Thursday, 30 March 2017

Bonterra Park, Benicassim, Spain (24/03/2017 - 30/03/2017)

Friday, 24th March 2017

The weather forecast says cloudy, followed by rain in the afternoon. But, it says nothing about the distinctly chilly 9C at 09:00 this morning!

The sun manages to make a brief appearance, mid-morning, so, we are able to have a short (11 miles) cycle ride, to ensure we achieve our 80 miles of walking/cycling for this week.

To explain, Kathleen has become a big fan of the Smart Phone App "Runkeeper". In our first week here, the "plan" was to achieve 60 miles of walking/cycling. In practice, we over-shot slightly, and, the target was revised to 80 miles per week. This was just a target, but, once Kathleen has the "bit between the teeth.......".

So, here we are, with one day of the week left, and, we have done 80 miles. I can see what is going to happen here, the target is going to be revised upwards, again!

Saturday, 25th March 2017

Sun with blue sky, but, a cool wind. Just nice for sitting in the sun, in a sheltered spot, hence, we settle for "only" 80 miles this week!

Sunday, 26th March 2017

Sun, blue sky, 21C.

Daylight saving time arrived, overnight, ie, the clocks moved forward one hour, so, lighter evenings from now, until Autumn.

Today is also Mothers Day, even more time to be spent pampering Kathleen, on behalf of the children.

Dana and Phillippa are on the ball, cards and presents bought in advance and hidden in the van, to be brought out on Mothers day.

Claire steals the day, with the smell of fresh grass cuttings from 1000 miles away, and flowers from our house, with these photographs, as she cuts the lawns at our house, on Mothers Day.

The day cannot be allowed to pass, without clocking up some miles on the Runkeeper App, so, a pleasant little ten mile cycle along the coast, in the evening.

Monday, 27th March 2017

A wet start, raining, but, by 10:00, skies cleared, sun out and 20C.

Our very pleasant neighbours, Graeme and Barbara leave, early this morning, heading home after spending a couple of months here.

We do 5.5 miles walking along the coast, to keep the Runkeeper miles up, or, to top up Kathleen's alcohol levels, depending on your point of view.

After last nights rain, "green" Spain is on view, flowering shrubs, wild flowers etc, all looking fresh and colourful, before the heat of summer comes.

But, still, no crowds.

We have been here four weeks, and, it is necessary to make an "interim payment" of our bill. When we checked in, we were told we could have either the ACSI rate (19Euro/night, including Electricity) or the "long stay" rate (17Euro/night plus Electricity as used). The deal is, they work our you bill, using both rates, and charge you the lesser amount, which I think is jolly decent. In our case, the "long stay" rate is cheapest, but, only by two Euro!

Our electricity cost (59Euro) is our downfall, other people we have spoken to had Electricity bills of only 20-25Euro. I blame Kathleen and that hairdryer / straighteners!

Tuesday, 28th March 2017

Blue sky, sun, 22C.

After Kathleen has done her duty for Lent, and been to church, we have a cycle ride (15 miles) and Lunch at "Pinguin".

This puts us "on target" (35 miles) for our "Runkeeper challenge".

I never cease to be amazed at the people we meet on these trips. Today, got chatting to an elderly English couple (75), who are on their first ever trip to Spain, and loving it. 

Fancy doing a first trip, at 75! good on them! 

The lady of the pair is just about immobile, and uses a mobility scooter to get around. They have a little dog with them (OK, not my thing, I know), but, it injured it's leg and had to have an operation, which cost them 1200Euro, and, still they are smiling! 

I suppose they did "cheat" a little bit, took the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry, thus, shaving a couple of hundred miles off the journey, so, "only" 800 miles to drive, including crossing the Pyrenees, in January, (-11C overnight). 

Kathleen has a frenzy of washing and cleaning (why?), naturally, this means I am in the firing line, for sitting in the sun drinking beer.

I redeem myself by cooking the evening meal (chicken curry).

Wednesday, 29th March 2017

Blue sky, sunshine, 23C.

The Runkeeper addiction starts the day, with a 13 mile cycle ride, along the coast to Orpesa.

I excel myself with an excellent lunch, what I think are fillet steaks (sollo mio, the Spanish label says), mushrooms, potatoes and salad, not, the "excellent" tag is not mine, but Kathleen's verdict as she sips her Rose wine.

Thursday, 30th March 2017

Sun, blue sky and even hotter at 25C.

A lazy morning, followed by an excellent lunch at "Torre St Vincente", followed by more dozing in the sun.

Five o'clock, and the 80 mile/week Runkeeper obsession kicks in. Kathleen decides we must do more miles, to be sure of making the weekly target.

So, just under 11 miles, in the evening, not easy when you are still full of lunch and wine.

We now have approximately 60 miles for this week, 15 more to go.


  1. Ken (& Kathleen if she reads this, and if she does, why aren't you, Ken dead ;-) ?)

    I've passed this blog address on to Peter & Joan Dale as he is becoming a member of the Howe/Shearer Friday Drinking Team along with other irregulars.
    I (and I can only speak for me) would certainly like to try the "over-wintering" thing as it takes away a lot of the stress inherent at home with grand kids looking after sagas (when ill or other GPs are away) We have had 10 days in relatively quiet (another place off the list) which was nice.
    We are planning for our June trip to N. Shields, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Versailles, Nantes, Vendee, and a route back that isn't decided yet. We'll have a few days in Seahouses before that to make sure things are tested and a new drain pipe bought (I've left 2 whilst abroad so must improve) We don't know how anyone who doesn't have their full health and strength can cope with the rigours of Motorhome/Caravan travel but well done them and regarding pets, they are not our scene either. Liz has had her hair cut short again which several people including me say has taken at least 10 years off her age (making me a baby snatcher!) so we don't even have the energy sapping hair kit to worry about.
    However, she now has her bus pass and State Pension so is now a lady in her own right.
    When are you returning to UK with your winter tans?

    1. Hi Doug and Liz.

      Fortunately, Kathleen does not read blog, she relies on me telling her what I am writing, so, I give her the censored version. Hence my personal safety is guaranteed.

      Look forward to seeing you and the child-bride when we get home.

      We leave Benicassim on the Tuesday after Easter, (18th April, I think that is, my Secretary takes care of the details). Then, slowly, up through France, for a tunnel crossing Saturday 29th April. Have not decided exact route back yet. So far, we have used Somport Tunnel and Vielha Tunnel to cross Pyrenees, there is a third tunnel (Bielsa) which is pencilled in for route home. Partly because we have not used it yet, and partly because, Google Maps gives it as the most direct route to travel up through central France, from where we are.

      Almost everyone else we speak to goes via Zaragosa, Irun, Bordeaux etc, ie the N10 route. We do that in winter, when there is snow on Pyrenees, but like to be a little more adventurous (aka foolhardy) weather permitting.

      Once back in UK, we will be heading straight home I would expect. We would usually stop of at Gillingham and/or Windsor to visit brother/son respectively. But, brother is touring UK in motorhome and son, Gary, is in Korea working and wife/children are with him.

      Hope Peter and Joan are amused by the blog.

  2. Hi Ken
    Just started reading your Travel Blog and am now a fan ! Well impressed with your writing style and delicate humour. Also can't fail to be impressed with Team Reay cycling targets too!
    Keep it up.
    Bill Howe