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Merida and a Motorway Campsite – Day 19
Friday 31st July 2009 – Spain
There are a number of wild dogs in and around Spain and Portugal, and you often see them scavenging in bins and around restaurants. Some are not very clued up on the highway code, and will occasionally stand in the middle of a busy road, oblivious to the dangers. Ive seen a few lucky escapes already from almost certain death as motorists speed around the bends in the road, narrowly avoiding collision with the animal, and almost certain death.
The night sleep was extremely disrupted right through. The owners of the campsite had 3 dogs, which constantly bark and set each other off, even through the night. Wild dogs sometimes come into contact with the domestic dogs and there is always a lengthy showdown. With this, and the drunken youths in the adjoining park shouting and screaming until 5am, as well as the cathedral next door that chimes every 15 minutes until midnight, and then starts again from 6am, I had little or no sleep. Needless to say I was very groggy in the morning, and happy to leave.
I crossed the border from Portugal to Spain, and stopped in a place called Merida, and wanted to find the information place. My first impression of the place were not so great, as most of the immediate structures were dusty ruins set amongst an almost barren landscape. The only entrance to the small town was over a long cobbled bridge, as though it was built as some form of defence of the town many years previous, which would also explain the ruins. It turns out, as I found out a little later upon visiting the information lady, that this is exactly what it was for. The bridge would force the opposition down it, and give the town a fighting chance at securing a defence.
It was a nice little town on reflection, but the lady was only able to offer me information on camp sites in the area, not anywhere else, which didn’t help me at all, but she was very friendly. I took a couple of leaflets out of politeness and exited the small office to return to my oven-on-wheels.
Inside my car, I programmed the sat nav to find a campsite nearby. It picked one out and wasn’t too far to travel to, so I set out, back across the bone-jangling bridge and out into the wilderness again. I got a little lost finding the place as it was off the side of the motorway and back the other way a little, but I soon rolled up outside. It was literally on the side of the road, and I had to locate the reception inside the bar, occupied by a group of locals, keen on staring at me. The barman accepted my money and proceeded to show me the big iron gate that would be the entrance to the grassy site. I drove in and splashed through the puddles of water created by the numerous sprinklers in operation throughout the small, but very green field that I would be camping on.
The place was surprisingly busy considering its location, yet the facilities were remarkably clean and modern, with a lovely swimming pool. It would do for the mean time, although locating shops for food would be a problem. I got a text from mum as I sat in the shade by the tent, dipping my feet in the spray from the sprinklers to cool down. She said my card had arrived at home, which I thought was very fast, so I was very happy. I could now make my way to Madrid slowly as I would have my card very soon. I forgot about the 1 hour time change here, so I ended up going to bed and waking up later than I had hoped to.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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