Marigold Says...

Random thoughts on travelling and life in general.

View from hotel bedroom . Perfect? Not necessarily

Hotels are not always an improvement on a camper van

Marigold is already smitten.

Marigold says....


Worst night’s ‘sleep’ ever. I got up for a wee, it was pitch dark, stubbed my toe on the end of the bed, fell over and banged my head on the wardrobe. That was the best bit. I knew we'd have trouble because we booked in advance. We never do that because we never usually know where we will end up, but I said to G, just once we could book somewhere. It looked good on the site when I picked it. G hasn't said anything about my choice, but I'm sure he's thinking it. I keep telling him I make bad choices. Perhaps he thinks I mean him, but there's always exceptions.  

It all started when we got to the hotel late, because we'd booked and I couldn't get the door to open. G had gone off to the car and all I kept getting was a red light on the lock. Why can't we get keys any more. I can do keys. Even the ones where they fix it onto a great lump of iron so you don't forget it and take it away when you go. G turned up looking a bit cross and took me off to the floor below to the room the card was supposed to fit and it did. Was sure the girl said second floor and it's always me who remembers as I'm supposed to be the not deaf as a post one. 

The bath was stupid, no use for anything. I can't really imagine anyone older than seven being able to fit in it. Wish I'd picked somewhere else, would have been better off sleeping in the car.  Suggested that at about the time the noisiest fishing boat in the world chugged up and down right under our window or that's what it seemed like.

We had to have the window open because couldn't find a control for the air con, but probably wouldn't have worked anyway as nothing else did. Oh, the pillow was one of those bolster things about six foot wide and really hard. G brings his own pillow and I rolled up his polo shirt as a pillow, he doesn't know, as didn't fancy using the towels because I had a hate for everything by then in the hotel I had picked.  

Going to have a coffee now so G can tell you more. Hope he does not mention the wrong room or me picking the hotel or think his shirt is a bit creased this morning. May have to have a sleep during the day today.

G says... 


We spent last night in a hotel, the name escapes me, and that may give a hint as to whether we enjoyed the experience. We ask very little of a hotel. Clean, somewhere to park the car, wifi is handy but not essential and that’s about it. We don’t need spa facilities, a minibar, trouser-press or room service, just somewhere comfortable to shower and sleep. I even cart my own pillow round with me (not fussy, just wary of neck strain from jumbo size pillows).  

They gave us one of those magnetic strip smart cards to open the door and Marigold set off to open up while I fetched the overnight bag(s) from the car. I went up to the room, number 114 the girl on reception had told us, the door was closed, so I knocked. No answer. I looked around, couldn’t see her anywhere knocked again, still no answer. Now, I know from bitter experience that Marigold and smart codes to open doors have a troubled history, so I picked up the bags and went back down to reception. No Marigold.  

Marigold’s sense of direction being what it is I assumed she’d got into a different lift and was by now in the basement, so I waited around for a while. Still no Marigold so off I go again to room 114. Door closed, no response to knocking. Still lugging two bags, I wandered the corridor in both directions, then did the same on the floor above. Where I found Marigold. Outside room 204, so not even close, repeatedly swiping the card in the slot.  

‘Follow me,’ I said. Amazingly, the door to room 114 opened on the first attempt. The bed was a big one, so good, but the mattress was about as firm as the surface of the car park. Oh well, we’ll manage for one night, we decided, unpacked our stuff and Marigold said she’d go for a shower.  

She wasn’t away long, which is a bit unusual and didn’t look thrilled. ‘It’s a bath,’ she said.

‘That’s okay, isn't it?’

‘Come and look.’

‘Ah. I see what you mean.’

The bath was very short, very deep and quite narrow. My problem would be its length, Marigold’s problem, everything else. There was a shower head attachment and a flimsy plastic screen so we decided that would have to do. The plan foundered when the shower head fell off as I unclipped it from its stand. 

By now, any sensible people would be calling Reception and asking to be moved. It was 11.30 at night and we’re British. We don’t make a fuss over such trivial problems as a concrete bed and a bath suitable only for contortionists. We sort of splashed around for a bit, brushed our teeth and climbed into bed. How bad could it be? 

In the morning I found the remote for the air con, which we thought was for the tv last night, but the bath still looked tiny.  

As we were about to leave, a very English voice behind us said, ‘do hope I haven’t blocked you chaps in, but the car park spaces are absolutely minuscule.’I can’t remember the exact words, but that’s the gist of it and he definitely said ‘minuscule.’ 

Outside, we realised what he meant. The car park had normal sized spaces, nut normal isn’t much use if you drive a Hummer. No idea how he’d even got the thing as far as the hotel as the road in is a) narrow, b) crowded with traffic and c) packed with pedestrians in holiday mode who wander blithely into the road without looking. I struggled last night and our car is less than half the size of this behemoth. Up all night and can still write 'behemoth ' brain cells must be still working.  

Marigold had found a cafe. She's good at that. 'We've stayed in worse places,' I said. Marigold looked a bit doubtful.  

'What about Jack's at Calpe?' This was an apartment we rented from a friend of a friend. When they built the block of flats it had a sea view, then a huge hotel went up  in the gap between them and the sea. Inside was a bit cluttered. Jack, who we never met, had fitted it out with 'new' second-hand furniture, which was okay, but all the old stuff was still there. There were six big armchairs, four beds, but only one bedroom and one full of boxes and tea chests. We went out a lot. 

Marigold smiled for the first time today as we remembered other disasters like the room in Morocco, inside the walls of the medina where the noise from the street went on all night and the smoke from a man roasting chestnuts right below us filled our room, even with the windows closed and in the middle of the night the sink in the bathroom next door fell off. By now we were laughing, a lot, as we remembered each and every disaster. It's true, you remember the bad hotels and forget the bland, ordinary ones where you just check in, have a shower, go to bed, sleep and go away again.  

Marigold looked up last night's hotel on Trip Advisor. A man called 'Bent' said the bath was 'good for washing the feet but not the body,' which made us laugh. Marigold says I should change my name to Bent after lying on that mattress all night, but am not sure that's such a good idea!  

Refreshed we set off, with my trusty navigator fast asleep beside me so I tried to avoid the bumps. We found a place overlooking the sea with three odd buildings, presumably lookout towers, where there was one of those health spa hotels with all mod cons plus head massages, meditation rooms and other such offerings. The price of a room, just a room not access to all the other 'stuff' was just under six times more expensive than where we spent last night. We both agreed we had a bargain. Yes, we'd have probably slept better, but for that money we could have rented somewhere for a fortnight, at least. Would be a month in Portugal and in Morocco, where the going rate for a hotel room is about the same as a large latte in Costa Coffee, we could have set down roots. Passed a field of sunflowers. Glorious, even if many had now 'gone over.' 

Swings and roundabouts, deciding where to stay overnight. Last night was dire, but looking at the hotel in the morning sun, with its situation right on the beach, its modern decor and the fact it had safe parking, we'd have picked it again. Just goes to show as my grandma used to say, very often. She once told me only 'toffs' stayed in hotels, but then again she also told me that sitting with my back to the fire would 'melt the marrow in yer spine' and that turned out not to be the case. We're toffs then. Next thing we'll be buying a Hummer. Probably a nice yellow one. Be handy for taking stuff to the tip anyway. 

Our various camper vans/motor homes had their faults, but we usually got a good night's sleep. Even in the teeth of a gale, driving rain or hail, thankfully very rare in the temperate climes we seek out. Last night proved sleep is not automatic even in a modern hotel. Even so, the concept of sleep is very overrated. Sleep is for wimps. 


Odd lookout towers. Saw some more of these in Portugal.

This one has a resident hermit. Look for the white glasses

Very posh spa hotel has very Spanish wiring on the outside

Yes, it's a caravan. What pulls it, a tank transporter?

No idea who this is.

Coffee makes Marigold happy

So does a cocktail, or two.

Even thermometers. Sadly, our friend Brian is no more. No, not dead, just back in Lancashire. Same thing?

Seems the family business has changed nowadays.

Time to harvest the cork trees.

Spotted a poky little camper van on the road to Granada. Nice.

Couldn't resist a photo of these smiley fish