First of all, can I apologise to all our lovely subscribers on behalf of our super-efficient, cutting-edge email bot. Cutting-edge he may be, but old Spamhe4d as we call him can’t seem to send a summary email with several of our posts listed at a time; he has to send a message for every post. When I fall a bit behind, as I’ve done this week, it means you get more messages than you might like. Or none at all. He’s a bit temperamental sometimes. Please console yourselves with the fact that after we sail home on Wednesday, the emails will be far more infrequent until we get away again, and who knows when that will be? Certainly not me!
So where was I? Oh yes, in our last post I mentioned the pesky minus sign and what a big problem such a little thing can cause. Well it’s like this. There we were in Agost, parked behind the brick works. The sun was shining, I’d had an early jog in the cool morning air to work up an appetite for a tasty breakfast with the obligatory two cups of Tetley’s. While scarfing down said breakfast we pored over the maps and guides and decided that our next destination should be Dénia, back on the coast. We’d read reports of what a great place it is for tourists, without being too tacky so two nights there seemed to fit the bill.
The only issue was that having had a few days off grid we needed to take fresh water on board and empty the unmentionables from the toilet cassette. We were a bit clever before we set off on this trip as we’d ordered a spare cassette for just these kind of situations. That said, you still don’t really want a tank full of **** rolling around in the boot, do you – so we looked up motorhome service areas along our route to Dénia and found a free one in a town called Benissa. Calling in here to empty and fill would mean we could stay off grid in Dénia rather than booking an expensive campsite.
So far, so good. What we hadn’t realised was that if you were to draw a line directly north from where we were, it would pretty much cut London in half along the Greenwich Meridian. So what, you might think. Well… we’ve found the best way to find all of our stopovers has been by using longitude and latitude co-ordinates as they’re so accurate. Our satnav assumes west of the meridian will be a minus number, and east of the meridian will be a positive number, but for doughheads like us it also has a W and E button to make it more obvious. Not obvious enough.
Instead of taking a lovely straight main road all the way to Benissa, we took 27 roundabouts round Benidorm, finally turning left up into the mountains. And if we thought the Alpujarra Mountains were a roller-coaster a few weeks ago – this was in a different league. Steep climbs, narrow roads, sheer drops and hairpin bends which made my arms ache. Goodness knows how it made Vince feel – he certainly got breathless at times. After several hours, “You have reached your destination” came from the speaker. We looked at each other, then at the vast emptiness around us, then at the teeny tiny town we could see waaay down in the valley, which might or might not have been Benissa (it was).
If there was any luck to this story, it was that the co-ordinates were only a fraction off the meridian along the lines of 0.02 degrees so we weren’t that far away from where we should be. We had a harum-scarum descent down the mountain, finally finding the service point about three hours later than we should have. Although we weren’t that far away, we’d had to take a completely different route to the easy drive we’d have had if the bloody co-ordinates had been entered properly!
Just give me a minute, I’ll be ok…
So, Dénia then. When we finally got there, we parked up in a supermarket car park. Which sounds a bit dodgy but our app said that the local police were perfectly happy for motorhomers to park opposite the Mercadona as long as it was parking behaviour, and not camping behaviour, so no chairs, awnings, hot-tubs or all the usual things you’d get out of the van at a campsite. There were two or three other campers – sorry, parkers there so we felt pretty safe to spend a couple of nights listening to the traffic, and the bins being emptied at 4.30AM.
And what a delight Dénia was! Our car park was only a short walk down to the promenade, where we found dozens of cafés, tapas bars and restaurants. As we’d saved on camp-site fees we treated ourselves to a drink or two in the posh marina. We realised we were getting ideas above our station however, when we heard the well-groomed Scottish fella at the next table say that he’d just called Britanny Ferries to book his usual Commodore corner cabin for the trip home. We would get five or six Vince crossings for the price he paid!
Highlights of our time in Dénia included a walk round the castle ramparts with views over the marina and the town, yet another fishy lunch, and a moment of reflection at the memorial statue of Umberto Masetti. Who? For goodness sake, any biker worthy of the name would be aware that he was the 500cc World Champion in 1950 and 1952. That’s the same class as our own Barry Sheene. He was also the first Italian to win a World Championship in this class, but I have absolutely no idea why there’s a memorial to a Italian in a Spanish town which he never visited!
Our day out ended with a calm and peaceful sail across the bay in a solar-powered ferry. Free of charge (as in cash, not batteries) and virtually silent, it was a delight to sit back and watch the terns diving for fish and the tourists bustling about the prom as we sailed serenely past. A perfect ending after what had been a rather fraught arrival.
Our next major port of call will be Zaragoza as we gradually head for Santander and the ferry home. We’ll see you there in a couple of days! 🙂