It was really hard to get out of ‘bed’ after such a cosy night, but we eventually managed it!
Today the quest was to find a beach and go swimming. When we got up, we packed up most of our stuff before making a fire and had tea, toast and apples for breakfast.
We were down to just one litre of water, were running low on food and had very little battery on our phones – it was time to find some civilisation. It was also much less windy and the sea nowhere near as wild, so we decided to head east along the coast to find somewhere to top up supplies before a day of swimming and chilling on the perfect beach – which just had to be nearby somewhere!
We made a new sign on the back of an old one (that we’d also been eating from as a plate) – we thought we may as well have something written on our backpacks as we walked alongside the road. Maybe we would get a lift further along the coast, or somewhere else we hadn’t even thought of or knew existed! The sign we made was simple: ‘Auto Estopo… Inglaterra → Murcia ☺’
We said goodbye to our happy homey hidey hole, climbed back up the rocky cliff edge and started walking east alongside the main road – stopping frequently to take in the magnificent views.
We came to a little cluster of houses with a little cute private beach. We took the route of the old road and just around the corner we looked down on a little paradise beach – Playa de Rijana.
“Let’s go swimming!”
O voiced my thoughts.
But although I was eager to run into the sea, I was concerned that we were down to half a litre of water, the sun was getting higher in the sky and we still hadn’t seen any sign of civilisation apart from the little cluster of houses.
We pondered for a moment until O suggested that we head back to the houses and ask somebody if we could refill our water. It’s the kind of suggestion which automatically makes someone like me (a British person prone to anxiety over levels of politeness and potential judgement from others) cringe a bit inside – What? Knock on a stranger’s door and ask them for water?!’ – but really, why not? If someone came to my door and asked if I could fill up their water container, I would be happy to help.
So, yes, I said. Let’s do that.
We headed back to the groups of homes we’d passed earlier and stumbled upon a man pruning a hedge outside one of the homes. We said hola and held up our empty 6 litre bottle.
‘Agua? Por favor?’
The man led us to a house and called the owner who kindly refilled our bottle and asked if we needed anything else. We didn’t, so we said our goodbyes and headed to the beach.
And finally, we were in the sea!
It’s Sunday, so there were a few other people on the beach but not enough to feel crowded at all. We found a quiet spot at the end of the beach, slightly shaded by a big rock. O added our tarp so we can easily get shade if needed and we alternated between the sun, the sea and the shade very happily all afternoon. I even managed to wash some pants and socks and dry them on a rock! And we had enough food left for a yummy lunch of salad, bread and plenty of olive oil.
We began considering the option of staying here overnight and spotted an old ruin just above the beach which could be a potential shelter. We had some snacks left so could make do food-wise and still had 3 litres of water by late afternoon. Our only reservation was that it could potentially be easier to hitch a ride into a town today, as it’s Sunday and there is people here – there’s less likely to be people on the beach on a Monday morning. We also needed to charge our phones at some point soon to update friends, check maps, upload photos to instagram etc.
It would be tricky to leave this place today though!
There’s six days left until our flight from Murcia airport and we’re about 320 km away. We’ve got plenty of time and our only vague plans are to check out a Natural Park area with some beaches on the way. It’s amazing to have so much time left! If we’d been paying for travel and accommodation every night, we wouldn’t have been able to afford this trip. Hitchhiking holidays are the way forward! We definitely feel like we’re winning at life today!
Time flew by at the beach – swimming, sun bathing, writing, talking and teaching O some ukulele! All of a sudden it was 8 o’clock. We weren’t going anywhere this evening!
O had been asking if I’d cut his hair since we were in Brighton a couple of weeks ago. Although I have often cut my own hair, and will let pretty much anyone else do it too, I feel nervous about cutting other people’s so had been dodging his requests. After a super chill couple of days in the Spanish sunshine however, I gave in. All we had in the way of hair cutting implements was a pair of nail scissors, so that would have to do.
So, O got his hair wet in the sea and I snipped away whilst the sun disappeared behind the hill and everyone else left the beach. Our sunset haircut session was pretty funny, I giggled a lot. O started to get cold when the sun went away so we agreed I’d finish it off another time.
We found a spot a little bit further back from the sea, slightly sheltered by some bigger rocks and collected some wood for a fire. We moved our things over, got the fire going and discussed if we could just sleep right there. I had been to check out the abandoned shelter up the hill earlier – there was some goat droppings and cigarette butts in there but we could easily have cleared a spot and spent the night there. But, sleeping on the beach? That’s just the best.
The main worry was that the spot where we were having the fire wasn’t that far from the sea. It would be safer to go further back where it was obvious the sea never went, but that would be rocky and less sheltered. The spot we had was really good. The sea was pretty calm today, but we had seen how wild it was the last two days from our hideout crevice and if it went back to that then the sea could well flood our little spot between the rocks. However, the sky was not giving any hint of a drastic change in weather conditions coming up… We decided to chance it.
So, we relaxed and enjoyed the fire as the stars started coming out. We shared a bag of crisps (patatas fritas) for dinner as we’re on limited supplies until we get to a shop!
When we had our warm meal the last night, and when we’ve been having salads, one thing we’ve missed is salt. It’s difficult to find/expensive to buy in small quantities and we’d talked about how we should bring a small supply with us on our next trip. But then O pointed to the sea and turned to me.
“We can make salt, can’t we?!”
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t suggested it myself, as people I had lived with in Scotland had done it. I had a memory of it being more hassle than it was worth though – like, it took a long time or you didn’t get much salt per litre of water you boiled or something… I told O this, but he wasn’t deterred. Whilst I dozed/moon-bathed, he boiled sea water over the fire in a mess tin.
We re-arranged our things so our bags were furthest from the sea, and covered with a tarp (O then secured this tarp with rope, with the long end going over to the sleeping area so he would feel a disturbance if anything or anyone moved them at all). We then turned our base blanket so our feet would be nearest the sea – therefore if the tide did come in we should wake up and feel it on our feet.
I got tucked in the blankets and left O by the fire, making his salt.
At some point in the night or early hours of the morning, O woke me up to let me know he’d seen what looked like three powerful headtorches on the beach heading in our direction. I wasn’t really with it, but could sense that he was concerned so tried to keep awake. We hid our heads with the blankets and some minutes later, O looked out again. The lights were now back up on the road, but still pointing in our direction…
I drifted back to sleep.