Week ten – Valencia and Costa Blanca

Climbing for ten weeks in a row is pretty hard, even if you are taking decent rests through that time. So we decided that it was time to have a few days off. So we booked a campsite near Valencia for a few days. We spent the first day just abusing the free WiFi, washing everything and making the most of unlimited electricity. 

These are all things we don’t really miss day to day, but having them back again is a nice little reminder of how easy things are at home. It’s so funny thinking about things that used to be difficult or annoying. For example I used to hate having to put washing on, even though it takes two minutes, compare that to now, where we’ll spend a good few hours doing it, depending on where we are, and it might take two days to dry and be a complete pain in the ass while doing so. 

Another example is the WiFi dying at home, used to be annoying as hell, now what am i going to watch/play? The reality here is that we have a fairly decent internet allowance, but we still can’t use it everyday. Can’t really watch too many videos, definitely no Netflix or anything like that. It’s also our only form of communication with everyone we know. Oh and sometimes we actually have to travel just to be able to use it, network coverage certainly isn’t amazing in most of the places we’ve been staying.

But the funny thing is even though these things appear to be worse than their normal life counterparts, they are so much less annoying.

I think the reason for this is all down to how much of our time is actually our own. In the van we own 100% of our time, we can do as we please with it as well. Back at home you effectively give away the best part of your time just to get enough money to “survive”. The funny thing about that is most of those things we’ve found we only really feel we need/want because our time was so precious, because so much of it given away, we felt we needed to fill it with stuff, entertainment, whatever. It really is funny, to me anyway it seems that the more of your time you own, the less you need, because you’re not desperate to relax, unwind or destress, because there’s never much stress there to begin with.

Anyway, moving on, we spent a day wondering around Valencia which was cool, we found a lot of the places to visit required money so we just looked around, went in some shops, talked about what we’d be buying if we were at home.

The next morning we both had super long showers, filled the van with water and moved south. The first place we’d come across in the guide book was an area called Gandia, which just so happens to be the area surrounding the city of the same name. There are a few crags here that aren’t near the city, so we decided they’d be the best places to look for somewhere to stay.

The first crag didn’t seem so promising with only a small parking area, maybe 2-3 cars right next to a fairly busy road, so we moved on, the next, Belius, had two parking areas, one was pretty awful, the second was a small area down by a river, quite small but really nice. There was another van there, which left soon after we arrived. We decided to put this in the maybe pile and try the last one as it seemed to be pretty close by, you could actually see the crag from where we were. On the road however it’s about 30 minutes. We arrived at a huge parking area under trees with a olive grove near by. There were two other vans which were clearly staying the night so we decided this would be the best bet for the night. We spent the next day exploring a bit and then decided to keep moving for now, head a bit a bit further south and revisit here on our way out of Costa blanca.

After asking around online about good places to stay, we eventually got a list from a forum post online. We spent the next few days driving around trying places, not really having much luck. We managed to stay down near a beach for a few days which was nice, but overall we were finding Costa blanca a pretty terrible place to be in a van. Most of the climbing down by the coast is right by luxury villas. Which at this time of year are pretty much empty, not a problem if you’re packing a car for a day of climbing, but parking a van and staying the night feels a bit too cheeky for us.

As for the climbing, so far not too impressive either. There’s a lot of it, I’ll give you that, but the stuff we’ve done has been super polished. Some routes have loads of bolts, which is great, others have hardly any, it’s been a real mixed bag. It’s a shame really because the polish means that if you’re a bit nervous on lead, even the easy stuff feels scary. 

The weather’s been really good though. Climbing without a t-shirt is definitely an option here at the minute for me, and Beth’s been down to just 1-2 layers a few times too.

So far a bit of a mixed bag. I’m sure eventually we’ll come around once we find some slightly less polished climbing and somewhere to stay. But so far that hasn’t really happened.


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