Welcome

Welcome to the Caravaning La Manga Blog.

A brand new initiative for the campsite that we hope you will enjoy both reading and commenting on. Our idea is to share stories about our camping experiences, life on the campsite, campsite anecdotes, the local area and its history, Spanish culture etc. Most importantly, we would love to hear from you, our readers, to find out what you think?  What interests you? What would you like to know about? Please post any suggestions or ideas you have in the comments section below and we’ll do our very best to accommodate them.

Sofia Rychlik

Best wishes

Sofia Rychlik
Blog Editor

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Winter Activities 2011/2012

 

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Have you ever wondered who was the first person to go camping, just for fun?

Thomas Hiram Holding

Viewed from a historical perspective Neandertal man was constructing shelters with branches and animal skins more than 50,000 years ago, and the armies of the great civilizations created vast camps when executing their military campaigns. However, the inventor of the modern concept of camping as a recreational activity was Thomas Hiram Holding, an English tailor and author of the first camping manual, the Campers Handbook,  published in 1908

A fan of camping from just 9 years  old, following a journey in 1853 across the great plains of the United States with his parents as part of a wagon train, Thomas founded the Bicycle Touring Club in 1858. A few years later a friend suggested that he organised a cycling route that included a night out under the stars. As a result Thomas designed a light, portable camping kit and in 1901 founded the world’s first camping club.

Translated from the original article by David Sánchez. Madrid. Source: Section Conocer ¿Por qué? by Óscar Gutsens from the magazine El Semanal.

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Caravan Cookbook

Just launched, this new Caravan Cookbook offers culinary inspiration for Caravaners everywhere. Chef Monica Rivron will be revealing secrets from her new cookbook at the Boat & Caravan Show 2011 at the NEC 22-27 February. Camping Caravaning La Manga will also be there so please come and visit us on Stand 4380 (TourSpain).

Caravan CookBook Synopsis

This is a family cookbook with a difference. It’s a cookbook for people who love food, love holidays and love caravanning. Avid converts to caravanning, the Rivron family have been holidaying and cooking for nearly a decade and this book is a collection of their family favourites. For many people food is one of the most enjoyable elements of a holiday, but no one wants to feel that they’ve spent hours slaving in a hot, small kitchen. Delicious, uncomplicated and simple to prepare recipes that will satisfy family and friends are the perfect solution. Part of the fun of caravanning is shopping for ingredients in local markets and supermarkets and the recipes here make the most of fresh produce that can be sourced wherever you are, as well as giving guidance on the best essentials to bring from home. Ideas for picnics, snacks, main dishes and rainy day baking will make food an integral part of your holiday, and most importantly, fun. Many of the best holiday memories are from around the table and this book ensures you will enjoy many happy nights under the stars.
The cookbook is available at leading UK bookshops and via amazon.co.uk.

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Hangar Lane to Halkidiki

The Rychlik family on camping in Greece 1973

The Rychlik Family Camping in Greece 1973

It all started when my Dad bought an old early 1960′s Bedford Dormobile for 30 pounds back in 1973, which he duly fitted out as a family “home on wheels”, in preparation for what was to be an unforgettable family adventure, travelling across Europe from west London to Greece.

So it was, that at the beginning of July my parents, my sister Rebecca (age 1) and I (age 4) plus two fare paying passengers Vicki and Aggie, set off on our journey driving down the M4 to Dover where we caught the ferry to France.

Going at a steady pace, only stopping briefly to pick up fresh supplies and rest overnight, my parents drove from Calais through France, Germany, Austria crossing the Alps and finally through the then Yugoslavia via Belgrade to reach the Greek border. Crossing the frontier they continued on until they reached their first planned stop Potidea in the Halkidiki peninsula. The journey took 5 days.

Arriving at night my parents found a beach where they rapidly pitched the tent only to awake the next morning to find that we had camped in the middle of a sandy field of spiky cactus like plants. Although very young, I can still vividly remember having to carefully pick my way through them to reach the seashore, which, in its turn, was absolutely littered with stinging jellyfish!!

We stayed in Potidea for several days before continuing on at a more leisurely pace, touring the countryside and stopping along the way at places that took our fancy, including Sparta, Olympia and Meteora, travelling as far as Agios Andreas in the Peloponnesus. Here we stayed on a beach campsite where, we were surprised to discover, they took a photo of our van for the campsite postcard, a copy of which was duly presented to us!

An unforgettable and epic first camping experience and one of which I still have lasting memories, despite being just 4 at the time. Memories such as sitting with my legs dangling out of the van’s side door as we drove along the dusty Greek roads; buying a pair of fluorescent pink sunglasses in a Greek village shop and their subsequent sad loss as they blew off my face in a gust of wind as we were driving along; being fed small fried fish by Greek men in stripy shirts in a local café; eating my first sea urchin cooked over the campfire on a sandy beach; walking over sand dunes and discovering human bones from long ago battles; eating sugary homemade Turkish delight and, on the journey home, extracting a sea urchin spine from my big toe in a freezing alpine stream!!

A memorable round trip of well over 5000 spectacular miles and one that, as all great journeys are, littered with anecdotes and unique experiences including, the scary stories of how our brakes faded going down a mountain in the Austrian alps and how we were nearly hijacked by bandits in Yugoslavia. Or the amusing anecdote, not so amusing at the time, of the day that the bag of waste from our camping loo burst covering my father head to toe in it! A trip full of unforgettable people, places and personalities. My parents met Takis on the campsite at Agios Andreas and he remains a family friend to this day!

Every seasoned camper has amazing experiences to share, all of which began with their very first trip. Why not tell us about your first camping experience, a memorable camping moment or an amusing anecdote in the comments box below?

Article by Sofia Rychlik

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Kings’ Day – A Magical Spanish Tradition

Traditional Roscon de Reyes

Roscón de Reyes

Throughout Spain the 6th of January (Epiphany) is known as El Día de Reyes or Kings’ Day and it is the day when Spanish children traditionally receive their Christmas gifts from the three magic kings. Historically, these kings represent the “three wise men” who, in the Christian story of the Nativity, followed the star to Bethlehem to pay homage to the newly born Christ child bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Although nowadays some Spanish children receive their presents on Christmas Day, courtesy of Father Christmas, Kings’ Day remains an important Spanish festival and in towns and villages across the country the three magic kings; Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar parade through the streets on the evening of the 5th of January with much ceremony and celebration, throwing sweets and gifts to the thousands of children waiting to greet them. On the same night, children across Spain put out refreshments for the kings and their camels hoping that in the morning they will wake to find the gifts, requested in their letters, and not the lumps of coal reserved for naughty children!

On Kings’ Day it is also traditional for Spanish families to eat a “Roscón de Reyes”, a large round pastry topped with sugar and glace fruits and often filled with cream. This tradition goes way back to Roman times when during the celebrations held after the Winter solstice, round cakes filled with dates, honey and figs were eaten. In each cake the Romans hid a dry bean and the person who found it was treated like a king for the day. This particular custom continues today as each “Roscón de Reyes” contains a small figurine that represents good luck for the coming year for the person who finds it.

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Merry Christmas

All the staff at Caravaning La Manga wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Die Caravaning La Manga Mitarbeiter wünschen Ihnen frohe Weihnachten und ein frohes neues Jahr.

Toute l’équipe de Caravaning La Manga vous souhaite un très joyeux Noël et une très bonne nouvelle année!

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Lights, Camera, Action!

Matt Damon in Green ZoneThis week Cartagena has celebrated its 39th annual International Film Festival, showcasing a selection of full length feature films and shorts from around the globe, including the premier of 7 Spanish films. It may interest you to know that Murcia is no stranger to the cinematographic world and was recently used as one of the key locations for action movie Green Zone starring hollywood heart-throb Matt Damon.

The film, released in March 2010, was shot on location in January 2008 at the Military Air Base in Los Alcázares which provided locations for Saddam’s  Mukhabarat intelligence headquarters, as well as exterior scenes at the Republican Palace and a smaller Green Zone palace. The film crew also took advantage of an unopened stretch of motorway near Fuente Álamo to shoot scenes of a military convoy leaving Baghdad. The rest of the exterior shots were filmed on location in Rabat, Morocco.

During filming, Matt Damon stayed at La Manga Club and was spotted having dinner at the La Tana restaurant on the seafront at Cabo de Palos.

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