Casares – Charming White town. Birthplace of Blas Infante

A wonderful discovery in the mountains above Manilva 🙂

Finally tearing ourselves aware from the comfort and familiarity of Cabopino, we were aiming to spend a night or 2 at the spot in Puerto Duquesa that we had scoped out on the day we visited the Banos de la Hedionda (click here for relevant post), followed by a couple of nights in the free aire on the outskirts of Casares.

If you’ve been reading regularly you will know things don’t always go according to plan!  This time everything seemed fine to start with.  We arrived in the car park by Castillo Duquesa, parked up and had a cup of tea.  All was fine as a policeman did his rounds and was perfectly happy, so we spent a couple of hours on the beach – which was idyllic at first as we had it pretty much all to ourselves, the sun was out and the van was but metres away!  It was lovely even though the beach is not the nicest (slightly grey and gritty sand), and after about 1/2 hour the sandflies decided they liked the look of me!

So after a lovely couple of hours relaxing we returned to the van, to find 2 more vans parked behind us, and popped the kettle on again.  At this point (it was after 5pm by now) the police returned, there were 2 of them this time,  They proceeded to move everyone on, saying camping wasn’t allowed – indicating our step being out as being ‘camping behaviour’…  We’re pretty sure the problem was really that whilst they will tolerate 3 or 4 vans, anymore causes an issue.  The 2 vans parked behind us took the number stopped there to half a dozen.

Not wanting any more run ins with the police we moved – being our first time trying to park free of charge – to the nearby site of Bellavista (at 31 Euros for the night…)  In the morning I went for a run along the seafront promenade and saw that 3 of the vans were still parked up where we had been – possibly confirming our theory relating to why we were moved on.

Before heading inland to Casares we went back to the same spot and visited Castillo Duquesa which was free to visit.  The castle is clearly used by the community still as there are meeting rooms in the old rooms as well as 2 museums, 1 archeological and the other a fencing museum Continue reading “Casares – Charming White town. Birthplace of Blas Infante”

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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