Week 26: Christmas in Spain

Having decided to stay at El Puerto del Santa Maria until after Christmas, we settled in to the campsite quite nicely and made friends with our neighbours. The campsite is made up of about three separate areas for motorhomes and caravans and another stepped area for tents. Within the area we are based there is also a road which splits the area and each little cul-de-sac off it has eight pitches, plus another four which back onto you, giving you a little community feel!

On Monday, we had a little drive around the local area and went up to Jerez, to see the MotoGP circuit and the Monumento Michelin ( a giant Michelin Man on a roundabout!). On our trip we passed a fire station tower, with Santa waving at the top and then popped into the Hypermarket to stock up for Christmas. Food shopping in Spain at Christmas is no different than at home – it is chaotic and manic and the shops here only shut for Christmas Day! Once back at our little home from home, we checked the weather forecast and saw we were due more sun for the week!

Christmas Eve, we set off in search of a bread shop (Panaderia) and ended up on the bridge to Cadiz. We had planned this and not just found ourselves several miles away. You can see the bridge from the beach and as you may have discovered by now, we have a thing for bridges! It was too good an opportunity to miss. Cadiz is a peninsula into the Atlantic Sea, connected to the mainland by a number of bridges. We set off through the town of El Puerto del Santa Maria and then passed over the river – there is also a ferry from the harbour to Cadiz, here. We headed down to the village of Valdelagrana and into the Parque Natural Los Toruños, a lovely oasis of riverbed and grassland, and a natural habitat for a number of birds.

On the other side we exited the park by the University of Cadiz, and headed towards the bridge – Puente de la Constitución de 1812 and found you can cycle up the service road and across to Cadiz, we only ventured halfway across, as we’d already cycled 13 miles and it was 20° C. On the way back, we found a Chinese takeaway and stopped to pick up our dinner.

Christmas Day and the sun is shining. We started the day opening the cards and presents we’d brought with us from home, before setting off in search of bread. We’d read that bread is a staple in Spain and that a meal is not a meal without it, so surely there must be one open, We checked Gloria Google maps and headed off to one that looked like it might be open, no, then off to another, again no, right one more… YES and the bread was still hot. We bought one for us and each of our neighbours (it is Christmas after all!) After a light lunch, we sat in the sun for a while more and ten strolled on the beach, before heading back to Nortia and sitting some more outside, but with our nearest neighbours – our pitch and theirs adjoined! We prepped our dinner and rang the family, before heading over for a couple of drinks with them in their awning. Needless to say one turned into two and our Christmas dinner was postponed until Boxing Day!

On Boxing Day, we decided to stay at the campsite until the New Year, it feels so homely and comfortable, moving around over the Christmas break felt a little too stressful! We headed out again for bread and found another bread shop, this one had little cakes too – well it is Christmas! After completing a few chores, having lunch and sorting the laundry, we set off on the bikes to the nearby town of Rota. We knew there is a large Military Base there, as we’d been listening to the US Military civilian radio station, and after a few miles, Gloria Google maps decided we should turn right into the Naval Base, faced with a large Marine with a larger gun, we returned to the campsite, relaxed some more in the sun and had our lovely Christmas Dinner.

Friday, another day chilling in the sun, we had a cycle around the town and went to the supermarket, but not much else! Relaxing in the sunshine can be such hard work!

Saturday, another lovely sunny day – we emptied out and cleaned the garage, before heading out again on our bikes and mooching around the town, before more sun and another walk on the beach.

Sunday, we set off again on our bikes to the town of Valdelagrana, with its fabulously long sandy beach. We cycled along the prom and back into the Parque Natural Los Toruños, cycling a different route and seeing various types of wading birds, herons, storks, curlews and guillemots. After 13 miles we arrived back at the Motorhome and sheltered from the very strong winds, before setting out to the beach, to walk the dog and feeling like we were being sand blasted with the sand whipped up off the beach!

Not the only Etrusco – our Spanish Etrusco Neighbours!

Again, and as always, thank you for reading our post. We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will update you with our New Year’s adventure soon….

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