Day 56: Spain, Castellon de la Plana – Mar Menor, Los Alcazares

RouteCastellon de la Plana – Mar Menor, Spain
Route Details
Overnight stopCamping Mar Menor Playa
Overnight Costs€17.10
(incl water & EHU on pitch, grey water
on plants, good mobile signal)
Diesel / litre €1.139
Exchange rate 1.15

Welcome to Halloween BBbbbbwwwwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha *spooky laugh*

Although I have to say that the Spanish have, by and large, (unlike at home in UK) escaped the commercialised version of trick or treating and instead celebrate across 3 days as only the Spanish can. It is better known as El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead or All Souls Day that kicks off on October 31st with Dia de las Brujas (Day of the Witches), continues with Dia de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st, and culminates with Dia de los Muertos on November 2nd making sure that it encompasses a public holiday on 1st November in a long weekend for some R&R for everyone. It is far more about honouring the memories of the dead and celebrating the continuity of life than a commercialised collecting of sweets. But then this is true of most Spanish celebrations where they take it and make it their own!

We arrived at the Mar Menor campsite with a bit of trepidation as we had to skirt an airport landing strip to get to it. But we needn’t have worried as it is a military installation so, we hear, never used….. with the added advantage to feeling perfectly safe and secure with regular nightly patrols of MPs around the perimeter of campsite.

The coastal region, and particularly the Mar Menor had been ravaged by the Gota Fria in August and again last week and it has changed the beaches completely. No more miles and miles of golden sand but now stripped of sand, the beaches look more like river beds with large deposits of rocks and debris scattering the leisure areas. So sad. But they are on the rise as they have just been granted a €3.5 million fund for restoration. It will take some time but I feel sure they will be ready and will hopefully have transformed it by summer 2020.

But back to us now!!! The sun is beating down, the temperature is 29degC and it is a glorious WINTERS day!!! LOL Who’d’ve thought we’d be sitting outside in the sunshine at 6:30pm with a chilled glass of wine in our hands with t-shirts and shorts on and……. oh my fuck, I’m being dive-bombed by a squadron of mozzies!! That is it, I have to find a solution. My grand arena mozzie net that I am supposed to be sewing by hand is sitting in its packet mocking my every attempt to finish the now 10m of hand stitching. There has to be a more immediate solution. I have this in hand!

Tomorrow. Maybe.

In the meantime there are cocktails to be drunk and meals to be planned.

The restaurant attached to the campsite (which we think now caters for the upper echelons of the militia from the next door base) is called Kinita and there is an All Souls Day celebratory meal there tonight. We normally cut a wide berth around tasting menus but in this case, once we had scanned the contents, we decided that as we hadn’t really celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary on 30 August, that this would be it (HAHAHAHA any old excuse, hey?).

So we showered, shaved and togged up ready for an amble over at 8pm for a few cocktails. It is too glorious to sit inside so for the time being we’ll brave the buzzing, bitey creatures to sit outside with our massive, swimming-pool sized double Hendricks & tonics. Wait?? Where are the mosquitoes? Not a single one in sight. Curiouser and curiouser. We debated this for a least 30 minutes (perhaps fueled a little by the gin) and came to the conclusions that it must be just a touch too cold at this time. We’ll check it out.

Tomorrow. Maybe.

2 hours and a couple more goldfish bowls of G&Ts and we make our way inside for our feast. OMG. We chose the menu with the wine pairing.

Appetiser: Pate de Bacalao
with crisp breads
1st: Oyster in coconut tempura with
pearls of yuzu and coriander oil
2nd: Grey Mullet cerviche with
tiger milk (citrus based marinade)
& orange
3rd: Sardine & foie layered on
brioche with tomato jam pearls
served lightly smoked
under a glass cloche
4th: Croqueta with Iberico pork loin
& cep mushrooms
5th: Crispy duck & cep mushroom
parcel with mango cubes and orange
& cinnamon sauce
Dessert: Grandma’s Tart – rich, dark
layered choclate, caramel & biscuit
with caramel sauce & biscuit crumbs
Coffee: Cafe Asiatico – layers of
condensed milk, Liquour 43, Cognac
and espresso topped with milk foam
(only stir the bottom if you like it sweet)

All served with the addition of over-generous fishbowls of paired wine.

It was a glorious late-anniversary celebration. With knobs on!

We’ll deal with the hangover.

Tomorrow. Definitely!

Blog thumbnail photo credit (All Souls Day): Esteban Felix

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