Our Big OE 1981/82

Peter & Debra’s Big OE to Europe – Jan 30th to Feb 17th

Final days in Spain and the return journey along the eastern coast of Spain ….

Diary Entry – Jan 31st
4th day in a row with sun all day and not a trace of a cloud. Lovely and warm. Spent most of the day on the beach sunbathing. Deen served us a cooked breakfast in their van at 9.00AM. Egg, bacon, fried bread and toast and tea. It set us up for the day, so we had a late lunch and just chips and bread for dinner. At 7PM, Deb and me went down to top up our water supply and to phone Arine. We rang at ¼ to 8 but because we didn’t have enough money and understand the procedure properly, we didn’t get to say all we wanted to. We did manage to find out that there were 4 letters for Debra at last (one from a mysterious Charlette) and 2 for me. We were able to tell her where to post them to (we hope). Finished the night off at Peter and Deen’s van for a chit chat. In bed at 10.30PM.

Diary Entry – Feb 1st
Started on the last month of winter. A sunny day like the last 5 days but with a cool wind. Away from San Juan at ¼ to 10AM to the Corroes to post letter to Arine, then to the Pryca to top up food supplies. Drove up to Playa la Cala for lunch and stopped there for the night. 6 other vans by the beach during the day. Peter’s van for the evening. Chicken for dinner (for a change!).

Diary Entry – Feb 2nd
Brr, cold night, 4C at ½ past 8 this morning. Cloudy day with temperature at 15C. No wind. Spent morning sitting outside our vans. Peter started a letter for home. In the afternoon we went for a 3 hour walk over the hill to Benidorm and back. Very tired after that. Pancakes for tea. Peter’s van for evening

Benidorm – the holiday centre for 1,000’s of tourists from the UK and Europe.


Deen and the two Peters at the entrance to Denia Castle.


Denia Castle.


Diary Entry – Feb 3rd
Dull, cool, cloudy day. Peter and deen went visiting a friend near Benidorm planning to stay overnight. We met a couple (Shirley and Graham) from north Wales (Lanchinshire originally) and after talking to them during the afternoon, they invited us back to their campground (La Cala) for an evening meal and to use the showers there. We had salad for tea with wine and then had a lovely long (3/4 hour each). They drove us back to our van at 1/2past 10PM. Very enjoyable evening. The campground is very nice as it should be as it costs 650pst (NZ$8.58) a night.

Diary Entry – Feb 4th
The dogs will drive us away from here. Too many of them are running around free and yapping day and night. Today the weather cleared and it was sunny and warm all day. We sat in the sun all morning and after lunch we walked down to the La Cala campground and chatted with Graham and Shirley until 5.30PM. Peter and Deen have not shown up, so now we are wondering what’s going on. A bit upsetting. Camp La Cala.

Diary Entry – Feb 5th
Sunny and warm until 2.00PM, then cloudy the rest of the day. Sat in the sun during the morning and walked down to the campground twice to see Graham and Shirley but they weren’t there. Early to bed.

Peter sorting out the ‘loo’ with instructions from Peter & Deen. La Cala.


Diary Entry – Feb 6th
A washy day. Travelled back from La Cala to the Sertorium campground. Washed ourselves, our clothes and the van. Tonight costs us nothing and if we stayed more nights, 366 pst per night. Cloudy morning and sunny afternoon. No sign of Peter and Deen.

Camping Sertorium.


Camping Sertorium.


Diary Entry – Feb 7th
Up early, showered and checked out of Sertorium. Travelled to Javea via Altea and Calpe. Arrived at Javea at ½ past 12PM. Met Deen and Peter there. Everything appears to be honky dory and we will spend this evening at their van. Cloudy, cool day. Changed gas.

Costa Blanca.


Diary Entry – Feb 9th
Sunny all day, but getting cooler during the day as we travelled north. Dew on the windows in the morning. Parked in Javea township in the morning and we (P & D IOW) had a look around the old town. Purchased stamps and posted a letter to both families. Had lunch and then drove to Denia. Nice drive over a winding, hilly road. Lots of blossom out. Sunned ourselves during the afternoon and walked to the correos before dinner but found that they were closed after 2.00PM. Hope our mail is their tomorrow. Walked past the fish market and incoming boats to our vans. Peter (IOW) is in a better frame of mind now thank goodness.

Diary Entry – Feb 10th
Cloudy, cool morning, warm afternoon. A pleasant day. Walked up to the Post Office, but there was no mail yet. Packed salad rolls for lunch and walked up the hill to the Denia castle. Looked around and had lunch overlooking Denia and the ocean. Deb cut my hair during the afternoon. Had salad rolls and chips for dinner. Evening at Peter and Deens van. Last night was fun. We played Gin Rummy. Camp Denia.

Denia – old Spanish lady.


Diary Entry – Feb 11th
Cloudy, dull day. A few spits of rain. Checked Post Office, but no mail. Bought another gas bottle plus 3 small ones for our heater. A bit shocked at the price of the baby gas. NZ$1.82 each. Played Gin Rummy for 2 ½ hours in the afternoon with Deen and Peter. Salad rolls for tea yet again and apple and custard yet again. Spent evening on our own for a change. Cold day.

Diary Entry – Feb 12th
At last we have Deb’s mail! We got five letters for Deb and two for me. Spent all afternoon reading them. Rained a bit during the afternoon. Temp about 16-17C as it has been the last week. Deen cooked a fabulous dinner for us. Roast chicken, spuds, carrots, cauliflower, brussels, stuffing and gravy. Sponge pudding and custard for pud. We even had soup. A bottle of wine supplied by us. A great night. Had a game of Gin Rummy. 11.30PM to bed. Mild night.

Diary Entry – Feb 13th
Cloudy, misty day. No sun. Temp about 17C. Went to the Mercado in the morning to buy veggies. Posted Deb’s letter home. Bade a nearly tearful farewell to Peter and Deen. We are sorry to see them go. It’s been fun camping together. Hopefully we will see them this summer in New Zealand. After bread for lunch, we set off northwards. Travelled for 4 hours and stopped near Peniscola by the beach. Two other vans and a caravan there also. Had no trouble getting through Valencia this time. 7.00PM now and its started to rain. Great! We’re thinking about making a trip to Arines as soon as we get back to the UK, but we’ll reserve our decision until we get back to London.

Diary Entry – Feb 14th
We made a blue. On the 20th December, we thought we had stopped at Peniscola for the night, but we were wrong. Today we are at Peniscola. We think it was Benicola we were at last time. This morning we had a look at the castle and the old township within the walls. Very impressive. Watched the soccer games on the beach. Had lunch and moved on. Drove through Tarragona (twice) to Sitges. Parked by the beach away from the town as parking was full up and charged for there. Sunny all day. 16C. Little wind. Scenery was nicer this time through. Lots and lots of almond tree blossoms. As we travel northwards you can see that it has been raining more as it’s getting greener.

Ludwig, Deb – Castle town of Peniscola.


Almond blossoms on the Costa del Azahur.


Diary Entry – Feb 15th
Cloudy, dull day. Cool. Drove from Sitges to Sta Christina. Had a hair-raising drive through Barcelona with its 6-lane traffic. We are wishing we could go straight back to London now that we have started moving northwards, but we will endeavour to stay in Spain and France until the 1st March.

Diary Entry – Feb 16th
Guess what? It rained all night and now we’re stuck. It’s stopped raining hard so we may be able to get out later. Opened up our honey souvenir. 322pst. The 700gms of honey is worth 300pst, so we get the jar for 22pst (NZ0.30c). Dear diary. It’s pouring again. There are rivers of water rushing down the hill. We are high and dry where we are parked thank goodness. Raining on and off all day. Went for a short walk. We got caught in a downpour on the way back. The ground is firm enough to get out. No point in moving till the rain stops because the roads will be waterlogged. Played cards during the afternoon. Rice for tea. Wrote a postcard to Ken and Chris and one to Arine and Tilly. BBC last night said that NZ is drought stricken. The worst for 100 years.

Diary Entry – Feb 17th
A cold, rainy, bloody day! Deb’s comment. Rained hard all night and all day. In all, 47 hours of torrential rain. After pancakes for breakfast we set off for France. Stopped at Lloret de Mar Hyper and spent our last pesetas on summer veggies (tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and brussels) to keep us going. Flooding on a lot of the roads through Spain. Went through Gerona and Figueras. Severe flooding in the countryside with swollen rivers. No trouble at the border. Straight through without looking at our passports. Flooding noticeably less in France although still very wet. Drove to night-spot at Salses via Perpignan. Rain stopped at about 5.00PM. Looks clearer but we’re holding out little hope. Checked our budget and find we have NZ$8.00 left for food. Temp about the same here (Salses) as Sta Christina.

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