This is a very self indulgent account of Richard and Heather Knowles travels as they wander through Europe in search of a different way of life.
This is a very self indulgent account of Richard and Heather Knowles travels as they wander through Europe in search of a different way of life.
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24 October Friday

Possibly still pissed when dragged out of bed. More chat and set off late morning (as usual) after team photo. The wind was extreme and the windsurfers really flying on the lake paradise that this was for their sport. Drove on down the coast and soon we were on the Spanish border, with hangover advancing at a pace. The border is like a shoppers paradise. Everyone pushing trolleys full of booze. Went into supermarket, booze at give away prices and loads of other goodies. Shopped again. H cooked bacon and egg butties in car park. (well what else do you have but a greasy spoon when hungover).

Britwegians et al

Britwegians et al

Set off into Spain on autoroute and parked up outside Barcelona at service station. Ate up remnants, couple of Brandies and started Michael Palin's book Sahara in preparation for Morocco. Had early night.


25 October Saturday

The rain in Spain

The rain in Spain

Drove most of the day in pouring rain from autoroute just outside Barcelona down to just north of Benidorm. Countryside up until Valencia uninspiring , certain parts extremely unkempt and buildings dilapidated. Looking forwards as I write this to Cauliflower cheese and fried fish.


26 October Sunday

Arrived early in Benidorm and parked up on wide approach road to seafront and walked down to it. Weather warm and sunny. The front is heaving with the retired of many countries all acting like teenagers and being as trendy as they dare. Typical outfit being a bright designer inspired tea shirt, fluorescent orange trainers and knee length khaki multi pocketed shorts, shades and baseball cap, (plus varicose veins, pot belly and mobility trike), The women wore terry cotton or stretch cotton shorts, skimpy t shirts that ensure that their ample but pendulent bosoms defy gravity and are better on than off, high heeled sandals and Dame Edna Everidge shades (minus gladioli). But they are all having a great time so who am I to knock it and when I have further developed the qualifications, I may join them. The main reason that we are here is a bit of a pilgrimage. H’s mum used to come and overwinter and after years of “they do this in Benidorm” and “you can get this in Benidorm” we came to see the truth and remember Margaret. She was right. You can get a breakfast of 2 slices of toast, 2 fried eggs, 2 rashers of bacon and baked beans for 1 euro. So we had some. We wandered some more and returned to the misnomered “Sexy Bar” to listen to “live music” from a fifty some strummer with a repertoire from Oasis to Elvis. This performer probably played in bands in his youth in crepes and drainpipes with brylcreemed swept back hair (oh he’s still got that) to the chagrin of the age group he is now playing to ! We took up the Sexy Bars offer of two spirits and mixers for 3 euros (that’s two each) several times and luxuriated in chips de luxe. Haven’t seen a chip for weeks. Played cards with our Cuba Libres and felt sorry for ageing rocker as there was a sound limiter in the café and whenever a new table of noisy Germans or Liverpudlians arrived his amp got turned down until he was inaudible. It was like one of the regular “Sorry I haven’t got a clue” sketches without Tim Brooke Taylor and Humph. Could you guess where he would be when the Scousers shut up for a minute.

Benidorm        The Sand National

                                                                        Benidorm                                                     The Sand National

H determined to show me the old town so we negotiated the prom again and viewed Levante and Poniente beaches from the quaint promontory in front of the old church. Cuba Libres started to work and hopping from one leg to another we entered a very small bar in search of a drink and more importantly the loo. Tony Moran’s (ex Liverpool footballer ?) Rumbo Bar only eight feet wide by 20 feet long was full of some thirty happy greys cracking jokes and guzzling plenty of booze. Our coffees made us look like stick in the muds but we were invited to join them, but we declined. There was an old guy holding court, telling jokes, reminded us of Neil Taylor except for his earring and swallow tattooed on his buttock, (well I don’t think Neil has a tattoo). We were told to meet them all in another bar later that evening .We turned up at the bar an hour early not knowing the clocks had gone back. Had an amusing chat with the owners, a gay couple. Rich had a very informative talk with a gay Spanish guy (in Spanish), but we were reliably informed that he preferred older men. (Richard was older !!!) We were threatened with a cabaret by a 70 yr. old gay guy who apparently does a good turn in wig and lurex thong ,but we managed to escape back to camper at 1.30am leaving them still full of beans to find some git had nicked the back wheel off Heather’s bike. Quick release wheels are not a good idea when travelling !.


27 October Monday

Plastic City

Plastic City

Up early to avoid paying for car parking and decided to have another Benidorm breakfast at 70p, cloudy and looks like rain lots of brits wandering round frozen in shorts and teeshirts looking very despondent over weather. Went to very efficient internet place to send update and collect our mail. Weather getting worse. Wandered round again bought some postcards English Birthday cards and a couple of Christmas cards and decided we were getting fed up with Benidorm already maybe it was the weather or maybe the brits who looked absolutely fed up because they had payed for sunshine and were having to put plastic bags over their newly permed hair because now it was piddling down with rain. Decided in the circumstances to stay for lunch, all, café named by the proprietor's home counties ie “Pride of Yorkshire, Cumbrian Arms etc, thought we’d chance the Yorkshire one, I had the gourmet chip buttie and Rich had steak pie which apparently was “orrible” chips were good not them French fry things but proper fat homemade chips, now suitably stuffed we decided to set off south, heading for Almeria area. Landscape awful used for cowboy films, barren, covered with plastic, greenhouses the size of football pitches, probably growing wonderful veg, Very windy and wet weather not improving and making driving difficult. Looked in camping guide book wanted a campsite we haven’t had one for over a week Rich beginning to pong and Heather needing to shave armpits. Very few in area, not at all surprised not exactly inspiring scenery but apparently good for windsurfers.


28 October Tuesday

Heather in right mood needing to exercise and clean van,(menopausal)! So Rich disappeared for couple of hours on bike seeking new wheel for Hs. El Ejido seems to be shut apart from shopping centre. Heather had right good clean, went for a run then spent an hour in very tatty but adequate gym. Heather made excellent beef stew ,then off to bed to read. Woke up to yet more rain oh no! washing still on line. Beef casserole and apricot rice.


29 October Wednesday

After stocking up with local produce at supermarket we set off again for ferry to Morocco. Heather still has trouble sitting when travelling ever since she hurt her back falling off monkey bars 15yrs ago and ending up in hospital. After a couple of hours she needs to lie in the back and read Harry Potter she has been practising her “bummus numbus” spell. Still windy and wet but looks to be clearing on horizon, hopefully. Drove through tourist spots, Nerja, Torremolinos and more acres of plastic greenhouses until we arrived on the outskirts of Benalmedina and stopped overnight at service station. Many Brits moving to southern Spain but it is not my idea of fun. Leftover Beef and Jacket Potatoes.


30 October Thursday

The Rock        Safeway Gibraltar

                                                                        The Rock                                                        Safeway Gibraltar

Rang Insurance Co in UK to rearrange insurance to cover Morocco. Underwriters not prepared to do it. Too risky. Very pissed off. Decided to go to Gibraltar and enquire there. Drove through Malaga strip via Mijas ,a now very expensive still developing French Kirkby Lonsdale in the mountains (mind you Kirkby Lonsdale doesn’t have donkeys or does it !!!).  Parked up in empty coach park in Gibraltar. Moved on by apologetic but officious security guard. Reparked on Safeway car Park !!!! Told by nice security guard only got 3 hours or clamped. Went into Gib. After various abortive discussions with insurance consultants decided to ask on dock at Algeciras. Discussed pros and cons of running a craft shop with artist on duty in Gib craft co-op shop. Products very standard. Back to Safeway. Bought a few important UK products, Ryvita (Wasas the European equivalent contain a bit more chipboard) Marmite (only got Safeway clone), Sausages (they need lessons from Cumbria’s best), Yachting monthly (to investigate our next dream) Porridge Oats etc. Safeway Whisky £3.50 a litre. At checkout officialdom raised its ugly head again counting carefully no of purchases in basket only lane. Missed out on watching Ceremony of the Keys and Grenadier Guards (all waste bins taped up for security reasons) because of parking restrictions, probably accounted for poor turn out. Pleased to escape British officialdom. Not chuffed by Spanish reaction to UK refusal to give Gib back by ensuring queues to get out. Drove into Algeciras in darkness to be picked up by “faux guide” and chaperoned to ticket office. Went to various offices and deduced possible to buy insurance on border in Morocco. About 1000 derhams for 2 months ? Parked on dock. Torrential rain and wind all night. Sausage and Mash.



[Loire/Ile De Re] [Dordogne and Gorges] [Summer Alps] [Italy] [Slovenia] [Croatia] [On The Road To Morrocco] [Monte Carlo or Bust] [Spain, Benidorm and Gibraltar] [Rabat And All That] [El Jadida, Ounara, Essouria] [More meanderings & out of Africa] [Snowmads] [Snowmads 2] [Richard -  The BIG 50 !!!] [Eastern Europe] [Eastern Europe (cont)]


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