It was lovely and sunny as I packed things away ready to leave the La Volta campsite. I topped up with fresh water, emptied the waste tanks, said goodbye to friends and paid my bill. By the time I was ready to leave it was 11 am, but I was in no rush. Driving along the seafront, there was just a single couple sunbathing. I popped into Lidl’s for some odds and ends, then turned and headed south. Keeping to the main roads, but avoiding the motorways and carried on towards Valencia. After a quick lunch stop in a service area I continued on until I reached Oliva where I knew of a free camping spot near the beach. I arrived just before 4 pm, there were two other vehicles parked up, a German lady in a campervan and another German couple in a huge 4x4 truck. Having introduced ourselves we chatted for an hour until the sun had disappeared behind the trees and the temperature dropped. The German lady said the weather had been good of the past few days, hopefully it will stay that way.
The following day was a really lazy one. After breakfast I took a 40 minute walk, other than that I relaxed and read. Four other vans arrived, two Dutch, one German and one English. The Germans parked up in another area, separated from my spot by tall reeds and fonds. The two Dutch parked up with us, but left a good space between our vans, the English however parked right alongside the German lady I met yesterday, the doors of the campers just a few feet apart. I can never understand why people have to be so inconsiderate as to park so close to another camper when there is plenty of space. The German lady was not best pleased. It was a glorious day though with lots of sunshine. I put the folding solar panel out and quickly charged the batteries and charged the computer and cellphone. It’s so much nicer camping free, in a quite spot, with all you need to live well, than herded together in a campsite with dozens of others and paying for the privilege. Today I relaxed, enjoyed the sun and eaten my fill, it's cost me nothing. It’s what vandwelling is all about.
My second day in Oliva was a little overcast when I woke up. One of the Dutch vans left after breakfast, the second left mid morning and the German lady at lunchtime. During the afternoon four more vans arrived, one of which was a huge German Concorde, which parked next to me blocking out the sun that was doing its best to shine, typical. After lunch the skies cleared and the sun came out into a clear blue sky, I took a walk along the seafront and around the edge of town.
One of the vans that arrived today was an English couple. They told me that they were parked a little further north and had been there for a few days with quite a few other motorhomes, but this morning the police came along and moved everyone on. The trouble is there are so many people travelling in vans these days that many of the old places that people stayed for free, for a few nights, are now so overcrowded that the locals don’t want them there any more. Some local authorities are setting up proper camping car parking areas, but these are often in out of the way places or in industrial areas that no one wants to stop in. The problems will only get worse as more and more campers come south for the winter. One can understand it in the summer when beach areas are full of tourists filling the hotels and renting apartments, but in the winter the campers bring money into what would otherwise be ghost towns.
I’ll going to leave Oliva tomorrow, the German lady gave me details of a couple of places to try, one of which is not that far away, so I’ll head off in the morning, popping into nearby Denia to get some shopping on the way.
The day started off well, a nice sunny morning and the thought of finding a new camping spot. Things went wrong though when I put the water in the bathroom sink, I heard dripping water, looking under the sink I could see water running down the outside of the waste pipe, which was strange. On further investigation I found a crack in the sink around the drain plug. I drove to a caravan dealer and service centre that I knew a few kilometres away. They looked but hadn’t a new sink, so the only thing they could do was patch it up with sealer, I hope it lasts out until I can get a new sink unit. It cost me €20, which is expensive for 15 minutes work but I had little choice. I need to leave the sealant for 5 or 6 hours to set so its fortunate I have a kitchen sink to use in the meantime. Back on the road I drove into Denia and a cycle shop I knew to see if they could look at my rear brake. It’s a disc brake and seems to have locked up. They said they could fix it but I would have to leave it with them until tomorrow. I needed to find somewhere to stop for the night that wasn’t too far away and headed down the coast a few kilometres until I reached Cala Blanca where I found a parking place right by the beach. Its not a proper campervan spot, but quiet enough. Most of the houses nearby look closed up for the winter so hopefully I’ll get away with staying overnight. The spot is really nice with great views out to sea and cliffs at each end of the bay where its situated. It’s popular with locals who come and walk along the sea front, but by 6 pm everyone had gone and I was left alone to enjoy the view out to sea.
The sink repair seems to be working okay, hope it stays that way until I can replace it. I left Cala Blanca around 10:30 to drive back into Denia to collect my bike. I’d only driven a couple of kilometres when Marion the German lady who I met in Oliva pasted me going in the opposite direction, we both stopped. She had been parked at the other end of Cala Blanca for the past couple of nights. She was on her way to the nearby Repsol garage where there was a laundromat. Needing diesel I turned round and followed her, which was a good thing as the garage not only had fuel, vehicle wash and laundromat but GPL gas as well. GPL is not that common in Spain yet and this was a good place to know, I topped up while I was there, I didn’t need very much but better to fill up while you can. Marion said she was going to go about 170 kilometres south to a great beach parking spot to meet up with friends. We said our goodbyes as Marion went to do her washing and I to drive to Denia; saying we may well meet up at the place she had suggested. Apparantly it's a spot where friends meet up each winter for a few days. It sounds fun and there will be quite a few other long term travellers parked up by the sound of it.
Picked up the bike, they'd sorted out the problem with the rear brake, it cost me €13 which was a lot less than I expected. Bought some groceries then headed south. Arrived at the place Marion had suggested, she had just arrived herself and met up with some Norwegian and Swedish friends. There were quite a few motorhomes and campers parked up. Basically its just a small residential and holiday home site that tolerates campers parking up in the winter period. Next the sea its okay, but in effect you are just parked in a road, at least its free. Just have to see how things work out, if it’s not that good I’ll move a little further down the coast where I know a couple of places where you can park on the beach. Niki phoned this afternoon to say she has been trying to book the flights for Australia which is great, we hope to fly out on January 20th and fly back on March 28th, can’t wait.
A grey overcast sky with a strong breeze off the sea greeted me this morning. After a lazy breakfast I walked along the seafront, which was deserted apart from the odd walker or jogger. The walk took me to a marina from where I walked up into the town and wandered along looking at the many shops that looked like they could do with some customers. Stopping to look in an estate agents window I was surprised to see apartments for sale for as little as €38,000. There was a huge choice if you wanted to spend €100,000, some just a few years old, with sea views and a few that were being sold fully furnished. The property market in Spain still has a long way to go before its back on its feet. By the time I’d walked back to the van I’d been walking for a couple of hours, the exercise was needed and felt good, I should do far more. With no improvement in the weather I sat and read for awhile and played on the computer. It’s always a little boring living in a van when the weather's not very nice.
Talking to some others parked with a sea view, one said he would probably be leaving tomorrow morning so I hope to be able to take his spot, at least I’ll have a decent view if the weather doesn’t improve.
Another overcast morning, where has the sun gone? I tried to move nearer the beachfront this morning as one of the Swedish campers were leaving, but the man living next to the parking spot wanted to put his car there, and it’s no good upsetting the locals as it means sometimes they get the campers banned from stopping, period. I stayed where I was and put the solar panel out, but with such a grey sky it didn’t really do a lot. Fingers crossed that tomorrow the sun returns so I can get the batteries topped up again.
Spent ages early evening trying to communicate with Niki who is trying to book the flights to Australia. The only WiFi signal locally is in a beachside bar and is terribly slow, in fact almost stationary. Hopefully with a few broken words and a handful of What’sApp messages she managed to get the infuse needed and everything goes ahead.
It seems I've been travelling for most of my life.
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