5. Apr, 2017



We woke at a reasonable time to a lovely clear blue sky, with the added bonus of there being nobody in the shower cubicles when I arrived.

On my return, following continued unofficial industrial action by The Chef regarding hairdressing I was forced to take my thinning comb to the top of my head. I tell you, there'll be no squeaky toy bought for my hairdresser's guide dog from this trip.

After breakfast I wandered down to Reception to book us in for an extra day, and pick up a bus timetable.

When we were ready, we made our way to the bus stop on the busy A7 dual carriageway. One direction takes you to Fuengirola and the other to Marbella. The campsite is just off this major road, but because it is cut in to an underpass we don't see or hear it.

We didn't have too long to wait before the bus arrived, and it was one of those 'Bendy' busses. We've been on them before elsewhere, and they've never been a problem bending from left to right between the front and rear sections. But this one also bent up and down. The ride was absolutely awful, made worst by the fact that we were sitting near the bendy join. It was like being in a storm 12 sea. It was a dreadfully uncomfortable ride, made worse by the speeding, sweatband-wearing driver screaming 'BANZAI!" every time he pulled out of the bus stop lay-by in to the path of fast moving traffic on the dual carriageway.

I was pleased when we arrived at Marbella. It was nice to be back for a visit. We've been here a few times before, the last time was in December 2014 when we spent a whole month at Camping Cabopino, and the town had all its Christmas lights up, which made a lovely festive display.

Marbella was once the sunshine playground of the wealthy until the holiday riff-raff started arriving. The Super-Yachts and money have now moved down the road to Puerto Banus and the mountains behind. So although it's now full of riff-raff like us, it's still a nice place to be. There are currently an awful lot of young British families around, so I assume schools have broken up for Easter.

We started our visit by looking around parts of the Old Town including the ruins of a castle, opposite which is the Don Alfredo Hotel, a cheap little hotel we stayed at several years ago when we had a working holiday out here researching campsites along the coast. Even back then it was obvious how few good quality campsites there are available, which is a huge missed business opportunity as the demand is so great, especially now as the brave French daren't go to Morocco for the winter.

After the Old Town it was back to our usual routine of buying our lunch from a supermarket. Two packs of sandwiches, a large bag of crisps and two cold drink - €6.73, a fiver. Doing it this way saved us at least €10-€20. We then wandered down to the promenade, found a seat and sat and enjoyed our lunch.

Suitably refreshed we wandered along the promenade, passing the large helipad on the beach, a legacy from the town's glory days.

There were lots of people down on the beaches soaking up the sun, including a number of lobster-skins down there which made me realise how fortunate and privileged we are. These folk are on a short holiday and need to do all they can to get themselves a tan in the time available. We on the other hand are here for a number of weeks and don't have to go to such painful lengths.

I suggested to The Chef, and she agreed, that we should book in to Camping La Bella Vista near Manilva, about twelve miles from Gibraltar despite the cost, as it is becoming difficult to time our programme around Easter. I know she likes the area and whilst there we'll be looking for an additional couple of nights wild camping before heading for Gibraltar next Wednesday for Easter.

We were on our way back on the bus by about 15:00 having first popped in to a supermarket and bought a bag of potatoes and a punnet of strawberries.

This evenings meal was steak with jacket potatoes and salad followed by strawberries with Greek Yoghurt washed down with a nice chilled bubbly rosé wine. This has now been the third evening on the run that we've been able to eat our evening meal outside in the sunshine.

I have been online using my Mi-Fi and booked the four nights at Camping La Bella Vista -€120, just over £100. I think I'm going to have to vastly reduce the Chef's pocket money in order to pay for it.

Unfortunately I somehow lost half of the pictures I took today, made worse by the fact that I cleared them all off the memory card before realising what had happened.

Tomorrow we will travel to La Bella Vista, stopping off at the large Carrefour supermarket in Estepona on the way.