Friday 29 May: Nijar to El Cabo de Gata
We slept like logs last night, snoring our little hearts out. After a green juice and a bit of breakfast we set off to find a hidden gem.
We had two route options – the motorway or the country lane. Now normally we’d take the country land but not today, we opted for the motorway. Why, I hear you cry? Because of the damn poly tunnels. I know they provide a good income for the region but they are such an eye sore especially when the ripped plastic is battering around in all the hedges.
It’s a Friday but it feels and looks like a Sunday. Where are everyone? With the roads so quiet we reached El Cabo de Gata ahead of schedule. Not that we have a schedule but it felt good to arrive sooner than expected.
As we drove towards the town we spotted a large lake with flamingos. It felt weird just driving passed a load of wild flamingos, as if though it was normal for Spain. Well maybe to the locals but to us they were…flamingos. Still a rare find for us Northern folk.
El Cabo de Gata GPS Position: N36.779776, W-2.241499
We parked up on some spare land just set back a little from the beach. The land had three small trees in a row. We parked between the gap of two of them and a Swiss camper parked in the other. No other cars or campers in sight and as we walked in to town Vin and his neighbour looked rather lost in the large open land.
We walked around the town and it was dead. The town had no spirit just rows of concrete boxes all with their shutters down. Don’t get us wrong, it was nice and clean but then again there was no one around to mess up the place. We had hoped to find a little bakers for some fresh bread but not a cat in hell of finding anything here. The only shop open, a Spar with sweet baguettes and extortionate prices. I think we will bake the Lidl rolls.
Peanut is mad on squeaky toys, it’s his nu nu. He has a black and orange thing and El Rancid. We only let him have one toy at a time and whilst one is squeaking the other is being washed. The toy goes everywhere with him and the only time he puts it down is when he is being fed. He has always liked his toys but it’s only since he got Cushing disease were it has to go everywhere with him. Anyway, the point I was about to make, his squeak stinks. The smell is attracting flies and the flies are queuing up to come in and join the squeak party. If the queue gets any bigger they will be buying tickets! Peanut is not impressed with the flies, Craig is wound up with them and to top it all they are making my itch, itch. Nothing for it, Craig got the fly swats and I washed the squeak. Peanuts world fell apart for a nano second until squeak number 2, El Rancid appeared, all nice and clean.
Today is overcast, so a great day for a cycle ride. We popped Peanut in his basket with some water and set off along the coastal road. This road hugs the coastline but it eventually hits a dead end after several mile, so it is nice and quiet. We cycled a total of 18km, which is fair distance for a non cyclist. The road literally ran alongside the beach, so all the way we had golden sands and turquoise waters. For half the journey we didn’t see anyone on the beach then after that, a handful of people fishing. It was so quiet and such a surprise given how beautiful this beach is. On the other side of the road, wetlands with all sorts of birds including the flamingos. Every so often a dirt track leading to a tweeting hut. After the wetlands, salt plains and a small community with a lovely church.
Cycle ride done, we updated Our Bumble and called it quits for the day.
Saturday 30 May: El Cabo de Gata to La Fabriquilla
The little Mosquitos drove us mad all night long. Just as we started to nod buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, so this morning we are shattered. Nothing for it, we will go to the beach and relax for the day. Craig, CraiG, CRAIG!!! Where has he gone? Ah he’s there. Would you believe it, he is outside cleaning the bloody motorhome. He’s not even brushed his teeth and he is at it!
I nipped to the market for some fresh veggies and I got broccoli, apples, celery, artichoke, cabbage, pears, aubergine, green beans and garlic for €3.70. Not bad eh. Then we called at the Spar for milk and a bottle of wine. It is the only supermarket for 30km or so, so not much choice to shop in the expensive set up.
La Fabriquilla GPS Position: N36.738057, W-2.207641
Off to the beach! Just 10km east of the town and we found a brilliant spot. We parked up right on the beach and after a minor shuffle or two, Craig got us an infinity sea view from inside the motorhome. Perfect. Lovely white sand, turquoise waters and backdrop of the Gata national park mountains. Then just to the west, a salt lake covered in bright pink flamingos, what else could we need.
We sat most of the day on our chairs reading magazines and chatting. Peanut did his usual…snoozing I the sun. It was such a nice day just enjoying time together and putting the world to rights. We also we took time to reflect and say here or at home working….we smiled and couldn’t believe how free we felt. It’s took us a while to get in to living our life in the motorhome but for what ever reason, we now feel settled. Just the 3 of us, our little family, it felt so good. Then Ping, a message from his mate Clive asking if Craig had got a man bag. Well I couldn’t stop laughing, Craig and a man bag! With a frown and manly voice, he said cheek bugger, it’s a camera bag. Then as we turned to the sea we spotted a rib with a few scuba divers. How bazaar given Clive had just arrived at Eyemouth for a weekend of diving. Umm it got us both thinking about our diving days…Clive, Vinny, Carl, Stu and our infamous boat, The Black Pig. Ah the good old days of diving…..and we drifted off day dreaming, again.
We were both happily in our own day dreaming mode when I felt something land on my belly. I walloped it with my hand. Oops, sorry Craig I thought you were a fly. Anyway, what are you doing? With a cheesy grin, he looked up, clutching a piece of skin. My belly was peeling and he’d decided to forcefully tear half my stomach skin. You know, he is a bugger. I gave him a crack with one of my magazines and sent him on his way. Off he went to do a typical man thing…sit on the loos for hours. Peanut followed Craig in to Vin and decided to do a few house chores starting with mopping the floor with his tongue. A chore he loves doing these days. I chilled with a bit of U2 and Simple Minds.
For our afternoon refreshment to we cut open a lovely chilled watermelon and it was so yummy even Peanut had a chomp. We can’t remember what it is called but it doesn’t have any of those black pips inside, so much easier and cleaner to eat. As we nibbled our melon and looked down the beach, it became clear that yellow is this seasons colour of choice for when it comes to beach umbrellas. So if you are off to the beach this year folks, you need to find a mellow yellow brolly!
Brilliant moody sunset and yummy dinner!
Sunday 31 May: La Fabriquilla
Honk, honk, honk…here is the bread lady! I nipped out to get a freshly baked baguette from the mobile bread van, whilst Craig popped the kettle on. This little village, if you can call it that, only has around 20 small houses, a cafe and a small shop. But with a cracking beach location and deliveries straight to your door, what else do you need!
Another lazy day at the beach but today we sat under the canopy. With an average temperature of 39 degrees it was one of the hottest days of the year. The sun felt fierce on your skin, so we slapped on plenty of sunblock and took shade under Vins built in brolly…which is blue and so last season. The cool ocean breeze kept the temperature bearable. Even Peanut welcomed the salty air, raising his snout so he could sniff out the other beach dudes. To top the day off nicely, a wonderful sunset made even more colourful and spectacular when 100’s of flamingos took to the sky in search of the next lagoon
Monday 1 June: La Fabriquilla to San Jose
With the weekend over the little village of La Fabriquilla was deserted. No beach towels and brollies just an elderly couple tinkering with their old tiny boat. We bolted down the hatches, let Peanut out for a pickle and then set off around the headland. The views were just beautiful. The colours of the blue water against the black volcanic rock looked very inviting especially with odd reef teaming with sea life. If only it was a tad warmer or better still, we’d brought the wet suits then we’d be in there having a wee snorkel. At Arrecife de las Sirenas, a lighthouse and the end of the road. From here you can walk across the coastal land and find some of the best secluded beaches in Spain. Unfortunately the walks tend to be a couple of hours, so by the time we got there we’d need to head back for Peanut. We had a walk up to the lighthouse and looked down the coastline before climbing back in Vin and setting off, again.
Today, it is overcast and a welcome relief after yesterday’s blistering heat. It also made the drive over the Cabo to Gata national park more interesting. You can see much more detail when the sun isn’t glaring across the landscape.
Our next stop San Jose. The resort is very popular with locals and although you can tell it is a holiday resort it is still rather quaint. No high rise hotels just white sugar cubed villas dotted around the bay. We had a bit of a cycle around the town and whilst it was nice we couldn’t find a spot for Vin, so we headed to the beach. Up over the headland, down a very dusty track. And when we say dusty, boy was it dusty. It was so bad, you couldn’t see Vin just a massive cloud of orange dust. Craig was not impressed and I could feel the tension building as the dust started to stick to Vin. To top it the back of the motorhome started to squeak. Next minute, I was driving and he was investigating every squeak. By the time we got to the beach the tool box was out and within minutes the whole of the internal back panel was off! Bloody El, here we go. Craig strategically placed tiny pieces of foam along the edge of panel and then repositioned it. Then he took my little ornamental love hearts off and replaced the foam with thick sponge. Followed by half a dozen other bash and bangs around the joint before he stopped and smiled…done. I could feel Vin sigh with relief. Talk about OCD!
San Jose 1 GPS Position : N36.745609, W-2.124842
I had to take an urgent phone call, so Craig took a walk along the beach. When he returned, I wasn’t in the best of moods…lets just say some people aren’t fair and reasonable. In order to try and lift my mood Craig suggested a walk to the other side of the beach. We had a trudge and I managed to kick some sand and curse the b*stards, which felt good. As we walked to the end of the beach it suddenly dawned on me, it was a nudist beach. Craig had said but it just didn’t register, the call had clearly wound me up. There weren’t many on the Playa Genoveses just a dozen or so but we did look the odd ones out! Not sure bearing all is our kinda of thing plus what about your precious bits? They might burn! Ouch!
San Jose 2 GPS Position: N36.767810, W-2.109768
We had planned in staying here overnight but by 8 pm all the other motorhomes had left and a sign saying no overnight was enough to convince us to move. This place feels like a special little place that the police will monitor carefully. We had our evening meal and then packed up and went back to San Jose. We pulled in to a small,car park just off the main road. It was quiet and will do nicely for tonight.
Just as I was about to wind down, Craig got his hammer and started bashing the door hinge. Next minute the screwdrivers were out. Jeez, not more bloody bashing, it is 9.30 in the evening Craig. I need to take him to the doctors and ask for a switch off valve to be installed. Either that or tranquillisers. Even Peanut whined and put his paw over his ears. The door wasn’t locking perfectly and so Craig moved the door up half a millimetre, so it closed as it should. Personally, I hadn’t noticed it but then again, attention to detail isn’t my strong point. Eventually we shut shop and went to bed.
Tuesday 2 June: San Jose to Isleta del Moro
Well considering we are next to the main road of San Jose, it was very quiet last night. We slept like logs. Vin was covered in dust after our expedition through the dust plains of El nuddy beach, so guess what Craig did? Yep, up at the crack of dawn to wipe all the dust off the Vin. It is good he is proud of our home and keeps Vin looking like new but I wish he would wait until after sunrise!
We have practically run out of food just a couple of lamb chops, beef burgers and calamari in the freezer plus a handful of potatoes in the veggie cupboard. We have packet soup, pasta and a few tin products, so we will not starve but we could certainly do with a supermarket pretty soon.
We spotted a little grocer store around the corner, so Craig nipped off and got the basics like bread, milk and eggs then at least we have a few toast and egg meals! Oh and the romantic soul bought me a pumice stone….lost for words.
We hit the road and not long before we were out having a toot at a memorial. It was just plonked at the side of the road and dedicated to the village carpenter. A horse drawn water wheel connected to the well, which then connected to a trough that lead to the wash houses. How coolest that. I guess the carpenter did the wheel, the original trough and wooden scrubbing boards.
It was a beautiful day and driving through the Sierra was a delight. The hills weren’t huge but we’re perfectly formed little rugged bumps, all from a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. El Friele and Friele Chico volcano are the two volcanos that spat their dummy out a few million years ago and created Cabo de Gata national park. Now they just quietly perched in the middle of the arid but spectacular park.
Next stop, a fort and a ruin. We have no idea what they are as no sign posts or details but they looked pretty good perched on the end of the limestone rocks. A trundle across the rocks and we found an old chap fishing. A lovely chap who was adamant to show us his memorial to his late fishing pal.
As we set off, we spotted a little village down a dusty lane. We turned in and wow, what a place! This one certainly goes on our top 10 hidden gems. We parked right on top of a mound over looking two beautiful bays. We said hello to our neighbour and it turned out Jan and Dave were from Leyland, which is just around the corner from our home town. We spent the afternoon chatting with them, exchanging stories and having a laugh. Peanut lapped up,the breeze and looked more like a little dumbo ready to take flight.
Isletta del Moro GPS Position: N36.815573, W-2.051062
A walk in to the village to find out we are at a place called Isleta Del Moro. The quaint village just added to the wow factor with handful of fish restaurants, a few diving operators and tiny harbour. The turquoise waters looked inviting and especially around the headland with lots of good snorkelling spots. They even had a fresh water tap and old fashioned washing shed. Top place apart from the fact I slipped on the gravel slope and bruised my arse!
Back at Vin and we were chatting with Dave and Jan when a French motorhome arrived. They seemed nice enough but we were a little perplexed…they told us we couldn’t park here and the police would fine us if we stayed. They then told us where we could park and pointed it out on the TomTom. We all thanked then and they went back in their motorhome. All seems nice enough but why the hell didn’t they move? It was only later that evening when we moved to avoid the wind when we realised they wanted our parking spot. The cheeky buggers gave us some cock and bull story in the hope we’d move.
Just before sunset we moved Vin to a lower car park, so we could open our door without a slam. The wind had picked up and it was too strong on the headland, so we took shelter down on the lower parking area near the beach. Then a nice stroll in to the village and along the waters edge. On the way back Jan popped over and gave us a letter, which we opened back in Vin. It was a lovely little note thanking us for a lovely day and asking us to join them for lunch tomorrow as it was their 37th wedding anniversary. How sweet.
Wednesday 3 June: Isleta del Moro to Los Negros
Peanut was just doing his morning chore of mopping the floor with his tongue when tap, tap on the door. It was Jan and Dave. They had decided to move on. The French chap had planted a seed in their head about the police and they couldn’t rest, so rather than worry they were going to go back to San Jose and find a campsite. We said our goodbyes and wished them all the best.
After another stroll in to the village and the harbour, we opted for good old fashioned beans on toast for lunch. Not the fine dining I quite expected but hey ho.
We let Peanut out for a pickle and Craig suggested we get him some wellies. He can’t cock his legs anymore, so he just pickles on his feet, which means they stink. Plus sand and dirt constantly stick to his paws. Wellies, a good idea, so need to think of how to make some.
After filling Vin with water we set off and Vin sounded like the Porsche, quiet and smooth. All that banging and bashing had paid off and we were squeak free. The drive along the coast and then in to the valleys were just lovely. We passed loads of windmill ruins, which would make lovely homes if renovated in the right way.
Once in Los Negros we parked up along some residential apartments. We took a walk along the beach and then in to town. This place was nice but it didn’t have the right atmosphere. If we passed one doped up drunk, we passed a dozen and something didn’t add up. I don’t do drugs and this place certainly seemed to be that sort of town. Maybe a nice place but it was certainly attracting people that made us feel uneasy. Craig managed to get some tobacco and I managed to get an ice cream, but that’s about it for the town highlight.
Las Negras GPS Position: N36.878773, W-2.005943
That night we attempted to watch a film but the damn cats drove us mad. They just constantly tried to climb in to the engine bay and snuggle up. Every time we got rid of one, another one would sneak in. We wouldn’t mind them snuggling up but they can do loads of damage and dislodge the wires. Plus not sure we would like to turn on the engine with a cat inside! By the end of the night, Craig was going potty at the cats and at one point he got so annoyed he picked up Peanut poop (in a bag) and gently chucked it at the cat. He hoped the smell of dog poop would clear it off. I couldn’t stop laughing, chief dung flinger.
Thursday 4 June: Los Negros to Aqua Amarga
I squashed a fat mosquito, so guess one of us is going to itch later,
We didn’t fancy staying here another night, so off we set towards Agua Amarga. The beach resort is very popular with the Spanish and by the looks of it, there could well be a little bit of money here. No longer a sleepy fishing village but more of a second home resort to well to do Spanish, so popular at weekends. The dried up river bed made for a good solid ground beach car park. There were a few campers already parked up and it seems parking is permitted here. It was rather a hot day and the sun was a little too fierce for sitting out. Peanut struggled to even stay in the shade, so we put him inside and switch on the fan. He seemed a lot better. We went for a walk around and up on to the cliff caves to explore. We weren’t long, so as not to catch to much sun and burn plus we wanted to make sure Peanut was OK.
When we got back to Vin, Peanut didn’t look at happy chap. He was in Craig footwell and looked rather flustered. Not hot just flustered. We picked him up and said hello. He seemed to calm down but when we put him on the floor his right back leg was lame. We made a fuss if him and checked everything out and it seemed to go ok. When we took him outside for a pickle, he seemed to limp a little but then it would go ok. As a treat we gave him some cold water melon which he just loved. He cuddled up as usual and went to sleep. Maybe he has banged his leg a little by bumping in to something? We had no idea but it being late in the day and with no vets, we just kept an eye on him.
Friday 5 June: Aqua Amarga to Carboneras
Peanut was rather restless in the night. Up and down and shuffling around. I kept getting up to check him and letting him out for a wee. He seemed ok just restless until this morning….we let him out and his right back leg was clearly paralysed. His paw was turned under and there was no strength in the leg what so ever. We set off to Carboneras and by the time we got there Peanut was in agony. I was on the floor reassuring him whilst Craig was driving around trying to find the vets. Eventually two chaps in a council vehicle offered to take us there. They drove and we followed. By the time we got to the vets, I am not sure who was more distressed me or Peanut. By this time both his back legs were paralysed. I could not stand his cries, it was heartbreaking. A good job Craig remained calm and composed although underneath I could see his worry. Not long and we were in with the vet. The vet was excellent. He examined Peanut, did X-rays and talked to us about his condition. With Peanut having Cushing disease he was limited to the treatment but he felt we should try and reduce the inflammation. Peanut had a growth on his spine / hips but it was an old growth and unlikely to be the cause of his paralysis. He gave Peanut an anti inflammatory injection and asked us to return in the morning. We also had to pick up some tummy pills from the chemist, as the drugs were too strong for his stomach lining.
I feared this was the end but Craig told me to remain positive.
Carboneras 1 GPS Position: N36.996361, W-1.898693
We parked up on a quiet street. The drugs had kicked in and Peanut was fast asleep snoring his little head off. We felt much better now, knowing he was not in pain. Craig nipped to the chemist and then to Mercadona to stock up on food. Our freezer and cupboards are nearly bear, so a top up is well needed.
The rest of the day we stayed in Vin just looking after Peanut, it was a strange day.
Saturday 6 June: Carboneras
Horrid night. I sat up all night with Peanut. He was clearly scared being paralysed from the hip down and being blind probably made it worse. He couldn’t move and couldn’t see, how horrible must that be? All night, I sat just stroking him and gently talking to him, which seemed to calm him down. If I left his side, he got very stressed and just yelped, which just freaked me out, so I didn’t move all night. Needless to say we are both shattered this morning!
After a quick shower we set off to the vets and discussed Peanuts condition. The vet felt we should continue with the anti inflammatory drug as we didn’t know if the injury is down to a fall, in which case it could ease over the next couple of days. We agreed and hoped he was right but in our hearts we felt it wasn’t reversible. He gave Peanut the jab and asked us to call back at 8pm that evening.
We drove a few miles out of Carboneras to a nudist beach. We weren’t interested in boobs and willies just the car park. It is a nice big open car park with plenty sea breeze to keep us all cool in this blistering heat and high humidity. Peanut stayed in the garage all day (doors open at both sides, of course), so the aluminium floor and cool breeze kept him nice and cool. I sat with him just to keep him company are reassure him. Craig did tons of washing including bath towels and anything that looked a bit like material. He washed his little socks off, oh and Vin got another good cleaning again.
Carboneras 2 GPS Position: N36.954625, W-1.904553
Early evening, we set off back towards the town. We filled up with water then parked up on our usual spot just behind the supermarkets. We arrived at the vets early. It was nice to just sit in the shade and watch people walk up and down the promenade. It gave us some sense of normality in what seemed a bad dream.
The vet arrived and as usual we talked about Peanuts condition…no change. He the gave Peanut a strong dose of anti inflammatory drugs and a big vitamin injection. Now we have to see how he goes over the next 24 hours.
We’d spotted a potential beach parking spot earlier in the day, so Craig headed back towards the port. It was a bumpy ride from the main road to the beach spot but when we got there, it was a perfect spot. On an elevated dirt road in a little bay overlooking the beach (we won’t mention the cement factory, behind). Most importantly, it was quiet and tucked out of the way, so Peanut could hopefully recover without any mither. It also meant we could stay here for as long as needed and just nip back in to town as and when.
Carboneras 3 GPS Position: N36.946973, W-1.915214
After a lovely sunset the moon came out and lit up the whole bay. It was so tranquil with the waves lapping on to the beach and the stars twinkling way up high. Every time we took Peanut out for a wee, his ears would flap in the breeze and his nose would go ten to the dozen. He wasn’t feeling great but this place certainly made him feel good.
Sunday 7 June: Carboneras
I nursed Peanut most of the night, so I slept in until around 11. When I woke, Craig had done me a lovely breakfast, served outside on our new beach patio overlooking the sea. Peanut joined me, he lay sleepy and dopey with drugs but he knew where he was and he was happy. Occasionally, he would get a little burst of energy and he would lean up and lick my foot. Craig shared his yogurt with Peanut which he seemed to really enjoy.
Craig washed everything in sight to keep him occupied and we did our best to disinfect the Motorhome from any little mishaps.
The rest of the day, we spent looking after Peanut and making sure he was comfortable. He had the odd cheese treat (his favourite) and a bit of Trevelez ham but his appetite wasn’t there. In the main he lay at the door entrance in full sun shine with the breeze cooling his body. Peanut is a proud dude and at one point, he tried to clean himself. You could see he didn’t like been dirty from his little piddles, so I gave him a quick shower. He was soon lifting his head and feeling proud as punch. Then when he was dry, I gave him his usual treat for being a good boy, a dog chew which he seemed to enjoy.
Come night fall there was no change in Peanuts condition. He was still paralysed from his hips and I could see one of his front paws starting to turn under, too. It felt like the drugs had taken away the pain but not treated the cause of paralysis. We feared total paralysis was not far away but prayed we were wrong.
Monday 8 June: Carbonara to Mojacar
Another sleepless night but we don’t mind the lack of sleep, we just hate seeing Peanut so uncomfortable. He is such a proud little chap and his paralysis means he can’t move to go for a piddle when he wants. As a result, he gets rather stressed and restless when it’s time too. Every couple of hours we took him outside to his favourite back wheel for a pee. One sniff of the back tyre and way hey man everything just flowed. We had to hold his back legs and lift him slightly but he didn’t mind, he trusted us completely. As a thank you, he would lick your hand, poor little chap. It was also a good excuse to have 5 minutes with him and tell him about his wonderful adventures. How we loved him so much and how much joy he brought in to our lives.
From about 5am he was very restless and clearly in a lot of pain. We did everything we could to ease his suffering but we felt powerless. It was heart breaking to hear him yelp in agony and we could no longer bear his cry. I opened the door, placed his blanket near the opening and carefully placed him down on his side. The sun was just rising and the sky was a beautiful orange glow. As he placed his head on his blanket the warm morning rays just caught his face and the cool ocean breeze calmed him down. I sat chatting to him telling him stories from his 15 years of doggy adventures.
Later that morning….the vet confirmed our fears, there was nothing more we could do. At 10.30 he quietly passed away with us holding his paws and chatting to him.
The rest of the day, well it passed, slowly. We moved a few kilometres down the road to a nice spot in a town called Mojacar, so we could take time to come to terms with losing Peanut.
Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10: Garruncha
A couple of days on the beach feeling rather numb. The Motorhome doesn’t feel the same, we miss the pitter patter of our little dude. At the moment, plenty tears of sadness at our loss but plenty happy memories of a brilliant dog and wonderful companion. One thing is for sure, Peanut always made us smile, so despite what lies ahead, we have years of Peanut smiles to look forward to. What a great gift he has left us………
Peanuts last thoughts…I just wanted to say I had a great life, mum and dad took me to many, many places, I’ve been to the rugged highlands of Scotland, the heat of a real proper desert, into the mountains of the Alps, surfing on the Italian Riviera and many other wonderful places plus all that lovely food, yum yum. I’ll miss everyone but mum and dad most of all. They took me everywhere and gave me everything i ever wanted and loved me dearly, but they also gave me some really cool squeaky toys.
What more could a dude ask for.