Tag Archives: rottweiler

Who knows where in the south of France!

Since Andorra, we have definitely been taking it easy in the south of France. We drove to Toulouse from Andorra, not venturing too far as we’ve got friends visiting in a week or so and the van could definitely do with a break after being brutally pushed through the Pyrenees.

On a couple of occasions we’ve made the half hour trip into Toulouse city centre, parking at the university and taking peaceful strolls along the picturesque river, stopping for a crepe or two along the way.


 The city is so busy with students it’s ridiculous; the river bank is constantly heaving with people of all ages avoiding the expensive bars and cafes and having a drink on the grass. One thing we were surprised with is just how tolerated marijuana is over here. Walking through the park next to the river was just a surreal experience. The park is heaving and there are people of all ages and creed enjoying the sunshine and a joint or two, with families with young children not even batting an eyelid, and some parents even partaking in the passing of the spliff. Alongside this, and even more interesting to see, was that there were so many people practicing tight-rope walking as casually as we kick a ball back in England, and it would seem that everyone in France has a hobby of some variety, from practicing their technique for the circus, to the pensioners playing boules, to volleyball, football and god knows what else. 



Obviously we’re waiting for Hannah, John, Joe and Renée to come out and so for the past the couple of weeks, we’ve been floating around the country side, staying at different aires and a campsite every few days for a shower and some electricity. 

This place was called Maz d’azil and was essentially just caves with rivers and roads weaving through it, but it was good for a walk and we got the best crepes I’ve ever eaten in the village next door (goats cheese, burger wheat, spinach, egg, aubergine and tomato, washed down with home brewed mulled cider that apparently paired with the crepe, how fancy!)

Both the campsites we’ve stayed at have these cute little rivers running next to it (queue the dogs getting filthy!)

We spent one night at a local lake, and here’s some pictures of the dogs looking like they’re about to drop their first album next to it…


We stayed at a farm one of the nights, in a field next to about 50 chickens. All was well until about half 5 the following morning when every single bird began their cockle-doodle-doing, of course waking us all up and meaning the day started unwelcomely early. As a result of this, plus the lack of food we had and the boredom that was beginning to set in after being in such a rural area for a while, the farm became setting to a lovely morning row, ahhhh perfect. Although we’ve met some people along the way, majority of the time it’s just Rod and I to fulfil each other’s social needs, which obviously no matter how hard we try isn’t going to work all the time. Funnily enough, friends and family are important and we can’t rely solely upon each other for everything. Needless to say we’re both really looking forward to seeing our friends and partaking in conversations in which there are more than just us two or in which we don’t need to take guesses at what is actually being said. Just good old easy English comfortable conversation! 

We got speaking to a guy in the park the other day and he recommended that we go to a place called St Girons a bit further back down south; there’s a big market there on Saturdays and a lot of travelling folk attend which will give us a chance to satisfy some of our social needs! And so we went, and it was everything we were told it would be. 

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​I treated myself to a beautiful journal and Rod invested in a gay little head band for his now out of control locks. Being able to put it in little plaits means it’s time…

 He now looks like he’s just rolled straight out of the 70’s and is most definitely rocking the ‘happy camper/peace and love’ vibes.

 

We got ourselves some food from a stand and got chatting to some guys who spoke decent English. He asks us if we want to go back to his house with his friends in the mountains and of course we accept! We head off, following them in their campervan to first, his friends house, collecting a massive speaker and some mixing decks, and then 20 minutes up the most meandery and narrow dirt track roads along the mountain, the van struggling of course, having to get into 1st to make the incline. But it was worth it, by an absolute mile. The view was literally jaw dropping. A whole panoramic line of snow capped mountains with a tiny village lying in the valley below. This picture does not do it justice but it gives you an idea. 


Manu lived in a little house on a lot of near vertical land, which held little ledges for various little buildings; a toilet and shower ledge, a green house and a sort of communal living room building ledge, a few allotments, a chicken coop at the bottom and last but not least, a ledge with a bathtub built in so they can have a bath with one of the best views I’ve ever seen (sort of amazing but sort of weird too). After getting chatting more we found out that he’d paid about €15000 for all the land and the property’s built on it were included in that ridiculously small price and for a split second, we’re considering abandoning ship and moving to the mountains. He lives off his own land, growing and selling his crops, eating the eggs from his chickens every morning and chilling pretty much every day. Even his friend, Jeremy, only works 3 days a week clearing the roads of fallen trees on the mountains, and yet lives in a sweet little cottagey house in the valley of the mountain we were on. The neighbours from a different patch of land about a ten minute walk away join us and they have an even more surreal life. They have 3 horses, 1 of which is their 8 year old sons. He doesn’t go to school because he doesn’t like it and they home school him, teaching him the ways of the mountain world; he rides into town on his horse, catches his food out hunting or fishing with his mom and dad and basically lives the simple life out in the wild. The woman, (can’t remember the names, shocking I know, apologies), only worked on rainy days (seriously mental) and made her own cool beautiful leather bags of all kinds, and on sunny days she would help with the crops, the animals and their food. They had only lived there for a year or so and had literally travelled there by horse and full on carriage, the latter of which was now in the garden ready to use for shopping days or long distance journeys. The guy was basically a cowboy/Indiana jones man, sporting a knife on his belt and rope on his shoulder, which later became incredibly useful when he had to help us get the van off the ledge of a mountain.

We’d needed to turn the van around to be able to leave the following day, and when we had to move it so Manu could get his car out to go and collect petrol from the garage (the solar panel doesn’t cover the massive speakers) we figured we may aswell turn it around while we’re still sober. Unfortunately we misjudged it and ended up facing down a mountain with just a tree preventing us from falling down to our probable deaths. Every time we would try to reverse, the wheels and in turn, the van, would spin and sink us further and further into a problem, and we ended up being sort of held back from falling by the roots of the tree. To be fair to us, we were incredibly calm and I didn’t screech with nervousness even once, most likely because we were rather drunk and instead chose to see the funny side of this particular nightmare! It took a lot of rope, chains, trees, a weird wire device and man power to get us back up, nearly getting to the point of bribing the local farmer to help us with his tractor. 


But we had a lovely evening drinking rum and playing darts on a ledge of a mountain, stupidly we barely took any pictures as a result of our intoxication. Manu is planning to move to Indonesia next year, after the arrival of his baby due at the end of the year, going out there to set up a diving school and renting out his land here in France – basically just continue to live the sweet simple life somewhere else, alright for some eh?! If we manage to get our shit together quick enough when we get home, we’re thinking of maybe popping out to Indonesia for a couple of weeks for a different kind of adventure; obviously there are other priorities but we can still hope!

We’ve just dropped our friends back off at the airport and are now feeling quite sorry for ourselves without them! I’ll post about our endeavours together in a couple of days, I needed to get this one out the way first! We’re gonna start heading out of France tomorrow but unfortunately with this disgusting hangover I’m currently nursing, we’re not moving far today, instead choosing to eat heaps and watch films, drowning our sorrows and hangover in wonderful complex carbohydrates and Coca Cola.

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Romarna day!

On Thursday I turned 22 and got to celebrate it with two of my favourite people (this is classing Rudy as a human of course) in the world! All I wanted to do was spend the day somewhere beautiful and drink some Sangria at some point throughout the day. The day started with cards and presents, big thanks to my mom and Kieron for the card, the beer money and the CD; finally we can listen to more music (we’ve both been on the verge of getting sick of Eminem- a crime in itself I know)! 

Rod treated me to the things he knows I’ve been struggling without; a white tshirt (a classic staple item a wardrobe is not complete without), a pack of hair bobbles (female traveller essential) and a pair of bloody crocs. Rod was bought some as his secret Santa present but the joke is on them because they became the most used item of footwear on the trip so far. There is no joy in showering in campsite showers barefoot and as a result, without wanting them to be, these bad boys have quickly become an essential (I am just as mortified as you). Rodney, in the classic Rod (and male) way, obviously didn’t think about picking up a birthday card before we came out here and so in a panic two days before, we had to drive around a few shops so he could purchase one. This is the bad boy he acquired:



But I honestly can’t fault his efforts at all, he really made my 22nd a day to remember! He woke me up with my favourite song and we danced around the square foot of space we have inside the van to ‘Paulo Nutini – Pencil full of lead’ to set a happy tone for the rest of the day. I spoke to my big sis Sarah, my Mom, Dad, Charl and my home girl Hannah to get my fix of favourites from home and even got to hear Toni do her “happy birthday ‘nana” for me on the phone (is there anything much cuter?).

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A bacon sandwich later and we set off to sieze the day! We start off with a coffee at what has become our favourite cafe, then a quick Sangria and a beer (you know it!), a walk along the sand and then back in the van so we can drive along the coast until I find a mountain I want to climb. I find a perfect one; nothing too strenuous with idyllic ledges to stop off and enjoy sweet Mary Janet’s company on the way. We start climbing and what we thought would be a pleasant stroll somehow turns into us both crawling up the mountain on all fours, putting complete faith in the pooch and letting Rudy lead the way, obviously forgetting she weighs half of what we do and a result of our naivity, I misjudge a few bits and naturally, being as clumsy as I am, fall down a fair bit. We stop off at the most picturesque point, pull out a Mrs Jones, and basque in the stunning scenery for an hour or so. We carry on venturing upwards, finding caves and ruins of old buildings amongst the rock, and then start the trek back down, obviously regretting wanting to climb a mountain in the first bleeding place.

Here’s Rudy marking her territory on a mountain. 

Mosquito bites galore. We had no idea until we got off the mountain and I can feel a small stabbing pain on me that I realise that we are both in fact, being eaten alive. Rods pale legs are covered in them and I can tell by my already swelling limbs that I too am being savagely attacked. We’re both wearing these wrist band things that supposedly deter the little fuckers but this picture shows just how much the Spanish Mosquitos care about the lengths of preparation we have gone to: 


We return back to the van, chill out and play a game of monopoly; I’ve won every game so far and so I was a little over-confident going into the game. I got absolutely terrored and Rod ended up with £12000 just in 500’s, while I’m left with chump change and not a single house on the board to work with. He was the banker this time though which, in hindsight, suggests to me he may have been cheating?

After losing really gracefully and not moaning one little bit, I decide I need another Sangria in order to forget about my horrendous defeat! We head along the front and sit on a cosy little sofa, enjoying delicious beverages, listening to some absolute tuuunnnesss and chatting to some lovely people. We round off a wonderful day with a walk along the shore and then a film to fall happily asleep to.

Almeria and the Cabo de Gata

Got up bright and early Monday morning after having promised ourselves a McDonald’s breakfast as a prize for living through the ordeal of barely anything to eat on Sunday. Got to McDonald’s and apparently they don’t do breakfast over here! Feeling like Adam Sandler in ‘Big Daddy’; absolutely raging and wanting to scream the place down, we have to settle for a pack of bacon and a loaf of bread from the supermarket. We decided that what with our pretty shit Sunday and our disappointing Monday morning, it was time to leave Montril behind and seek new scenery to fall in love with, and so using the good old camperstop book (yes yes Ann!), we decided to head to Almeria and see what the bottom right corner of the country has to offer us! Almeria had been recommended to us (big thanks to Jess Chester!) and it made sense to follow the Mediterranean coast back up north, at least to begin with anyway. Spent the day getting lost on foot for a change, walking every which way through the city centre, visiting the Cathedral and the castle en route. Rudy decided to lay out a giant, runny poo right outside the majestic castle and I got the privilege of watching Rod try (and fail) to pick it up as the disapproving Spaniards threw all the filthy looks they could muster our way. 

We decided not to stay in the built up city and instead take a half hour drive to the Cabo de Gata, a huge nature park with beautiful beaches, giant mountains and a handful of villages with nothing but a tiny supermarket and a scattering of bars along the coast. This is a perfect example of what we’ve come away for and so in order to make the most of this place and the surrounding areas, we make the executive decision to spend a good few days here and leave towards the end of the week. 
The sun has been cracking the flags over the past week and I’m doing what I can to work on the golden tan I’ve been trying to acquire. Rodney, on the other hand, has been doing more to master his shade seeking skills and is now rocking the turned up collared shirt everywhere he goes to protect that precious skin before it melts under exposure. We spent the first couple of days in the Cabo de Gata doing nothing but sit at bars drinking beer, sangria and eating tapas, with walks along the beach inbetween. You may have read in the blog about our struggles with Rudy in water and so we spent the day at the beach on Tuesday, doing everything we could to try and coax her into the water. What started off as just dipping our toes in the water to encourage Rudy to play more, ended up with both Rodney and I soaked and myself being decked in the sea in all my clothes. Several sticks later and we actually manage to get Rudy to jump some waves with us; every time a wave would crash over her she’d run off onto the sand to cover it all over herself (perfect, wet sandy dog in a tiny van). 



Had a nightmare with Rodney’s phone on Wednesday and as directed by the apple man on the phone, we drove the half hour back to Almeria city centre to get his phone looked at. They couldn’t fix it and told us to come back to England (helpful little witch). Several hours and 4 phone calls later, and a senior guy over the phone is booking us an appointment at a big store in Valencia for in a weeks time, passing on the instruction to just give us a new phone if they can’t fix this one there and then. He’s also had words with the previous ‘genius’ rod spoke to, who stupidly sent us to a place where we couldn’t be helped. We return back to the camperstop and Rod discovers all he needed to do to get his phone working was in fact, do as he was originally told by the first person we branded an idiot, and simply do the update required to get the new iOS. All that ordeal for nothing, just because Rod couldn’t be arsed to take the professionals advice. Pukka.
We had met some lovely fellow travellers, Olimpia and Linos, on the evening of my birthday and so we met up with them at the beach for a couple of hours on Friday. We chilled out and chatted on the sand with brief intervals of jumping waves in the sea, the usual ordeal of persuading Rudy to join us, and Linos playing sweet sweet guitar to perfectly accompany our chilled out afternoon. 

Rod and I had planned to head to a different beach where there had once upon a time been a shipwreck but in all honestly, we couldn’t be arsed after having been on the local beach for a good chunk of the afternoon; the only thing we wanted was a beer and something to eat. We made our way to San Jose, a town 10 miles or so away (again recommended by Jess!), where Indiana Jones was filmed! Rod loves a bit of Harrison Ford and so there was no questions asked when I related Jess’ advice for the area. A cute little beach, some idyllic houses on the mountain and a few restaurants set the scene for our beer and tapas (free of course) pit stop.
Evening came and along with it, the wild winds. We had to reluctantly let go of our panoramic sea view and move the van a bit further back from the sea in order to avoid being tipped over; a move that turned out to be a wise one when we saw palm trees snapping in half only 50 metres away from. However, on the bright side (for me), watching Rod chase Rudy’s dog bed as it flew across the car park was yet another joy for me to behold (should have helped but it was funnier to watch). Other campervans joined us and we ended up in boxed-in safety, protected from the gales by our elderly travelling companions. We spent the rest of the evening watching films, eating dodgy chicken burgers that wouldn’t budge from the illuminous pink shade, no matter how much I tried to cremate them.

Also forgot to mention one of the most important things we’ve learnt so far: there is a boat called ‘me julie’ sitting in a harbour in Malaga which is worth the trip in itself.

Malaga > Salobreña > Motril

We left Benelmadena in Malaga last Thursday, having spent the week with the Baker family it just didn’t feel right staying there without our favourite familiar faces to laugh with, and so taking advantage of the all inclusive wrist bands Nikki and Mel had donated, we sneakily sipped on one last chocolate milkshake before hitting the road. We’ve decided to slow down on petrol now that we haven’t got to be anywhere in particular for any particular date and so we’re just taking it easy, floating along the coast and heading back up north, aiming to pass Almeria, Valencia and our favourite sweetheart, Barcelona, before we cross the border into France.

We drove about an hour and a half up the coast to a cute little town called Salobreña, which didn’t really have anything in it except a church on top of a hill. It wasn’t until we got there that we double checked the GPS coordinates and realised that we were nowhere near the place we’d intended to find and that the only ‘Chipiona’ (the place we’d been looking for) was 4 hours away in the other direction, ooops! Figured we’d yet again wing it and just hope to find another campervan in this deserted town to give us a little bit of confidence in sticking around. Driving around aimlessly and I take a few dodgy and questionable turns and end up heading the wrong way up a one way street on what feels like a vertical hill. Not only that but it’s a dead end. Shit. Sweat begins to drip and my voice begins to screech a little as the local spaniards start coming out of their houses, bewildered and amused, laughing at us ‘estupida inglés personas’. Rod gets out and joins the ever growing crowd trying to direct me backwards back down the stupid street. I’ve apparently got to go up a bit more so I can turn around. Sounds simple enough, except the van weighs a tonne and the handbrake is a little dodgy and so can’t be relied upon entirely. Trying to come off the break and onto the accelerator (or whatever it is I need to do; I have no idea, I’m a terrible driver in England let alone in Spain) without rolling down this steep as fuck hill, where there are now cars waiting behind me, is proving a challenge and my voice reaches an octave I didn’t realise I had within me. Giving it all the revs I have before coming off the handbrake and finally, after thoroughly entertaining, and probably annoying some of the locals, I manage to turn around and the cars waiting not so patiently behind move over so I can sheepishly creep back down the hill. Panic over and my heart rate can begin to slow. Rod thinks this all hilarious.

We find ourselves a seemingly safe spot on a residential road next to the beach. There’s a campervan parked in front and after the whole hill ordeal, we’re both shattered and just want to chill with dinner and a film. All seems well until the local youth arrive and start blasting music just across from us. Wouldn’t have been so annoying except Rudy wouldn’t stop growling and the Spanish’ taste in music is abismol, unless it’s delicately played guitar, which of course it wasn’t as a: we’re not that lucky, and b: these are the bad manz we’re talking about, all they play is what I imagine is Pitbulls greatest hits. After torturing us for long enough, playing out with the amigos time is thankfully over and we can go to sleep.

Woke up the next day with only 1 thing planned for the day: get to a laundrette. I was then commando, Rod on his last fresh pair of CK’s and there are only so many days you can get away with reusing socks. Sieving through the wash bag on a daily basis to find out just how dirty your dirty clothes are is no joy. The local petrol station has a couple of washing machines and so for €8 (absolutely extortionate if you ask me!), we get to enjoy the taken for granted luxury of not smelling like shit. Rod comes back from collecting the washing with a recommendation to head to Montril, a city just half hour away. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Rod actually chatting to people of his own accord?!’, but the answer is yes, and without being drunk too! Rod has become quite the savvy little camper and seems to attract all the old couples with the knowledge we need (oooooh campervan friends).

We make it to Montril after the usual ‘getting lost and driving in the wrong direction’ saga, and find ourselves parked up on a lovely pebble beach next to 20 other campervans (Rods already eyeing up the other British people he can prey on). First things first, get that washing out so we can get dressed in anything clean!


We spend the next two days mostly chilling on the beach and at the bars along it, skimming stones and laughing at Rudy as she struggles to cross a tiny shallow stream, yet again proving how weird she is with her hatred of water.

We decide to actually finish the inside of the van before we let it get any grubbier. The wood is now freshly varnished (and looking goooooood might I add) and we’ve got some pictures up of lots of our loved ones from home. Big thanks to Sue for the board to put up, and obviously everyone in the pictures for looking so good in our van!

WOOD BEFORE

WOOD AFTER

Sunday comes and unfortunately, it is not a good day. All was going swimmingly until we finished our drinks at a bar about midday, speak to Ann (all your fault of course!) and realise that the day is in fact, a Sunday. Only restaurants are open on the holy day of the week, and having just had to fork out €100 for a new DVD player (little bitch Rudy broke the original one), a nice restaurant meal is not within the budget. And so with no food for any of us, limited water and Rod running low on cigarettes, we have the first bad day on our hands. I look for something to distract us from the fact we’re starving and find a decent park near, anything to get a fagless Rod to crack a smile! We get there and despite it being in the middle of not a fat lot, we are pleasantly surprised to find there are turtles swimming in the ponds and no men masturbating behind trees as the reviews of this place would suggest! A win win surely?!


Unfortunately there is only so long you can look at turtles and fish for before you remember that you’re dying of starvation. We head back and I try to whip something up out of what we have, which is nothing in particular. We end up with a bowl of pasta each, accompanied with a shocking sauce I made from a tomato cup a soup, a bit of mustard, an onion and a slice of bacon each. Rudy has to have the same, minus the onion. By this point Rod is ready to drive the 1400 mile journey home and I’m worried if this doesn’t fill him up he might actually kill either myself or Rudy. Thankfully after eating, everyone is a little happier and we can just veg and watch a film and think about the McDonald’s breakfast we’ve promised ourselves for first thing in the morning.

10 tips for campervan living

  1. If you’re planning a long trip in your little home on wheels, a good idea is to actually spend some real time in it before your adventure begins. Having not spent a full night in it previous to the trip, faffing about with the rock and roll bed for an hour when we were meant to be sleeping, during a storm, was not the easiest of tasks. As a result of frustration and just trying to force it flat when the hinge was clearly broke, the bed is now broken and is just an expensive sofa.
  2. If there’s more than 1 of you doing the driving, make sure you’re both used to and familiar with your very own ‘Verena’ (our camper).​​ Driving on the other side of the road is no easy task when you can barely drive to begin with.
  3. Don’t bother bringing the shit you can go without. There is no need for the straighteners or the stilettos, I have barely wore anything so far but trainers and Rodney’s size 10 crocs (I’m a mess I know). If you haven’t used it within the last month, there’s no point in wasting the precious space you have.
  4. Be organised and practical when unpacking into your van. Everyday things go in accessible places. Put your chargers and leads and what not in one pot. Have your food drawers stocked with what you use every day (garlic in my case) up at the front. Have your comfy clothes at the top of your bag, you’ll be in the van a lot and skinny jeans are not your friends when you’re sweating in the drivers seat on the wrong side of the road.
  5. Baby wipes, baby wipes, baby wipes. There are too many uses and never too many wipes. 
  6. Blankets. Obviously dependant on the season, but even some summer nights will get chilly. Blankets are wonderful. 
  7. Lay off the campsites, they are overrated and overpriced. Particularly if you’re going in the high seasons, you’ll be jam packed into a tiny plot with not a spot of scenery around you. There are so many places to wild camp it’s crazy how people often choose a claustrophobic site in comparison to a spacious spot next to a beach just a mile away. Obviously campsites are good once in a while; sometimes there is no price on a hot shower and the reassurance of campsite security when you can’t be arsed to scope out your surroundings.
  8. Keep things tidy. Whatever you get out, has to go away before you can start dragging more stuff out. A sad reality I know, it hasn’t been the easiest for either of us to ge to grips with (cough cough, just me). Seriously though, there isn’t room for clutter when you live in a tin can.
  9. Get on the solar game. Solar fairy lights, solar chargers, and if you can justify forking out the £120 or so, go the whole hog and get the solar panel. 
  10. Don’t sweat the small stuff. No matter how much you prepare, there will always be something that you’ll leave behind. You may have to push through the language barrier, but somebody somewhere will eventually know what you’re talking about if you’re willing to repeat yourself in several accents at least five times.

All inclusive (kind of)

So we got to Malaga last Tuesday. Having spent the previous night sleeping with the trucks at a petrol station, we got on the road early to finish the last leg of our 1000 mile journey. We stayed in Torre del mar, a cute little stretch of beach with lots of campsites in the area. The first campsite we tried was a little bit surprising. Naked men everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Once we realised what we’d unearthed, we couldn’t have twenty point turned out of there fast enough. Rod seemed more curious than he probably should have been, but his smug attitude soon turned to dismay when there weren’t any boobs to ogle over. Every direction we tried to avert our eyes towards we were faced with yet more penis, balls and wiener, a whole array of phallic areas just all over the gaff. So surreal to watch them all casually playing table tennis, badminton, swimming, chatting to the other penis bearers, roaming around and generally just lounging around in all their old, shrivelled glory. Funnily enough, neither of us were keen on staying there.

Tried out a couple more campsites with a little bit more apprehension this time, but to no avail. There was no room at the inn. In the space of two days, we went from being the only souls on the site with no one around to speak a word of English to, to being potentially packed into a tiny plot the size of a downstairs toilet with no one but retired Brits looking for a slice of home next to a hot beach. Surreal. Inspiration struck and we thought ‘why not actually put the books we have containing expertise in the camper van lifestyle to actual use?’. And so came out this bad boy!

We found a cheap place to stay only ten minutes away and so with more hope in our hearts, we set off again. Rod drove and obviously nearly killed us; sharp turnings are not his forte and pot holes are definitely not his friends. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have made as much of a meal out of it as I did when he’s fresh on the road as it is; my panicking probably wasn’t the best reassurance I could have given at the time. But again, we survived and lived to tell the tale, huzzah! We arrived at the coordinates the book had provided and found a shabby, dodgy looking side street with a couple of seedy bars lined up next to it, with some even seedier men outside watching us a little too intently. With it being not quite what we’d imagined, we had a mooch around for somewhere a little more camper (and not crack den) friendly. Turned onto the road directly next to the beach and lo and behold found the camper stop we’d originally been looking for. At 12 euro a night with all the essential amenities, security and a sea view, we considered ourselves pretty lucky to have found this little gem. We spent the next two days catching up on sleep, walking along the beach and around the marina and lazily basking in the luxury of free tapas (yes yes!) with a nice crisp pint.

Thursday night we moved down to Benalmedina, finding this lovely balcony just off the main road, overlooking the beautiful beach and filled with other campers doing the same as us – looking for somewhere free and pretty to stay at. 


We spent to next week with the Baker family and had the most wonderful time bathing in lovely familiar company after having pretty much stuck to ourselves so far. I could write a post entailing the day by day breakdown, but to tell you the truth we picked up a sort of routine of chilling in the day and popping in to see everyone at the pool or the beach or the marina, having a few drinks with Janet, George & Sue everyday (and Ash the once too) until they had to go to dinner (apologies for making them late on occasion, it’s too hard to say no to one more free pint and fabulous company), and then we’d cook something cheap and cheerful for ourselves and head back for more drinks, bingo and elvis tributes. Highlights included:

  • Rod simultaneously being sick and having a wee outside the van at 4 in the morning, in just his boxers. 
  • Some weird Spanish kid waking us up at 3 in the morning, acting strange and pretending to need water, whilst trying to put his arms all in the van. It was a little, if not a lot, frustrating that Rudy, our supposedly big scary Rottweiler, decided to wake up and sleepily go over to the window where Rod and I are shouting, obviously panicked, and instead of barking and protecting us, she puts her head up to the crazy spaniard for a bloody fuss. The perfect guard dog. 
  • A mahoosive storm, because of which I ended up sleeping downstairs with Rudy in my arms while she cried at the thunder and lightning, and not getting to sleep until 8am when the rain finally ceased (rod slept like a baby, naturally).
  • Going down to the beach in the afternoon to watch the crazy waves after the storm and being met by a Scotsman, playing bagpipes perfectly. My description will never do it justice and so we’ve attached the video for you all to see for yourselves how eerily perfect it was to listen to the bagpipes whilst looking out at nothing but the choppy sea before us.
  • Rod throwing me in the pool in all my clothes after I was stupid enough to want to just dip my toe in to see how cold it was. The answer is very, very cold. So cold my limbs could barely move as I paddled to the side and clambered out.
  • Doing karaoke with Ash & Jamie after Rod let the side down and ran away as his name was called to do Eminem – Stan with me. Can’t thank Ash & Jamie enough for holding the fort and representing the Dido chorus’ of the song, couldn’t have done it better myself. Thought it was a fabulous idea to rap Eminem until I got up there and remembered just how brutal the song actually is. A family hotel was probably not the most idyllic place to do it but fuck it, if you’re doing Eminem, you’ve got to do it properly, and just apologise later. At least it was late so there were barely any children around (apologies to Ella & Jaden for corrupting their innocence with the atrocious language). Trying to find a way to upload the bloody video, will be up by the end of the day!
  • Seeing how excited both Janet & Sue got when Elvis came and hugged them both. Apparently Elvis was the man of all men back in the day.
  • Seeing how excited Debbie was on her birthday when they’d been lucky enough to see dolphins on the boat trip they took.
  • Watching Georges eyes light up when he spoke about the beautiful pharmacist he’d seen when getting Janet something to take the swelling off her leg. Pretty sure he got the cream that wouldn’t work so he could go back to see his favourite señorita.
  • Staying in the hotel lobby until 3am, getting drunk with Ash and some hilarious Irish and Scotsmen whilst we all fed the kids euros to stay on the computer as the security were getting annoyed with us all wreaking havoc in one way or another. (Hopefully the Irish guys are reading this: we want your tips on how to smash it in the travel blogging world! Sod’s law that we realised you actually had such valuable knowledge to us after a good few days of chatting nothing but shit to each other!)

A massive shout out to the whole group for going on an all inclusive holiday that we got to share the benefits of, ie free beer and chocolate milkshakes and bags of biscuits, cheese and fruit that Janet, George, Sue and Ash so kindly collected for us. Honestly couldn’t have had a better week and was so lovely to spend some quality time with you all! Big thanks to Wayne for locating us a launderette that we finally managed to get to today, only to be told that the ‘fast express service’ meant that we’d be able to collect our clothes 3 days later, when we plan to be 100 miles away, so we were so close, but not close enough, to getting clean clothes. Huge congratulations to Ash & Nikki and Jamie & Mel on raising the most well mannered and hilarious children ever, was a pleasure to spend enough time with them all so they’ll actually remember us in future! Had we have known how much they’d love the camper van, we would have taken them for an adventure around the block.


 Was so sad watching you all leave yesterday (Mel just about convincing Ollie to leave the camper!), both myself and Rod were twiddling thumbs last night feeling lost without you all. Janet, Sue, Deb, Nikki and Mel: I truly miss the female company, funnily enough Rod doesn’t care that I can’t find my mascara. And George, Wayne, Jamie & Ash: Rod could really have done with a another male around to appreciate the fine ass he saw walking down the street today. Thanks for a fabulous week everybody, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are both missing you stupid amounts now!

Currently an hour away from Malaga in Salobreña, we left this morning as the storms had started again, we got here and within an hour of getting settled, and in just our luck, the storms have now begun again. 

The bear does indeed shit in the woods…

So we left Almagro bright and early Monday morning, determined to have a productive and lovely day driving further down south. I’d found a couple more nature parks on the way, only thing being we had no idea how to get there. We just decided to get off the motorway when we felt close enough to wing it and so a couple of exits before Jaen, we left the mundane motorway and headed for the green areas! Twenty or so miles of driving in any direction, a few dead ends and a lot of pot holes later and we find a sign for a recommended cycling area. Sounds nice enough and so we head towards that; nothing materialises. Another ten minutes of wandering and several ‘wrong way dickhead’ comments and we arrive at a sign for the nature park I’d seen. Speak to a lovely señore and he tells us to head ten miles or so up this road and we’d go over a bridge and there’d be a car park. 


Rod drives as its only ten miles away so nothing too stressful surely? And yet again, we were wrong. The roads were just dirt tracks up a mountain, with one lane but cars coming in both directions. We should’ve realised when all the cars around were big defenders making the dodgy dirt tracks look like freshly paved roads. Cars beeping behind us for us to hurry up; an impossible task in our old, tired and heavy Verena. The roads narrow even more and the cars begin to queue up behind us. Finally a house pops up and rod can pull over and let all the angry spaniards pass us. Rod goes to pull off but it’s a hill start and he can’t afford to roll back or we’ll roll off the track and into a 10ft ditch. Stalled. Try again. Stall again. The handbrake goes on and we switch seats, rods driving skills seem to deteriorate when the pressure is on and if one thing goes wrong, everything goes to pot. Even I’m worried I won’t be able to move us off this god forsaken mountain. I get us back on track (obviously, I’m a wicked driver) and after what seems like a lifetime of meandering around the mountain we find a beautiful little balcony overlooking a breath taking view. The pictures don’t do the place justice and I could’ve sat there all day just in awe of our surroundings.


 We had every intention of wild camping here but every twenty metres, there are warning signs about big tiger looking wild cats roaming about and with Rudy in mind and the fact that no one wants to get mauled by big scary cats, we decide against it. We venture back around and down the mountain and head to a campsite we’d found about half hour away. Get there and the man tells us that they’re not open until tomorrow- Sod’s law of course. It’s getting dark and with no prospect of somewhere decent to stay, we park up at a service station in Córdoba. The main man at the petrol station even tells us to move to a cushtier spot so we don’t get blocked in and so with permission and therefore piece of mind, we settle in with the trucks for the night.  
Now lots of people have probably already heard about this (I’ve got enough stick already so I imagine everyone knows) but for documenting sake I’m gonna blog it for us to look back on and laugh at later. The last post entailed our Spanish dining and unfortunately what goes in, must come out. We’d been driving in the abyss for nearly two hours and I feel like someone is Chinese burning my intestines. I need a shit. And when nature calls, that bitch calls you relentlessly until you answer. Unfortunately, nature called whilst we were lost in between two mountains with thankfully nobody in sight. Armed with tissue and baby wipes (not leaves as rod may have led some of you to believe) I venture off to find somewhere to go. I’m already disgusted with myself and ashamed that travelling has led to this just a week after departure, and so what I definitely don’t need is rod sneaking up on me armed with a camera, mid shit. And so to end this post, the bear does indeed shit in the woods and unfortunately, that bear was me.