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Thursday, 5 November 2009

When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now

It is interesting to be in Spain out of season: few camp sites are open, so the ones that remain available are fairly busy and it can seem to campers that there are lots of holiday makers around. However, in the towns it is clear that the hotels are closed, the apartments shut up for the season, shops and bars are boarded up and few people are around to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

Most of the campers in Spain are retired people, a little older than we are, although a few lucky ones with good pensions are not much older! They are generally from Germany, the Netherlands or the UK. Most are here for a month or two of sunshine, intending to return to the UK by Christmas; we’ve not met many who have as long as we have.

We stayed on a lovely, small camp site near to L’Ametlla de Mar, set in a nature reserve, so we had to give it a try. On a warm and sunny day we walked along the coastline, only passing the occasional Spanish jogger and had delightful bay after delightful bay to ourselves. There are still flowers on the Rosemary and the Bell Heather and butterflies, dragonflies and crickets still flit around as if it were August.

The Elbre Delta is a flat expanse of reeds, rice fields, irrigation channels and lagoons, dotted with small farm houses. The area is managed as a natural park and we visited some of the hides to watch the birds; including Red Crested Pochards and Purple Gallinule in the lagoons, with Marsh Harriers flying overhead and Common Sandpipers pottering in the mud. From the tall hides you get a fantastic feeling of space, and we sat in one lofty viewpoint drinking mugs of coffee we’d made in the van. We were joined by a Spanish family; and with only a few shared words between us were able to share our binoculars and our enjoyment of such a beautiful area.

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