Hed naast auto

What happens if the toilets stay shut?

Having public toilets to your disposal is an amazing thing. Especially when they’re free. That’s god given. Add to that the possibility of taking a hot water shower for only one euro. We have ended up in heaven.

Actually we’re in Cádiz, in the west of southern Spain. We had totally rushed through this area from Portugal on our way to Tarifa, when January was already long on its way and we were excited to finally get to Morocco. (Documents for the dogs we didn’t yet have kept us.) Lately we’d been hearing so many good stories about it and because we had to go back from Málaga to near Sevilla for a garage visit (one specialized in exactly our type of car) anyway, we thought we might as well hit Cádiz, too.

Beach to our own

The first two days we were parked practically on the beach. Saturday was a busy day, obviously, but on Sunday it got a little windier which apparently prevented people from going. Still, it was great. We had the entire stretch of beach almost to ourselves – although you couldn’t really sit outside. And, if you wouldn’t mind the ongoing traffic of the road next to the beach, you’d feel like you’re in this beautiful deserted place. This was the very far end of the beach: nothing like a bar or even a small toilet cabin here. No sir.

Then the wind picked up even more. The flapping tent caused for a long night with little sleep and by Monday it was impossible to sit outside. But, on the inside it didn’t even feel that much better. The wind whistled next to our ears and attempting to stop that, I even spent an hour laying on the bottom of the car, my head as much out of the airstream as possible.

Some days are hectic, some are super relaxed. For some I have a plan, others come to me naturally. Sometimes I do exactly what I want, sometimes I don’t get to choose. This day, however, was about surviving. About how to not get crazy – I mean, almost literally. Because the sounds that the wind makes keep changing and you never get used to it, and I guess the pressure of the air around you also plays a part. But really, I have no idea. The only thing I knew is that this has happened to us every single time that we’re parked at a somewhat deserted beach.

Where to go to now?

So, we did what we also did all of those times: we left. We were exhausted though, and it was already late in the afternoon. And, about 35 degrees Celsius. Both of us didn’t feel like packing up but the situation sort of left us no choice. Also: what if it would get worse at night? It usually does. Then we would have to pack up in the middle of the night in order to be able to lower the pop-top roof. (It can handle quite some wind, but when shit gets real, there’s gonna be fear messing with ya.)

Luckily we already had an idea of where to go. Before we did, however, we went to a huge supermarket to get some groceries but mostly to enjoy the air-conditioned climate there. Then we went on. We found that at the other far end of the stretch of beach, right where the actual city of Cádiz begins, the wind wouldn’t bother us that much because of the building around it. The fact that we parked right in between two other campers helped as well. Goodbye freedom and privacy. But sometimes you need to stand together and huddle like penguins in order to survive, right?

We’ve slept there for two nights now. Although I perhaps must add that there in’t always a lot of sleeping involved. This spot is ACTUALLY right next to the busy road. I mean, really right next to it. You’re allowed to drive eighty kilometers an hour there – so people do. Trucks rage on all night and might I ask: why do motorcycles feel the need to make so much noise? Having lived in a big city for many years I am totally used to a lot of noises at night and we hardly ever have trouble sleeping, where ever we are, but this is something alright.

Even when it’s perfect, it’s never perfect

On the other hand, and this is where we get to what I mentioned in the beginning, it’s one of the most fantastic places there are. Not having to worry about where to pee and poo is simply ace. And where I had first only used the shower on the beach, which is quite a wonderful feature already, I enjoyed a paid one this morning. I cannot express how happy I was finding out they’re actual, normal showers. With a knob to determine your own right temperature and keep it going and everything. Even at the priciest camping site we stayed at, for twenty euros a night, you’d get a cabin with one button that delivered about five seconds of lukewarm water. (I must admit that Jeroen and I have made it a challenge to crack this soviet kind of system and think of a way, sometimes involving tie-rips, to not have to push the button anymore and enjoy the water running down whilst you’re putting in shampoo. Oh man. This life.)

So happy with so little. Aren’t we adorable?

Sometimes you’re tricked, however. This very morning, we were. The toilets and showers normally opened at nine, a sign said, but at nine thirty the doors were still shut. That’s when your mind starts to race. It’s indeed a cloudy day, and by far not as hot as before. What if the people attending it decided they’d come in late because it’s not busy on the beach? What if today they wouldn’t come at all?

Immediately our heaven-like situation became a grim one. I’m not going to say it resembled hell, because that’s too much of a cliché and also, by now I have learned that A) it’s never as bad as it seems and B) we have wheels so we can always drive away.

Well, you already know I had the shower later on. The cleaning lady simply showed up an hour late. Maybe it’s because of that, that the hot water running down my spine felt extra nice.

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Wanderer. Likes writing, and reading too. Prefers an analog camera over a digital one. Couldn't live without her gargantuan supply of different teas. Also known as Mother of Dogs.

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