30. Mar, 2017

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THURSDAY 30-3-17

What a treat it was to wake up yet again with sunshine and the sound of birds rather than dogs.

Today we were off to Cartagena ready for a visit there tomorrow.

Rather than go to all the hassle of parking the vehicle in the road at the appropriate place, and lifting the manhole cover to dump our grey waste water I did it the hard way using one of our two folding buckets. There wasn't very much, just whatever we've used in the bathroom hand basin. Following a good check around the interior of the vehicle, warming the engine and paying the bill we hit the road.

At the last minute we had decided to use the toll roads today rather than get caught up on the busy coastal road, or going the long way round, inland to Murcia, then dropping down in to Cartagena. So I changed the satnav's menu to include toll roads when calculating the route. Soon we were clear of Benidorm and on to the AP7 toll road. We set a nice steady speed and relaxed. This is by far and away the safest and most civilised way to eat up miles in Spain. For the stretch down to the end of that particular section south of Alicante we paid €7.65. We knew we then had a section of 'A' road to travel before picking up the next section of toll road which would take us all the way to Cartagena. We reached a junction where we had to split, one direction for a toll road and the other for an 'A' road. I was so tempted to disobey the satnav and take the road to the toll road, but as it had behaved itself on the way to Benidorm I decided to put my trust in it. Needless to say that the trust was totally misplaced. Some miles down the road we saw the road sign telling us how many kilometres it was to Murcia on the A7, the satnav's road of choice. No wonder it had told us the journey would take just over two hours. Piece of crap.

This then meant we had to tolerate very busy roads and Spanish drivers around Murcia. At one point we approached a comparatively slow moving car hogging the middle lane. There was nothing else around except us. This situation was complicated by the driver continually wandering along the line to the outside lane. It would have been illegal to have undertaken him, but risky overtaking in the outside lane in case he wandered over at that point and hit us. The only thing I could do was move to the outside lane, sit just behind him and then put my hand firmly on the 'angry horn', something I hardly ever use, in fact I had to think how to operate it. This eventually conveyed the message and he moved over. The driver was a small North African-looking gentleman. That's what happens when you let a camel driver loose behind a wheel.

The landscape was very rural and mostly very flat. The ground didn't look at all fertile yet there they were, growing all sorts of things.

En-route we decided that we would have one night at our planned glorified car park and then move to the glorified garage forecourt tomorrow morning, the reason being the garage is only about five-hundred metres from Cartagena centre.

On arrival here we found a dusty, gravelly car park, but for only €10 a night including electricity, showers, dumping facilities and free Wi-Fi. I call that good value for money.  It is part of the Area Autocaravanas group www.areasautocaravanas.com

I believe they have numerous parking areas with facilities in useful places around the country, in fact I think we are due to use one or two more during this trip.

There were a number of motorhomes here when we arrived, including a number of French. Presumably this is one of the places they are using to hide from the Moroccan Muslims. There is of course a yapping dog but for ten Euro's a night I'll have to put up with it.

After lunch and a nice sit out in the very hot sunshine we went for a wander round town. I believe we are in a place called Santa Ana, and are about 7km from Cartagena. There is a bus stop just down the road and the buses run every ten or fifteen minutes. Because of that we are now going to spend the two nights here. It's good value and will save us the hassle of moving on again tomorrow. There is an added bonus of there being an Aldi supermarket somewhere down the road, so we'll stock up there before we head north of Murcia, then west towards Grenada. The route is a bit of a no-man's-land. When we passed along that way two years ago there was no sign of shops or supermarkets along the road.

There wasn't much happening in Santa Ana, it was siesta time. They'd all gone for a nice lie-down or had taken themselves off to one of the local bars or restaurants to spend their time and money.

Tomorrow we'll spend the day in Cartagena. I just hope it is worth the effort.