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

 

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3 days around Camino del Rey (which will have it’s own post!)

So, let’s get up to date.

Sunday dawned a little brighter than Saturday (to be honest that really wasn’t difficult as it rained most of the day on Saturday…).  We took the opportunity to sit and relax a little outside and Calv gave the van a clean – he can’t bear it dirty!

We then agreed to meet up with Elaine and Chris to walk up to a cake shop that they know in La Cala.  They came to get us and then we left their car where they’re staying, Dona Lola, and set off on foot along the boardwalk.  The boardwalk then takes you miles along the coast but we were only going just over 2 1/2 miles to La Canasta, the cake shop.  Calv had 2 pasties (empanadas) and then a little later a massive slice of carrot cake.  I had a slice of cheesecake and very nice it was too!

Being a Sunday there was some sort of festival going on in the park behind us; we think there was maybe a fancy dress competition involved.

 

We then walked up to a little square on the seafront and then headed back along the boardwalk to Chris and Elaine’s apartment for a cup of tea.

Chris offered us a lift home but we decided to walk – another 2 1/2 miles 🙂

On Monday morning I finally got my bike out and we went to do a bit of shopping in the Supersol – it was a bit of a faff and I’m surprised we managed to get back with no accidents as Calv decided to buy a 6 pack of 1ltr, glass, bottles of San Miguel which he had to strap to the back of his bike – funny how he’d magically managed to bring some bungee cords with him….

We then relaxed for a while, then just as we were thinking about moving and heading down to the beach for a couple of hours Chris and Elaine arrived, running!  So we had a cup of tea before heading down to the beach together.  I finally got all the way into the sea and swam.  Chris did too, but he went in too soon and couldn’t stay in for very long.  In the evening we walked back to Dona Lola to meet up with them to do a quiz (I love a quiz!)  We came 3rd (with 2 other couples….) and then went for a Chinese.

We decided not to walk home after all and got a taxi.  However, we were surprised at how much it cost to go just a couple of miles – 8 euros!  So we wouldn’t do that again.

And then it was Tuesday 🙂 (See Camino del Rey for what we did on Tuesday!)