Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tuesday 19 January – Sierra de Orihuela and Murcia … nearly

Where’s Colin? He’s sitting comfortably on a commercial Aire just outside of the village of Alquerias, (which is just east of Murcia) at N38º0’26” E1º2’36”. It’s €13 per night, including 6A electricity and (extraordinarily slow) wifi. Showers are 50c for 4 minutes. Washer/Dryer are €3 each.

After it got dark last night, we considered again whether to be naughty and put the levelling ramps under Colin’s one side. I’m glad we decided not to bother, because just as we were about to make the bed I happened to see a blue light outside; we had been joined in our car park by a police car. He sat on the road in front of us for about a minute, then left without troubling us, which may not have been the case had those ramps been on the ground.

Another police car (or maybe it was the same one, but presumably with different officers) appeared at 10 this morning, just as we were stepping out to set off up Peña de Orihuela, the highest top in the Sierra de Orihuela hills (more about that is on the M&G Go For A Walk blog.) It seems a surprisingly well patrolled car park, considering its location and absence of signs of abuse.

It was mid-afternoon by the time we were back from our walk and had chewed our way through some less-than-fresh bread for our lunch, and there was no real option of staying put for another night, because we didn’t have enough food in.


Lunchtime view from Colin’s side door. Our morning had seen us visit the highest point on that ridge.

Lidl has done a very clever thing by issuing SatNav compatible files of the locations of all of its shops in Europe, so rather than having to drive around aimlessly until we found a shop, we were able to take a direct route, with the proviso that if we saw a different suitable supermarked en-route then we’d use that instead. As it went, no other opportunity presented itself, so Lidl it was.

Suitably stocked up, we thought that as we were so close we’d take a drive into Murcia, which is on tomorrow’s agenda, just in case we could find somewhere in its vicinity to park up for the night. What we found were very busy roads and no parking that called out to us. In fact, we couldn’t even find anywhere to park just for a quick look around this afternoon. The fallback plan was put into action and back to Lidl we headed, having espied a spot near to there.

On the way I couldn’t help but notice this very prominent landmark, so off the main road we dived to investigate further:


Having abandoned Colin (neatly, unlike many of the cars there!) in the car park in front of the town hall, we set out on foot too see if a particular area at the bottom of the hill, that I could see on Google Earth, would be a suitable nightstop. Littered with bottles and broken glass, we decided that the town hall would be a better place to stay, but as we were so close to the top of the hill by then, we thought we may as well go to the top. That turned out not to be possible, but we went as far as we could. 20160119_163226

Our plan to stay in the town car park changed when a bit of internet browsing told me of a commercial Aire not too far away, which was well reviewed and only a 10 minute walk away from a bus to Murcia. That seemed a much better plan than having to get up early to nab a parking spot in the city, so here we are, in a very well presented site in amongst an orange and lemon farm (this really is an orange and lemon growing area – they’re everywhere you look) and here we’ll stay for a couple of nights.

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