actually mostly Dutch with some German and surprisingly Norwegians.
Once we had set up our van on our new pitch it was getting towards Beer O’Clock so after my shower we headed off to the bars

Now we’re not really Brits Abroad type of people, you know the ones that seek out the Irish bars or the sports bars showing football, have English breakfast at the same place every day and have to have their Sunday roast, but when you’re new in a place and don’t speak the lingo it’s not a bad place to start.  On our walk around the day before we found a potential bar so we walked in.  What a result, owned by a Brit, allows dogs in and a pint and a half of lager (we’re actually real ale drinkers so will be missing that soon) at 2.50 euros. That’s about £2.  Last September in France we were paying £7 a pint!!!!!!!

We got talking to some English people who live out here and sussed out a few places to go. As I’d wasted so much Beer time moving the van we were quite late, so instead of heading back to the van to cook dinner we decided to try the local Chinese restaurant.  What a result. And so cheap.

We could have gone for the specials but we ordered from the main menu, had a bottle of Faustino Rioja instead of the house wine, coffees and complementary Chinese desert wine and the bill was still only 22 Euros – I suggested that we tip well as we will be coming back.

So we have come here for the weather – in true British fashion we are obsessed about the weather.  Well today it was warm and mostly sunny. Shorts, t-shirt and sandals (just about).  A bit too cool to wear sandals in the evening but I did go out with just a thin cardigan on.  The forecast is to be 20 C by Sunday to that will be very pleasant.

What more could we want?  Not a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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