Everything happens for a reason. Or so Calv likes to say. Well today this was proved beyond doubt!
We had our first failure today, in that we got to our first choice of campsite and it was full. It was a big site too, at La Manga de Mar Menor. Actually this is the 1st time that we’ve highlighted more than 1 (3 to be exact) as we know that there’s now more chance of sites being full (as we head further South). And to be fair this was only our 1st choice because it was the 1st one we got to.
However, it was out of the way and we wish we’d rung in the morning to save us an extra 40 miles driving… I had thought that being situated right at the end of a peninsula with few roads going in (as shown on our map anyway…) and a sea lagoon on its doorstep it would be a little slice of heaven with very little going on. Haha – there were high rise hotels built along the sandbar that created the lagoon and a fair bit of traffic. So not my little bit of paradise then!
There was a slight complication though when we were told it was full in that there were 2 other vans there who were told the same thing. Were we all headed for the same site next? Were there any spaces there? If so was there just the 1?! So we ditched the plans to stop for a cuppa, Calv jumped in the driving seat and we were off – it was like Wacky Racers!! The old Talbot that was already there before us also got away first, but we easily overhauled him within a mile or so. The newer Carthago looked like he could have had us, but, luckily, he went in the other direction J
Anyway, my point is that we headed towards the 2nd site (which in reality WAS my 1st choice…) and, having skirted Cartagena, we started climbing through a mountain range – hard driving, following an already hard drive with high side winds all the way – lots of switchbacks and hairpins; it was a bit like being back in the Pyrenees except that we were in the van instead of the little C1!
But the views!! Just amazing and as we emerged from the mountains, the final descent revealed the sea sparkling just up ahead and we knew then –‘Everything happens for a reason’ J
The drive here saw the landscape change from one of groves and groves of orange trees to groves and groves of lemon trees, and finally to acres of agriculture (we don’t know really but it looks like cabbages and leeks – much is hidden in poly tunnels and greenhouses). Where we have landed, Isla Plana, just south of Cartagena, is no exception. (It’s now Thursday evening and we’ve been on a bike ride alongside some of the polytunnels – filled with hundreds of thousands of tomatoes in various stages of ripedness).
There’s not much going on here but it is beautiful and the site had 4 spots left. It was a bit of a squeeze getting in to our chosen spot – not particularly helped by the German man who emerged to point out that we couldn’t leave it with the nose sticking out into the road (really? really??!).
Normally when people emerge it’s to assist a fellow camper, but he came out to tell us off before we’d even finished manoeuvring– anyway Calv managed to get in sideways instead. Everyone who walks past keeps staring – I don’t think they can believe it’s in like that!! Even our neighbours were impressed that we had a van you could park sideways J
But we do have a seaview, and a good steep walk to the toilets, supermarket, reception, bar and swimming pools!
We have an indoor and outdoor pool, both open. The outdoor pool is thermal and we’re thinking of going in later. It won’t be so warm today (we had about 20 degrees again yesterday), maybe 18 (we’re hoping!) We’ll also ride back towards the mountains we came through and maybe up a little to one of the viewing spots (we went out yesterday down to the beach and the ‘town’ – very tiny!)
** Okay Thursday update – the temperature today was easily 24/25 again with full sun all day. We have sat outside the van, swum in the outdoor pool (followed by a bit more sunbathing) and then ridden the other way along the coast, up a mountain to look at the tower that we spotted yesterday. (And we have both, definitely, caught the sun – as in “should have put some suncream on….!”
The tower was part way up, yet another, mountain and then the entrance was halfway up the tower itself, followed by some steep, and very narrow, spiral stone stairs up to the top! It was used to protect the coast from pirates J
We are definitely going to stay a 3rd night here and just relax – or maybe try to cycle up into the mountains to one of the viewpoints – wish me luck!