You may recall that, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a hedgehog that was causing Trevor some heartache by refusing to be picked up and played with. It happened again. This time, we were able to hold Trevor back, and station a camera to record its movements.
That was the highlight of a couple of weeks ago. The weather became less pleasant, as this picture shows.
We had decided that we would go away for a while once Tania’s dogs were back and things had settled again. We wanted to have a bit of a break before the mad rush south that signals the beginning of August in France. With only three days’ notice, we contacted a camp site on the Costa Brava to see if we could book a place. “No need to book,” they said, “just turn up.” A check of the aires de camping-car showed there to be one at Sérignan that would break the journey nicely. We didn’t want to leave home too early, and we didn’t want to reach our destination late in the day, so an overnight stop half way gave us a good compromise.
We reached the aire late Saturday afternoon and got settled. The literature said that the nightly fee of 12€ included electricity, water and Wi-Fi. The electricity and water were in a small drive-through service outlet across the road in the main campsite, and the password we were given didn’t work for the Wi-Fi. It was okay as a level parking, but probably worth no more than half the money we paid. We won’t go back there again.
We left at around 10am on Sunday, and arrived at our destination, the Camping Vall d’Or in Platja d’Aro around 4pm. The man we met in reception was happy to speak to us in near-fluent English. He took our booking with commendable efficiency, and had us shown to a quiet part of the site. The site boasts around 700 pitches, and the staff are sufficiently astute to recognise which clients are likely to appreciate a lively area, and which a more quiet pitch. The pitch they found for us was ideal; families with children were in evidence, and couples without children. A part of the site was used by what seemed to be mostly German youths as a youth camp. There were probably between fifty and one hundred youngsters in that area, which was about a hundred metres from our pitch. Apart from some football-type chanting around midnight, we weren’t really aware of their presence.
The site offered superb, strong Wi-Fi, and we managed to keep up with as much as we wanted. With the exception of emergency situations and anything truly time-critical, I decided that no work would be done whilst we were away. I did keep up with such writing and blogging as I had planned, including a new story at A storey of stories.
Having the hellhounds with us, we weren’t as free to roam and explore the area as we could have been without them. I’m not complaining, just recognising the situation. In the camper vs car & caravan battle, points were scored for the opposite camp by our unwillingness to pack and stow everything just to go out for a day. We could have hired a car, but didn’t want the extra cost, and we weren’t sure hirers would want dogs in their cars either.
We didn’t stray far. We walked to the beach every day – dogs are not allowed on the beach so we stayed on the promenade.
The dogs didn’t seem to mind. They are happy that Mummy and Daddy are there to cater to their every whim.
Just off the beach, Platja d’Aro boasts an extensive marina, much of which we included in the daily walk. I don’t have sea-legs, but I do like looking at the boats in harbour. Okay, I enjoy coveting them. Some of them are gorgeous.
One evening, as we were walking around the nearest part of the marina, I saw movement that looked like swallows on and around the water. Given the state of the light, though, it was unlikely that it was swallows. On closer inspection I saw that it was bats, and in large numbers. We often see bats around our house, but never in these numbers (generally only two), and I have never seen them around water as these were.
The video that follows shows a good number of them, but not as distinctly as I would like. They were moving quickly, as is their wont, and they don’t exactly stand out in the failing light.
Too soon, it was time to come home again. We could have stayed longer, but having ben through a heavy thunderstorm at the beginning of our week there, we weren’t relishing the one promised for later in the weekend. We packed up and left on Saturday morning, having enjoyed a very pleasant week in a resort to which we may return later.
We drove home in one hit. We left the site at about 10am on Saturday and, allowing for three or four stops and a very minor disaster, arrived home at about 8:30pm. One thing is certain, though. North was the sensible way to be travelling on 2nd August!
The near disaster? We needed fuel on the autoroute, a little south of Clermont-Ferrand. The low fuel warning light was on, and I estimated we had another 20 kilometres or so in the tank. When we arrived at La Fayette service area, we found queues of cars, but no one filling up. On asking inside, I was told that there was something wrong with the system that controls the pumps and, it being Saturday, it was unlikely to be fixed until Tuesday! The next service area was some forty kilometres to the north – further than I believed I had enough fuel to reach. We checked with the satnav. It suggested a Carrefour Market some seven kilometres distant. That’s better! The journey to the supermarket was marginally cross-country, but we made it. According to the book, the camper’s fuel tank has a capacity of 60 litres. According to the pump, I put in 61.35 litres. Not too much left, then. We left the Carrefour Market, and took a direct road back to the autoroute. I do think, however, that had we taken that route to get to the supermarket, we may not have made it with the fuel available. On a positive note, the diesel we bought in Carrefour Market was 14 centimes per litre less than it would have cost in the services. That’s a saving of around eight and a half euros on the tankful.
You might have noticed that, whilst relaxing in the camp site, Clare played host to two dogs. In case you think she had an easy ride on the way home – take a look at this.
Now to catch up on a week’s work.
À la prochaine