Back in Europe

Viva Espana – Rivercafe in Europe

Here we are again. After three years in the Caribbean, the USA and the Bahamas, the Rivercafe is floating for her third birthday for the first time in the Mediterranean. Its her third continent.

For Ka and me, it’s been five years since we sailed our previous vessel in the Mediterranean. Now it feels like coming home. We have never found Europe, and of course Spain, so wonderful. The first weeks we will sail around Spain’s mainland and the Balearic Islands, in our former stomping ground. And we have planned a longer stopover in our old love Valencia.

We only sailed day trips from Cartagena. We anchored in Torrevieja and Calpe, then docked in Denia. On the way, we initially had fairly flat seas and hardly any wind. Then the Mediterranean reminded us of its short and uncomfortable wave and to always clear away all cushions on deck. On our way we were accompanied by dolphins, which are much bigger than those in the Caribbean. We also saw loads of jellyfish and plastic rubbish. It’s a different sea and for the first time in a long time we can’t see our anchor at the bottom of the sea.

In Denia we repaired our anchor winch, our penultimate Atlantic heritage. Now all that’s left is for our generator to recover, then everything will be fine on board again. We have organised this repair for the beginning of August in Mallorca, because a Northern Light Service resides there.

Luxurious life in Spain

Since we have been in Spain, we have been amazed and delighted every day. About mechanics who solve problems and only charge half the hourly rates of the Caribbean. About spare parts that are available the next day and don’t cost any wacky customs surcharges. About things that just work. The headline about these first weeks: “twice as good and half as expensive”.

We are also enjoying the wonderful food, wine and incredibly reasonable prices. Friends and family have told us that everything became so expensive in Europe. When you come from the Caribbean, you see it differently. But even after three years, we are still amazed at how people there, with at best an income of 500 to 700 USD a month, cope with the horrendous costs.

Our journey across the Atlantic has rescaled us. We are experiencing an abundance and quality not seen for a long time. If you need something, you can find it. Even on the same day. Wishes don’t have to be postponed for weeks or even months. Or even remain unfulfilled. In the Caribbean/Bahamas we spent three months to find a chair, 4 months for a copy of a key or 2 months for a starter battery. At 800 USD, it was four times as expensive as usual. Supply and demand, plus a long delivery route, plus absurd customs and other imaginative fees, multiplied by disinterest. The result is usury. But that’s over, now it’s Cockaigne.

In Cartagena we visited a shopping centre where we could do absolutely everything on our lists in one morning. Finally, no more compromises. We can halve our provisions budget again and that with much better quality and x times more choice.

When the Rivercafe was delivered to us in 2020, we were very limited with the equipment options. We went to Tenerife and Gran Canaria, but that was high peak from Covid and the shelves were empty. We took what was there and that was a lot of compromise. Especially tough for Ka’s designer heart. Finally, after three years, we got the “right” drink glasses on board for the first time. To be continued.

Calpe with and without moon, plenty lighthouses, Touristic nightmare Benidorm and the east coast

A culinary dream

On the Spanish mainland, we enjoyed tapas by the sea, delicious cocktails and wine – almost spoilt for choice. Everything twice as delicious and half as expensive as “over there”, in keeping with our theme week. We now happily replace a glass of bad or mediocre wine between 12 and 20 USD with delicious for 6 €. We can let go of the prepper reflex again, i.e. stuff everything with provisions because you can’t get anything in many places. Oh how beautiful and uncomplicated Spain is.

Swapping nature for culture and comfort

In terms of provisions and enjoyment, we are now in a different dimension. We were spoiled for three years by opulent and excessively beautiful nature, fantastic sea and wonderful water worlds. We saw many wonderful places and wouldn’t want to miss any of them. But this in the absence of comfort and culture. We will now exchange our abundantly filled nature credit for the wonderful things Europe has to offer.

Another advantage of our trip to Europe is the proximity to family and friends. As soon as we arrived, we had announced two visits from friends and one from family for the next 4 weeks. It works after all. We are happy about that.

Now we are in Valencia for a fortnight. The refrigerator, which has been malaise since the first delivery, is replaced by Leopard and we finally get the much desired Ultra anchor. That should make for relaxed nights at anchor.

Unfortunately, our sailing schedule will take us to the Balearic Islands right at the peak time of the summer vacations. We are no longer used to crowded sailing areas and anchor bays. Even the once so relaxed beach of Valencia is overcrowded and filthy with plastic in the sea. There are too many piglets among humans with too little respect for nature.

I will have to end this article now because it is time for a delicious cold drink and some tapas. All my best from the city of the Holy Grail, Valencia. / Holger Binz

4 thoughts on “Back in Europe”

  1. Welcome back to this side of the world Holger & Mitzi!!! Hopefully we will catch up with you soon again, before we all turn 70 :D. Glad that you are close enough again, lots of love, Jenny x

  2. VALENCIA…soo toll, freut mich, dass ihr beiden wieder in eurem „Heimathafen“ gelandet seid.
    Und danke für das Teilen eurer tollen Reiseerlebnisse 🙏

    Liebe Grüße aus Luxemburg 😊.


  3. Willkommen zurück in Europa.
    Ich hoffe Ihr findet bald die noch unberührte Natur direkt neben Kultur und Luxus.
    Viele Menschen suchen auch hier solche Orte. Die spanische Küste hat vermutlich nur noch wenige solcher Gebiete. Zu verschwenderisch ist die Menschheit dort damit umgegangen. Total zugebaut ist mancher Küstenabschnitt. Die Hitze und Trockenheit ist vielleicht die Strafe oder zumindest eine Mahnung, dass es so nicht weitergehen kann.
    Ich wünsche Euch viel Glück bei der Suche.
    Alles Liebe Jürgen

  4. Michael Zimmermann

    Wieder zurück in der „Heimat“ Valencia. Das hat doch was.
    Es war eine schöne Zeit dort. Grüßt die Stadt und den Heiligen Gral von uns.
    Wir freuen uns auf ein Wiedersehen in unserem neuen Revier.
    Herzliche Grüße aus dem Ionischen Meer
    Ruth und Michael

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