20. Sep, 2021

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MONDAY 20-09-21

We were supposed to be having a shower this morning, but joy of joys, the boiler has a problem. I have the red warning light showing and no way of knowing what the problem is. The Chef had a good idea - we will have a cold shower to cool us down during the day until we can get the problem fixed.

Our first stop was to the Lidl supermarket on the edge of town where The Chef socked up with a few bits as we were about to enter rural Spain.

Our destination was Belmonte. I'm not sure if it's pronounced with a silent 'e' or it's with it, as in the TV advertisement 'The man from Del-Monte, he say "Yes"'.

I deliberately set the satnav up to avoid toll roads. There was one running pretty much all the way to our destination, but as we only had about sixty miles to ravel I wanted to enjoy the rural countryside. Our route therefore took us southeast along the 301. My what a lovely ride it was, the landscape was huge. The main crops around here seem to be wheat, olive oil and wine, as the farmers were out with their tractors and trailers harvesting the grapes. There was even one old couple gathering the grapes in a wheelbarrow which were then to be transferred to their nearby tractor and trailer.

You may recall that the two reasons we were stopping by Aranjuez  was to hopefully visit the Royal Palace and the other was to charge batteries and take on fresh water as well as dumping our grey water and the toilet cassette (black water). As we had finished up enjoying a two night freebie on a large public car park instead it meant that we had left town carrying our waste with us with no opportunity to top up the fresh water tank.

So there we were, fully expecting to pass a nice discrete lay-by or picnic area along the way where we could offload. But no. In sixty-odd miles there wasn't one lay-by or rest area, which meant we arrived here at the castle car park at Belmonte with the water we didn't want. But all was not lost because due to the very rough, bumpy surface of the castle car park we kept out of it and parked near the entrance - and a small wooded area. As the tail plane of Elvis Presley's personal aircraft had on them 'TCB' - Taking Care of Business', and so did we, if you get my drift.

So a little bit about Belmonte:

 

Belmonte’s magnificent 15th-century castle is one of the best preserved in the region. It was built by Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, after Enrique IV gave him the town in 1456. Inside it has decorative carved coffered ceilings, and Mudéjar plasterwork. The collegiate church is especially remarkable for its richly decorated chapels and gothic choir stalls, which were brought here from Cuenca Cathedral.

 

After lunch we wandered up to the castle entrance wondering why the very few cars we had seen arriving were only staying about fifteen  minutes or so. As we approached the sign on the castle gate we got our answer - it's shut on a Monday. Oh deep joy. This now means we'll stay parked up here with the whole place to ourselves until tomorrow at 10:00 when we expect to be first in the queue. It did though have its upside. Had the castle been open we'd have had a look round and then been on the road again. As it was we had a wander down in to the village which was really good, they even had a market on today. It was the real Spain indeed, just what we'd wanted to experience.

Needless to say we got lost finding our way back out of the village and back on the road leading back up to the castle and its car park. Once back 'home' we got he chairs out and enjoyed being pestered by flies. That Ghandi's got a lot to answer for.

I did have another look at the boiler problem testing the gas system and changing the fuse, even though it didn't look as if it needed changing. We'll just have to suffer it until we can reach some kind of civilisation where we can get somebody to look at it.

I have found a couple of images online of the royal barge I mentioned last night and so have added them to last night's posting.

We've not seen one other motorhome today. We look to have even outrun the Spaniards.

This evening will be spent up here all on our own bouncing around in the breeze, which is now picking up and looking forward to tomorrow's look around the castle and maybe the treat of a cold shower!

PS. Over the past few days we have experienced difficulty uploading text etc in the evenings due to atmospherics. It seems to work far better in the mornings.