A Road Trip Adventure: Driving Through Spain with a Caravan, kids and Dogs

We finally did it and reached Spain! 
Driving over the 'border' was a bit of a non event given there are no strict borders so no passports to show, in fact the only way we could tell was by the man at the toll booth greeting us in Spanish - hooray!

It was lovely to spot the beautiful chalet style houses that are dotted around the borders of the Pyrenees and the passage over gave us some spectacular views as we climbed high up the mountain pass. We all pressed our noses to the glass to see the huge birds of prey hovering over the cliff sides and crevasses. The road was amazingly clear with the fields covered in snow, such a shame we couldn't stop to build a snowman despite the kid's protests!

Crossing the Pyrenees - a grand affair

We soon arrived at our first Spain stop, Camping De Olite, clearly a more long term base and summer getaway judging by the bungalows in various states of (dis)repair. It had a certain charm and was so quiet - in face we were the only caravan on the very open field which meant we were treated to an amazing sunrise the next morning!

A beautiful morning welcome to Spain
The kids of course enjoyed the park and even found a new friend who kindly taught me how to say dinner (it's 'cena' for those who want to know) in Spanish. Something I've noticed out here is how amazing young children's English is, it has certainly made me concentrate (shamed me really) on learning and practicing my own Spanish whilst over here!

Our next driving stint and the kids were starting to miss a bit of space to play so luckily the weather was slowly improving the further South we got! Had we got the chance to get the awning out at a few of our stops I'm sure this would have been less of an issue.

The next excitement was spotting various toros (Spanish bulls) on the hills.

A lone Toro on the hilltop

Bow enjoying the view at Vilanova Park
Arriving at our next destination near Barcelona the huge Vilanova Park. Now this is definitely well kitted out for families and camping. Featuring 2 x pools including an indoor one, crazy golf and park, and lots of summer activities for kids this is a great place to stop. Tree lined and a lovely setting it's within easy reach of Barcelona so a perfect base. Sadly we had only the one night but even so we of course had a pit stop at the park whilst the caravan setup was completed.

View from our window at Vilanova Park
This was certainly a busier site and you can tell camping in the South of Spain for the winter is a popular choice, having seen the difference in weather I can understand why!
The dog's proved a popular addition to the play park the next day with the Spanish holiday makers. Again giving me a great chance to practice my basic Hola!, Gracias and Adios Spanish!

Alas we sadly had no chance to explore the area so we were off again to our next stop Camping Playa Tropicana in Castellon. Having been taken down a very narrow lane by Google maps (seriously would it kill them to have an option to select 'also towing a bloody massive caravan' when using their direction planner??) I discovered that this has to be my favourite site of all the ones we stayed in, situated almost on the beautiful sandy beach the sun was shining and the place spotless and friendly. We were helped into our space by a lovely German couple opposite us. We found negotiating the caravan into some of the pitches on busier sites is not an easy feat and were really appreciative of the help offered from other residents.
Pitched right by the entrance we had access to a well stocked shop and a stroll to the beach which was of course our first stop!

A refreshing view - luscious lemon tree outside our window

Heading to the beach - bliss

Bucket at the ready....

The beach was like a tonic, leaving all the cold and rain behind

The main attraction of this site is having the beach a stone's throw away, but there is also an indoor and outdoor pool. The toilet and shower blocks were clean with lovely hot showers. I even forced myself out of bed early the next morning to get some amazing sun rise shots....

I was surprisingly sad to leave this site, but we had only one more stop before reaching our final destination so we had to crack on:

Next stop Marjal Guardamar in Murcia. A lovely little site with substantial pool, play area and small shop amid a lovely tree lined setting. Sadly however it seems, having spoken with regulars there, that most of the pitches are being replaced by permanent bungalows forcing a lot of the motorhome and caravans out. 
We had the most overwhelming welcome when we tried to get the caravan on the pitch; 8 people of varying nationalities all appeared from nearby caravans and motorhomes, one even stopping on his bike as he cycled past, all rushing just to help us push the caravan into place; it was a sheer delight to have all these people from different countries working together just to get us sorted. I know it sounds small but when you've spent 8 days travelling with dogs and kids simultaneously learning the ropes of caravan living this gesture was just so heartwarming. 

Interesting entrance to the Marjal site.
We were delighted to discover that Bow and Bella had a doppelganger residing in the motorhome next door belonging to a German man. This turned out to not be a crossbreed like ours but a rare pedigree breed called a Bolonka! The things you discover when you leave the tiny stretch of Morecambe behind!

Our last night in the caravan was lovely, the kids were excited to reach the new villa we would be calling home for the next 5 months and to having more space, myself and my husband meanwhile were having mixed feelings about leaving the caravan; it had been such a wonderful, liberating experience not to mention challenging and it had gone so fast.

Our final drive to Mojacar felt really special an achievement in fact, we've finally stopped procrastinating and started on a journey of travel and adventure!


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