Wednesday, 10 February 2010

You've got to laugh........

Feb 10th.........Conil de la Frontera

As last posted, we left Benecasim in relatively good weather, heading south via central Spain as opposed to the coastal route and tolls. The first problem happened a mile outside Benecasim when I pulled into the local garage for fuel and promptly began to fill the tank with petrol. A guardian angel made me look at the pump and think 'diesel isn't €1.14 a litre, oh **** this is petrol'. The tank was half full with 40 litres of diesel and I had now put in 4 litres of petrol. Decision. Call for assistance and drain the tank or go for broke and fill with diesel and pray I get away with it. We were in the middle of nowhere and the thought of waiting there for help was not attractive so I put another 50 litres of diesel in, paid the bill to a very smirking assistant and prayed. I had intended using the local roads for the days drive but decided it would be better to break down on a motorway if recovery was going to be required. The next 100 miles was passed in total silence as we listened to every noise from the engine. Tension relaxed at coffee break and another 30 litres of diesel was added to the tank. The road was toll free,dual carriageway,newly upgraded and totally featureless with long uphill stretches and into a violent headwind. The van computer system showed a fuel consumption that beggared belief and only served to heighten the suspicion I had buggered the engine.......the engine , however, never missed a beat. Arrived at Santa Elena via the spectacular 'gorge over which they throw dogs' which separates Andalucia from the rest of Spain and our chosen campsite for the weekend. A strange place. A village high above the gorge that time forgot. A new viaduct is being built and the village is either a)making a lot of money out of local labour being hired in the construction or b)being killed off by the construction work. Hard to tell but lots of very new houses had huge mobile cement mixing lorries parked outside. Large campsite but we were one of only three people there. Allocated pitch NO.100 at reception and the electrics were all controlled from there via a large control panel so no arguement. Pitch 100 was under the trees with great view over the rolling olive groves but no chance of the sat.dish locking onto anything. Normally this would not be a problem for a few days but with the opening wwekend of the 6 nations ahead it was critical. Pitch 71 offered looked a far better bet and after going in frontwards, backwards, sideways and eventually sideways the other way, the dish locked on to astra2 and we were in business. Walked back the 1/2 mile to reception ( this is a national park we're in) to explain we had moved..no problem.. flick the switch and electricity to pitch 71. Unforunately he forgot to update the records and so when the night staff came on at 10pm. he checked the records and turned off the electricity to pitch 71 in the middle of a video (being efficient) and I had to walk the 1/2 mile back to reception to explain the position. My, how we all laughed.
In the interests of cross border fraternisation, I had explored the village as the Gf prepared dinner and surprisingy found myself in a bar. Only populated by men, the silence as I walked in was deafening, but I can order a beer in 15 languages now and I'm working on the rest. The only problem was that the fruit machine played that theme from The Good the Bad and the Ugly and I kept expecting Clint Eastwood to walk in. Actually it was so funny that I took the Gf in for coffee on sat. morning to prove I hadn't made it up....
On saturday we watched the worst game of rugby ever...Italy v Ireland.. followed by a great England v Wales and then a v.good France v Scotland on sunday.Site filled up with a Dutch rally. Had jolly good walk through olive groves. Weather warmish. Nights still cold

Monday 8th Feb....

To CoRDOBA. A return visit to a city that impressed last year. The Mezquita is a fascinating monument that deserves more than one exploration. This time we stayed in a fairly poor but expensive municipal campsite right in the town within easy reach of eveything by foot or bus (€1) as opposed to the cheaper campsites outside but requiring mucho euro fares. Spent monday afternoon at the Mezquita and the old town and then on Tuesday (after local reccommendation from the campsite )drove the van out to MEDINA ALZAHAR to see the ruins,excavations and reconstructions of the city that was once as powerful as a Rome, Byzantium or Mecca. An extraordinary place that was well worth a visit ( and free to enter).

Wed 10th...

To CONIL DE LA fRONTERA. Rained all day. Arrived Conil 2pm. Campsite waterlogged.Been raining like a rehearsal for the great flood.Portugal even worse. Paid for a month €265 but refused to attempt access to any pitch such was the state. Eventually parked in road outside restaurant and hooked up to a spare pitch. Found Nick and Barbera and heard full harrowing details of blown turbo experience in Narbonne. AA totally useless. We are insured with same company.....note-check options next renewal.
note....new turbo £1000 !!!
Quiz night.....came joint 2nd with 2 other tables on 38 & 1/2 points. Winners had 39 points In tie-break we came last so relegated to 4th!and no prize.! Question..... how many years did the 12 great train robbers get in total.? Answers on a postcard to...

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