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Archive : Processionary Caterpillars

Winter Sun Pt 10 – La Manga to Calpe

Sunday 8th March

Another travelling day. We left at around 10:30, which seems to be our usual time.

It was warm and sunny, the boys had their sunshade and we made good progress. We stopped at around midday for coffee – good as usual. We passed into the province of Valencia on our way to today’s destination of Calpe.

I had visited the year before for a singing competition run by the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers (SABS) and I had been quite taken with Calpe. It was touristy but in a fairly refined way, I thought, and I wanted to show Paul.

We passed by Benidorm which surprised Paul. From the motorway it looks like a kind of fairytale city with its fancy high-rise blocks. I have never been so have no wish to comment. A lot of people clearly like it but I suspect it’s not for us. Too British. I come to Spain to see and experience Spain and Spanish people and things.

The latter end of our route was quite challenging for a caravan but good old Paul just got on with it as he does and we finally arrived on site – Camping Estrella Polar – about 1:30

We were shown to a place next door to some other Brits with a MoHo and a Cavalier King Charles. They were very friendly and we chatted to them as we were setting up. Our pitc was under a Mimosa Tree and also a Pine tree, which afforded us some shade when we wanted it.

Mimosa Blossom

They went out on their scooter and we decided to hit Calpe. We went for a closer look at the dominating feature on the Calpe skyline – no. Not a hotel. A BIG rock – the Penyal d’Ifac which is 332 metres high. It’s pretty impressive.

We had a walk along the promenade by the lovely beach. It was very warm and people were swimming. We decided we’d eat out and popped into a restaurant for “raciones”. These are a larger serving than tapas and are perfect for sharing. You tend to order them one or two at a time and then keep on ordering until you are full. It was full of Spanish people so we reckoned we might have chosen well and indeed the food was excellent. But it was very smoky. Very odd to be in a room with people smoking these days.

Boquerones – Anchovies
Albondigas – or meatballs

When we eventually returned to the site we sat outside chatting to the Brits until the sun almost disappeared and the breeze made it too cold to sit out. But in our chatting, it transpired that they lived (until very recently) in Ferring. This – by extreme coincidence – is where our good friends Bob and Barb live. They don’t know them but when Paul said that they had a big old Hymer motorhome, he said oh yeah – they live in xxxxxxxx. And they do!!! Small world, eh?

Paul liked Calpe and could see why I had wanted to return. I pointed out the hotel where we had stayed and competed last year . We also popped into the very handy Mercadona opposite the hotel. We had been frequent users last year, buying snacks and stuff for our little gatherings. When we went to bed we heard – for the first time on this trip – cicadas as we went to sleep. Lovely.

Hotel Diamante Beach Calpe

Monday 9th March

We woke up to quite a hazy morning. Paul worked until lunch hour (2-ish)  and then we decided to go to Dénia so that we can check out where Uncle D has been.

We drove along the coast, noticing the abundance of large and flashy villas nestled on the hills along our route. Clearly some serious cash around these parts! We called in at Moraira, where the boys had a play on the beach. We met a 3 month old German Shepherd puppy and the boys were great with him and they had a great time playing chase. We thought Moraira, which has a Castle very similar to the one at Castillo de Baños, was very pleasant.

This was higher than it looks!
Castilla de Moraira
Paul and the boys

We pressed on to Dénia via Gata di Gorgos and the road took us through a very impressive gorge.

We liked Dénia. It has no high rise development to speak of and a very pleasant ambience. It’s bigger than I had anticipated and has every convenience. We particularly Liked  the end of the beach, past the (big) marina. The mountains behind Denia are also beautiful and there is a large castle , of Moorish origin.

Denia Marina
The Moorish Castle

We were pretty hungry by now and sadly happened across a McDonalds. Sometime you just gotta.

We returned to the campsite via the lake in Calpe where there are flamingoes, doing their headless thing. SO lovely to see them “in the wild”.

Paul worked all evening while I watched the box and then we retired, slightly earlier than usual, in readiness for the next leg of our homeward trip in the morning. 

Quick review of Camping Estrella Polar.

We liked it immediately we arrived. The pitches are not very private but that was actually OK. It’s set in a pine forest on a hill overlooking the town of Calpe. There’s a bar, showers (4 for men, 4 for women) pot-wash, and a washing machine. It’s very quiet. Close to eating places and a small supermarket. We would be very happy to return. The only slight niggle was that the rubbish was overflowing all the time. And the Processionary Caterpillars – of which more tomorrow.

Tuesday 10th MarchPt 1

We had been warned when we arrived that the site was experiencing an – well you can hardly call it an infestation, but they were rather a menace. Processionary Caterpillars. They like pine trees and travel in a procession. Nothing too menacing in that? But – they have hairs called “urticating hairs” – which they can eject like tiny harpoons. They cause a bad allergic reaction (nettle rash) on human skin and can be fatal for dogs. Dogs often lead with their nose and may even try to eat them, attracted by their smell. The hairs become embedded in the tongue and cause necrosis – the tongue can turn black and the passageways swell up, causing breathing difficulties. Immediate treatment is essential and one of the articles I read said that often, by the tome the animal p[resents to the vet, often the only thing they can do is ease suffering. Horrific!

The site had been working to eradicate them and we were pretty vigilant but as Paul went down the side of the van to disconnect our water supply he saw a procession of them. He immediately put the boys in the van (they were on short tethers but better to be safe than sorry?) and went to report.

The nests in the pine trees
A procession