Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Parallells where none exist

Sunday and nothing much to do so we went for a bit of a drive around. We went over Zarza way and into the Sierra de la Pila. Maggie suggested a tapas place in Algorrobo for lunch but as we were on single track mountain roads we could either go back via Zarza or round via Fortuna. It was about quarter past three as we rolled into Fortuna so I suggested eating there. Maggie wasn't keen. Fortuna is not her favourite place. A few minutes later we were out of the danger zone and into Baños. Maggie spotted a sign for La Fuente which is a camp site built around a thermal spring.

Now when I think camp sites I think lugging water in big jerry cans, wellis, shower blocks with concrete floors and water that never boils as the flame under the pan dances in the stiff breeze at the door to your, ever so slightly, cramped tent. It's a long time since I've been camping. I presume the experience is very different nowadays but perception and reality are very separate things.

When I worked in Fortuna, I occasionally mentioned camping and camp sites to my English language students. There is a linguistic misunderstanding about the words camping and camp site for Spanish speakers. The problem with my explanation was that for the youngsters of Fortuna their experience of a camp site is not a muddy field with caravan and tent pitches. It is a place with a restaurant where you go for birthday parties and communion meals and where, with suitable weather, you go to use the swimming pool.

La Fuente is a camping, a camp site, but there were no tents. There were hut sized chalets and places to park caravans and motorhomes. There were a lot of motorhomes and lots and lots of them had Dutch and Belgian plates as they so often do. I think there is a sub class of Netherlanders who spend their time sitting outside their motorhomes in Spain. There was bright paintwork, classical Greek style statues and lots of people in bathrobes.

There was also a 12€ menú. Not bad for a Sunday. The look of the  dining room suggested that we were not in for an epicurean feast but there were scores of noisy, constantly moving people so we reckoned it must be OK. We got a table, the waitress scooped up the remains of the previous diners meal in the paper table cloth, Dick Whittington style, and before long we had our drinks, the salad was on the table and the food ordered. The meal was nothing spectacular but we cleared our plates happily enough.

Just like in the UK going for Sunday lunch is a bit of a Spanish ritual. The roast beef and Yorkshire pudding equivalent around here is usually rice with rabbit and snails but at the cheaper end there are lots of chop and chips or fish and chip type set meals - salad, starter, main, pudding, drink, bread and coffee - for between 12 and 15€. Fixed price, set meals aren't so easy to come by on Sundays as they are the rest of the week and they tend to be three or four euros more at the weekend than they are on work days. If you abandon the fixed menu and go for the rice option, or whatever the regional favourite is, then expect it to work out around 25 to 30€ per head.

I was quite taken with the kitschness of la Fuente but, somehow, the photos didn't capture it.

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