La Manga, Cartagena & Stunning Reflections.
Thursday 1st February 2018
Although the pretty road may have been along the coast we decided to head inland via the faster but longer road and were glad we did so as we saw another side of Spain. As the road headed inland and up onto the plains our ears popping with the altitude gain, the mountains past by and huge plains lay ahead of us. The fields seemed to be brimming with produce, lush, green and ready for picking It was February the 1st and they were bringing in the harvest! Scores of trucks and hundreds of workers filled the fields cutting lettuce, cabbages and other soft fruit and vegetables. It felt strange but as it feels like a British summer here, why not? The road cut through a tunnel right under the impressive hill top thirteenth century castle ( I can imagine them allowing something like that in the UK – too many goodies to get in the way) at Lorca.The castle was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake (perhaps because they had cut a road tunnel through a lot of its foundations) but has been restored. We arrived at the ‘Marmite’ site and initially were shown to a grotty pitch on a busy junction of the site in the shade. Not happy we asked for another pitch and were shown an alternative, tucked up amongst “residents” and the last pitch available. Still not happy we spoke to the rally stewards (we have joined a rally that is run by the camping and Caravaning club with about 150 pitches allocated. We are not sure if it would be our type of thing but we thought we would give it a go). The stewards were fantastic and with some conversations with the reception we ended up on a great sheltered pitch with lots of sun close to the hub of the rally. We will get involved and see how we get on.
RAIN – it absolutely chucked it down all last night and all this morning. Torrential downpours with the odd heavy shower to break them up. After a few hours of reading we decided to venture out to explore La Manga in the rain but from the comfort of the car. Spanish roads are not designed to cope with rain and the Spanish seem to not realise that it has been raining. With all the roads resembling rivers, driving through them created large sprays of water to both sides as Sunny pushed his way through. Thank heavens for rear wheel drive and a rear mounted engine. We pushed on all the way up the long spit of land that separates the Mediterranean from a massive lagoon The Mar Menor (small sea). It is just a very long and narrow strip of beach festooned with hotels, bars and restaurants. Nearly all were closed for the winter. It must be a hive of sunbathing heaven in the summer but was bleak drab and forlorn on such a miserable day in February. The Stewards had organised a curry and Karaoke evening so we decided to join in (not the singing) to hopefully meet a few people which we did although excepting two couples that we sat next to everyone else was much older than us although they seemed a nice enough bunch.
Gorgeous sun – so a lazy day doing nothing except snoozing in the sun and I joined in with the pétanque (boules) with Alan from last night which wiled away an hour or so. I’m Sorry to say that I am rubbish at it and single handily lost my team every game and match. I’ll be the short straw if I play again.
As for the site – We can see why you would love it or hate it. Get a good pitch amongst fellow campers in the camping area and the environment is pleasant. Big pitches all enclosed by their own hedge, water waste and electric on each pitch, nice gravel, WiFi, sky tv etc and the shower facilities are good it has two nice pools and it’s right on the beach. However if you are unfortunate enough to be given a pitch in shantytown then you would want to leave P.D.Q over half of the site has been given over to residential. With a attitude of ‘its your plot do with it as you wish’ rows upon rows of grotty tin roofs cover a multitude of static vans, caravans, wooden sheds, tin sheds, and anything else that could possibly be conceived as shelter. The shacks on the edges are bad enough but if you go right into the midst of the shantytown it is horrendous. Would we come back? – perhaps – but it certainly is NOT up there with our favourites.
Cartagena has always been one of those places that conjured up images of somewhere seeped in history and always sounded exotic sultry and interesting , perhaps that had something to do with south America and the drug cartels connected with the name or perhaps it was just a miss placed fantasy received from films like “Romancing the stone” and all those Bond and Assassin movies where most of the meetings seemed to be held outside some street cafe in Cartagena (Columbia). We just had to visit.
It was 20 mins away and we ended up on the promenade next to the marina. Quite a low key marina compared to some we have seen. Full of nice boats but no floating Gin Palaces in their multi million’s, perhaps the presence of a Naval Base and the Spanish coast guard may have something to do with the reluctance of the Uber Rich to draw attention to their exuberance’s … ALL EXCEPT ONE that was
Looking like something out of a Bond movie and to give it some perspective the open door at the back had a full size motor launch in it. Look at the massive Crain on the left dwarfed by the ship and It flew a British flag on the rear so it was from Home shores. Perhaps it was in for a refit (or perhaps she had been impounded) but the sleek silver monster was here for one reason or another – who owns a boat like this. If anyone knows let me know, I am dying to find out.
Now Angie has always liked to be taken care of and feels very comfortable in the arms of a confident and strong man and you can’t get much more confident or strong than this fella. Firstly he is about 18 ft high and butt-naked, confident in his skin and not embarrassed enough that he has to hide his manhood, secondly he is solid brass so you can’t get much stronger. She couldn’t resist getting between his legs for a photo opportunity but refused to get too close to his ‘dangly bits’ although on close inspection of the said item the brass was considerably shiny where a good few people have had a quick rub (lucky fellow). P.s I’ve just read this to Angie to get her pre posting approval and she has admitted that she too couldn’t resist a quick rub!
We wandered along the promenade and up the wide avenues with marble like paving and some gorgeous apartments with the ubiquitous wrought iron balconies. It was all very nice and did not disappoint however as we had seen so many lovely Spanish towns all built along a similar theme we decided to return back to the van after a couple of hours wandering the streets and the first awful tapas lunch we have had so far.
The drive back revealed a gorgeous vista of La Manga’s high rise hotels and small islands reflected in the mill pond still waters of the Mar Menor. A truly mesmerising view that will remain with me for a long time. Upon getting back to the site I needed to try to capture the view to remind me when I can’t remember it without a prompt. I hope you enjoy.