When Sh*t Hit The Van
Not all holidays go smoothly and unfortunately we found this out the hard way when we ventured to Spain for some fun in the sun. Here’s how we survived when things went tits up and we found ourselves in another country with no passports and a hole in the campervan.
Our winter weather was getting us down, the trails were a mess and covered in slop, we craved some dusty tracks and longed for sunshine. In December last year we decided to check out the riding near Barcelona. Nessie the camper van had just been finished and this seemed like an ideal chance to take her on her maiden voyage.
After 18 hours of travelling we were in high spirits and cooing over our gorgeous van. Our first stop was La Soria bike park, about 30km outside of Barcelona. Great tracks, short but dry with some fun jumps and cheeky lines. The guys that run it were a lovely bunch, very warm and welcoming. The sun came out and we could feel its heat whilst we rode. We had a great day and left La Soria beaming from ear to ear.
Our next stop was Pure Riding. We had no idea how remote the roads were ahead of us but we were pretty hungry and thought we should stop for a very late lunch before heading into the hills. We drove to the coast where the restaurants were and parked Nessie in what seemed like a safe car park on the main road with lots of people around and only a five min walk away from where we ate. We had a delicious but quick lunch and returned 45 mins later to Nessie’s cries for help. Her flashing lights and alarm going off were a sad sight but the smashed window was a bit of a shock.
There was glass everywhere and dents in the side of the van where they’d clambered to get through the broken windows. Everything was missing. Our saving grace was that the bikes were very well secured and they hadn’t been able to take them. But they did take over £1000 of money, an iPhone, a wallet, both passports, all our clothes (minus the ones we were wearing and a dirty set of riding gear) and our cameras, lenses and memory cards full of years of backed up photos.
The loss of the camera, lenses and hours of photography hit us the hardest. It was the best we could afford to buy and given as Christmas pressies which made it all even more sentimental. Descend depended on this equipment and it’s future became uncertain without it. Losing the clothes was annoying too. You take all your best clothes on holiday or if you’re Ieuan, you take all the clothes you have. It’s frustrating to think that they are most likely dumped in a ditch somewhere. The passports were replaceable but we had no idea how hard it would end up being to get home.
We immediately phoned the police and after several failed attempts, we found the right number. When they arrived we followed them to the police station and were told that we had to come back at 11pm to make a police report. The incident happened around 4:30, by this time we were emotionally exhausted, we just wanted to leave but we had to file a report to be able to get new passports and to stand a chance of recovering some of our losses through holiday insurance.
We kept ourselves busy and tidied up Nessie. Despite our best efforts, we still managed to miss a few bits of glass that we later found with our bare feet. As we waited for 11pm to arrive, another campervan pulled up outside the police station with its window missing. As it turns out UK campervans are a big target. So 11pm finally came, we filled in a huge amount of paperwork before returning to Nessie to catch a few winks before heading off the next morning.
We weren’t in great spirits but somehow we kept each other smiling. We both hoped that whoever broke in had a good look around Nessie before taking all our stuff and thought…..’this is a damn fine looking campervan’. We stocked up on a few supplies, fortified the window with more tape then drove to La Poma to ride their famous dirt jumps. We weren’t disappointed, that place is brilliant and it really cheered us up. The people were fantastic. La Poma has got something for everyone and the jumps are a work of art. We rode for a while, bought some ice lollies, packed up and left for Pure riding determined not to let bad guys ruin our holiday.
Pure riding is run by Jordi and Laura. They had a vision and did everything they could to make it happen. It definitely worked! Pure riding is a must visit! We were blown away by this place. The tracks are wild and the uplift itself is an experience. But it was just so great to meet Jordi and Laura who are the kindest and coolest people. There were good vibes throughout the day, there was such a chilled atmosphere from the moment we arrived. They fed us and even offered to give us clothes but above all, they restored our faith in humanity. We will never forget our time at Pure riding and we can’t wait to return to this place again soon.
In the next chapter I’ll explain how we eventually got home, why Leah from Commencial laughed at our lack of snow chains and how we negotiated the center of Paris in a 22ft long camper van.
To be continued…..
Till this day we still find glass