Chilled Out Nerja On Carnival Weekend
Arriving in Nerja the satnav directed us down towards a huge piece of waste ground being used as a car park in a dip below Mercadona. The road was rough and full of potholes but we managed to get down (36.75017, -3.88074).
Thinking we were clear Alan drove towards the parking area only to hear a loud scraping noise from the back of the van. I jumped out to check what we’d hit and basically the back wheels had went down a dip and we had grounded the back end of the van and the tow-bar into the hard sandy surface. No amount of driving or reversing made any difference, we were stuck fast.
There were about 10 other motorhomes already parked with the owners sitting outside their vans chatting and having a beer, so Alan went over to see if he could get some help. It seemed not, the other motorhome owners either ignored him or just shook their heads when he asked. I couldn’t believe people would see a fellow Moho owner stuck and refuse to offer any kind of help.
Eventually a German man came out of his van and came over to see the problem. He went back to his van and returned with a camping shovel and started to dig our back end out. Seeing what was happening the others decided there might be some entertainment to be had and wandered over to watch the show. Alan and the German man took it in turns to dig for a while, but it became obvious that we were going to need a pull out.
Fortunately Alan spotted a Mapfre grua (tow truck) passing by. He waved him down and asked if he could help us. The driver was on his way to another job but very kindly attached his winch line to our front end and winched us onto firmer ground. When Alan went over to thank him and ask him how much we needed t pay him – he said he didn’t want anything. Alan gave him €10 and told him to buy himself a drink.
We thanked the German man profusely for his help. The next morning we walked up the steep incline to Mercadona to stock up on a few essentials and to buy the German man who had helped us a bottle of Baileys to show our appreciation. Unfortunately when we returned from buying it, he had already moved on – so to the German man who helped us – we toasted your good health in your absence.
Afterwards we took a walk into the town to get our bearings. We followed the narrow streets of the old town down towards the sea, eventually finding ourselves on the Balcon de Europa a huge pedestrianised area built on a cliff above the beach which seemed to be a congregating point for tourists and Spanish alike.
It overlooks the Calahonda beach, complete with a couple of beach cave houses, and the La Caletilla beach below. The Balcon was a hive of activity and the views along the rugged coastline with the turquoise sea below were beautiful.
Two ancient canons are located at the end of the Balcon and I imagine this was a previous defensive position with it’s superb views along the coast.
We discovered it was Mardi-gras weekend in Nerja, so there were all sorts of street acts and entertainment going on in the streets and around the Balcon. All processions in the town throughout the year either start or finish at the Balcon de Europa.
That evening there was a huge procession of adults and children through the streets of the town all dressed in flamboyant carnival costumes looking very professional. The excited, hyped-up Spanish family atmosphere is very contagious – they certainly know how to have a good time.
Nerja has a different vibe to it from the other resorts on the Costa del Sol and felt like a chilled out relaxed place to be.
On Sunday morning Alan had just stepped outside the motorhome when he heard a young Spanish guy saying “perdoname”, and in Spanish he was asking if we had a set of jump leads. He had partied the night away with his girlfriend at the fiesta, but had left his car lights switched on accidentally totally draining the battery – well I knew how that felt.
I had a set of jump leads, but my battery starter system is 24v which probably would have blown every electrical item in his car. We managed to find another UK motorhome with a 12v battery who agreed to drive over beside the young man’s car and using my jump leads attached for a few minutes to transfer some charge, we managed to get his car started.
I have never seen someone so happy with the little help we provided and he went round all of us giving us a huge hug. He had driven down from Granada the night before with his girlfriend, so had a long drive home – hopefully by that time his own battery would once again be fully charged.
How good it felt to have helped out someone else in need and my thoughts flashed back to the previous day when 6 people totally ignored Alan, and except for the one extremely kind German gentleman and the recovery truck driver we would have been swinging by our own tails.
Afterwards, we took a walk around the coast towards the large Burriana Beach where chefs from the Ayo Chirringuito make huge pans of paella on the beach. For €6 each you can eat as much paella as you like. Unfortunately we missed it, but its on our list of things to do when we return which we definitely will.