Saturday, 14 May 2011

Spain 2003, Day One, Sitges

Day One, 17th March

Day one started the evening before, flying out of Newcastle for Stansted, no problems with Easy Jet arriving on time. Very uncomfortable night in Stansted airport but we had to check in at about 05:30 for Barcelona and again flights on time with no problems.

Had to wait a short while for the lift to the showroom but he eventually turned up and took us on a very long drive, the old showroom was close to the airport.  The plan had been to set off from the showroom and drive straight to Sitges (although the words straight and Sitges don't really go together if you know what I mean), a simple one road drive but now we are on the other side of the city.

Everything now turns very Spanish on us, we are sat down with a coffee then nothing seems to happen, I look out of the showroom windows down onto the motorhomes parked below in the compound but can not see one that looks like ours. We are eventually asked "do you require the cycle carrier", "yes thanks" I reply, then nothing starts happening again (to be honest I think paperwork is being done). While we wait, I get my laptop out with the photos of the motorhome, as I am now worrying that ours is not out there.

Eventually we are asked if we would like to see the van, now the reason I could not see ours becomes apparent, it has a roof rack and a ladder that I was told "not on this one", then I begin to wonder if this is a deferent van (has it been switched for an older high mileage one) but no, the registration and VIN number is right plus two small dents in the bonnet are there. The headlight has been fixed and the bike rack is on, we say nothing about the roof rack and neither do they.

Sometime later the paperwork is complete, we are insured through them until we arrive in England and we set off back to the van for a demonstration of how everything works. The van comes with an instruction manual, spare set of bulbs, a full 2.7kg cylinder of Campingaz, an electric hook-up cable, water hose, blue loo stuff, cutlery, pans, plates, bowls, cups, washing up liquid, cleaning cloths and several other things necessary for first time motorhoming (I am led to believe this is better than some people get in this country). After being shown how everything works (and incidentally not getting any of it), I am invited to reverse the van up to a tap, to fill the water tank, not a pretty site but not too bad for a first time.

With the original plans out the window, no one road to Sitges, we get the laptop out and set a route on AutoRoute from out present location (this is a lot easier when we get our GPS mouse, next year).  As we are well out to the north of Barcelona we decide not to head towards the coast and city centre but instead travel parallel to the coast on main roads and then head towards Sitges. What we do not have is a lot of diesel, so we stop at the first service area, also the van it did not come with the red breakdown warning triangles, so in the service station I looked for some. Being unsuccessful I attempted to ask for warning triangles, I tried everything, saying triangle with a Spanish accent, making triangle shapes with my fingers, pointing at other triangular shapes (Toblerones, etc) but could not make myself understood.   In the end I give up and go and look again, I eventually found some, on returning to the checkout the nice lady says "ha, Tri├íngulo".

When we turn off the motorway to head down to Sitges we find ourselves on a road that is practically a dirt track, I am probably exaggerating but this is my first time driving the van or anything this size, anyway its not a very pleasurable experience.

Camping Sitges, Spain 2003SitgesCamping Sitges
Ctra. C-246, km.38, E - 08870 Sitges
Web Site

Once in Sitges, we find the site without too much trouble, we are well out of season, the pool was green but the bar/restaurant was open. Spent some time sat in the sun and getting to know the living space in the van, reading the instructions translated from Spanish was very strange.   

In one suitcase we had all the usual stuff you would take for a holiday and in the other we had a duvet, quilt cover, sheets, etc, what we did not have was pillows but thought cushions off the seats would suffice. On making up the bed we discovered while putting on the fitted sheet that the over cab bed is king size and not double, the mattress sprung up at the four corners with the sheet stretched between.

Had to have a walk in to town, quite a long walk to the seafront and then quite a bit further along the front to the centre, just over one and a half miles.  Had a drink and then back for an early night, its been a very long day, will be back tomorrow for a longer more leisurely look round.

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