A couple of Secret Swimming Spots ‘found’ in Andalucia #2

The 2nd of a couple of wonderful days out from Cabopino – Banos de Hedionda was quite possibly my favourite day out of this trip so far!

We had been told about a couple of places that we could park for free and were keen to check these out, never having parked for free before.  Along with these 2 spots we had been told about the Banos de la Hedionda, a Roman Baths that you can still swim in.

I’m telling you about this separately as it turned into a trip of 2 halves!

We had planned the day out with Steve and Denise for a Sunday and we were almost ready to go when Calv decided that we should fill up with fuel before we actually left.  So over to the fuel station opposite Cabopino we went – cue a little confusion as signs on the pumps suggested that we had to pay before filling up, so Calv decided to see if the pump worked, it did.  ‘Is this the right fuel?’ ‘Gaseole’ I read, ‘Diesel; yes’  And Calv proceeded to fill up.

We then all piled into the little car with our supplies for the day and set off along the A7 towards Marbella.  After about a mile and a half Calv said ‘We’re breaking down…!’ , the engine management light came on and we started to limp.  Luckily there was an exit handy (which turned out to be into the car park for the abandoned Marbella Roc hotel – shame as it looked really lovely).  This is where we realised (as I am sure you already have) that we had put the wrong fuel in the poor little car and we weren’t going anywhere until we’d sorted it out 😦

This is where knowing several people onsite came in handy!  We rang Alan, who was in a caravan so definitely had a towbar, to come to the rescue – which he did and really quickly too 🙂 (Thanks again Al 🙂 )  He firstly took us all back to the site before he and Calv returned to pick up the car (using the A-frame).

Calv then spent the majority of the next 7 hours emptying the diesel out (which wasn’t easy) and then putting some unleaded in (if only we’d done that in the first place!); and finally turning the engine over and over to expel the remaining diesel from the pipes….  Steve kept him company for the first hour or so, then I went into the car park to see if there was anything I could do – this turned out to be going and fetching more fuel (using Graham’s, of Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun fame, spare fuel can) and later turning the engine over and over again and again (we also had use of Jill’s – Jill and Roger, also seen frequently on Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun, car hooked up to the jump leads).

When the engine eventually fired it was a good moment, but also very dramatic!  It looked like the car was on fire…

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All’s well that ends well and we re-organised our trip for a couple of days later 🙂

We decided in the end that this was actually for the best because just imagine how busy it would have been on a Sunday!!

We were going quite a way, beyond Estepona to Manilva.  Our first stop was to have a quick look at a campsite, Bellavista, which we didn’t really like (and at 31Euros had no intention of staying there – only we did…)

From there we took a walk along the boardwalk towards the marina of Puerto Duquesa (where we had a quick drink), which took us through the 1st of our suggested stopovers, in the car park in front of the Castillo Duquesa. Overnight parking is usually tolerated here, but we think that there is a limit on numbers as when we tried, a few weeks after our initial visit, the police were happy at first but when more motorhomes turned up they came back and moved us all on…  So our first attempt at free camping failed (and that’s why we ended up in BellaVista).

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Before heading up into the mountains towards Casares we had a lovely lunch in Marlowes Fish and Chip Restaurant – we have missed fish and chips 🙂

Next stop the motorhome parking area at Casares (which we resolved to definitely use)

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And finally to the best part of the entire day – the Banos de la Hedionda.  Although they don’t look much from the outside (when you eventually find them), this is one of my favourite activities on the whole trip so far.  We were literally swimming in history – the baths are believed to have been originally built by Julius Caesar, when the waters were recognised as having healing properties.  They were later modified by the Arabs when they conquered the area.

You can swim inside or outside – we went inside (apparently it was warmer outside).  I would recommend water shoes, simply because I’m a bit of a woss and don’t like putting my feet down when I can’t see what’s on the bottom!  I could put my feet down in a couple of places; you could also swim down the tunnel where there was a shallow pool that you could climb into – there was also another passageway that was so dark you couldn’t see someone literally a foot away!  Without a torch I wasn’t willing to venture down there, but might well do on another visit (with a torch!)

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There is clear evidence that this was once a thriving attraction, but when we went we were the only people there (although I understand that in the summer you now have to book your place (free of charge though).  On the walk back we also found the old aqueduct across the river.

I cannot recommend a visit here highly enough – although remember to remove any jewellery; it turned somebody else’s Pandora jewellery black..!

Related Posts & Pages:-

Secret Swimming Spots #1

Review for Cabopino

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Christmas and New Year in a Motorhome in the sun (sort of…!)

Apart from a visit to family in Spain almost 25 years ago I have never spent Christmas outside of the UK.
Now I have not only spent christmas abroad, but also New Year AND whilst staying in the van no less 🙂
Plus a New Years Day dip in the mediterranean

It took a while for me to be persuaded to head out to Spain before Christmas and therefore to spend Christmas away from home, but once persuaded I did my best to throw myself into the preparations!

We knew where we were going to be – it’s necessary to make sure you book somewhere if you’re intending to spend christmas/new year touring in Spain; just to make sure.  So we had booked our pitch at Cabopino (as seen on Channel 5’s Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun – and yes we are friends with one of the couples featured, Roger and Jill).  This meant paying a deposit of 60Euros and losing it if (or rather when) we didn’t stay for the full 3 months.  However, we still averaged only 15.98Euros per night so we were perfectly happy.

We arrived on site on 6th December, caught up with friends who were already there (Steve & Denise and Jill & Roger), and quickly set about meeting new friends at the various events that you just can’t help joining in – such as Friday Happy Hour in Jorges Bar and live music in Andy’s Beach Bar on a Sunday afternoon.

Some of these new friends featured in our christmas and new year plans (Jim & his dog, Corrie; Alan & Tracy and Joe & Gayle).

We already knew that we were spending christmas with Steve and Denise (who we met at Cabopino back in 2017) together with Denise’s daughter Marie and her boyfriend (also Steve) and their other friends Sue & Pete (and Pete’s brother, John).  So we were already catering for 9 between 3 of us (me, Denise and Sue)!  But when we met Alan & Tracy who had just arrived and were on their 1st trip abroad with their caravan, we couldn’t leave them to be on their own on Christmas Day.  Then when we found out that Jim didn’t have anything arranged for Christmas Day we couldn’t allow that either – so now we were 12…!

We all put some money in the kitty and, even if I do say so myself, we produced quite the feast between us 🙂 We had the works!  Turkey, beef, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and christmas pudding (provided by Denise & Steve), ham, yorkshire puds, pigs in blankets, carrots, peas, sprouts, roasted parsnips (& carrots) & 2 homemade cheesecakes (provided by me) and red cabbage, cauliflower cheese & roast potatoes (provided by Sue).  And we even had crackers (courtesy of Denise 🙂 )

We set up a couple of tables and requisitioned several chairs in addition to our own and all fitted nicely onto Steve & Denise’s pitch (which was immediately behind ours.  Calv had ‘made’ a gate between the pitches so it was fairly easy to make our way from the van to the table (we had steps beside the 2 foot wall that we had to negotiate).

All cramming ourselves around the tables it wasn’t that much different to having a houseful at home tbh!  Unfortunately the sun didn’t really shine, but it wasn’t cold and we had a lovely time – it was, almost, like christmas at home!

When it got too cold we were down to 9 of us, so we were able to spend the evening in our van (we even all managed to sit down).  We got out the Chase card game and managed to get through it – taking it all a little more seriously after, young, Steve the Quizmaster, told us that ‘We could either play it properly, or not at all!!’  We gave in as he had a bad hip and was on crutches 🙂

So we then had a week to get over our christmas excesses (or rather add to them…) and prepare for New Year’s Eve.  We eventually decided that we would host at our van, but outside if possible.  Although the days are warm at this time of year in Spain the evenings really aren’t!

We set up with a couple of windbreakers, the table, some chairs, lights and lanterns.  We were joined by Steve, Denise, Marie & Steve, Alan (Tracy wasn’t feeling well) and Jim.  As it got colder I brought out all our woolly hats and gloves (which for some reason we have in abundance in the van – they came in very useful) and we just basically drank (6 bottles of champagne were lying on the floor in the morning – the boys weren’t drinking champagne….), sang, quizzed (with the same quizmaster..) and danced (my fitbit recorded me having 19 minutes of aerobic activity at 2am on New Year’s Day!) the night and the early hours away 🙂  We even managed to get in ‘the game’, which we play as a family every year (we managed this on Christmas Day as well 🙂 )

Before midnight we were joined by Joe & Gayle who had been over to Alberts to celebrate, but left early as their friends wanted to.  I do remember the alarm on everybody’s faces when it looked like I might try to do the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift – to be fair Calv didn’t look scared even though I was running full tilt at him 🙂

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The end of the ‘evening’ NYE 2018 (3.20am 1.1.2019)

We turned the music off at the same time as the camp bar (2am) but the night eventually ended at 3.20am..  I must admit that I thought we were quiet after 2am, but apparently not.. Sorry (but it’s 1 night a year tbf)

In the morning whilst Calv remained comatose I started the clean-up, accompanied by ‘mornings’ and massive grins from our fellow campers.  It was definitely a night to remember!!

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The morning after the night before – 1.1.2019

But our new experiences weren’t yet over.  There is a tradition at Cabopino beach of a mass swim on New Year’s Day.  Now you might think that this is a bit of a cop out being in Spain, but I promise you the water is not warm.  In fact it’s pretty cold!!

Down on the beach for the off at midday, we found cooking stations set up providing bacon butties and sausage sandwiches together with drinks etc.  This is all done by a group of residents and they won’t take any money for it – all they ask is that once you know about it you bring some supplies down so that the food will go further.  Wonderful.

There were hundreds of people thronged on the beach, most of them there to watch but probably about 60-70 of us went in.  You had to just keep running and get in as soon as possible or it would never happen – but once in it was really lovely 🙂  I was in treading water with a group of ladies (including Hannah from Cornwall) when someone notified us quite calmly that there was a jellyfish within feet of us – that was my cue to get out!

 

I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be there to do this again next year 😦  Maybe in a few year’s time though?!

Related Posts & Pages:-

Review for Cabopino

Spain Campsite reviews