|Picnicking on a beach near Sopalmo|
It is much busier at Camping El Quinto now and I think about three-quarters of the pitches are occupied. Most of the newcomers are British and look like they are going to be stopping here for several weeks as they have large awnings and extra cupboard-tents stacked with Stuff. We were shocked when the couple diagonally opposite us made space for their awning on their pitch by cutting down one of the shrubs marking the boundary! We had seen the man pacing out distances and when he then reappeared with a saw, I assumed he was going to remove an encroaching branch, but no. The whole plant has gone. He then continued his deforestation attempts a couple of days later by pruning overhanging tree branches with a borrowed set of long-handled shears. I was so surprised, not only by his nerve and cheek, but also that people consider a variety of gardening tools to be essential caravanning equipment. I guess we still have a lot to learn - and we must obviously plan ahead by buying a considerably bigger awning!
By contrast, Camping Sopalmo is eerily quiet. Walking around had a nice sense of familiarity but, as it was pretty full there for our visit last year, the mostly empty pitches were a little disconcerting. We didn't arrive until late February/early March though so maybe it's just too early in the year? Chris and Marta are doing their best to spread out over multiple pitches and make the place look busy!! We joined them for late morning coffee - we were late - and then all set out with best foots forward. I was interested to see the plants that are growing wild towards the shore as they are different to those thriving in the hills, but maintain the same colour scheme of purples and yellows. Does bloom colour affect plants in this climate? Are the insects around at this time of year particularly attracted to purple and yellow?!
We walked for an hour or so to reach the beach and indulged in a quick paddle before lunching. Wow, that water has gotten so much colder since my last swim at the start of November! I had no intention of going in over my ankles, but Dave was happily prancing around up to his knees. Walking back via Sopalmo village was picturesque and it was interesting to view the route through different eyes as well. Marta is an artist so she often picks up on details of colour and texture that I might have overlooked. She's also a good chef and had made a rich beef casserole for us all. A few games of Yahtzee later - I lost them all, grrr - and we nearly couldn't leave Camping Sopalmo as it was already gone 11pm and the gates to the road were closed with us in our car on the inside! Fortunately campsite owner Simon must have realised we were still there because the bolt was across, but not padlocked. Phew! Thank you Simon! We were locked out at our El Quinto end too, but it's only a single barrier here and easy to walk around.
Perhaps unsurprisingly after such a late night, today has been a quiet day with just an afternoon wander down to Mojacar playa and back for me. The sun was almost too hot for walking at 3pm, but I had a fantastic audio book I wanted to finish - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, read by Jason Isaacs. Review to follow in my next bookish post ...