contentedsouls

Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

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Archive for April, 2019

Moving into bricks & mortar in Oropesa del Mar

Posted by contentedsouls on 05/04/2019

We were greeted by the lady with the keys to the apartment at the allotted time, and were pleasantly surprised to find we were on the 2nd floor (it could have been the 6th). The first thing we noticed was how cold it was inside; although they had put 3 oil filled radiators on – we assumed it was cold because there had been no heating on over winter. So back down in the lift (which responded reassuringly promptly) to start mustering the menagerie and their requirements and our few clothes. Heavily laden, we found the lift occupied by builders and locked out of use; so up the stairs again like a pair of over loaded mules – in fairness, it was the only time it happened; but I didn’t know that at the time!

The apartment itself was, although by no means luxurious, considerably more comfortable than I feared it would be considering how cheap the rent was. Also, the quality of the knives, pans and paella pan, were excellent; so all we needed to liberate from the van was our coffee machine, fan heater and toaster, and give the place and crockery a bit of a clean. The blurb, when we booked it, said we would have a cleaner once a week which seemed highly unlikely as it wasn’t very clean when we moved in– and I’m not house proud. By this stage it was around 1.45 pm and we had eaten neither breakfast or lunch, so we dumped everything, left Daisy in her cocoon in front of the fire, grabbed Muttley and went off to find some food.

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Trying to eat on Monday 14th January in a coastal resort is not that simple. Eventually we found an open Supermacado – due to close at 2.30pm – so I suggested we pop in and get some basics like bread, milk, olives and cerano. G suggested that we walk a bit further up the street to see if there was an alternative and there was; but it didn’t appear to do food.

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Leaving G to order the beers, I hot footed it back to the Supermacado to get some bits before they closed for their afternoon siesta. Given that it was 2.10 pm, you can imagine my mutterings when I found that, not only was it closed, but their ‘afternoon siesta’ was to last the entire time we were there (ironically, they appeared to be getting ready to re-open the day we left)!

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This, of course, was all G’s fault because he stopped me from going in when it was open. The beer was some consolation, and at least it came with peanuts. Just about to order a second beer, the loud bell over the bar was rung – this resulted in an unseemly tussle to untie Muttley from around my legs, without falling flat on my face, and get to the bar before we were told the bar was closed. With two more beers firmly clutched in my mitts, we were pleasantly surprised to receive two delightful little cheese omelettes in bread – gotta love the free tapas. It took a few more trips to that little bar before we discovered that the bell was rung whenever someone won a prize on a scratchcard!

Heading back to our accommodation, we took in our new surroundings and realised we were only 20 metres from the prettiest of the two beaches, and the one that caught the last of the evening sun before it set. After a bit of unpacking, and knowing we wouldn’t last until the 8.30 opening of any restaurants, we sunk the last of my ‘one pots’ and settled in for an early night – I, particularly, was delighted to see that every window had proper black out shutters and was looking forward to a long lie-in in the morning, undisturbed by the light of dawn …………….. little did I know what the morning would have in store for me…..

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Road trip to Spain–part 3

Posted by contentedsouls on 02/04/2019

Having re-packed the van (a lot of trips up and down the hotel stairs with litter trays, dog bowls, etc. – as the lift is always full of cleaning trolleys at check out time), it was only a short drive to the coast on Saturday; a stone’s throw from Oropesa. However, we hadn’t rented the apartment until the following Tuesday – G’s ability to arrive everywhere early expands, pro rata, with the estimated travel time – so we found ourselves a nice little spot by the beach to park up for a few days.

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This was no hardship.

Following a picture G posted on Facebook, we were contacted by Carla who was just up the road having lunch (Carla was G’s son’s first au pair and G had met her on several occasions whilst in the UK visiting family). It wasn’t long before she turned up at the van and filled us in as to all the best places to eat both well and cheaply. She also rang our apartment owner and managed to bring our ‘moving in’ date forward to Monday.

Sunday we followed Carla’s recommendation and walked Muttley along the beach to Torre Nostra to eat Paella. Again we got the food timing thing wrong again and the lovely (but non English speaking) lady indicated that her paella wouldn’t be ready for 2; 2 what was quite difficult to ascertain –2.00pm, 2 hours? It mattered not to us, sat outside in the sun with a beer and a few calamari and olives to reduce the likelihood of starvation and malnutrition before the allotted ‘2’ arrived. This, when it came, was a delicious – and snormous – paella Valencian at 7 euros each. Not quite sure where the rest of the afternoon went, but it was close to dark by the time we got back to the camper.

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