From Peace to Noise

Siurana was an amazing find and we actually did end up taking a couple of beers over to Erik from Sweden and Jürgen from Germany (pictured in yesterday’s blog), both keen climbers, with an excellent command of the English language. Even with only 3/4 moon the small parking area on the top of this peak was well illuminated. Our concerns about all our neighbours partying till late came to nothing and in truth we were probably last to put our lights out. Most of these people would want to be in best of form for the next day when they’d be holding on to sheer rock faces by their finger nails. 

We had an early start courtesy of a group of young Spanish people turning up at 6:30am, and thinking it perfectly acceptable to laugh and shout as only such youngsters can without a single thought for all those still in their beds. Anyway, it meant we were up for the sunrise, but we’re paying the price now with tiredness, exacerbated by very unseasonal heat upwards from the mid-twenties Celsius. We’re not really keen on the heat. 

Anyway, once we were up and sorted, we then enjoyed coffee sat in our chairs outside, which is a rare treat in Spain, where motorhoming is not always as free and easy as elsewhere. In fact last night was the first time I’d sat out in a chair in Spain. Interestingly, we are doing so again tonight. A combination of slowly getting our heads around what is acceptable motorhoming practice, which basically comes down to the venue. In any official motorhome parking, which is currently pitifully scarce, nothing vaguely resembling camping practices, ie chairs & tables, barbecues, drying your washing etc is acceptable at all. However, when “wildcamping” at park4night stops it appears to be much more liberal, perhaps too relaxed if you like peace and quiet. 

There had been a young English couple in the camper van next to us. We only realised in the morning, by which point I have to confess as to not feeling overly sociable, so focused on my maps and guidebooks rather than engage in conversation. I’m really not always so unsociable, but there are those times when I just can’t face it. Surely I can’t be the only one?

Next to turn up were a very nice Englishman and South African wife, with their small child. They were from Stockholm and arrived in a rental car as they were staying in what sounded like a very nice vinery, with some particularly good wine. Anyway, we’re happy with Lidl wines for the time being anyway. See, I can be sociable once I’ve fully woken up. 

Our next visitor was the parking man, which was a surprise. Anyway, he was very nice, and although he could have been telling me to jump off the nearest vantage point for all I knew, he was very smiley and I think he was telling me, by purely gestures and not from a single word he uttered, that I’d need to move to a different part of the carpark. He duly guided me as I reversed into his chosen spot and everyone was happy. He then produced his book of €2 parking tickets, at which point we remembered we were about to “vamos”. In all honesty were really about to leave, but just had to put our chairs away and say our good-byes to our new friends, as well as leave them our cards with blog address and email contact info, and of course the obligatory photo which you should hopefully have seen by now. 

About to leave, we were quite shocked to see a rather large coach arrive. Having only driven up that road myself yesterday, that is definitely not a vehicle I’d like to meet on the way down. We could only assume that the limit must be one coach at a time, otherwise they’d never turn round in the tiny carpark. With this hopeful thought we set off down the relentlessly winding road and fortunately didn’t meet another large vehicle. 

The next town looked like it had bread and I sent Sophie in to get “una barra”, or what we’d call a baguette. Still having her gender issues (so to speak), she managed the same “faux pas” with the bread lady as with the petrol lady a couple of days ago, ie “Hola senor”. I’m just glad I wasn’t there to share the embarrassment. 

We’d noticed a turning down to the reservoir and headed down there. There was a Park4night here so aimed for that. En route, we noticed several camper vans and reckoned these would be rock-climbers, as we’ve come to learn that this is seen as one of the very best spots for this sport in Europe. 

Having made an early start, we were hungry earlier than usual and so devoured our fresh Spanish barras with soft cheese and grapes down near the lake/reservoir. After lunch Sophie noticed someone’s intricate notebook including drawings, writings, and details of climbing routes abandoned on a rock on the shore. She was determined that this precious work should be returned to its rightful owner. Easier said than done, but she had a word with a Dutch chap, Aad, in a 42 year old converted Mercedes van/truck, who had a few ideas as to who it could possibly belong to and he said he’d hopefully let us know in due course. She left our card with him hoping to hear back at some point of a happy outcome. 

After that the day was mainly uneventful, although as we speak, the lovely quiet Park4night we’ve discovered this evening has become pandemonium, or like Picadilly Circus as Sophie has just commented. This is the site of a disused railway line, used now principally for cycling. However, this appears to be a principal hub. Hordes turned up earlier to be collected by minibus, with bike trailers. But they’re still here – please go now. 

On top of that, about a thousand (OK I’m exaggerating a bit) more kids have turned up, and are still turning up, shouting and screaming in the tunnel. Also 2 large coaches arrived a while ago to take them home – fantastic. However coaches are clearly designed in such a way that it is completely impossible to turn off their engines. So you can imagine the noise, and if you know us, you’ll know that we have zero tolerance for noise, maybe even less. 

In the meantime, as if by magic, another couple of vast Spanish families have sneaked in either side of us. How did that happen. On one side is a motorhome with 4 kids & one on the way. The other one is actually a caravan, but I haven’t had the courage to count their kids. As I speak and as the legion of shouting and screaming kids are coached off – “Bye, and don’t come back” – the caravan has disappeared as quickly as it appeared. I’m sure they’re here somewhere, probably hidden behind a tree or a boulder, because it was a particularly small caravan. 

The kids have been replaced by the loud, shouty chaps who are now loading a ridiculous amount of bikes on innumerable trailers. What is it about this country. 

Things are slowly beginning to calm, but that means we are now hearing a neighbour’s unwelcome music, and we’ve yet to hear much from our family of four kids but we are trying to be optimistic. Actually, they’re kicking off now. 

To add to our woes, for the first time in 22 days we have no Internet connection or phone signal. 

The following is a basic map for those of you who I know are taking a keen interest in our route. Tonight’s stop is quite near to a town called El Pinell de Brai. 

Progress so far:

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