Time to move north on to our next location for a month of relaxation in the lovely climate of eastern Spain, a far cry from continual rain we were hearing about back home in England. After a short trip of approximately 130 miles we arrived in Benicássim and we soon set up on the large pitch enjoying the sunshine.
My intention was to join in all the exercise classes and take the opportunity to tone up as well as exercise, so I wasted no time and did two a day plus walks along the promenade. Chris and I also enjoyed the Spanish classes and got the opportunity to try speaking when out and about. We joined in the Whist group which was good fun, especially when I managed to be the winning lady for the first week, not having played for a year I think it was beginners luck! On Saturday night there was a good meal and entertainment evening with a group of musicians and 3 really great French singers who sang in English and Spanish as well as French.
Our walks took place in the local area along the beach front promenade, around the small town and also near the orange groves, now with most fruit having been picked, we could see the new blossom just starting to emerge. The very beautiful yellow mimosa flowers were prominently showing up against the blue sky, always a nice colour combination. Many other blossoms and flowers were appearing along the road edges and in the fields, birds singing including the familiar blackbirds and chiffchaffs, along with the small Sardinian warbler with its scratchy voice sounding from the bushes.
Our tranquil oasis of retirement fun, however a was soon shattered by increasing news reports of Coronavirus and it’s course of infection spreading west from China. I was embarking on a planned trip home to UK to visit family for 5 days, but now I felt apprehensive about my journey. Travelling first by train, then plane with wonderful views of the snow covered Pyrennes, two more trains and finally being picked up by a friend for a lift home. All went smoothly however, visits made and enjoyed very much, at times were somewhat overshadowed by worrying if I could return to Chris, a non-driver, staying alone in Spain with our motorhome.
Thankfully, I made the return journey on the last flight from Gatwick to Valencia by Easyjet, I felt so lucky my ticket was on 16th not 17th when subsequent flights were all cancelled. The plane only had about 30 passengers, coming into land I could see empty roads, the metro and train station were also sparsely populated. After one hour 15 minutes on a train and finally a 25 minute walk back to the campsite, I was stopped by the police 25 yards from the campsite to check where I was going! Such a relief to be back.
Euphoria was short lived however, the campsite was now closed to the public. We were confined to our pitch except visits to the shower block, all classes were cancelled, not allowed to play boules or have social gatherings, and for exercise a walking circuit of the site took only 10 minutes so we did multiples to achieve our target of 10,000 steps per day! Spain went into serious lockdown earlier than the UK, we could only go out onto the street alone, one person to shop, food and chemist only and receipts could be requested by the police who were patrolling everywhere. We don’t have a dog so had no excuse for a walk outside at all.
People were packing up everywhere on the site but our ferry was booked for 16th April. Some people said they would sit it out, but after a day’s rest, the next morning (18th) we suddenly decided to pack up and drive home having secured a booking on the Channel Tunnel on Saturday 21st. On the road by 12 noon we made it over the border, through a tunnel under the snow covered Pyrenees and into France, and finally stopped for the night after 300 miles somewhere near Pau.
Starting at 7am next morning, I drove 560 miles in total with 3 stops to near Rouen in northern France, followed on Friday by the last push to Calais by 11.30am. Having amended our crossing time slot for 24 hours earlier, we were on the mid-day train and back in England in 30 minutes! This was a first for us, quite an exciting end to our expedition through France, Chris being the joker as ever told me to look through the windows for the fish. Comforting?!
I had driven so far in 2.5 days and I was very chuffed, only 147 more miles to get home. Google maps measures the journey at 1,179 miles, in spite of the reason for the trip, the countryside was beautiful and I really enjoyed the drive.
Not quite what we planned back in the Autumn, but different. Now we have to sit it out at home like everyone worldwide and hope we can stay safe. Not quite the usual blog of our travels in Bessie, but we are now enjoying the beautiful weather and walks near our home. Stay safe everyone.
Until next time ……