Myrtle The Motorhome

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

The marina at L'Escala.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

The Promenade at L'Escala.

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The beach at L'Escala.

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The beach at Cala Montgo, just a couple of hundred yards from Illa Mateua Camping Resort.

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The view of the bar.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

The view from the bar.

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One hell of a happy Senorita!.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

One happy El Senor.

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The view from the beach bar at Cala Montgo.

Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2013

Illa Mateua Camping Resort

Days 9 to 11
Marsiellan Plage, France.
L'Escala, Spain.

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Day 9:
Sunday 7th October
Marseillan Plage to
Cala Montgo, Nr. L’Escala, Spain.
Miles: 141
Site: Illa Mateua Camping Resort
Cost: €14.00 per night.

We awoke on our last morning at Marseillan Plage and although you couldn’t describe it as cold it was not as warm as it had been and it was a little overcast and we knew our decision to move south was the right one. Marseillan Plage had been nice though and we’d really enjoyed the company of our neighbours Alan and Christine so it hadn’t been an obvious decision to move on just yet.

We packed everything away and after giving them our mobile number we said cheerio to our new friends and headed south.

For the first part of our journey the weather remained quite neutral but then as we approached the Spanish border the sun came out and when we stopped at the last petrol Station in France the heat just hit us as we stepped out of Myrtle, this is what we’d come for.

We arrived at the Illa Mateua Camping Resort at about 2pm and from the minute we walked into the reception we were impressed with the place.

This was a proper reception area with a uniformed lady that greeted us with a very welcoming smile and it reminded me a bit of the reception more a kin to a 4 star hotel than a campsite and a million miles from anything we’d encountered in France and this wasn’t going to be the only similarity to  4 star hotel we were to discover during our excellent stay.

The campsite was split into two halves either side of a quiet road but as this was the last week before the site closed for the season only one half of the site was open. The side open was across the road from the reception and we were asked to leave Myrtle while we walked across and selected a pitch.

Having picked one we return to reception to complete the formalities and before leaving to pitch up we were given a voucher for free complimentary drinks and a free tapas in the bar that evening, result.

We were soon pitched up and went for a walk to explore the small beach resort of Cala Montgo.
Turning right out of the site just a couple hundred yards down the road was the most delightful cove surrounded by bars and restaurants.

After a bit more of a stroll we eventually decided to have a bite to eat at one of the beach side establishments over looking the Mediterranean and while the beach started to empty in the late afternoon/early evening we tucked into two enormous steaks and drank red wine, bliss.

Never one to luck a gift horse and all that, later that evening we went to the site bar/restaurant to use our free drinks and tapas voucher and were very glad we did.

We were served our free drinks with a smile and offered free seafood tapas which, as neither of us are very fishy we politely declined using good old sign language to explain we didn’t like fish. After our descriptive signing, which involved a bit of nose holding and tongue sticking out, we were pleasantly surprise when a waitress returned with a fresh cooked non fish alternative tapas and it was offered as if to say is this okay and if not we’ll keep bringing something else until you’re happy.
During our excellent stay at Illa Mateua we were to discover this was the minimum standard of customer service you could expect, they really were very very good.

That night we met a couple of ex-pats, Jill and Peter (aka Pedro) at the bar who where a lovely couple originally from Snowdonia in Wales. They now lived in Javea, which was about an hour north of Benidorm and they used their motorhome to visit the UK as well as to tour Europe.
 
Day 10:
Monday 8th October
Cala Montgo, Nr. L’Escala, Spain.
Miles: None
Site: Illa Mateua Camping Resort
Cost: €14.00 per night.

Our first full day at Cala Montgo and we woke up to glorious sunshine, in fact the temperature hadn’t dropped below 20°C all evening and it felt great. The site couldn’t have been any better either. If the reception had been a kin to something you’d expect to find at a 4 star hotel then the toilet block and facilities were similar in standard to something you would find in the same hotel lobby. It was immaculately tiled on both the walls and floors and at last, complete proper loos. To explain the terms complete and proper, in France at some sites there was a mixture of the squat and drop loo’s and the sit down variety, at all sites the sit down varieties never had separate seats and you sat on the cold hard porcelain and very rarely was loo paper provided. As for cleanliness, these were spotless and we were all but convinced that a 24 hour attendant/cleaner was employed. Although this seems unlikely there was one attendant definitely on duty whenever we used the loo’s which was usually anytime between 8am and midnight but H had once ventured out to the loo at 4am and there was even an attendant on duty then. 

After breakfast nice and early Lizzie and Ada were out and we headed into L’Escala for an explore.
To get there by bike, this time when we exited site we turned left and headed up quite a steep hill for part of the way and then down hill into L’Escala and from there it was very easy to find the marina to your right, the Mediterranean in front of you and to your left the start of a very nice modern promenade. For the first part the prom which seemed to go for ever runs parallel to a sandy bay and then around a rocky headland before delivering you to a second smaller sandy bay. Café bars, hotels and shops are dotted along the prom and more shops can be found by diverting a couple of streets in land.

We smooched a few shops and had a cup of Spanish coffee, which is about as refreshing as a cup of French coffee, and after the purchase of a snorkel and mask headed back to Myrtle and then down to the cove for a bit of fish spotting and sun soaking.

Later on that evening we met up with Jill and Peter in the bar again and enjoyed more interesting tales of their motorhome trips around Europe. They really were an interesting couple and a right pair of characters. Peter explained how he had very severe arthritis and that back in the UK he’d been on all sorts of medication but in Spain he wasn’t on any and you just got the impression that these people were loving their life.

Day 11:
Tuesday 9th October
Cala Montgo, Nr.L’Escala, Spain.
Miles: None
Site: Illa Mateua Camping Resort
Cost: €14.00 per night.

Another day started with more glorious sunshine, bliss.

After breakfast we decided to cycle into L’Escala to smooch again and this time to purchase something to act as a carpet / ground sheet for outside Myrtle. As mentioned earlier none of the pitches we stopped on were lush grass and at Illa Mateua the pitches were very sandy which was a pain and seemed to be getting every where. Also on some mornings when there had been a heavy dew this seemed to compound the problem. Copying others we bought several beach mats and pegged these down and also bought an old fashioned straw type sweeping bush to keep the matting dust free. As per usual for us we then got carried away and bought some clip together plastic tiles, designed (it said) for going around swimming pools.

We noticed some people were using sheets of the black matting you can buy to suppress weeds in your garden. This looked very neat and covered a large area and was very easy to sweep clean but for the short periods we were to be stopping at each site it seemed a bit extreme and not a 2 minute job to put and peg down. If you were to be pitched on the one site for say a fortnight or more though I think this stuff was probably the ideal solution to keep dust, dirt and sand under control.

We returned to Myrtle and laid down our matting and then instead of the beach we decided to spend the afternoon beside the site pool and boy what a great decision that turned out to be.
When we got to the pool, which was next to the bar we were the only people there except for one waiter and one waitress.
 
We ordered a couple of beers which by the way was extremely cheap, under €4.00 for a pint and a half compared to over €7.00 in France.

I don’t think that you were usually allowed to take beer to the poolside but upon request, and as we were the only ones using the pool our waiter and waitress, after a little search provided us with some plastic glasses.

We had a bit of a dip in the spotlessly clean pool and a bit of a sunbathe and the moment our glasses were empty our personal waiter and waitress were on hand to collect our glasses and re-fill them. The bar / restaurant also did reasonably priced meals too and once we’d order something to eat our personal waitress and waiter set up a dining table as close to the pool as possible and then as soon as the food was ready they came and carried our drinks to the table. The service was amazing and not just because we were the only ones there either I don’t think but because this was the level of service that they liked to provide.

After dinner we returned to our poolside lilo’s and enjoyed bright sunshine and warm weather until teatime when it started to cool down a little.

I’d notice from the ACSI book that the site was due to close at the end of the week for the season and in the afternoon I got talking to our waiter, who in reality was probably one of the site managers and asked why when the weather was so nice was the site closing. He was a very nice man and very intelligently explained to me that from the middle of October the weather could change and that the area suffered from very high winds called the Tramuntana. He said that when the Tramuntana winds were blowing we wouldn’t want to be staying in a caravan or motorhome.
I later googled this and found that The Tramuntana are caused by dropping temperatures in the Pyrenees and this caused very high winds to blow down the mountain range and across the Costa Brava. This is how the Costa Brava, which translates as ‘Wild Coast’ gets its name. On the French side of the Pyrenees similar winds were referred to as Mistral winds.

Curiosity satisfied and geography lesson over we made the steady 200 yard walk back to Myrtle pausing briefly on the way to chat to Jill and Pedro and arranged to meet them later that evening in the bar for a goodbye drink as they thought they might be leaving the next day.

Once back at Myrtle I decided it was time for Max (the sat dish)to come out again and having read the instructions a bit more and read all about compass bearings and elevation I was confident we would be watching a bit of UK TV in no time.

Well one hour and a big bit later I’d still got CNN and Al Jazeera but somehow had managed to lose ITV Wales.

I packed Max away again and not long after a late tea we both fell asleep watching one of the many DVD’s we’d brought with us and unfortunately over slept for going to the bar to meet Jill and Pedro.
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Copyright Myrtle The Motorhome 2012
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