Last year, Hans and I started with the first round of our big ESCAPE : our camper adventure in Spain. We departed last week of October 2014 from The Netherlands, and after almost two months of travelling, we arrived in the province of Alicante. It was almost Christmas then. Being almost always on the road could be exhausting too. So for Christmas, we wanted to have some few days rest and experience Christmas not in some touristic place but in a typical Spanish village, far from all the hustle and bustle of Christmas frenzy in the city. Via Facebook page Camper Praat en Treffens, I came to know Casa TonYMar, a mini-camping B&B in Aspe, a small village not so far from Alicante, a little in the countryside. The place and from what I have read in the site appealed to us both, so we made a reservation to stay there for one week, including first and second Christmas days.
Campsite : Casa TonYMar
Camino Almohaja Aspe
Coordinates: N – 38.35247 W – 0.74972
It is a small B&B met a mini-camping which, by the time that we were there, was not yet officially open (2014). For further info : www.casatonymar.nl.
Unfortunately, the bathroom and toilet were not yet ready when we came there; also the expected swimming pool was not warmed. For the needed calls of nature and shower, we did that by the house of the camping owners, Ton and Mariette. And whatever shortcomings the camperplace might have, the owners made it up by trying to make sure that we felt comfortable in the place.
We arrived at the camping at the same time with Ton and Erna, another Dutch couple who planned to stay there also for Christmas. Two days later, came another Dutch couple, Wim and Margreet. And on Christmas day itself, arrived another couple, Mirjam and Tom, with their 2 sons. We had , I think, 2 times welcome drinks (one for us and Erna/Ton, and another one when Wim and Margreet arrived. It was fun, and was really nice knowing these people. The best days were yet to come, though.
On our second day there, Mariette toured Erna and I in the village. And from what I have seen, Aspe has its own charms; it has a number of cozy small squares where people meet for a babble and a cup of coffee. There is a roofed market which is opened daily, street market twice a week, where I was able to buy a new pair of shoes, and a big Chinese bazaar. There is even a big Church at the Plaza Mayor .
FIRST CHRISTMAS DAY (Dec. 25, 2014)
For the first Christmas day, we all agreed upon that we were going to have a barbecue. So women did some groceries at the nearby supermarkets, and the men were in charge for the building up of barbecue stand.
Hans, Ton (Erna) and I went to hear the mass on First Christmas day. We caught the mass at 12.00 p.m. The church was pretty full and it was nice inside. Though, we didn’t quite understand more than half of what was being said. After the mass, we had a nice cup of coffee at the square outside the church, Plaza Mayor. It was all so nice and cozy at the square; the Spaniards just kept on pouring in, greeting each other Feliz navidad and so. Twas a good sight. After the coffee, we ordered beer and cola, coupled with Gilda (chips with anchovies) and Chipirones (baby squid fried in butter’, which by the way became one of my favorite tapas), which we just saw at the tables from other customers. We had a good time there that it was already 14.30 when we got back to the camping.
And then the barbeque…all tables and chairs were outside, everyone had his/her own drinks, and the fire was ready. We had a grand time. When it was getting dark, a campfire was set up, the men found a big branch of wood from the pepperberry tree and threw it in the bbq fire. It was not a success because the wood was not yet thoroughly dry. It was really nice and special Christmas. The fact that we were sitting outside, having bbq and campfire on Christmas day was already special; that couldn’t we do in Holland! It was around 22.00 when we broke camp; it was already getting really cold.
SECOND CHRISTMAS DAY (December 26, 2014)
Second Christmas day, Mirjam and Tom went further with their trip. Hans and I went biking (after doing the laundry). based on our experience, we could say that it was not fine biking in Aspe; there are no safe biking lanes and the path that we took along the dry riverbed was stony, difficult to reach, no resting benches, and quite boring.
In the evening, our group went to the Chinese restaurant in the village. We all had menus for the day, but different sorts. Dinner was good. After dinner, there came lots of drinking. “Gezelligheid kent geen tijd”according to a Holland’s saying. It was almost 01.30 when we finally left the restaurant.
The following day, Erna and Ton, and Wim and Margreet left the camping. Hans and I stayed for one more day. We played rumikub with Ton and Mariette in the evening. And on the next day, Sunday Dec 28, we also said goodbye to them.
Staying in Aspe was a nice special experience for us. Though the camping was not what we expected because it was still being improved at that time, (though, after a year, the owners have made some positive major improvements), we met some special people and became friends with them. That experience we wouldn’t be having when we just stayed in the city and decided to spend Christmas in another way.
Cheers to new friendship!!!!