Today was mainly centred on getting to know this campsite and how it works. As I said yesterday, it is totally different from most of the sites we have already been on, especially when it comes to the amount of activity taking place. So I decided to leave Mary to her own thoughts and put on my exploring hat for the day.

Point 1 was the toilet block. It’s about 50 metres away therefore bearably distant as I would imagine there to be a lot of coming and going and flushing when there are literally dozens of people using them. Each time I visited the block I had a wee extra snoop around, basically to find out what it had or didn’t have. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it at least 9 and maybe even the “all correct” as it would be difficult to find fault with the facility. In brief, the toilet block is outstanding and I’m sure Mary will spend inordinate amounts of time therein!

I stretched my legs before lunch with a stroll around the site just to get the orientation of the place. I quickly came upon the Keycamp chalets where Mum and Kate will be staying and let me assure you two that your quarters are more than comfortable from what I could see through the windows. I’ll try to add a photo before I post this.

Success!

Success!

Next I walked up the hill to the main facilities area where I found the grocery store, boutique, bar and restaurant all open for business and doing a healthy trade with the campers. Now that is where this place differs so radically from our previous campsites. Vilanova is a fully functioning open site exactly like the ones we have holidayed on in the past 15 years in the Vendée. The only things not yet up and running are the huge outdoor pool and the take-away kiosk, although the restaurant does have a take-away service.

A pause for lunch revived me for a trip into town to get petrol and check out the supermarket (called “Simply” and it would appear a subsidiary of the massive “Auchan” chain). One of the neighbours gave me very good directions as to how to get there and I was soon in the right area when I chanced upon a BP station. With the warning symbol on, it was time for a refill of diesel I decided, so in I drove and then found myself quite unable to work out the payment system to get what I wanted. A big moment this was, because, for the very first time, I had to launch into my pigeon Spanish to explain my puzzlement and then understand the replies. I may have just passed the exam (but really only just!) and I found out you pay in the shop first and then you go back to the pump to put the petrol in. Final shock: petrol is Gasolina and diesel is Gasoleo! Now there’s a disaster waiting to happen!

With a three-quarters tank of diesel (at 1 Euro 37 per litre) I asked again for directions to the supermarket and realised I was only one roundabout away (or for yous Dundonians, one circle away). “Simply” was simply wonderful, similar to a big Asda, everything you could want, stunning fish and meat counters, a whole “everything for 1 Euro” section and there were plenty checkout operators (France and Italy take note). I bought 2 big bags of groceries and the bill was 40 Euros. Now I had it! Spain really was much cheaper compared to the other countries we had visited.

This realisation was reinforced back at the site when I went up to the bar with a couple of the neighbours to watch Newcastle v Chelsea live. My first purchase of a drink, as taught to me by Gerard last year, was “una caña”, getting my glass of lager without a hitch. But I was somewhat taken aback when the assistant asked for 1 Euro 50, as I’d come to expect a certain amount of ripping-off in different bars on our odyssey. Brilliant!

I watched the game (which was excellent) went back for tea and to check Mary was still alive and persuaded her to accompany me back to the bar afterwards. That turned out to be a great move as we both really enjoyed meeting the new people, she enjoyed the free Internet with every drink and I got to see 2 more live games from La Liga. We ended the night with 3 very funny English lads who were excellent company and we had as good a laugh as we’ve had in a while.

I think we went straight to bed!

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