I have been a bit tardy over the last week in writing and posting the blog. The reason will become clear when you have read this post. So bear with….
“In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end”, I always remember this from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel… it’s such an apt quote for the situation we have found ourselves in.
We had left Granada and moved on down to the coast, heading through the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, the scenery was spectacular and we were looking forward to our next bit of adventure.
We reached the coast and the temperatures started to climb steadily. Although we had been warned about the polytunnels along this stretch of coastline, nothing had prepared us for what we encountered. They call it a “Sea of Plastic”. The further we drove, nearer to our destination, we started thinking of it as the apocalypse.
We drove into Roquestas de Mar on the Almeria coast. Hoping that we would be away from the glare of plastic. Stupidly, we blindly followed the sat nav which took us down a narrow street, lined both sides with uncut trees. As Vera scrapped her way down, I kept my mouth shut and concentrated on the road ahead not glancing sideways at Mike who was doing a great impression of a pained animal.
We finally got to the bottom of the street and turned left, the sat nav said 200 mtrs to the site…. the road was barely wide enough for a car let along Vera, and boy were there cars coming down it…. We guessed that it was a rat run for the town. OK .. let’s try again, the road cleared and we made our move… edging gently along the narrow street… 150 mtrs to go, then there was about 5-6 cars waiting (Not necessarily patiently) for us to come through… 100 mtrs… beep! beep!… what did they think we were doing? … 50 mtrs… our destination was in sight…now to negotiate the cars which had edged further forward… “get back, we can’t get through here without any cars, what chance have we when you’re there” I shouted through the windscreen.
Finally, after what seemed ages, we arrived at the site. I would have had a better welcome from an Eskimo, but hey ho…. We were instructed which pitch to go on, paid a deposit for the gate and headed for the pitch.
The site is not for us, it is like a car park, row after row of caravans and motorhomes with no greenery to break it up. Nah, we will only stay a night instead of the 3-4 nights originally planned.
We set up, and decided to walk down to the beach, after all this is what we came for, the first view of the med… We walked down through some scrubland, carefully avoiding all the dog mess in dog pooh alley, over some more scrubland towards the sea.
There was a beach, but no sand, it was a shingle beach (are you getting the feeling we didn’t like it here), the sea edge was covered in old seaweed and stank.
We walked further along as this didn’t reflect the photos we’d seen online, where they depicted a nice sunny tiled promenade. We walked and we walked, finally came to the promenade with the hotels, disco bars, restaurants, casino’s and bars, by this time we knew that this wasn’t our cuppa tea, so we headed back to site and settled down for the evening, tomorrow’s another day and we will make for Calpe.
We woke up early, packed the van again and headed off for Calpe, The drive was unsettling, we cringed and squinted at the continual glare of the white plastic which gave us headaches. Finally, we could see no more greenhouses—from the road at least—and a sense of relief set in.
We passed Benidorm with its skyscrapers, from the E-15 road we are travelling on it looks so out of place with the other towns along the coastline, we can only imagine the millions of people who are crammed into this place.
We finally spot the rock of Calpe, Peñón de Ifach, it’s a huge limestone rock lying on the eastern headland. Now to find the site, this time we will follow the directions given rather than the sat nav.
We arrive at Calpe Mar, the site looks lovely, yes, I think this is much better, we decide to stay for 4 or 5 days, so go into reception and check in and relax (arhhh), Mike runs back to the van to lock up, we’ve left it for … perhaps 90 secs.
We can choose a space, start setting up and I notice that my handbag has gone…. I go into reception, nope, we check the whole van, nothing…. perhaps we lost it at the other site or the petrol station we filled up in. The reception were brilliant and phoned both places for us to check, but nothing. We knew at that point we’d been targeted and robbed but didn’t know where.
Later that evening Mike decided to look at the dash cam to see if it had been stolen at the last camp site or the petrol station. Then as clear as day, as we were going to check in at reception we saw a man walk pass the van, check to see if anyone around then we lost sight of him for about 20 secs, he reappeared with my bag and a smile. Grrrrrr…. I felt ill. The whole incident took about 60 secs.
We went to reception and showed them the evidence of what had happened. Next day the receptionist came with us to the police station as a translator and we have them the video.
Once back on site, it was a case of do we stay or go….? As not only had the thief got my bag, wallet, cards etc. He had also got the spare keys to the van. We just didn’t feel safe. The manager moved us from the pitch we were on to another and we went for a walk to put it behind us.
We had a nice walk along the promenade and a drink in a bar on the beach by the marina, but at the back of our thoughts, the question was always there…. would we go back and find the van ransacked.?
We spent one more night at Calpe Mar. A wonderful site and we will go back again, the management assured us it had never happened in the 10 years they had been trading, the staff couldn’t have done anymore to help us and try and allay our fears. But paranoia had set in, we were jittery and not at all settled, so we cut and run and head for Beniscassim.
Looking back over those few days let me be thankful because, although they took my bag, purse and all the contents, they did not take our life.
So as a half full type of girl, I say once again; In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not yet the end. Stay safe and well everyone.