21st December 2016. Roquetas de Mar, Spain.

This morning I watched the sun rise over the snow capped mountains, I wish my photos could have properly captured the beauty of it.

I wanted to send some emails but as camping behaviour is not permitted in the streets, which meant we couldn’t use the generator, we needed to move to the campsite in Roquetas de Mar.

That turned into a farce, just for a change, thanks to our SAT NAV.  Most of the journey to the site was fine but when we got within five minutes of the campsite the SAT NAV told us to turn right but Darren misunderstood and drove straight past the road (with hindsight that was a very good thing) so we went round another roundabout a bit further up the road, back to the previous roundabout and turned down the road it was pointing us to.  We were a bit concerned that there were no signs mentioning the campsite (that isn’t unusual!) however as Darren turned the corner at the bottom of the steep slope we were greeted by the sight of a wide road separated by a row of trees on an island running all the way down the middle making the lanes VERY narrow. The tarmac on the right hand side of the lane was breaking away and there were trees on that side too, ideal wing mirror breakers.

Darren gingerly drove down the lane because there was nowhere else to go but after we’d travelled the tortuous route for 200 yards the road narrowed even more where instead of trees lining the right hand side of the road they were replaced by a stone wall!  Luckily at that point there was a gap in the island so Darren started the arduous task of trying to get the van through it in order to return the way we’d come, this wasn’t made any easier by the large tree on the corner of the island and the ditch running along the lane he was turning into.

I jumped out to direct him and just as the van was sitting at a jaunty angle across both lanes a cyclist came up behind us!  I apologised for blocking the road and was answered by an English voice.  I explained our problem, his first reaction was that we were going the wrong way up the road and then he remembered which side the Spanish drive on!  He then kindly offered to take us to the road we needed to take to get us to the campsite (which coincidentally he was also staying on).  By this time Darren had manoeuvred the van and as I clambered back into the van he trundled off after the man on his bike.

We were a little concerned when he turned into what initially looked as narrow as the road we had just escaped from but it widened further along.  He stopped at the road we needed to turn down because he was going into to town.  It was a very tight turn into the road we needed but he suggested we drove over the wasteland and joined the road that way.  We carried on down that road and came to a junction where we had to pull out ‘blind’ and then pulled over on to another bit of wasteland to wait for a break in the traffic so we could drive up the single track section of the road.

By the time we pulled into the campsite 100 yards further up the road Darren was not in a very good mood and his mood worsened when the man on reception told him he needed our passports (which are buried deep in the van).  He was all for driving back to Las Marinas but I persuaded him to stay.

We found a pitch and Darren had just parked the van on it making sure the satellite dish wouldn’t hit the frame work running over the top of the pitch when a man came rushing over to tell us we wouldn’t get any sun if we parked there and persuaded Darren to move it to the other side of the spacious pitch.  That took a lot of fiddling around because there were two trees on THAT side of the pitch and he had to fit the van between them.  The man hung around giving Darren directions and waited until we’d put the satellite dish up and checked we’d got a signal.  He wandered off feeling very happy when Darren gave him the thumbs up signal.  Unfortunately it turned out the tree was actually blocking the signal and we’d had enough mucking around for one day so we stayed parked where we were WITHOUT the internet!

We decided to go and explore the site and thought we’d go down to the beach, unfortunately when we got to the gate it had a pin code on it which we didn’t know!  Aaaaargh!  So we walked ALL the way back up to the front gate (it was quite a large site!) and Darren was asked for a 5 Euro deposit, which didn’t go down very well, and then he was given a card to get out of the gate. Luckily we had to wait for a few other people to be served first and in that time I studied a map that I’d found on the wall.  It showed the local area and I discovered that when it was time to leave the site we just had to turn left out of the gate and the road went straight to the main road without going anywhere near the tiny roads we’d just been down!

Once again we made our way to the back gate, wandered off down the sandy path following a sign to the beach only to come to an extremely busy road, we had no idea how much further the beach was from there, we were surrounded by reeds and it was nearly time for the sun to start setting, mosquito time, so we decided to retrace our steps and go back to the van.

As we got back to the van we were greeted by a group of English people who informed us that our alarm had been going off while we were away, funnily enough I’d heard an alarm while we were down at the gate but had no idea it was ours.  One of the men informed us that they’d stopped the alarm with a brick, then told us he was only joking (I’m sure deep down he’d wished he’d had a brick handy!)  When we got back to the van our French neighbours were outside so I apologised profusely to them and hung my head in shame as we climbed into the van, they were very sweet about it.  We kept our heads down for the rest of the evening and hoped everyone would forget we existed!

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