We said goodbye to Jane and Steve (moments after they’d left another van moved from further along into the place they’d been parked) then started packing the van up ready to leave ourselves.
Darren was in the bathroom doing his teeth when there was a knock on the door. When I opened it I saw a man standing there, he told me that we needed to move because there was no camping allowed here. He was very polite and said this with a nice smile. I told him we were actually just going and he was happy with that. I told Darren what had happened and he popped out to speak to the man to ask whether it was the front row only or you stay at the back, the man shrugged as if to say he couldn’t do anything about the ones at the back and as soon as our neighbour heard that he reversed his van into the back row!
We headed off to look for the aire in Almeria so that we could empty and refill the van before we set off up to Guadix. You wouldn’t believe it could be so hard to find a place that is mentioned in a book. We got to the supposed aire which was supposed to be at a Repsol garage and the attendant told us it wasn’t there! We drove a bit further along and found a number of motorhomes parked in a car park and wondered whether it was there but decided it wasn’t after a quick look around.
We decided to head for an aire in Alba on the way to Guadix which had facilities to fill and empty everything. The good thing about this detour was that we got stuck in a mini traffic jam caused by a cart being pulled by mules, it was brilliant to see. The journey up to Alba was lovely, it was great to see the landscape changing so much.
We stopped at the tiny aire and emptied and refilled the van (during that time a man walked past leading a grey mule, or could it have been a donkey?) then we went for a walk around the little town.
We were very impressed, the town had put little plaques into the path so that visitors could follow a route round the town. It lead us up hill through tiny little streets, every so often we would come across a car parked outside someone’s house on the steep hill in a slightly wider part of the street.
The view from the top was beautiful (we were rather surprised to find gym equipment when we peeped over one wall to look at the view) and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the village. We would have liked to have had a coffee and lunch there but it was a traditional Spanish town (we’d been beside the coast for so long we’d forgotten that everywhere closes for a couple of hours around 1.30) and not only was everything closed but everyone had gone home so the town was deserted.
Once we’d got back to the van we carried on to Guadix, I’d been looking forward to going there to see the cave dwellings. We eventually arrived and drove through the main part of town which was dominated by an ornate cathedral.
We had no idea where we were going to be able to park so we drove around looking for somewhere for a while, we eventually stopped on a piece of rough land beside the hospital, had a look at a map where we found a car park and drove there.
It was HUGE and virtually empty apart from a white works van and a little motorhome.
We parked and went for a walk round the town which was beautiful, there were so many elaborate buildings to view and pretty little roads to explore.
Our rumbling stomachs finally got the better of us and we found a café in a little square near the cathedral where we sat and had food. I was thrilled, I finally found somewhere that sold tostada de tomate, it’s been weeks since I had that and so I celebrated by having a whole baguette instead of the usual half baguette. While we were eating we noticed people kept walking across the courtyard and then vanishing down some steps so when we’d finished eating we went to see where they went to. They went down under the cafés and came out round the corner down on another street level. There were then more steps which went to yet another level.
We followed the street out through an archway and wandered back through the little park to the van however that was when we noticed a big sign that we hadn’t seen previously.
After a lot of discussion we eventually realised that it said DO NOT PARK ON THE TARMAC AREA BETWEEN 23.30 ON FRIDAYS AND 15.30 ON SATURDAYS! Sherlock and Dr Watson deduced that it must be market day tomorrow! Panic, now where do we go? As we were trying to make up our mind a Spanish motorhome arrived and parked! Not long after that a little blue motorhome arrived too, we were gaining quite a community. We eventually decided to risk it and park on the non tarmac’d section of the car park right beside a gate so that we could make a quick getaway in the morning if necessary.
As it got dark AND began to rain the Spanish van moved off as did the other two vans, GULP!
It was a very strange place to stop, cars were using the car park as a through road to somewhere. It all eventually quietened down and we got into bed. Unfortunately just as we were dropping off to sleep a car pulled up in the street on the other side of the fence and sat there for an eternity playing loud music, the boys eventually got out of the car and wandered off into town but at that moment a car came racing into the car park, he skidded around a bit as he got to the middle of the area then drove right to the very back and sat with his lights on. A while later the car was joined by another car, all very strange.
Oh, what a night! (All together now……late December back in ’63)