Oct 242017
 
Thursday 19th October

I was busy with a genealogy meeting in the afternoon so we could not set off as early as we would have liked. I got home just after 4pm and picked Ingrid up and we loaded the van and were on our way by 4.20pm. Rather than following either of the sat navs for the route to the campsite I decided to follow the Google Maps route that I printed out for my navigator to read to me. Several people in the online forums recommend Google Maps routes over sat nav’s to this was the reason for this decision. We drove to the AP7 at Ondara and joined the motorway and had an uneventful journey all the way down to Alicante, the route kept us on the AP7 past Alicante. This section of the motorway was subject to some gusty crosswinds which were noticeable in the motorhome. We left the AP7 where it joined the A7 south of Alicante, the road surface on this section of road was poor and necessitated a speed reduction. We continued past the AP7 near Crevillente as suggested by Google Maps and joined the CV904 south, this road ran parallel to the AP7 all the way to Catral where we turned off into the entrance to Marjal Camping followed by a Guardia Civil car, luckily I hadn’t done anything wrong so no issues with them. We checked in at reception at 5.50pm and initially they put us on pitch B079 which was a long way from Mike & Sue and Peter & Mary. We changed to B003 which was much closer to them. We set up the bare minimum and then decided to eat in the restaurant. Unfortunately it was closed and so we had to eat in the bar and had an indifferent meal.

Friday 20th October

We completed setting up the van, Ingrid and Sue went off for coffee in the bar after lunch we met up for a drink with some of the MCC as we will be joining them on a rally in November to see if we want to join the group. During the late afternoon and early evening the mainly Spanish owners of the permanent caravans started to arrive and the site became noticeably noisier and busier with this influx of people. We had a nice barbecue and then went and joined some of the MCC members for coffee on the terrace after their evening meal in the restaurant which was open as it was Friday evening.

Saturday 21st October

We were going to take a taxi into Catral and have lunch there but unfortunately Ingrid wasn’t feeling great and so we didn’t bother. We explored the supermarket and bought a few bits including a long TV lead as there was some UK channels available free of charge by plugging a lead into the connector on the pitch, they weren’t expensive and so I bought one. We then joined Mike and Peter & Mary for coffee on the terrace. We took a short walk around the terrace area and took some photos of the many carved wooden statues and water features around the site.

We decided that we would try the restaurant for dinner as we had not made it into Catral earlier, only to find that it was closed on a Saturday night for a private function. What the management were thinking of allowing that to happen I don’t know. So we had to settle for another meal from the bar which was even worse than on Thursday night.

Sunday 22nd October

We had a lazy morning and then went to the terrace bar for a coffee. We said goodbye to some of the MCC members who were heading home. We then explored the car boot sale in the car park, we didn’t buy anything as it was mainly pretty tatty. We needed a bit more water in the motorhome so as usual I used a hose and put the nozzle as usual in the filler tube. Unfortunately, the quick release hose nozzle became detached and went down the filler tube and blocked it. I then spent the next 45 minutes taking the cupboard underneath the bed apart to get at the filler tube and remove the hose from it. I was successful but found how well put together the Adria is, it all went back together without issue. After a late barbecue lunch we had a quiet afternoon reading. During the course of the afternoon the site started to quieten down as the weekend visitors started to head home and by about 7pm the site was almost dead. As dusk started to fall we went for a walk around the campsite to see what we had missed. The top half of the site had larger pitches and there were a lot of very large motorhomes in this area including this one drawn by an artic drawing unit

This maybe one for George and Maria in the UK. We found the second swimming pool at the far side of the site which was closed but looked like it was a tropical beach with tiki huts and palm trees. We went back to the van and settled for the evening and watched TV and read.

Monday 23rd October

Whilst packing up on Monday morning I heard an unusual noise and looked up and saw this, they had just taken off from the campsite car park.

As there was virtually no wind they drifted around the locality for some time. We set off home at about 11.15am after a coffee in the campsite terrace bar. We headed up the CV904 again rather than the motorway and then onto the A7 for a short distance and then turned off onto the N340 to head for Caravanas Cruz. We found that they had a 10% sale on and we got them to exchange the broken awning strap as we had only used them twice before one broke. I also bought a water cap adapter to allow me to connect the hose permanently to the van when on site so that I have no more problems with the nozzle going down the filler tube. We left Cruz and rejoined the A7 and then onto the AP7 to Ondara and then home in time for late lunch.

A nice few days away but the campsite was large (over 1200 pitches) and impersonal with poor food in the bar and a closed restaurant on a Saturday night so it is one we are unlikely to visit again.

Oct 052017
 

After having the teething problems with the Adria Sonic corrected by Caravanas Cruz we decided to have a few days away to ensure that there were no additional problems with the motorhome. As a result we arranged to go back to Bonterra Park in Benicassim with Mike and Sue and to meet Peter and Mary there. Mike & Sue had to pop into Gandia first so we arranged to meet them at the service area on the A7 / E15 just south of Valencia for coffee at 11am.  We left home just before 10am and refuelled at the Ondara Shopping Centre and then joined the motorway and headed north. After an uneventful journey we arrived at the service area at 11 and Mike & Sue had just beaten us there by a few minutes.

motorhomes

At the service area

After coffee we continued on the A7 and skirted arounf Valencia which was busy with lots of lorries and carried on north passing Sagunto and Castellon on the AP7 and then turned off onto the N340 to Benicassim and once in the town we pulled into the Lidl supermarket to top off with supplies before continuing to Bonterra Park. We checked in and found that the campsite was very busy with very few pitches available. We did, however, find two adjacent pitches on the ‘green area’ 3 pitches away from Peter & Mary and so we chose those, unfortunately there was no water or grey waste disposal on these pitches. We settled down and set the vans up with awnings adjoining.

On the first night we had a meal in the onsite restaurant but it wasn’t very good, nowhere near as good as when we were here earlier in the year. Maybe it was just an ‘off day’ or due to the site being virtually full. Over the next 3 days we did the usual shopping locally, had a couple of BBQ’s and ate at a restaurant in town. We walked along the beach which was much more pleasant than last time as the sun was out and it was warm.

Whilst walking round the site we spotted this home conversion, a little unusual to say the least a caravan permanently mounted on the back of a recovery lorry.

Unusual conversion

Unusual conversion

I had my first ever game of petanque with Mike on the new courts using a set of balls loaned by Peter. Needless to say Mike beat me on both games but I gave him a run for his money in the second game. Unfortunately Mary wasn’t feeling very well and so they left for home on Monday morning. Within an hour of them leaving there was someone else on their pitch. One of the jobs I did whilst we were here was to try the wind blocker that we kept from the caravan. It will need to be modified as the motorhome is much taller than the caravan so I will be seeking someone who can modify them for me.

Mike & Sue left about 10am on Tuesday morning and headed home. We took our time packing up and left at 11am and headed home. We arrived just after 1pm after a painless journey with just the usual lots of lorries around Valencia.

Motorhome

The boss sitting in her seat ready to leave.

 

Sep 232017
 

We all slept much better on the second night in our new motorhomes, even still we were all up early. We had planned to leave at about 11am but in the end we were all packed up and ready to go by 10am. We headed off in convoy along the N340 and rather than following the sat nav route onto the A7 motorway we stayed on the N340 all the way into Elche. There were several roundabouts to negotiate and one slight wrong turn later we arrived at Caravanas Cruz in Elche. I completed the paperwork for the warranty work on our motorhome we joined Mike and Sue in theirs for the trip back home. We had an uneventful journey and I continued to play with Mikes sat nav to try and get it working in English rather than Spanish but I failed and even though I had chosen the English voice it still spoke in Spanish. Mike will have to take it back to Gandia to get it looked at when he has the support legs fitted to his motorhome. We dropped Sue off at home and Mike kindly brought Ingrid and me home in his car in time for lunch.

Hopefully I will be able to collect the repaired Adria on Tuesday afternoon so that we can head off on a longer trip next weekend. Thanks to Mike & Sue for bringing us home, otherwise we would have been stuck or had to come home collect the car and then return all the way to Elche.

motorhome

Sep 222017
 
Day 2 at Crevillente.

After breakfast we decided to have a walk up into the town to explore the shops and buy a few bits and pieces. I found a bricolage and bought a new gas regulator hoping that this would fix the problem with connection to the gas bottle. The girls had a look round a couple of the Moroccan shops but didn’t find anything to buy. After coffee we headed back to the campsite stopping at another couple of shops and finally at the supermarket. There was only one checkout open and we bought our few bits for lunch and were waiting for Mike and Sue. An elderly Spanish lady had a trolley full and was in front of them, at the checkout she decided that she wanted some additional items and so not once but twice the till assistant went off to get the additional items for her. Only in Spain would this happen good customer service for her but frustrating for the queue of five people behind her.

After lunch I fitted the new gas regulator and it slotted straight onto the bottle with and the hot water promptly fired up and so at least we had some of that. During the afternoon I took the radio / sat nav out of the dashboard to see if the fuse had blown but it was OK and still would not work. Did a few other little jobs and then settled down and read and chatted. I also emailed Peter & Mary and got a reply back that he had exactly the same issue with his new Hymer and the hot water when he bought it last year and the fault was found to be that the mains plug had not been connected to the boiler unit. I checked and ther was too much disassembly to be done to check the mains connection to our boiler. I will leave that for the dealer to resolve.

After a couple of pre-dinner drinks we all adjourned to the hotel restaurant and had an even better meal than the previous night and tonight as we already had wine left over from yesterday it was only 48€ for the four of us. Definitely a restaurant and campsite to be recommended. We had post dinner drinks in the warm evening outside the motorhomes and the girls suddenly smelt burning. We checked and there was no problem with either van and after discussion with some other visitors it was decided that the smell was blowing in from outside the site. Shortly afterwards we heard the sound of fire engine sirens and the smell soon disappeared. As the temperature dropped we went to bed.

Sep 212017
 

As Mike and Sue had also collected their new Carado T447 motorhome this week, we decided to take a short trip together to make sure everything was working properly and we knew how to work everything. Yesterday I rang Kiko Park in Oliva to book us in but they only had one pitch available so we decided to go to Las Palmeras in Crevillente where Mike and Sue had been before. It was a good job that we did, more on this later.

We loaded the Adria first thing this morning and found that the fridge was not cold even though it had been plugged in to 220v since 10am yesterday.We left home just before 11am and met Mike and Sue at the petrol station at the Ondara shopping centre having found that the Parrot Asteroid radio / sat nav / reversing camera display was not working. It was a good job that I had put the untrustworthy Garmin Camper 760 in the van as I wanted to compare the two. We set off down the motorway towards Alicante and hadn’t gone far before the door to the cupboard above the fridge sprung open. We stopped at the service area at Benidorm for coffee and I tried to ring Caravanas Cruz to let them know that we were stopping on the way to Crevillente to get them to check out the problems. It was a good job we went south rather than north otherwise it would have been a special trip to Elche to get the problems with the van sorted.

Two motorhomes

Girls posing with the new vans

After coffee we continued on to Elche and Caravanas Cruz arriving there just before 1pm. They had a quick look at the problems and decided that they would need the motorhome for a day to sort them all out. We have therefore booked it in for service and will drop it off on Saturday on our way home and collect it next week when they have corrected the faults. We continued to Las Palmeras at Crevillente. On arrival we were told to choose a pitch and then let them know in reception later which ones we had chosen. We parked up and connected to electricity and got the ground sheet out and table and chairs and then adjourned to the hotel bar for a boccadillo and cold drink for late lunch.

After lunch we checked in and confirmed our pitches and were charged 30€ for two nights to be paid when we leave, it does help having an ACSI card. Back in the Adria I found that the gas bottle regulator would not connect to the gas bottle and also the Truma hot water / heating system was stuck on gas as the fuel source and would not change to electricity so no hot water. All this little issues are annoying to say the least.

We cracked a bottle of cava to celebrate the new motorhomes. At 8pm we adjourned to the hotel restaurant for dinner and had an excellent menu del dia for 12€ a head and including the extra wine and coffees it ended up costing us 13.50€ a head and we still had 3 half bottles of wine to finish with dinner tomorrow. After dinner we went back to the vans and settled down for the night.

Sep 172017
 

Well Friday the 15th finally arrived and this was the day to collect our new Adria Sonic+ 700SC from Caravanas Cruz in Elche. Unfortunately Ingrid wasn’t feeling very well and so a friend came with me to drive the car back. We left at 9am and arrived in Elche at 10.15am but as we were a bit early they weren’t quite ready for us. As a result we spent about half an hour browsing in the accessories shop and spending some money on accessories for the new motorhome. We then had a comprehensive run through of all the equipment on the motorhome. Unfortunately one additional mains socket and one additional usb socket had not been fitted in the places I wanted and so they offered to change move them when I bring it back for service, I think whilst not being the ideal locations I will leave them where they are.

We left at about 12.15pm to head home in brilliant sunshine. We followed the Elche ring road back to the A7 motorway and stopped at the service area near Alicante airport for a coffee and a snack.

Adria 700SC

Parked in the service area

Back onto the motorway and then onto the AP7 toll road heading north. Once we passed through the Altea tunnel it became cloudy but it was still warm enough to have the cab air conditioning on. We left the motorway as usual at Ondara and looking inland towards Orba it was very grey. As we approached Benedoleig it started spitting with rain and then by the time we passed Orba Garden Centre there was heavy rain. As a result I just parked the motorhome outside and jumped in the car to take Mike home. Later in the afternoon there was a brief respite in the rain and so I parked the Adria on my next door neighbours drive, luckily they are away on holiday for a month.

Parked on the drive

Over the weekend we have slowly but surely been loading our bits and pieces from the caravan on board. We have used this as an excuse to downsize exactly what we carry as some of the items we had on board had never been used. I now have a shopping list for tomorrow for a few minor bits and bobs and then we can go away later in the week to make sure everything works and we know how to work it.

Some interior photos
Aug 092017
 

Well today we said goodbye to our Adria Adora 593UP caravan. We really enjoyed our time with it but came to realize that it was very large for some of the routes we had taken and also for some of the campsites that we had visited. The surging that you get when towing as you cross road expansion joints, rough roads etc was causing some issues for Ingrid and her back. So it was time to take it back to Caravanas Cruz in Elche and choose a motorhome.

Back at Caravanas Cruz

We have decided to replace it with a new Adria Sonic Plus 700SC with comfort pack that Caravanas Cruz had in stock. They did us an excellent deal, giving us the price we paid for the caravan minus the VAT, the price of the motorhome was already reduced. They have however, agreed to add for no additional charge:

  • air-conditioning
  • Radio, CD, Sat Nav, media centre, reversing camera
  • Solar panel charger
  • Awning
  • 24″ television and aerial
  • Safe doors
  • Additional mains and USB sockets internally and externally

We will take delivery in September this year.

Jul 242017
 

This post covers are trip back home and then comments and costs about our holiday.

We left the campsite at about 10.30am and had an uneventful trip through the village and back onto the A3 towards Valencia. There was a small queue at the junction with the A7 motorway and we made our way south, the motorway was much busier than normal presumably because it is ‘tourist season’. We left the A7 at Ondara and drove back to Parking El Vergel where we left the caravan as usual. A nice lunch in the ‘Chicken Shack’ a quick shop in Lidl and then home to Orba.

The first thing we found on arrival home was water flowing down the stairs from the tap outside the underbuild, the gardener had left the tap on and in the sun and with the pressure the hose burst at the joint with the tap and water was pouring out of the tap. Probably for more than 24 hours. We then went inside and found the the hot water pipe had also burst in our bathroom and that was flooded with the cabinet ruined along with medicines and toiletries stored in the cabinet. The next few hours were spent mopping up everywhere. A call to our insurers and it turns out we are fully covered for water damage so now waiting for the plumber and then quotes for the new cabinet.

To summarise our holiday:

25 Days away
6 Campsites visited
€753.20 in Campsite fees
2,776 Kilometers travelled
€348.03 for fuel
€31.32 in motorway tolls
€156 Cattery bill for Mika

A review of our campsites:

1: Las Corralizas near Bronchales, this is the highest campsite in Spain at 1727m. A lovely site set amongst trees with vaguely marked plots with friendly helpful staff. A long electricity lead and long hose for water are required. Nice modern wash rooms. Excellent restaurant. If we were in the area we would definitely stop there again.

2: Camping Entrerrobles near not far from Soria. This was a nice grass site with large plots and electricity but no water or grey water disposal on plot. The restaurant is superb with a menu using lots of the local wild mushrooms. Very friendly helpful laid back staff. Unfortunately no wifi coverage. We will definitely visit here again.

3: Igueldo near San Sebastian. This was a terrible site, how it gets such a high rating from ACSI I don’t know. The office staff and security guards were disinterested and unhelpful, however, the site workers were friendly and helpful so this made up for it to a limited extent. The pitches are exceptionally small even though we had booked a large one our pitch could only just accommodate our caravan with no room for our car. Wifi patchy, restaurant reasonable. We would definitely not stay here again.

4: Caravanning Oyambre near San Vincente de la Barquera about 40km from Santander. An excellent site with large grass pitches with water, electricity and waste on pitch. Very helpful friendly staff but a bit of a walk to the central washrooms. Very good reasonably priced restaurant, wifi coverage good but need to login every hour.

5: Monte Holiday near Gargantilla del Lozoya a nice site with grass pitches for larger caravans and motorhomes. Staff are welcoming, friendly and very helpful. Very busy at weekends but deserted during the week. Poor internet reception on the grass pitches due to the distance from reception. Can be a long walk uphill to the central washrooms. Very good restaurant with cheap lunches but more expensive evening meals. A well stocked on-site shop. We will definitely stop here again.

6: Kiko Park Rural near Villargordo del Cabriel a nice site with large gravel pitches about 8km from the centre of the village set in a restored tiny village which is now the entire campsite. Very pleasant helpful staff, choose your own plot was what we were told, close to a large lake and the high speed rail line to Madrid but that didn’t disturb us. Very good wifi coverage. Excellent reasonably priced restaurant. We will definitely stop here again.

Total route

Jul 212017
 

Well the final day of our summer holiday 2017, it was supposed to be raining but luckily it didn’t. We have had a lazy day with a lie in this morning followed by reading and slowly but surely tidying, packing and cleaning. Not much left to put away in the morning and then we can head back home, it should only be about 2 hours from here. No photos today as you don’t want to see us lolling about.

I will do a final post of this trip over the weekend with details of mileage, comments about the campsites and a synopsis of highs and lows as well as costs.

Jul 202017
 

A bright hot and sunny day today. We decided to drive in to Utiel for a bit of food shopping but first we would drive down to the lake and take a look and some photos. We turned right out of the gate and followed the rough tarmac campo road in the direction of the lake and we slowly made our way down and then the road turned to pot holes and gravel so we decided to stop and walk down as far as we wanted to. We got a fabulous view of the lake but it was obviously very much lower than normal probably nearer 20 meters rather than the 15 I originally thought. The photos don’t do the turquoise colour justice.

We turned around and drove back towards the campsite and then on into Villargordo, rather than joining the A3 motorway I decided to use the N111. This road was incredible with one lane in each direction and completely straight for about 10 kilometers but it did undulate so from the tops of the hills you could see a long way in each direction. We drove into Utiel and looked for the Mercadona supermarket but even with directions from a local bar owner where we had a coffee we didn’t find it but we did find a large Consum instead. After doing our shopping there we went looking for a Tabacos for Ingrid, a very nice lady lead us through the back streets to the main square and there was a Tabacos opposite the large church. The church was inaccessible as it was undergoing building works, the lady explained that it needed a new roof. After finding that Ingrid was out of luck we made our way back to the car and headed back down the N111 which had large fields of grapevines on both sides of the road and the high speed rail line ran alongside the road too. Back at the campsite we had lunch and settled for a quiet afternoon reading.

I walked around the campsite late afternoon and took some photos of the area. As an old village it was picturesque with the old village houses being turned into rental chalets.

Wasp enjoying leftovers

For dinner we had a BBQ of fillet steak that we bought from Consum. It was excellent and even the wasp who joined us when we had finished enjoyed it.

The last two night we have been treated to spectacular sunsets and here are some examples.