As planned I set off from Rome on Saturday the 8th making my up the west coast along SS1 Via Aurellia to Montalto Marina for my first night. Although the camper sosta is very popular in the summer season from the end of September to the beginning of May it’s both free and quiet. The small beachside town, so busy in summer is now more like a ghost town with only one or two restaurants and shops open, the rest closed and boarded up for the winter. I slept well that first night waking to a beautiful sunny morning without a cloud in the sky. After a long days drive I stopped in Comegli, north of Portofino at a sosta, really just a mixed parking area that allowed campers to stop overnight. I then continued slowly along the coast the road twisting and turning as it made it’s way through the coastal towns and villages. The next two nights were spent in San Remo before crossing the border into France near Ventimiglia. While in san Remo I received a call from a friend whom I’d met in West Africa some ten years ago, we keep in touch, but don’t get to see one another much. Rudi was living not far from Cannes only about 100 kilometre’s away and on my route, we arranged to meet up. It was a miserable, wet day when Rudi and I met along with his partner Kathleen. They lived up in the mountains with wonderful views over the Mediterranean. I followed them back to their house where we spent an enjoyable evening catching up on all the news, then had dinner at a local restaurant.
Back on the road I had a short drive to Frejus where I stopped for the night parked in a quiet road 50 metres from an aire which was full. The weather hadn’t improved, the rain falling more like a monsoon for most of the day as I drove to Arles. The roads were all but underwater in places, the spray horrendous. I kept getting warning messages on TC’s electronic dashboard, there was so much water that the system must have got wet or damp, fortunately when I parked up in the Arles aire everything soon went back to normal. With more heavy rain overnight and through the following morning I just wanted to get into Spain and head south looking for some decent weather, so I pushed on until I reached La Boulou not too far from the Spanish border where I spent another night.
Crossing into Spain the rain stopped and the sun came out. I drove along the coast to Blanes. I pulled into a mixed parking area, which has a section especially for motorhomes, along with a good number of others and stayed two nights enjoying the warm sunny days and mild nights. It was good to walk along the seafront passing the empty, sandy beaches and then to explore the town. Maybe because it’s out of season but it looked a little shabby and rundown once away from the beachfront and into the backstreets.
My next stop was near Amposta at a camperstop in Spains main rice growing area. I’ve stayed before and it’s been a good stopover but with all the recent rain and the fact that rice needs a lot of water the mosquitoes were out in force, the hard packed earth of the parking area had been turned into a mud bath in places. Having spent the evening trying my best to reduce the mosquito population by a few thousand I decided one night was enough and moved on. A little further south between Benicarlo and Peniscola is a camperstop that has become a regular stopover for me for a couple of nights. I usually meet up with a few people I know who spend their winters there and it’s a good spot to relax. I was hoping to see a couple I know who I see every year, but they hadn’t arrived yet, it was to be another week before they arrived, according to the sites reception so I decided to move on, hoping to see them on my way back in the New Year.
Just a short distance along the coast is Torre De La Sal and a wild camp I know. There were a few campers parked up but plenty of space, I stayed two nights taking walks along the beach. I continued on a little further to ElGrau, another great place to wild camp staying three nights enjoying the beachfront walks, the sunshine and friendly chat with other campers. I had a problem with a water pipe coming adrift from my kitchen sink. A simple thing but one that took a couple of hours to put right as I had to take out the complete kitchen sink/hob unit to get to the fitting.
I’ve been seriously considering shipping TC out to South Africa in order to tour around the southern and east African countries, somewhere I have always wanted to go. So while relaxing for the last few days I’ve been trying to get as much information as possible from the internet. I managed to find a company that could arrange the shipping to Port Elizabeth in SA, not cheap but possible if I spend a reasonable amount of time there. I’ll continue researching and see what the New Year brings.
It seems I've been travelling for most of my life.
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