Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Tuesday 26 January - El Pozo del Esparto

Where’s Colin? He’s gatecrashed a French motorhome gathering just outside of El Pozo del Esparta. I think he’s at N37º19’30”, W1º41’52”.

After our night feeling a bit cheeky by kipping in the very well-kept car park of the Sanctuary Santa Eulalia last night, I compounded our cheek this morning by sneaking out before light to empty Colin’s toilet in the Sanctuary’s toilets (and I hope it goes without saying that I left absolutely no trace of my cheek). With Colin’s toilet capacity back up to 3 days, more flexibility has been gained as to where we stay tonight and tomorrow.

Just as daylight was beginning to creep into the day, four cleaners arrived to set to work again to clear up the imperceptible bit of dust and the few leaves which had settled on the Sanctuary’s grounds since they finished work yesterday lunchtime. It wasn’t a nice day for them, with the low cloud unable quite to contain its water, releasing a light mizzle on the world.

For us, the weather didn’t make us feel inclined to go outside, so we headed to the town of Totana, hoping it would be a bit drier down there. It wasn’t, so we didn’t stop on our way through the town (or at least, only to the extent required to negotiate a very tight turn when we found both the road ahead and the easiest escape route blocked by roadworks).

“Let’s go to Lorca instead” I said, and we did. An interesting place it was too. Any town which has gone to the trouble of putting tri-lingual information signs (Spanish, English and French) outside of every building or square of note, is a winner in my eyes. They had even gone to the extra trouble of having a fluent English speaker write the English translations. I don’t mean to criticise the other places we’ve been, as it’s entirely my own fault that I speak no Spanish, and I would always rather there be an attempt at an English translation than not.

The other interesting side to Lorca stems from recent disaster, in that the town was hit by an earthquake in May 2011, which did significant damage to the old town. Evidence still remains, with many facades (with no building left behind) held up by substantial steelwork…

…and where buildings have been demolished, the newly exposed parts of the adjoining buildings have been sealed with expanding foam:

Construction was going on all over the town as we walked through.

In spite of the damage, there are still plenty of interesting buildings to be seen, although it was difficult to take a photo of most of them without including cranes and construction, so I’ll just include one of what is now the town hall:

Leaving Lorca, it was back to the coast and on our way, spread out before us was an enormous plain covered in white sheeting. Comprising polythene greenhouses and white-mesh ‘sheds’, all of the agriculture here (mainly tomatoes, although I did spot some cherry trees too) seems to go on under some sort of white covering. What I can’t think how to convey is the extent of it; it was literally miles upon miles of white, in what would otherwise have been a desert landscape.

Having lunched in a beach-front side-road in Aguilas, with fine sea views, we then set about finding somewhere suitable to park for the night. The first place we looked we rejected for lack of interest (it was a semi-urban car park with nothing to recommend it). The second place was beach side and had an ‘interesting’ off road approach. We actually got as far as parking up there before deciding that we could do better (cue a repeat of the interesting off-road experience for our exit; I’m not sure Colin’s a fan of off-roading…). We weren’t even driving the road where we’ve ended up, but were slightly inland when I spotted a gathering of motorhomes in a perfectly sensible looking position, just back from the beach and sitting just off the tarmac. We doubled back on ourselves down a tiny lane to join them, finding in so doing that we were gate-crashing another French gathering. Much playing of boule has gone on amongst them.

Taking a walk for a mile or so along the beachside prom we discovered that we are just outside another ghost town. Houses were crammed in along that mile and we saw only half a dozen that gave indications of being currently in use. I’d be interested in seeing some of these places in summer, when I assume they do come alive.  

(Forgot to mention – we also had a stop at a Decathlon store today, as I’m in need of a pair of sandals. The sandal mission was not a success (presumably because it’s deep mid-winter, so why would anyone want open footwear…), but we did see the best non-standard motorhome of the trip so far in the car park:


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