Finding Home Again In San Jose - What We Have Been Up To - PART 1 FEBRUARY

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Sunday 28 April 2019

Finding Home Again In San Jose - What We Have Been Up To - PART 1 FEBRUARY

Yes, It's true.... We are once again back in San Jose, in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park near Almeria.  This is our 5th winter visit.  After a 3 month stay last winter, when we rolled out of San Jose and waved goodbye, even though we'd had a great stay we said to ourselves that the coming winter we would explore new places.  And that's exactly what we did this winter and although things didn't always go to place, we've had wonderful opportunities to explore new areas and try new things (which I'll try to sum up below).  So now it's not winter anymore and Springtime is well on the way.  We found ourselves very close to San Jose, house-sitting for some friends near Velez Rubio and so made the decision to make a short trip to visit our friends, our incredible yoga teacher, visit Jessie and take a couple of strolls along the fantastic coastline.  That was the plan - 1 or 2 weeks at the most.  But once again, plans are plans and life sometimes has other ideas..... Crossing into the Cabo de Gata Natural Park, we immediately felt calmer and it somewhat felt like coming home again.  So now it's already 1 month back in San Jose and last week we moved into an incredible house which we've rented until the end of May.  Somehow after all the goings-on over winter, the roller-coaster of emotions and almost 5 months in the camper, we were more than ready for a break and some more space. 
So the last update post on our travels left us just having arrived in Jalon / Xalo at the start of February.  So what's been going on the last 3 months .......  Here's part 1 ....

Almost all of February we spent in Jalon/Xalo, in the Val de Pop.  We were drawn to visit the area because my Uncle and his partner had just arrived in the area and were looking to find a house to buy.  We'd visited Orba the Val de Laguar in 2015 and remember there were some great walks in the area.  We wanted to say hello to them and also to see what was drawing them to settle in this area.  And we could definitely understand why by the end of our 4/5 week visit.

There were many many superb bike rides.  Dan's already written about several of the ones we enjoyed.  Plus as we got fitter and our cycling muscles reconditioned, we even attempted a couple of longer 80 -90km ones as well.  There were many cyclists enjoying these loops, even several some professional teams.  We'd been told that this area boosts some of the cleanest air quality in Europe and very reasonable winter weather.  Some days the temperatures were a little on the cold side for us and the dogs, particularly those when we wake up to frost can make living in the camper a little difficult.

At night Dan even got into the habit of covering George with his down jacket, from which we had many laughs over coining this new concept of 'Down Dog.'  Yet I must say we have hardly seen any rain since leaving France in December until just recently.  However, with these chillier temperatures, we decided it was time to retire some of our old cycling gear which was getting rather thread-bare and invest in ourselves.  Otherwise the ride became more about surviving the cold as opposed to enjoying the ride and we'd get back wiped out as opposed to energised.  We definitely felt the benefit of this investment when we returned all kitted out with new gear and things like overshoes!

There were also many great walks sign-posted or which we were told of by other campers but because of the danger of the pine precessionary caterpillars, we opted to hang up our walking and trailrunning shoes and stick to the roads where at least we could see them more easily and it was our bike wheels touching the roads not our shoes.

There was also PlanetaEco, an organic (bio) supermarket in Jalon, again which Dan wrote about, which was keeping us very well supplied with veggies and well fuelled for all those bike rides; probably one of the reasons we did stay so long.  There was even a weekly yoga class, minutes from the motorhome aire with a lovely English lady now living and working in Spain. (She also was wonderful at reflexology; something I'd never tried but which Dan encouraged and treated me to for our 17th Anniversary and which I really enjoyed experiencing).

The motorhome aire itself was very well kept, well serviced and had a very friendly owner who came round each night.  We actually ended up meeting some wonderful people during our time there.  We had a couple of lovely evenings of unexpected socialising and I even had two willing participants join me in my yoga practice that I was regularly doing outside in the afternoons. A little community of people developed who'd wave and say 'hello' each morning as we'd walk the dogs.  We even saw another motorhome couple travelling with 5 dogs, although didn't get to say hello before they'd left.  But proved we're not the only 'special' ones out there!

And of course it was lovely to spend some time with my Uncle and his partner and their dog Zoe.  I'd obviously seen them a lot whilst in Holland in January, but under very different and difficult circumstances, so therefore it was nice to spend this time together; and also as we were together with Dan and the dogs now.  Together we found a lovely walk along a rambla from Jalon to Lliber, free of oine trees (which later became Dan and mine daily dog walk, and again probably another reason we stayed so long because it was such a safe place for them).  We enjoyed introducing them to our camper life and we enjoyed being taken to the beach at Olvia after which we were treated to a lovely homecooked veggie meal. It was nice to just be able to pop for a hug by when I was out on the bike and passing their house, or them to pass by the camper when they were visiting the market and also to share things like the yoga class with them.  We also very excited for them during their house-hunting and then super happy for them when they did finally find a house.  After some very tough times in past years, we had the news a week or so ago that they've finally realised a long-held dream and collected the keys.       

So the first time we stayed in Jalon for around 3 week, until our gas ran out.  We decided to head a little further North to Olvia to fill up there.  I took the opportunity to cycle point to point from Jalon whilst my hero, Dan, took an early morning jog with the pack and then drove the camper to meet up with me outside Olvia, having also prepared a juice ;-)  We'd really really enjoyed the long sandy beach, just near the filling station, when we'd visited with my Uncle so we arranged to meet up with him there again, enjoying together a lovely long walk, 4 humans and 6 dogs all having fun together.  Initially we only planned to stay a night or two but found ourselves really enjoying the spot we'd found at Olvia (Nova).  After a lot of biking we took some rest off the bikes and just enjoyed some relaxing beach strolls, together with and without dogs. There was a nearby campsite and a regular meeting of German and Dutch dog walkers in the mornings and afternoons and I got familiar with the times they'd meet up.  So at times our gang enjoyed walks with up to 25 dogs!             

To be continued......







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