An Ex-pat Monthly Experience of Moving to Gandia, Spain - Part 16

12th June 2023
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Spain on wheels!

Spain on wheels! .... 

So, since our last update, many things have changed in this household. When we came over to Spain, we brought our venerable boat with us, thinking that it would be great to be able to use it much more than we did in the UK, with much more sunshine available to enjoy; Cocktails on the sundeck and all that! What we hadn’t factored in, was just how long the Spanish coastline is. Even a trip over to the Balearics is a long eight-hour haul to the nearest point, and as we found out, sitting in the marina having lunch or cocktails is not really what it is all about. So, to cut a long story short (that makes a change – Ed), my lovely lady wife decided that we should sell the boat and invest in a motorhome, with which we would be able to see so much more of Spain and Europe as a whole, than we ever would with the boat. Hmmm! Her final shot across the bows was to remind me that although our beloved fur bag, Wolfie, (fur bag! Desist Sir! – Ed) came everywhere with us on the boat, he wasn’t really happy about it when the engines were running and it was swaying along, whereas he loved the car and road travel. “Ah well, if Wolfie would be happier.” It never ceases to amaze me how our beautiful better halves are able to hit the soft spot with enviable accuracy! There really should be a law that only females are allowed to be politicians. But that’s another story.

So, to cut to the chase (praise be! – Ed), just a few days ago we drove down to Granada, a good five-hour drive along the usual high standard of Spanish motorway. We arrived at the Autocaravanna dealer that we had been emailing, questioning about a handful of ‘secondo mano’ motorhomes that were in our price range and fitted our criteria. Having chosen one of them, a Burstner (vorsprung durch technic on a Renault drive train) arrived for the official technical walk through and handover procedure. You may recall how we have oft referred to the diabolical bureaucracy which envelopes anything official here in this wonderful country. But it would appear that some businesses, this being one of them, must have insider knowledge or a hold over someone in authority. In less than a week, all registration papers and matriculation had been completed and that included the importation of a previously French vehicle onto Spanish plates. It may have also had something to do with their vehicle’s administrator, a delightful lady with a look that could melt titanium, but I may be wrong. Whatever, we enjoyed our visit with everything made very easy and, in an hour and a half, we were on the road with our new “Wendy house on wheels,” Poop Poop!

Never having driven a motorhome before, it was a new experience for me. Madam was driving the car of course, with Wolfie (Ed) in his customary travelling position (horizontal), (there is another position? – Ed) so I had the ‘van’ to myself and thoroughly enjoyed the high driving position which enabled me to see much more than is usual in the car. We had purchased a new Satnav from that well known on-line company and plugged it into the van dash. All working fine except I could not seem to change the voice from Spanish. But we have improved our Spanish speaking to the point where I could get the gist of it. All was well until we got close to our overnight stopping place. A camp site not far from Murcia. “Turn right,” commanded the Satnav. I turned right. Hmmmm! This is a bit narrow. On we plodded for about half a mile until the next command uttered, “turn sharp right, then immediately left in two hundred metres.” Sharp right and left? There were two small country cottages on either side of the road which literally had a six-foot-wide gap between them and right angles leading in and out! Hit the brakes! You might get two bicycles through the gap side by side, but I’m driving a three and a half ton, two point nine metre wide motorhome, for goodness sake! Long story short, I learned how awkward it is to reverse a seven metre motorhome half a mile backwards down a cami, barely a foot wider than the vehicle! Suffice it to say, we managed it and after driving all round Wills Mothers, we arrived at the site, which turned out to be a miserable affair with as much charisma as a pelicans armpit on the edge of a small town with an equal level of charisma and populated by suspicious looking folks who stared at you as you drove past as though you were from another planet. Most unsettling. We were gasping for a hot drink and hungry, having been on the road for some nine hours that day. Absolutely nothing was open anywhere. We’re talking June, people! Eventually, we drove a further five miles to a bigger settlement named Orehuela, where a Burger King was OPEN! Yay! Civilisation! In I dashed for, “dos veggie burgers y dos café con leche, por favor.” The burgers duly arrived but apparently, they couldn’t serve coffee because the staff member who operated the machine hadn’t turned in for work! Que?!!!! You couldn’t make it up dear reader!

The following day found us back on home territory and arriving at the secure site which was to be the permanent home base for Monty. A genial welcome was received by the site owner, Dave, and we sited the ‘van’ in position. A refreshing cup of coffee in the site café later, we made the short twenty-minute trip back home to the villa, where three weary travellers had the best night sleep for days.

Now, a couple of days later, we are gradually setting up the internals on the ‘van’ and getting it ready for exciting times ahead. Spain is huge, and we mean to see as much of it as we can.

And there’s more ……. (Heaven help us – Ed)

Some while ago our lovely Spanish neighbours moved to another villa on the other side of the hill. They run a dog training and kennelling business. They had two cats too and since they moved, they kept coming back to the (currently) empty property, so our neighbours were toing and froing feeding them and built them a shelter because they wouldn’t stay at the new casa. So, one of them began to visit us on a regular basis. She was SO friendly and Wolfie was very good and patient with her (of course! Manners maketh the dog. – Ed) and we asked our neighbour if we could adopt her. She was overjoyed because she couldn’t get her to stay at the new property. ‘She’ turned out to be a ‘he’, now called Borja after the local historical family in Gandia. He had a bad accident when he was a kitten and now has metal pins and plates in a back leg, but spritely as you like. He is now fully integrated into the family, supremely affectionate and kind of Wolfie’s little brother (he boffs me! – Ed). Because we do go off for a few days, we hummed and harrd about how we were going to arrange feeding for the little chap, so off to we went and 45euros later we took delivery of an all singing all dancing automated cat feeder. Amazing! Holds over two weeks of food and delivers it multiple times each day in differing amounts, all set by the user.   It all goes on here!

Until next time folks!




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