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Ventonorte 
Caravan Park 
Vila do Bispo

Retreat

I am filled to the rim with beautiful adventures and impressions. Can’t take no more, have to let it sink in. I retreat on a simple caravan park in Vila do Bispo, work on my homepage and try to come down. 

4th to 11th
May

Turiscampo Camping Club Algarve

April 3rd to Mai 4th

The campground is so much better than I had expected. I got a beautiful site with hydro and electricity. The amenities are very clean and there is even a shower area for dogs. The staff is very friendly and the pool area loveable -the main attraction here is a family of ducks with 12 tiny ducklings. During the colder days they swim in the outdoor pool.

As soon as the next day I visit the indoor pool for the Aquagymn. 1 hour’s training in the warm water, instructed by the young and attractive animator Louis and you feel like a goddess. I go there every day. 

There I meet Verena. We spontaneously make friends and plan common activities. A boat tour to the Algar de Benagil, a bike tour to Lagos to Mister Manuel, the bikeman, or to the beaches of Praia da Luz. In the evenings we meet at the bar for a Piña Colada or Sangria or attend one of the music- or dance shows at the stage. Soon Verena’s Husband joins in and with Johanneke we are complete, all three are from Switzerland. 

Krümel is enjoying his time. He dictates his routine upon me – mornings dog walk, food and sleep, noon dog walk, food and sleep and when the evening comes, my lame old dog is mutating into a youngster – he can run again and is almost dragging me to Verena, we altogether walk to the far end of the campground, where the garbage containers a located. 

The days are flying by and soon my 2 weeks are over. I don’t want to go and extend my stay. But my site is already reserved for someone else, so I have to move. That means, taking down my tent and pitching it on the new site. I use the tent free opportunity to go on a shopping tour to Portimao with Verena. 

Heinz and Verena extend their stay too, how beautiful, another 2 Weeks together. 

The day before my 67th birthday, Louis the animator comes with congratulations and presents to me. The fine Portuguese wine I share with my new friends the next day. 

Soon those additional 2 Weeks are over, and this time it really means farewell. Unexpectedly, this goodbye is very hard on Krümel. For days thereafter he gets nervous when the time comes for Verena and the garbage round. How can I tell my little guy that this is impossible now?

A special treat for me, after this long time of keeping distance and wearing masks is, that complete strangers come to me for a hug. There was a Swede I had a short talk with, on his departure he came to me and gave me a long warm hug. I loved it, it felt so right and well. I told this to Verena and Johanneke and from then, we gave us a group hug as a good night after every evening out. 

Camperpark Playas De Luz 

Isla Christina, Huelva   1st to 3rd April

Cheap and good – that’s what I thought. But cheap is relative. When you have to pay 1 Euro for the shower for 5 minutes but can only us halb a minute because hot and cold is not adjustable and you are unable to turn around in the shower. Pool is charged extra but the water is pretty cold, don’t want to take a swim.  Electricity extra, everything extra. I am unnerved, but my neighbor is nice, we talk half of the night. As farewell he gives me some gift for Krümel. No, better not tell you what it is.

I am lagging behind my work, have to fill my website with fotos, videos and texts, but was too busy to do that. I book a luxury campsite in Portugal, with pool, animation and evening shows for 2 weeks. Hope to do my work there.

At the border to Portugal I am stopped by the police. On my neck, my hair begins to stand on end. Think of Krümel’s cannabis drops, too much to pass the customs? See myself already behind prison bars. But instead of a customs officer a young  Spanish Lady is approaching me, she want to make a tourist survey. With my little Spanish I can give her the answers, she wishes me a ‘buena viaje’ and I am through. What a relief.

March 30th   Gibraltar

Next morning the conditions are just right. Cloudy sky, not too hot, I can leave Krümel in the car while going on a sightseeing tour to Gibraltar.

I get problems at the border. I know that you don’t need face masks in Gibraltar and don’t take one with me. But the Spanish customs officer will not allow me to enter the office without mask. He tells me I have to go to town to buy one. I am pissed, that’s a far way off and a lot of time wasted. But I can’t help. Outside the building I meet two British customs officers and ask them brazenly where I can buy a face mask around here because the Spanish will not let me pass. They show me a way around the Spanish customs office and I leave Spain illegally. Love the fun of it because I know that the Spanish and the Gibraltian don’t like each other very much. Anyway, in Gibraltar I buy a face mask for the return, just in case.

I book a rock tour with a taxi. Brian is the driver, the couples from Sweden and Spain are also on board. We visit the apes, the St. Michaels Caves, the Tunnels and have a beautiful view to Africa from the top of the Rock. A duty free shopping tour with the typical Fish and Chips meal follows before a go back to Spain. But first I have to cross the airfield of the airport of Gibraltar, which is the border between Spain and Gibraltar at the same time. It is kind of an adventure, signs everywhere to hurry, don’t stop in case a plane is approaching. 

March 29th La Linea Marina

The tour from Malaga to La Linea on AP7 is marked by tunnels, lots of them. Its lights on, lower gear, lights of…... It is amazing to ride along the marina with its sailing boats and the shimmering blue sea. We find a beautiful site on the marina and I take Krümel for a walk to England. But for him it was to far and I had to turn around this time.

Rincon La Victoria  - Malaga

March 26th to 28th

The Camper Area ‘El Rincon’ is cheap and hard to find. I have to cross kind of a riverbed and curse: ‘Shit I don’t have a four wheeler’. The campsites are narrow, I have difficulty to park. There are several men around, sneering: ‘Women and cars’. One of them comes over: ‘My wife is a trucker, she will park it in for you’. Well, just why not.

I stay for 2 days, taking a bike ride to Rincon and take a bus to Malaga. I stroll through the harbor and visit the shopping area. To many tourists, don’t like to buy anything. 

Camping Mar Azul 

 Balerma - Balanegra - Provinz Almeria

 El Ejido

March 2022

 No,

I didn’t book the place in advance, consequently I don’t get one – all booked out. It is Saturday and the sites are cramped. The receptionist offers me a site without electricity, should be ok I’ve got solar on the rooftop. There are more vans waiting for a site, so I’m in good company. One is a German teacher who plans to move into his van completely like me. We talk all evening.

Before I move into my official site the next morning, I remove the Sahara sand from the night’s rain showers. Unfortunataly all in vain. The next morning I am short of having to dig out my car. Its color is unrecognizable, Sahara red instead of Jumper white. My neighbor helps me cleaning the rooftop from the sand, I invite him and his wife for a beer at the bar. 

Camping La Marina

San Fulgencio - Provinz Alicante

March 2022

I take a holiday from my holiday 

and book 2 Weeks in a 5-Star Campingresort with Indoor Pool and Spar. Campground is what I have expected considering the price – good. Perfect utilities, beeline to toilets, showers, dishwashing area, washers and dryers. 

In the Spa 

rules a strict pool superintendent = bathing cap, face mask, thongs = don’t get your hopes up, you won’t get in without. I use pool and SPA every day, though it is expensive. Have to pay an extra 8 Euro for the entrance ticket, I can snatch a monthly ticket for 35 Euro.

 

In the citrus bath

I meet Ute. She owns a house in the neighboring urbanization and uses the SPA regularly.  Ute feels a little isolated in her house. We make friends and go to the chinese restaurant, for walks with the dogs and meet at the pool every evening. We will stay in contact.

Canabis for Krümel

I am worried about Krümel, he is becoming kind of a lame duck, doesn’t want  to go for walks, sleeps all day. I meet a camp neighbor with his dog named Paulchen. The dog is also 15 years old but top fit. The neighbor tells me that Paulchen used to be lame too, but after going to a nearby vet he is much better. I gladly take his offer to bring me and Krümel to the same vet. After checking Krümel, the vet gives him pills for his heart, a vitamin b complex and cannabis drops. After only a few days, Krümel feels much better, his walks get longer. Before my departure, I go the vet again, stocking up on the wonder pills and drops for the next months. 

My exit from Camping Bravo Playa is touching, there are people waving farewells. 

Now without tent, I use Jumpy’s freedom to go on a shopping spree in Castellon de La Plana. Dog food and human food, lots of, just in case on the way south are no more shops.

Javea -Xàbia 
Provinz Alicante 

Google Maps leads me through a little village with narrow alleyways and a ravine. Thank God I was on the hillside, the oncoming cars had to pass the steep abyss. Sure I am not going to use that lane on my exit. I ask the receptionist at the campground for a better way. He asks me: ‘Why don’t you use the mainroad?’ No longer believing in Google Maps, will check everything it suggests. 

Campground is nice, pool closed, I walk Krümel through orange plantation. Before we can leave the next day I have to wash my car. Above it, in the trees where nesting some pigeons, covering my whole Jumpy in shit. 

March 1st

Rails-to-Trails route to Benicassim

 

 

Günther is a great Tourguide

 

 

Harbour of Oropesa below the Rails-to-Trails route to Benicassim

Alone - Solo Traveler - Stars

28. Februar 22

A farewell to Bravoplaya

Time runs so quickly. I have been here for 2 months and now its time to say goodbyes. I am looking forwad to go on.  Jumpy has been bound to the tent for the whole time, I am a little afraid if he is still alive (at least the battery). 

It is hard to go, there are many people I know and like and in Günther I have found a true friend – I will miss him.

Solo traveler 

Günther informs me that the Solo Camper meet on the beach every Thursday. I am surprised that 15 Stars are sitting on their folding chairs in a circle. Many of them women.  All of them pensioners, who have found a travel companion. Some travel alone, but almost all involuntarily, they used to travel with their spouses, but since they have died they are forced to go alone.  Many just go to the same campground every year, stay there for the winter and go home in spring. They tell me of problems they have with the foreign languages, if anything happens en route they are lost. Good luck for me, my English helps me anywhere I am. 

Not so alone – Solo Campers and Stars

To my left and right two vans arrive – two Solo Campers – I name them Christa and Peter. They inform me about the internet platform  Wohnmobil-Solisten-Sterne, where solo campers can exchange their experiences,  can  meet or even decide to go together. I register and were instantaneously contacted by a solo camper who is on the campground. She introduces me to Günther, another solo camper who organizes bike tours twice a week. I am on the next tour to the farmers market of Torreblanca. We buy grilled chicken and eat at the beach of Torrenostra – chicken is cheap, the views are priceless.

Of course I participated in the next biketour to Benicassim. A beautiful  route on a converted rail line. Pls see the pics. 

Günther is a great tour guide, I enjoy our excursions and soon we make friends. On one of the trips he shows me his collapsible pedals, which save a lot of space when packed in the van. I am envious and tell him I want to have those too. Günther laughs at me: “Don’t you realize that you got the same pedals?” 

You travel alone? – You got a lot of courage!

This is an often heard statement I get from people I meet. But I don’t feel really courageous. I try to travel as safe as possible –I carefully consider where I spend the nights, never leave Jumpy unwatched if I am not staying at a campground. What people really mean is: “As a woman you travel alone?”  Well, yes, if there is nobody to come along? Better travelling alone than not at all. 

To be frank, sometimes I feel lonely, but I meet so many people en route, so that kind of loneliness is rare. In addition, my furry soulmate  -  Krümel - is always on my site.

 

Parasites

 

Dogbasket

Fulltime Camping, uninvited guests and neighbors

Settling into my new life as a fulltime camper

Rountine does the trick. From getting up in the morning to crawling into my cosy bed my life is filled with little tasks. Walking the dog, having breakfast, cleaning up my stuff, preparing meals – time is running fast. Sometimes I feel that I cannot cope with the speed – I seem to fall out of time, forgetting what date or day we have.

A couple move with their trailer onto the campsite next to me. They tell me that they have just been in the south of spain (where I want to go soon), but it`s too crowded there, hard to find available campsites, everything is full. The reason is that many campers, who initially had planned to go to Morocco, stay in the south of Spain because of corona the ferry passage to Morocco in Gibraltar is closed. I decide not to go south so soon, instead I book another stay until the end of February, hoping that the things will be cleared until then.  

Uninvited guests (sparrows)

One of my routines is going to Coalimente (a supermarket next to the campground) to get ‘una baguette caliente’ (hot baguette fresh from the oven). Krümel usually collects the crumbs from my breakfast from the floor, but now he has to share them with a bunch of lurking sparrows who sit just next to him. But they also bring gifts since they steal little pellets of dry dog food out of the bowls of the neighboring dogs and place them in front of Krümel. So while Krümel is busy searching for the pellets, the sparrows feast on my bread crumbs.  

Neighbors

On the campground there are lots of pensioners from all of Europe, but mainly from Germany  who spend the winter in the south. Unfortunately among them are also some snitches, who make sure that you do not forget to wear your facemask when you take a trip to the toilet, or if your dog cocks its leg against a bush inside the campground. Our campsite is far off the entrance/exit and Krümel can`t wait until we are out. Of course I work with doggy bags for the big business, but I cannot prevent him peeing on the bushes. Many of the other dog owners carry their furry friends in a carriage or a dog basked on the bicycle to the exit. In order to prevent complaints I buy a dog basked for Krümel. It is easy to fix it on my bike, but at first Krümel doesn’t like to sit in it. But my dog is corrupt, I can convince him of the fine qualities of the basked by putting some goodies inside before I lift him into the basked, now he loves it.

 

January 1st to January 16th

Time to relax and organize my van

The recent months I have been very busy, now that everything is done, my exhaustion shows. I try to take things easier and relax but I can`t. I see too many things that have to be done. Here the cupboard has be organized and optimized, there repairs have to be made. I am still in kind of a rat race and seem not to be able to stop. 

 

 

 

December 22nd

 -Camping Bravoplaya in Torre La Sal, Castellon – Valencia

-Christmas – New Years Eve

Next to the Mediterranean, two open restaurants, two outdoor pools, an indoor pool, foodball ground, fitness center, animation program for kids and adults, some multilingual receptionists and to top it all – special rates for pensioners – Bravoplaya got it all. And Paco of course, the world`s best security guard, greeting his guest with a smiling `hola` every morning. His guests are pensioners from all over Europe, but mainly from Germany. I think: `Here is, where I belong`. 

I pitch my awning and empty the space under the bed, here is Krümel`s cave. The plan was that there Krümel would be out of my way while I am in the van, but no way, as soon as I am in he comes out of his cave and is between my feet – always. 

For me Christmas is no more than some phone calls with the kids, I appreciate the tranquility. All the more noisy and roisterous is New Years Eve – many Spanish families are on the campground celebrating for 3 days and nights just in front of my lot. Even little kids party the nights through. And believe me, the Spanish are merry-making folks.  After 3 days it is over and quiet again, I couldn`t have stand it much longer.

December 18th to 21st 

Camping Los Naranjos in Moncofa

Big Campground, no camper, only some permanent residents in their trailer homes on the site. Restaurant closed, pool closed, no shops. My roadcar is sitting in the middle of nowhere, I feel lost. Brian, a resident, tries to convince me to stay. I am tired, would like to relax a few days and think, maybe, I should stay. Some Austrian couple is arriving in the afternoon in their luxury liner. They relied on the restaurant, since it is closed they are short of food. I help out with some bread for breakfast in the morning. Christine, the Austrian Lady thanks me with some sweets. I tell her that I consider staying on the site for a few days, but she is adamant: `Please don`t stay, you will get depressions here, there are so nice campgrounds around here, go and look for something else`.

That`s what I do the next morning. In the internet I find Bravoplaya 5 Stars Resort just a few kilometers away and I am able to book for the Christmas holidays. 

 

December 18th

We arrive in Spain

Before crossing the border to Spain, I go to a French pharmacy to make an antigen test just in case I would be checked, but nobody asks for it in Spain.

During the first kilometers on the Spanish freeway a red car comes up to my side, the driver honk hysterically and his fellow passenger signals with his hands that my left rear tire is flat. My tire pressure indicator lamp tells otherwise. I have already heard about this trick, they wait for you at next resting area assume you would check your tires at the next possible opportunity. But the moment you get out of the car one tries to divert your attention while the other one is robbing your car or better, should you happen to leave the key in the ignition lock they take off with your car.

No, I don`t fall for this dirty trick, when I drive past the next resting area I can see them waiting for me. I can`t help smiling that those guys take me for that stupid. But I don’t feel well, never have thought that something like this would happen to me. 

In the evening we arrive in Moncofa near Valencia on the Campground `Los Naranjas` named after the Orange plantations that surround it.

December 16th

After a short visit at my daughters, we set off to France. The ride is convenient, not too many trucks on the road. In the afternoon we arrive in Seurre and find a nice campsite and we spend our first night in the van. The second night we also spend on a French campground which is a little further away from the freeway and I is difficult to travel, because I have to go through some small villages and roads. I am not alone on the campground, which I am worrying about. Although it is Christmas time many campers are on their way. 

 

Sunday, December 12th
We are heading south, finally!!

Farewell old life

We all shed tears. Family and friends were concerned about my safety, about Krümels seniority and the stress our journey would cause him. I was happy when everything was said and done and I could finally turn the key in the ignition lock and start the engine into our new life. 

December 6th

 Start with obstacles                                                             

I bought Jumpy in June 21. On the maiden voyage in September I realized that Jumpy was not perfect, the watertap in the kitchen broke after a short time of use.  I thought: doesn’t matter, got to go to the workshop anyway because I wanted to have a second solarpanel and a second battery installed. After almost 2 months of waiting I finally got an appointment for the 6th of December. When I arrived on that day, Corona got in my way, they did not want me to enter the workshop, because I was not yet fully vaccinated. Had to fight for the repairs and they did it after long discussions. I still was not allowed to enter their premises, so I had to wait outside for 4 hours in sub zero temperatures.