28. Mar, 2017

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MONDAY 27-3-17

A bit of a surprise during the night as we had a few hours of light rain. Not usually a problem except that I had left my sandals outside the door to air, so they were rather wet this morning.

We set the alarm and were out of bed at a reasonable time as I wanted to be on the road as close to 10:00 as possible. The distance we had to cover to Benidorm wasn't great but we were going to try and do it without the use of toll roads.

I popped down to the Reception Office to request that we be disconnected from the electricity and to thank them for their help during our stay. The young lady at the computer asked my name to check against our pitch number. I told her it was in my partners name, and she will be up shortly to pay. I said jokingly "I only bring her along to do the cooking", "Really?" was the wide-eyed reply. "She does all the cooking AND pays?" "Yes", I said "She is very special". "She must be, you must look after her". So there you go, wise words from a young lady, I do hope she realised I was joking.

We said goodbye to our Irish neighbours whilst the engine sat warming up and then we were off. We had instructed the Satnav to avoid toll roads and planned to follow the A7 south until just before Alcoy when we would cut across country on the cv70 right to Benidorm. Lunch was taken on a dusty piece of land to the side of a garage forecourt, there not being too many decent Truck-stops along the route, and I was keen to eat before we turned off on to the cv70.

Our Snooper satnav has two levels of performance. It's either spot-on, perfectly correct in every way, or it's a complete waste of time and you're left wondering why you don't just bin it, there is no consistency with it. Today it was going to take us all the way down to Alicante on the A7 then presumably back up the A332 to Benidorm. So we could be forgiven for thinking it was having another bad day. I was sure that it had slipped up in not sending us along the shortcut on the cv70.

Now I guessed that the cv70 would be a bit rugged as we needed to cross some mountains, I'd looked on Google Maps and checked the road at a couple of points along the route and it looked ok. Not so in reality. The cross-country route was some 45 kilometres (25 miles) long and I've never known 45km to pass so slowly. It was a mountain road, quite narrow for most of the way and almost continuous hairpin bends and steep climbs coming out of them. Pure hard work. The Chef was quite grateful when I told her she could put the road atlas down and use her hands to grip her seat. It was pretty hairy, but we've been on worse. Clearly we should have followed the satnav's instructions today. As the total journey had been over four hours there wasn't much of the day left by the time we got settled in. Therefore we have decided to stay for three nights here at Camping Villasol www.camping-villasol.com . This will give us one complete day for Alicante tomorrow and one complete day here in Benidorm on Wednesday.

I had a wander around the campsite taking a few pictures of the 'permanent residents' on the site, some of the rows of pitches look like a refugee camp. I couldn't get pictures of the worst ones as I had to use the small pocket camera and be discreet.

Then it was a walk in to Benidorm. We were surprised how much of it we remembered from our week here two years ago on the way home from the south. It hasn't changed and certainly hasn't got any classier. Never mind, the sun was shining, it was a lovely afternoon and we took a long walk along the promenade.

On the way back we treated ourselves to fish & chips and mushy peas, thus saving The Chef the hassle of preparing an evening meal. Having looked at the trip expenditure this evening we are going to have to cut back on our eating out. Up until now that area of expenditure represents about 15% of the total which is far too high. On top of that we are being squeezed by the exchange rate. Last time we were here it was about €1.35 to the pound, so we're having to absorb about a 20% loss in spending power.

The blog will be updated first thing tomorrow morning as the campsite only had a two-day Wi-Fi ticket for sale and we are here for three evenings. So I've calculated that if I upload the entry in the morning we can make the ticket last for the whole stay.

Tomorrow it's a thirty minute walk to the tram station in town for our 95 minute  trip to Alicante. We've never been there before, and as this trip is primarily about visiting locations in Spain, then we ought to do it.