The Way to San Jose - Clifftop Walks, Markets and Meeting New Friends

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Sunday 21 December 2014

The Way to San Jose - Clifftop Walks, Markets and Meeting New Friends

Since arriving at Camping Los Escullos in the stunning and peaceful Cabo de Gata Natural Park five days ago we have been much busier than we expected to be, but not with our usual hiking and cycling exploits. After discovering this lovely quiet south east corner of the Spanish coast, we have also been very pleasantly surprised to find a friendly and thriving community of other guests that have made us feel very welcome. Almost all campsites and aires we have stayed on during our adventure have been very friendly places and we've met some very hospitable and inspiring people, but Los Escullos is certainly one of the friendliest.

Starting on just our second full day (Thursday), knowing we planned to stay through Christmas, we ventured along to the weekly coffee morning organised by the campsite to introduce ourselves to some of our fellow guests. We'd already had some passing nods and quick chats with others the previous day, but felt a little nervous being new and wondering who we might meet and what to expect, but just an hour later and we had met some wonderfully friendly people also settled in for Christmas and New Year. With a huge diversity of backgrounds mixing easily we felt immediately welcomed and even more pleased with our choice of Christmas base. Since meeting so many people we've talked and mixed more with others than we have in a long time, with neighbours coming over for a tea and chat on several late nights. It's been a stark change to our more anonymous lives in the mountains, but a welcome one at this festive time of year and everyone has been so much fun to speak to.

Plus, in addition to all of our social activity the campsite also offers other events such as weekly yoga (which Esther went along to after the coffee morning), dancing and Spanish classes. There is also a "paddle tennis" court. Apparently a popular game in Spain, paddleball or paddle tennis is a hybrid of tennis and squash and we didn't have to wait long for our first introduction to the game on Saturday and then again on Sunday, with some of our new friends. After getting used to the new rules, paddles and balls we launched into our first game of doubles and even surprised ourselves at not being totally rubbish. But most importantly we had a lot of fun and plan to play more often in the weeks ahead.

However, we haven't been totally based on site either and on Friday afternoon took our first stroll beyond the beach and bays at Los Escullos, a tiny cluster of buildings on the sea 1 km from our camping. Heading west over the cliff top paths towards the larger town of San Jose around 10km away, we climbed gently at first on the rough path before undulating 50 - 70m above the waves below, and weaving in and out of bays whilst looking out over the vast blue sea. In the bright afternoon sunshine we didn't make it quite the entire way to San Jose having taken our time and having set off late, but we did reach a watchtower just above the town before turning back and retracing our steps. The views over the south east tip of Spain and up into the volcanics hills inland were incredible.

We didn't have to wait long to see San Jose properly though since we also paid a visit to the Sunday market, cycling the short distance from our camping via the inland roads to reach the small collection of stalls late on Sunday morning. Not only were we relieved to find fresh fruit and vegetables in abundance, but also pleased to see so many of our new friends also replenishing their supplies in readiness for Christmas. One couple even kindly carried our own heavy bags back in their car to make our return ride easier.

So, overall, a very fine first five days at our Christmas base in Los Escullos where we have probably spoken to more people than we had in the preceding 2 months! But we are also making time for ourselves and with just a few days to go now until Christmas passes for another year we are also taking lots of time to reflect on our adventure so far and consider what exciting adventures lie in wait for the next.

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Visit the Cabo de Gata -Nijar Natural Park - Andalucia, Spain
12 Places to Visit and Things To Do in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
10 Hiking and Walking Routes in the Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park

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