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Beautiful beach, special Friends

October 29, 2006

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What a treat to meet one of the families that inspired us and on a beautiful beach no less! Their  family has been fulltiming on the road around Europe since 2000 and they were very helpful in our preparation phase and we have talked thru skype and email, so it is a bit like seeing old friends even though this is our  first official meeting.

Their young daughter has a website that we have been following from the start and Mozart was very excited to meet her and her older brother. She was only three when they started their adventure and thus her lovely blog a fairly new addition. (http://www.daisydraper.co.uk/) We first “met” them on the Families on the Road website (http://www.familiesontheroad.com) when this trip was still just a dream. They have been traveling along with our blog as we traveled along with theirs and their recent foray into Italy and watching the Tour de France before that. We had hoped to meet in Spain, but that is sometimes tricky when both parties are making things up as they go, yet now the reality was at hand.

They had wintered at this place before a few years back and gave us good directions on how to get there as we did not have a good map for that area. It is a splendid place on a great beach and it is too bad that we did not have more time to stay as it may no longer be there soon as camping places on the beach seem to be disappearing to allow for the never ending building of condos and such.  We have been surprised to see how built up Spain’s coast is altho we had read about it, somehow seeing it is different. The beach at this campsite reminded me of a place we stayed on the Sea of Cortez in Baja Mexico. It felt quite remote, even though it is near a small city and touristic spot that is a popular area for northern European to holiday or make a second or winter home.

But as great as the beach campsite was, the greatest thing about this stop was the incredible Draper family. They are really wonderful, generous people which we knew from our online relationship, but are even better in person. Mozart instantly  became Daisy’s shadow and enjoyed playful teasing banter with older brother Sam. 

We met John as soon as we entered the campsite and ended up gabbing away to him and Julie for quite a bit before we even turned on our electricity or set up. It was exciting to meet them in person and kind of strange to actually know someone at a campsite. We have gotten use to our solo mode, often around people that did not even speak English, so this was something entirely new.

Wow,they have a really impressive motor home that is a home and not a camper!  How luxurious to actually have us all sit down together inside and have a cup of English tea together. We are always squished, so to see this much room inside was a treat, but the company was even better. It felt like we had known them for a long time as Julie and John are easy people to be around and time just flew by.

They invited us over for dinner with some other people they knew  that were camping there for the winter. They invited us to lunch too as the kids let us know they were hungry and we were still lost in conversation. But we needed to get some groceries and John was kind enough to drive us all the way to the hyper market in their car (as it is harder to do in a strange area in a camper) and wait an hour while we rushed around and got supplies and Julie watched over Mozart who was playing with the kids. Amazing! We were totally spoiled.

It reminded me of the sweet note they had left on an RV message board for us, welcoming us to this side of the pond. I did not see it at first, but one day I had a few spare moments and checked in there from some internet cafe and was so touched. Since they have more experience than most, they have been very helpful to many, many people who are trying to learn the ins and outs of fulltiming in an RV in Europe with kids. It is really important to get some first hand advice from people who have been -there-done -that experience with this lifestyle. We would never have known about the reasonably priced satellite idea and where to get it without there input.

And as you might guess, the kids were just as cool as the parents and very cute too. They are probably all going to die of embarrassment when they read this, but what can I say? They are REALLY cool people and I have to tell it like it is. We are really grateful for their kindness and how they took us under their wing.

When they took Daisy off to her brownie meeting (where they went horseback riding which is one of her passions) we headed to the beach to explore and play. It was only a few feet in front of our camper and semi deserted despite the beautiful, sunny hot day.

The dinner they made was fabulous with grilled chicken and hamburgers and some great salads. I think they even changed their menu for us because we mentioned in passing that we do not eat pork (which is going to be a hard task in Spain as it is every where). A really nice gathering of a bunch of very enjoyable people with lots of laughs and good conversation. There was another family with a little boy who had sold their house in the UK and had been on the road about as long as we had. The kids played and watched the DVD “RV” while we chatted away and even had some kids champagne. It was by far the most social event we have been involved with since we left home, so quite a treat.

It was fun to connect with other people who were enjoying the motor home lifestyle and comparing notes on the many experiences we had in common. They ranged in age and had every type of RV from the giant American style ones to small little campers like ours. I think they were all full timers and had been  doing it for different lengths of time. We had lots of laughs, good conversation and a special evening.

In the morning we hugged, said our goodbyes and were very glad we got to connect. We were so busy enjoying ourselves that I did not take many pictures. Hopefully we will meet up and connect in person again. Maybe they will even come stay overnight or two in our old village house as we have enough beds.

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