Saturday, 1 November 2014

Els Estanys - picnic area or rubbish dump?

A closer to home post today starting with a nearby walk we recently
Bailey and our Conservatory 
did in an area known as Els Estanys. Dave spotted picnic tables whilst out on a bicycle ride and thought the hill beside might be good for walking. We booted up one afternoon and set out but were disappointed on arrival as what we took for the car park was graffitied and desolate. We wandered past the picnic tables, lightly littered from a recent birthday, and the further we got uphill, the worse the littering got. What is it with the Spanish and fly-tipping? Our walk was briefly improved by the aroma of orange blossom whilst passing a grove of the trees, and also by sighting a pair of bright Red Admiral butterflies, but then we were foiled by a sheer cliff and decided to turn back and head towards some marshland we had spotted instead.

What a fortunate choice! One the other side of Els Estanys, where there are yet more picnic tables, a far smarter car park and a restaurant (closed), the Valencia area authority has created a large coarse fishing lake. There is a walkway all around and little deck piers on which the fishers can sit undisturbed. Shrubbery and reeds have grown up to provide shade for people and cover for birds and we particularly liked a vivid purply-blue flowering bindweed. There were lots of carp in the lake - all up the other end from three men fishing of course - and a single cormorant on watch. Two viewing hides allowed birdwatching across a neighbouring wild lake and their walls were decorated with pictures and information about birds we might see (but didn't). Instead, we spent a while watching for individual fish leaping out of the water. It's addictive in the same way as looking for shooting stars. You know another fish will jump soon but can almost guarantee that you'll be looking the wrong way at the time!

Back home, we have just about got our set up perfect now which is good as we think we'll be here for another week or so - if Dave can cope with the noise. It's mostly not excessive but the people on the next pitch have brought a pair of caged parakeets with them and the poor birds screech frequently throughout the day.

In the past we have erected our porch awning over the doorway but have not liked that the near poles were then always over at least one window causing them to stand at a weird angle and decreasing the structure's stability. This time, I thought I would try putting the awning completely behind the doorway and this works much better on several counts. Firstly, of course, we are not blocking any windows. Also, we gain space by not needing to leave a passageway to the outside. Plus Dave likes being able to open the caravan door straight to the great outdoors. We have set up our brilliant Outwell cupboard with our electric hob on the top, and have even got space for our nice garden table as a dining area. The addition of our new Kampa hanging lamp completes our Conservatory!

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