Once across the Sierra Nevada

Blog entry 18/02/2019

Since we are now reunited with Petra and Dieter, we will continue our journey together. 

Yesterday I walked with Petra part of the trail, she had done with Dieter the day before. Since the trail took with breaks almost 4 hours we turned after half an hour to save my knee . After all, our view over the lake was terrific and the route was even – according to my mobile phone app – 4.5 km away. 

We enjoyed the great rest. Very rarely a car drove by. 

One of the rangers who tested the barriers to the reservoir every few hours, stopped in the afternoon and invited Dieter to go with him. He showed him a spring of fresh and good water. Unfortunately it is not very powerful at the moment and we had all our water tanks full, so we tasted only a bottle that Dieter brought back with him. 

Otherwise nothing was actually going on. A meeting, how we should go on was held in Big Fredi. Petra started to learn how to knit socks which ended in a soar muscles. 

Today after breakfast and packing we drove in convoy through the Sierra Nevada. 

The road is one lane for the most part. Passing places are few and far between, but we did not pass a car anyway. Up to 2,000 meters of altitude we climbed before it went downhill to 915 meters in altitude in Guadix. 

At the highest point, we saw some snow and patches of ice at the side of the road. The road was dry, evidence of cows and their excrements in the street pointed out the possibility of beef herds, we have seen none. 

The area of Guadix is known for its caves. It should instead be famous for its bakery. We stepped into Alcudia de Guadix’s most delicious coffee shop and had coffee for each of us and 5 pieces of cake, which we cut into 4 parts and paid 9.40 € altogether.

An unbeatable price for unbeatable cake. We even bought a small cake and then headed to the parking lot for campers in Guadix. 

We strolled like real tourists without a plan but with destination to the caves. Wilfried showed where he suspected the center and all followed him. Then I suspected the caves on the mountain, so we went uphill. Some poor-looking caves we discovered. Some would also have been offered for sale, but that can not even be described as “with potential”. Everywhere in front there is heaps of rubbish and garbage. Furniture simply gets disposed outside the door. 

Finally, Dieter took out the tablet and discovered a museum. 

We wandered around for a while, without the museum getting any closer. We finally gave up the Museum and headed towards the parking lot, which we found easily. Exhausted by the nearly 5 km uphill and downhill we settled down in our cars to reminisce, to eat and rest. Tomorrow we want to go on towards Granada. I’m curious if they play Granada there!

Big surprise and reunion with old friends 

Blog entry 16/02/2019

This morning there should be a decision made on how our journey should go on. 

Fondon and getting to know Daniel, son of Michele, who was painted in Oxford, stood on our agenda of today. (look on the Blog) Since Daniel has not been available, we took the last consequence to contact Michele in England, and found out that the young family is not in Fondon but in Ethiopia.

But somehow the Sierra Nevada excited us more than the sea with its increasingly more restricted and crowded beaches and we asked Petra and Dieter, who had spent a long time in the area where they were right now. We found out that they were staying at the lake Embalse de Benínar just 40 minutes away from us. 

They also had enough of the sea and so we met them again after 9 weeks. How nice to see them again! To sit in the sunshine, to exchange what had happened in the meantime and to be able to go on as if we had seen each other yesterday for the last time. 

They actually wanted to leave the parking lot early tomorrow, but for a walk or a hike, they like to stay an extra night, moreover, since it is so quiet here that one can perceive absolutely no noise. No sound of the sea, no car, not even a plane can be heard. The only car of an association of rangers who repeatedly days and nights control the barriers to the reservoir have been observed by Petra until now. We could even sit outside enjoying our lunch / supper because it was awesome warm, although at 500 meters above sea level!

Valentine’s Day and going to the south

Blog entry 15/02/2019

Our friend Paul had breakfast with us on Valentine’s Day

and then the two men crafted a lightweight wood inlay for Paul’s motorcycle pannier. In return Paul took us in his Mercedes to media market and Lidl, so we could escape a cumbersome search for a parking space. Then we were invited by Christl to delicious vegetable soup and when Paul dropped us off at Big Fredi, he was completely intact.
A mini walk in the evening brought me to the southern beach side of Vila Joijosa. This is the rougher and more primitive, the unspoilt side of the old town. There the houses are not built directly to the beach as usually they are in Benidorm.

Today, the departure was very relaxed and comfortable. Breakfast, shower and packing everything safely lasted exactly until 12 noon.

In daylight and when it was still warm we reached Mojácar. It is a fancy area, hotels along the beach, and  – it is prohibited for campers.

One night we are now on a parking place next to the road and tomorrow we will go on. Where? We don’t know exactly. Be surprised, like we are.

Vila Joiosa

Blog entry 13/02/2019

Farewell Dénia for a short trip to Vila Joijosa.

About 2 hours on good roads we needed for that. Much of it was already known by us from the previous year. Paul gave us a good overview of the entire area last year. 

On our way we were searching for a way to dispose our toilet. There were none marked on our apps, so we headed to Camping Almafra in Alfaz de Pi. Even for a fee the unfriendly staff did not allow us to use the dump station. At the second campsite “Camping Alicante empire” we were allowed for 5 € to empty our toilet “for an exemption“ and only because I was begging so hard. 

We then headed right on to the beach, where we were allowed to stay last year. This year large signs in front of the place restricted the parking of campers. On the near new parking lot there was no such sign and campers were already standing there. So our Big Fredi also found a Space and I walked to buy bread in the beautiful old town. 

This part always reminds me of Burano with its small colorful houses that radiate so much joy. Actually the name Vila Joijosa in the original sense means “Happy City”.

The tourist office was still open and I was drawn into it magically. 

Maria, the lively staff member was immediately impressed of Face Europe She called her husband Victor if he wanted to join. He was already with the children on his way to the tourist information center, because the children wanted to visit Mama before they went to Alicante to the doctor. We therefore met each other personally and Victor was spontaneously ready to sit for a portrait the next morning. 

Paul from Amstetten visited us briefly in the evening and we agreed for a lunch together at our place at 4:00 pm the next day. 

Both the portrait and the lunch were very harmonious. Victor will ask his Belgian friend and his wife Maria, if they want to be part of Face Europe. 

It is always amazing how many people are enthusiastic about the idea of a “little Europe” here in Spain.

Dénia

Blog entry 11/02/2019

It feels like spring.

The temperature in the morning reminds us of times at home in May, when we have breakfast for the first time in the garden. Only the ocean whispers in the background are different. 

Unlike Valencia, where the sea made loud noises, here we hear absolutely nothing. First of all, the water is much further away, and secondly there are rarely waves. It seems more like a still lake. But even here there is always a little breeze during the day until 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

Saturday was a lazy day. Niko and Marion stopped by soon after breakfast. In return, Denise and Pranava (from Germany) joined us. Denise is Tatoo artist and Pranava has long lived in an ashram, has traveled a lot, was also several years in Tenerife and is a yoga teachers. His original profession was in advertising.

Denise is very interested in the art of portrait drawing and likes to take tips from Wilfried.

We walked together into Dénia, where we visited the attractive pedestrian zone and then shopped at the supermarket.

 Yesterday was mostly relaxed and afternoon André (from Germany) came. He approached us and wanted to know what we intended with our project. He could not figure it out from the homepage. Only our explanation turned out  the EU attitude within him. He moved his departure this morning and had his portrait drawn by Wilfried. Despite the early hour and the rapidly changing sun it became a very authentic picture of André. He liked it really well and also his wife Gisela was very pleased. Maybe we meet each other again, as we both have similar routes.

Farewell to Valencia

Blog entry 02/09/2019

Well, the farewell is done

It was really hard after 8 weeks to break away from such a beautiful place. Well, the parking lot was not so nice at the first glance. But very practical and full of great people. We wish everyone a safe journey and more interesting experiences.

From Gabriel we received a box of 15 kg oranges as a gift. Then we went on to Valencia Camper Park in order to wash clothes and to dispose waste water. The washing machine took longer than the usual equipment and the dryer took 60 instead of the usual 30 minutes. So we just made it to arrive in time for lunch at Deise and Martin. It was a pleasant afternoon and evening. We stayed over night one block from the beach.

After breakfast at Big Fredi at first we drove to another district of Valencia: Benimaclet where we bought paper and fixative in a very well-equipped art supplier.

For lunch we were invited by Paul and Christl in Denia who took Wilfried’s birthday as an opportunity to invite us to Quantanamera in Dènia. Thank you for the excellent menu! Who ever comes to Dènia, the Cuban restaurant should not be missed. A delicious four-course menu for € 8.50!

We walked along the beach about 2 km, where Christl showed us the parking space which she had found for us. It was really hot and no wind, the hottest day in Spain so far.

Wilfried first wanted to park Big Fredi next to an Englishman, but he did not agree that we were in his sun with our colossus. On the other side Marion and Niko were very happy with our appearance, because they wanted shade for their (small!   – unlike Big Fredi) Mercedes Vito. They were also equally interested in an acquaintance and we invited them over to visit us. It is still pretty cold to sit outside after sunset .

It was a quiet night. This morning we had breakfast at the beach for the second time in Spain!

 

Dense last days in Valencia

Blog entry 02/06/2019

On Monday it was still too cold to sit outside and therefore Martin was drawn inside the car

It was exciting  to pursue his career and his life tour through Europe. His persistence has very strongly influenced his life. 

Tuesday began quite peculiar. In the morning we learned from Michael that Christl was robbed during the night. Into her car it was broken in. The bag with money, wallet, cell phone, charger, car keys was stolen while she slept. We could not believe it. We had always felt so safe here. Christl stayed very calm. She was lucky that nothing had happened to her personally and she also kept her passport and her tablet in the car hidden well enough so that the thieves did not take those things with them. 

I helped her to block all credit cards and to call the police. For this incidence it is great to have unlimited phone balances across the EU.

Shortly after we had called the police two police men stopped next to us to listen to what had happened. Then the Civil Guard appeared and told Christl that her bag was found. The car keys and her driver’s license were inside, and only the cell phone and the cell phone charger she had borrowed from Michael and all credit cards and MasterCard were gone. One can imagine the relief when Christl got the stuff back. Now you have to imagine the two men from the Guardia Civil drove Christl and me to the office where Christl could report the criminal act and then they even brought us back. That was an extraordinary service that no one of us would have expected. We were also brought back in time to start face Europe and I could do the interview with Deise myself. Michael would have – if I had not come back in time – done that instead of me. He had been instructed by Wilfried in a crash course, what questions he would have had to address to Deise. But he was grateful that I took on this role and the session was very easy going and with a lot of laughter and we also had an interested audience. Deise agreed to assist Christl in opening a new account. For this purpose she wanted to come the next day with the bike to bring Christl into the city. 

Kai in the meantime appeared during the afternoon and greeted us warmly. 

Somehow we joked about our pajamas and one word gave the other and suddenly it was clear that we should make a pajama party on our last night. Enrico, the Italian sailor and the entire team wanted to meet in the evening for  a Pajamaparty. Also Deise wanted to come. 

But at night everybody was  kind of tired. The only – loyal Enrico appeared late at night, but he only saw the two of us and in all the other „houses“ it was already dark. So he wanted to go home and we promised to have our last breakfast together in the morning with the whole gang. 

It turned out to be a fine and cozy breakfast with music and farewell. Michael left first. Deise and Christl rode their bikes to Valencia. Deise was so sweet, to come out here and to help Christl to re-open an account or to get any other way to get to her money. Tomorrow we see Christl again at Deise where we are invited for lunch. 

Hard to say goodbye to all these nice people that we were so close. Last night also Marion emerged from France. She is a kite surfer, a musician and a riding instructor. Also a very likeable person. Maybe we’ll see her again on our way to the south. 

We tore ourselves away to continue our way to Naranjas del Carmen, where Wilfried drew a great picture of Gabriel, while we were listening to his stories. We could have continued to listen to Gabriel as it was so interesting. Unfortunately, Gabriel had another appointment so we had to leave his house, but we want to see him tomorrow morning. Since we want to buy oranges and honey and then move on. 

As the project Face Europe develops it gets more and more exciting to listen to the life stories. Thanks to all the people who present us at Face Europe!

Caught a cold and waiting for Faces

Blog entry 02/02/2019

Never before has a cold lasted that short. The sea air has brought me back to health quickly.

But probably also it was Bettina’s magic bullet which was meant for my knee, that was one reason for my speedy recovery. 

One thing is for sure: I am top fit and healthy. 

The last few days we spent waiting for Paul, Gonzalo and Gabriel. Now there is the last chance in this week. By Friday we want to continue. At the beginning of the week we find out whether it is still Gabriel to be painted on Thursday and whether Paul has got time. 

Our friends Christl and Paul from Austria who stay over the winter in Benidorm, expect us as well. Meanwhile, February has arrived and we still want to see some other parts of Spain. 

The last two days we had heavy storms. In Big Fredi  we felt like in a ship. 

We also have got new neighbors. Michael from the Cologne area in his 40 years old Mercedes, a real cult vehicle and Christl from Bavaria with one of those new vehicles called only “white stuff” or “yoghurt pot”. Here Christl is a brave woman traveling alone, at the age of 59 years and after a lifetime “for the others” now discovered how beautiful it can be to take care of herself. 

This results in exciting and funny conversations, especially if you can laugh at yourself. 

At noon today we were invited by Bettina and Sven for a delicious paella. With sea food animals of all kinds! Simply delicious. She had been pre-ordered and we gathered at Navarro, a beach restaurant, and took the paella to the family home. There Helga was waiting for us and we were seven at the table. The paella was enthroned over many candles in the middle of the table in order not to cool down. The kids love the seafood very much. If I had served something like that to my children, none of my children would have even tried it. 

Thanks for the great invitation!

Our last days in Valencia are already counted

Blog entry 28/01/2019

Today Alcampo and Leroy Merlin is reopened.  A strong wind from the land feels cool. Otherwise – as always – the sun is shining. The current entry into the solar system is steadily increasing.

Yesterday Sylvia helped me with the production of orange marmalade and today the new orange / lemon marmalade was finished and is already filled in jars. It is really delicious. Fruity, sweet and sour and very yummy.

Sunday was a major clean-up day. The carpet, which had served us in the cold very well must be washed and disappeared in the dirty laundry. Thus, you can move the table again and you do not need to lift it.

Yesterday afternoon we walked the 5 km to the port of Valencia along the beach. Patacona Fiesta took place and we saw the well-dressed girls at a photo shooting and also photographed the group. You could see the pride in their clothes literally in their eyes flash.

When going home a fierce wind was blowing against us, which was not so much noticed before as a tailwind.

It was good to rest after the walk. Sylvia invited us to dinner two caravans further, where also Ayu was for some time before she plunged into Valencia nightlife.

Today it was very windy from the land again. In the afternoon Brigitte dropped in. She is the French woman Wilfried had drawn.  After she had bought a sander for renovating her apartment she surprised us with her visit. Now she can go to work. Jean Jaques has left today to France to see his daughter. Also Enrico got some brushes for his boat painting job at Leroy Merlin.

We have not received any message from Naranja Del Carmen regarding appointment for this and next week so far. 

We are looking forward to Thursday and we will see what happens next. 

Paul is not the same Paul

Blog entry 25/01/2019

Yesterday we were amazed as we were expecting to welcome Paul, who was not Paul.

We did not know her before so, Empar – her sister – showed up and said Paul was sick and she was pleased to be a part of Face Europe insted. Although she speaks very good German, Ayu was here to translate.

It was a happy afternoon in a warm atmosphere. Paul wants to come to be portrayed in a week on Thursday. We wish Paul a speedy recovery! We look forward to you!

Today was the first day that felt really like summer. 23 degrees, no wind – and the Spaniards go still with winter jackets. I was about to take off my sweater and go with the T-shirt, I saw most people still wrapped firmly into warm clothes we only wear in winter. 

Bettina took me one day to her harvest field where she originally wanted to olant potatoes. But since Miguel was not on site, and there also were no potatoes for planting, we contented ourselves with the harvest of her wonderful vegetables and went on to the market. A paradise! Tiger nuts, peanuts, dried figs, and, and, and. We unloaded what Bettina had bought for her in her apartment while I could visit Helga, who has now broken a rib when coughing. Poor person! Hopefully she will be healthy before she has to go home again. 10 days are too short for a real recovery. And then when you are sick when the holiday feeling goes down towards zero. 

Today we tested the sea with our feet for the first time and walked along the beach over confluent streams just about to the level of Bettina’s house. 

The sea was not too cold, the sand already heated up. Great experience this walk on the beach! And that happened on January 25!

I intend to do that more often, it’s very invigorating.