We finally managed to wrench ourselves away from the luxury of La Marina and our first stop was at the local garage to fill up with LPG (liquid petroleum gas). Our heating system runs on gas, and we also use gas for heating water and for cooking, including the barbecue. We had been away almost three weeks and one of our two LPG bottles was showing empty. We hadn’t used the heating a great deal but when the outside temperature could be as little as two degrees – a bit of heating encouraged us out of bed in the morning. We did not want to run out of gas.
We continued driving south following the coast, leaving the Costa Blanca and heading for the Costa Del Sol. We travelled past Cartagena and Almeria, arriving later in the day near the town of Motril in Granada. The whole area is sandwiched between the Sierra Nevada and the coast and was sheltered from the cold north winds by the mountains and warmed by the Mediterranean sea, giving the area a climate of warm summers and mild winters. The drive along the coast with the mountains to the north and the rocky coast to the south would have been spectacular had it not been for acres and acres of horticultural polytunnels. We drove past hundreds and hundreds of miles of polythene, huge plastic tents stretching away as far as the eye could see. Where the ground was steeper, the plastic was arranged in terraces on the hillside. Until 2006 sugar cane had been the principle crop of the area but today they grow avocados, tomatoes, guava, mango, banana and all kinds of exotic fruit to be shipped out in huge lorries to Northern Europe and beyond.
Later that afternoon we arrived at Camping Don Cactus in Carchuna, a campsite alongside the beach, surrounded by more polytunnels. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy and windy, the pitches on the site were tiny and they were refurbishing the toilet block. We decided to stay only one night before moving on, heading north towards Cordoba.
The drive was much prettier once the polytunnels finally gave way to olive trees punctuated with a few vines.