We recently went to Almeria and discovered the wonderful Tau Campsite in San Jose.
In the two years since I came to Catalunya I’ve done more camping – both in tents and in the van – than in all the years of my previous life put together.
I remember one rainy weekend on the Isle of Arran when I was 16 and all our clothes were wet before we even set up the tent. I had to take the boat home withint 24 hours because of a serious asthma attack.
I’m still hardly an expert but have become more knowledgable about what works for me and what doesn’t.
I imagine there are people who like the overly manicured places that seem to abound in the UK, with plastic castles and painted mushrooms and pots of begonias around reception but they have never matched my idea of what makes camping enjoyable. In those places there always seem to be more signs telling you what Not To Do than lists of what is on offer.
Here in Spain some of the sites are chaotic and noisy, everyone packed into tiny spaces beside neighbours with satellite dishes and caged birds. These places can be fun for a few days but the real pleasure for me is to find somewhere that is peaceful and relaxed as well as organised and welcoming.
The Tau campsite is like this.
Here is my list of what I loved about the place
- On arrival you can choose where to put your van or tent. No restrictions on who goes where – they credit you with intelligence to make your own decision.
- There are lots of trees – for shade and for hanging your hammock or your washing.
- Dogs are welcome!!!! There were lots of them in Tau and all well behaved and clean. There weren’t endless signs telling you to pick up their shit. Again, we were treated as responsible adults. There were also resident cats strolling around.
- The owners had made lots of little corners for socialising. Small wooden seats and tables, larger spaces for having barbeques, a big tea tent with cushions and rugs for relaxing, as well as a cafe-bar
- The bathroom area was spacious and clean. There were plenty of toilets and showers. The first day I heard someone in the shower luxuriating in the water ‘Que bien! Ahhhh, Esta muy bien‘ The showers have water that stays on while you are washing rather than turning off automatically so you have to keep restarting it.
- The water is HOT!
- Music. This must have a bullet all to itself as it was something that most impressed me. They played music in the toilet block during the daytime. And not only that but they played Radio 3 Espanya which is my favourite station. One morning it was jazz, the next it was spirituals. I have always thought there should be music in public toilets – don’t you just hate that echoey silence? The feeling of sitting alone in your cubicle but surrounded by others ? Here someone else had thought the same and done something positive about it.
- There were bicycles for rent
- They twice recharged my mobile phone in the office as we decided not to plug in to the electricity.
I once saw a film about a group of people who rented a house in Tuscany. They started their holiday tense and unhappy but the place changed them and day by day they relaxed and opened up. Tau Camping seemed like this to me. A group of young Catalans arrived and pitched their tent near us – they were noisy and a bit insensitive, staying up late the first night and rising early in the morning but after 24 hours they settled down and blended in. Another young man played loud rock music from his van the first day but by day 3 he was quietly listening to Blues. Who knows what he might have listened to by day 7?
I think this place has some special magic and a lovely energy and hope we can go back there one day.