Friday, 23 May 2014

La Manga to Granada

I'm now running about 2 weeks behind but we've been really busy doing a lot of travelling so it's catch up time.

Now before I tell you about Granada, I’ll just finish off a bit about La Manga, that I forgot to add to my previous post.


I know that we had some difficulties with our neighbours in Albir, but we had to smile about our neighbours at La Manga, they were at the back of us and behind a hedge but they never seemed to stop moaning and shouting at each other, and when they weren’t having a go at each other they were shouting at their dog.  Well it may be that they were deaf, but it did seem that they lived at the top of their voices.  If you have ever watched Gogglebox on Channel 4 then they were just like June and Leon.  I just had to take the long way back from the showers one day just so that I could get a peek at what they looked like and funnily enough they were a lot younger than I thought.  We earwigged a lot and I suppose a lot of people do actually live like that.  I’m not sure what their dog did wrong though.

Impromptu flamenco

On our first Sunday at Mar Menor,  we cycled into La Manga and found a nice bar on the edge of a small shopping precinct where we could download some TV.  It was late morning and obviously church chucking out time and there was a group of let’s say more mature Spanish people walking through the precinct, probably on their way to get some lunch. As there was an echo and a marble floor, they stopped to entertain themselves and of course us, with some impromptu flamenco dancing.  It was lovely to see but I did suspect that they had already had a tipple or two to get them going.


In my last post I mentioned some of the permanent pitches that could be found on this massive campsite and of course I left it to the last moment to remember to get some photos which I thought I would share with you.  There are all sorts, brick built, caravans, 5th Wheelers, sheds, some with an upper storey and some with a sun terrace above their dwelling.  As I said before, some of them were very tasteful but some made the place look like a shanty town.

Wouldn't get away with that in England

can you see the bar in the right corner?

Brick built luxury with conservatory

Is that a container I see on top?

Very quaint

Anyone for a sun terrace?


The weather was now getting much warmer and we had always said that when it got to 30C we would be going north so the timing was about right.  At least it was still cool (er) in the evenings so we didn’t have any trouble sleeping.  I had got a bit of prickly heat (bet you're really feeling sorry for me now) so had to stay out of the sun for a few days but I’d just about had enough anyway.

Well behaved Dog

Some people have been amazed that we can mark out the boundary of our pitch as easily  as putting a few stones at the edge.  Connie knows where the edges are and very rarely goes beyond.  I’m glad that she is well behaved or she would have to be tied up all the time.  

BUT…………… the other day we took her for a walk and she decided that she had smelled something incredibly nice (or most likely horrible) some distance away in a field.  That was it, nose in gear, she took flight.  It didn’t matter how much we shouted or waved, she wasn’t coming back until she was ready.  Now when she finds something nice to sniff she gets really excited and it’s almost as if she is getting high.  Her head goes down, her tail goes up and she does this strange sort of back leg dancing side to side, getting higher and higher on whatever disgusting thing it is.  We couldn’t get to her without ripping our legs to shreds on the bushes and every now and again she looked up, made sure she knew where we were and then went back to her ecstasy.  Our biggest fear when she is like this, and don’t forget that we couldn’t see what she was sniffing at is that she will roll in IT.  That has happened several times before, a nice cow pat can be particularly exciting for a small dog.  Then she of course has to go straight in the bath, or bath not available the bucket. The last thing you want when living in a small space is an extremely dung smelling dog.  We were also terrified that there might be snakes, rats or any other dangerous thing lurking – ticks are bad enough.  Once she had had her fill she decided that she’d come back.  She always will, as long as she can see us,  but in her own time.  Thankfully she decided that she would not roll over and all we had to wash was one suspiciously horrible back foot. She had obviously stamped in something.  Who would have a dog –eh?  Well ask all the dog owners who put up with this sort of disgusting behaviour.

Now for the journey – La Managa to Granada – about 200 miles.

As always before leaving you have to make sure your tanks are empty and full in the right order – enough of that.

The campsite is very well situated next to the dual carriageway so getting out of La Manga is really easy.  The first few miles are always slow as I get used to the size of the behemoth again however we did need to go into Cartegena to get LPG (autogas in Spain).  Now LPG is quite difficult to get in Spain so we nearly always need to fill up when we can and thankfully there was one LPG station in Cartegena with the next one actually being in Granada, some 200 miles further on.  Driving in the major towns and cities is always a challenge in a big van and isn’t helped when the LPG guide says that the sliproad is narrow due to parked cars on each side.  What really didn’t help though was that the gps coordinates for the petrol station were infact WRONG!!!!  No, we didn’t use the wrong station’s GPS (like finding an aire in France), nor did we key them in wrong – they are WRONG in the book (Aires of Spain and Portugal 2014).  Of course we had managed to miss the petrol station on the way into Cartegena as it was underneath the fly-over and then it was only when we were over the other side of the city, down a dead-end, with nowhere to go did we realise that there was definitely something wrong.  So we again checked the coordinates and then keyed in the actual address and lo and behold we were about 3 miles away from the actual petrol station – fantastic – not. So we ended up going the wrong way down a one-way road, reversing to get back onto the road that we needed. Anyway we found the petrol station and yes it was a narrow entrance but we made it.
So for anyone who might be going to Cartegena and looking for Autogas the real coordinates are:

N37 deg 36' 26"  W 0deg 58' 19"

Successfully fuelled we made our way out of Cartegena and towards Granada up the gap between the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra whatever it was.

 We had looked at the map and decided that although it was a slightly longer journey we would take the road down to Almeria and then head almost due north to Granada, rather than take the more mountainous road across.  I know that’s a cop out, but with such a big beast to drive, we know it makes sense. 

So what was the journey like, well it was certainly memorable.  The road was fine, motorway all the way. On the way to Almeria we were stunned by the miles and miles of plastic sheeting that could be seen from the road.  What looks like snow is actually plastic sheeting.

This is obviously a great agricultural area and I suppose this is where most of our imported Spanish strawberries came from.  It was so vast that it actually looked like the ground was covered in snow.

Moving on from Almeria to Granada we started to go up, and up, and up and up.  Firstly we were passing through partial desert land – this is the area in which the old spaghetti westerns were filmed and we did see a western town on our right although we suspected that this was just a tourist mock-up.

The roads were really quiet

Up and up into the mountains

The mountains were really spectacular and it’s difficult to get the full appreciation when you are the driver.

Once we had passed up the mountains we came into the lush green Spain that most people forget actually exists.

Before getting into Granada you come across a town called Guadix.  Now here there are hundreds of cave houses and you can even rent them for your holiday.  The photos aren't that good but here's one to give you an idea.

Next it was into Granada, what really struck me was that it was 33 C in Granada but you could see the snow still on the mountains.

33C and snow on the mountains
To follow - Granada and the Alhambra (or not).

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