I have been gone from UK for just over eight years now apart from a weekend visit to take a relative back. My reasons for leaving were the same as many and judging by what has been happening since I left, I know we made the right decision.
This was bought into focus more strongly when we decided to go away in our motorhome for two months in the winter. We regularly pop over to the north of Spain to go shopping but it’s over 15 years since we have visited the Costas. We thought we would check out what all these people do who go for winter sun.
Things were pretty good until we got to Almeria when entering the site late in the evening we were greeted by Fish and Chips tonight followed by Quiz night. Driving to our pitch I had to check that we were in Spain and had mistakenly not crossed the Channel by mistake as we seemed to be one of the few ‘foreign ‘registered vans. Bit sneaky going round in a French reg van pretending to be French!!
We left early for our next destination at the start of the Costa del Sol. Here we thought we had driven into a gens de voyage reception area. The place was so overpopulated with every nationality combined with the fact that people had put up fences round the pitches and were out at crack of dawn sweeping up leaves. Next day a guy turned up on the pitch next to us and within half an hour had fenced the whole thing off and was having trouble with a massive satellite dish in picking up a signal. We went for a walk and when we came back the dish was fixed to a big metal pole on the corner of our pitch making it impossible to get
our van out. Upon seeing us looking, the owner rushed out and said ‘We had your pitch last year and its only place we can get a signal. She has to watch Eastenders or there will be trouble’.
As much as we loved the town and its promenade we moved on to visit the area where we spent family holidays for many years with our young kids.
Arriving on the outskirts of Fuengirola we were immediately engulfed in massive traffic jam with every road every direction blocked. This is January not August!! Having found somewhere to stop we walked into the town to see what had changed. If it wasn’t for the clear blue sky and sandy beach I could have thought that the Rugby League Cup final had just finished and the entire crowd taken over every bar and restaurant. In all my years I have never understood why the English
want to go to a lovely place like Spain and then spend their whole time eating English food and drinking English beer. A Scaninavian neighbour informed us that you could get a Full English round the corner for just under 2 euros!! I said he could not make much money that way. Response – yes he does because of all the beers and brandies he sells with it in the morning. Oh Joy.
Decided to drive up to Mijas Pueblo where we had spent many a long week. First sign. New tapas Bar – Cheese and Ham Toastie and Pint for 5 euros!! Our favourite old Spanish restaurant had been taken over by Brits and was now expensive seafood place. Had coffee in the old square surrounded by locals – not Spanish – all drinking and having cooked breakfasts.
Despair by now is setting in. Let head to Marbella way – things can only get better. Well the site was lovely although crowded. In the early evening I decided to have a walk around. Do any of you remember Jill Coopers’ book Class – well Mr and Mrs Howard Weybridge were here in force. Bronzed couples all dressed up were heading to the little bar, so I followed, not dressed up. You could not get through the door as it was another Quiz night and the bar itself was covered in leaners with their pints blocking everyone else.
Further investigation revealed rows of expensive motorhomes – all white leather etc – sparking in the evening sunshine. Why is it all the Brits clean them all the time. It then dawned on me that of course they do not own them – it’s all on credit for 10 years so god forbid even a speck of dust should be allowed to settle. I walked back to my van. The front was covered in dead flies and bugs. There was yellow sand down the sides and back window had a definite opaque feel to it. I cleaned it before I left and I’ll clean it when I get back. In case you think I am a total slob, the interior is very clean due to madams’ efforts. But it’s ours. It’s bought and paid for in cash. It’s our second home and we derive the pleasure that you should get.
Four days later we were back over the border in France in Argeles talking to a lovely French lady with a 25 year old Hymer who spends nine months pottering about before returning for three months to her home in St Malo. Pretentious moi? I don’t think so.
So the moral of my tale is that despite not having returned to UK, I have seen them out and about and it’s worse than I thought.
Vive La France forever.
Guest blog by @Mikec