Sunday, April 03, 2016
Parallells where none exist
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.