Tag Archives: holidays

El Nidito – a beautiful holiday villa in Orgiva

14 Aug

I first found this villa four years ago when doing my usual internet search for interesting, out of the way properties to let in Europe. The first thing that struck me was the amazingingly good value rental cost; no difference between coming in April or August. However, the properties (there is a larger one called El Nido) are obviously so popular that the couple letting them get repeat business so you really have to plan ahead. So I found another villa in Spain and forgot about El Nidito. Last year soon before we were due to set off for our holiday in Southern France, for some reason I remembered the little villa in Orgiva and made enquiries. Because of the good price, we made a provisional booking for three weeks in August of this year. We have taken to travelling in Europe by land and sea, so the journey is all part of the holiday and we see much more of the country than we would if flying.

Anyway, back to El Nidito. It is in the Alpujarran town of Orgiva, and is the area of Spain made famous by Chris Stewart of ‘Driving over Lemons’ fame. Paul is much more travelled than I am and was enthusiastic at the prospect of visiting this part of Spain again. After travelling across Spain via Cherbourg, St Nazaire and Gijon (our two ferries, more of which I’ll tell you in another piece) we reached Orgiva on Saturday evening. We had left England early on Monday morning. There are three properties next to each other, and Clare and Ainsley live in the largest house and are on hand if guests have any problems or questions. The properties are reached up a steep, rough track just out of the town. It is a ten minute walk into the town with its wide selection of shops, banks and restaurants. If you are as unfit and vulnerable to the heat as I am, you might find the walk back really tough, and not to be attempted between 10:00 and midnight without a bottle of water!

Clare and Ainsley are an English couple who have lived in the area for over 20 years. They are very in tune with the needs of holiday makers, and as well as the usual welcome pack of wine, butter and yoghurt and a well-stocked cupboard with spices, olive oil and vinegar and local eggs from their neighbours’ chickens, we accepted their offer of a starter veg box. Also Ainsley cooked us a two-course dinner to make it a little easier for us arriving on a Saturday evening.

The kitchen cupboards are well stocked and there are plenty of saucepans and bowls as well as useful utensils such as a vegetable peeler, sharp knives and a corkscrew. I was also impressed by the inclusion of kitchen scales and a good lemon squeezer.

The layout of the house is all on one level; a single and double bedroom each with an ensuite, then one kitchen/dining room. Of course most of the living and, for us, dining, takes place outside in the summer and there is a lovely big table outside under a gazebo/awning construction. As the property sleeps only four and there are only three of us, the space is generous. I sometimes find that if properties are for small families or groups, tables can be very small and there are never extra chairs. Not so at El Nidito, which has plenty of dining chairs, and also extra small tables outside so that you can sit in different locations depending on where the sun is shining. The pool is small, but just right for a family of three as we are. Paul keeps saying he will go for a swim if it gets warmer! Jess and I swim several times a day which we consider necessary to our sanity and well-being.

There is a washing machine in the garden, which I use frequenntly. We have found that in smaller holiday properties there is either a dish-washer or washing machine, and I much prefer the latter given the choice. There is also an excellent charcoal barbecue which heats up really efficiently. Personally I can only barbecue later in the evening given the intense heat. Last night I lit it at about 7:45.

The pool is filled up and cleaned every day, which is very pleasant. I am used to spending much time pool cleaning as we have an above-ground one at home.

Finally, the main bedroom has an air-conditioning unit, which is great if you are hot and weary during the day, as you can just sit and be blasted by cool air. It is far too noisy to use during the night, so we leave the doors and window open; there is a bead curtain and mosquito net to deter biting bugs. Happy to say that in this part of Spain there are fewer horrific insects and mosquitoes than for instance in Tuscany, where Paul acquired some truly ghastly bites.Also we could not eat outside in the evening as much there.

We have just over a week left here at El Nidito and can truly say that it was a good choice, whilst being a very economical option for a three-week break in August!

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Review of Campsites in France

14 Aug

We stayed in 3 campsites on our way to Provence this year, so I am doing a brief write up of them. Good for entertainment value, and might even tempt people to go and visit them……

Flower Camping La Chenaie at Yport in Normandy:

Lovely small, friendly site. We had a reasonable-sized plot to pitch our tents, although the ground was a little stony, hence I named our dwelling: La Terre aux Pierres. Opposite us were some lovely tents on decking, available to rent for the week. I’d call them ‘glamping’ tents, with proper cooking facilites and better than average camp beds. Also a nice covered area for eating under. Definitely consider staying in one of those for a short break.

Lovely swimming pool, which was open-air but partly under a roof.

Not much of a snack facility available; no ice cubes available to buy and no coffee served. You could order in bread and pastries for breakfast, but not much point without coffee in my opinion! We went out for breakfast.

Best thing about this site: washing facilities nearby; loo rolls in all loos! Shower cubicles with wash basins; free wifi, although this was a little erratic to get to work. Really quiet site for families with no loud music late at night.

Local area: near Etretat, which is a beautiful coastal town with dramatic cliffs.

Flower Camping Les Rosiers-sur-Loire

Another small camp site. We made the mistake of not paying when we arrived, which meant that we had to wait until the man on reception arrived on our morning of departure, which delayed our journey. I think they should encourage people to pay on arrival.

Lovely pitches. I called this dwelling ‘Cosy Nook’ as we had a whole area screened off by hedges for putting up the 2 tents. The ground was grassy, so it was much easier to pitch the tents. 

Great pools, one in the open air and one under a roof. We had a lovely take-away pizza, although we had to pull it apart as we had taken no cutlery and it was not served in slices. But definitely better than your average take-away pizza.

Rather noisy entertainment, including bingo and children’s disco. Fortunately this did not go on much later than 10 o’clock at night. You had to walk through the bar and entertainment area to get to the loos and showers.

Best things about this campsite: loo rolls and really excellent wifi, which actually worked! There was even an electric point so that I could plug in the laptop at a table.

Flower Camping Robinson at Marseillan Plage

Noisy campsite which resembled an African village. We arrived at about 8:45 in the evening after a long drive, and the reception was not open. (it was supposed to be open until 9:00) We managed to find staff at the bar to help us, although they seemed keen to find an English speaker to help us. Telling them that we speak French helped enormously. Eventually found our pitch, although a French family had to move their car out of our spot. Later though they helped us pump up our airbed (with an electric pump, which took twice as long as our foot pump!) Really difficult to pitch the tents as the ground was basically sand.

I named this dwelling ‘Windy View’ which I’ll explain in a minute.

No swimming pool here, no loo rolls and the wifi was very expensive, so we did not use it. The site is on the beach though, so swimming available locally.

This area is known for being very windy, which it was most of the time. Also we had torrential rain one night, and also one afternoon when we were out. When we came back, Jess was asleep in her tent and everyone was sweeping water out of their tents and trying to clear the ground of large puddles. Our tents, miraculously, did not get flooded, although the next day our large tent blew down and we had to re-erect it. Jess’ being smaller, was okay.

This was the campsite which never sleeps. One night I felt quite queasy and had to keep visiting the loos. There seemed to be a disco at about 5:00 in the morning, and people standing around talking loudly everywhere. When I went back to bed I could hear the man in the next tent snoring! Then when I felt hot and sweaty, I went to have a shower at about 5:30 and most of the doors were locked. Eventually found a child’s shower which they had not locked.

Another hazard on this site was the possibility of being hit by ‘boules’ which French people play everywhere, including where the cars are trying to pass.

Best thing about this campsite: the local area with a superb, sandy beach and great restaurants. See my review of ‘Le Lotus.’ Also, you could buy ice-cubes in the shop for cooling your drinks. A better shop generally. Also snacks and drinks available although we did not try them, as good coffee available nearby.