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My kind of camping; Tenting has changed rather a lot since Anna Burnside was a Guide in 1979, as she discovers on the Costa Brava.

Byline: travel WITH SALLY MCLEAN s.mclean@dailyrecord.co.uk

CAMPING has moved on since I was last under canvas in 1979.

At Guide camp back then it was Arran on a ferry, turns washing dishes in greasy water and keeping the tent tidier than a military barracks.

This is not the Eurocamp way. At our site on the Costa Brava village of San Pere Pescador, there were tents but most visitors preferred a caravan, camper van or static cabin.

We had the most luxurious model, the Azure, with facilities unimaginable to my teenage self.

A fridge. A shower. Something that I did not knew existed back in the day - air conditioning.

Camping Riu is one of the smaller sites in the Eurocamp portfolio. But with its pools, cafe, supermarket and tennis court, it had everything we needed and did not feel like we were trying to relax in the middle of a theme park.

For the first part of our week, most of the guests were Spanish grandparents, taking their small grandchildren for a week away.

Then the local school holidays started and the average age dropped by 30-odd years. There were a few other British accents, including the heroically helpful Eurocamp reps, but most other campers spoke Catalan or Spanish.

Those with wee weans in tow barely left the site.

The kids who were not jumping into the water dozed beneath umbrellas or whizzed down a giant slide.

Those who had signed up for the children's activities sat in the shade, colouring in or competing in vigorous dance-offs on the poolside stage.

Joe, 13, was one of the few teenagers around and has left his crayonning days far behind. He had to put up with his mother's company. He made this tolerable by eating constantly, bobbing about in the water until his skin threatened to melt and planning my daily thrashing at Paddle.

This is a slower, more stately version of tennis, played on a smaller court with a foam ball and a big plastic bat.

Ideal for an old lady who hasn't packed any trainers.

If we booked the last session of the day, the temperature was almost bearable.

San Pere Pescador is on the River Fluvia, which leads straight into the Mediterranean.

Walking along its dusty banks was challengingly hot but took us past apple orchards, a watersports school that doubles as a pizzeria and a smallholding selling home-grown veggies and fruit juices.

This was very handy as the village supermarket was a sweaty mile's march away and we got through a lot of tomatoes and watermelon.

This route was greener, shadier and prettier than the baking main road and became our regular late afternoon excursion.

The beach was undeveloped by Spanish standards, with a bar, a shower and a car park. No umbrellas or sun loungers - it's used mostly by local families who arrive with huge picnics, naked children and dogs who lie, panting, in sun-proof tents.

Kite surfers appreciate the bracing breezes and, with a monster gin and tonic in hand, so did I.

Without a car, we were limited to places we could explore on foot or by public transport.

A day out in Girona, the nearest city, involved a nail-biting wait for the only bus of the day.

But it was worth getting up early for. We arrived before the worst of the heat and had the medieval city wall, one of the best preserved in Europe, practically to ourselves. By 11.45am, we were awaiting what I had promised Joe would be the highlight of the day, if not the holiday.

Rocambolesc is a Michelin-star chef 's ice cream parlour.

There are now branches in other Spanish cities but this is the original and best.

The flavours rotate so there's no way of telling what bonkers ingredients will have been chilled this week.

My baked apple ice cream with amber-like chunks of caramelised apple and tiny chunks of Catalan shortbread did not disappoint.

Joe inhaled his pineapple sorbet toasted in a brioche bun.

start at in a Having spent one day looking at medieval ruins and cathedrals, he was ready for some fun.

Roses, a bigger town just along the coast, was happy to help. It's home to an enormous waterpark. If you ask nicely, a charming young man will even pick you up from your campsite and take you back at tea time.

I've had bad experiences of waterparks in the past - baking concrete wastelands that smell of evaporating chlorine, broken up with long queues of sunburned children and overflowing rubbish bins.

for 2020 per party I was relieved to find that this one was green and clean, with plenty of shade.

I positioned myself under a tree while Joe bounced down tubes in inflatable rings.

He only came back to tell me that one of the cafes did pizza, chips and a drink for 10 euros. There were plenty of chips that I only needed a coffee.

A cleaner hovered near our table, waiting to whisk away our tray and wipe the table. This is the kind of camping trip I could get used to.

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? For these deals and more, visit www.barrheadtravel.co.uk call 0141 222 2223.

? Flying from Edinburgh on August seven nights B&B the three-star Helios Paphos, Cyprus, PS459pp. ? Flying from Glasgow September 2, seven nights all-inclusive at four-star Grand Cettia Hotel, Marmaris, Turkey, from PS449pp.

? Flying from Glasgow September 19, 28 29, seven nights catering at the three-star Altair Apartments, Puerto Gran Canaria, PS429pp. ? For these deals and more, visit www.stewarttravel.co.uk or Anna Burnside and family were guests of Eurocamp, www.eurocamp.co.uk. It has 180 parcs across 13 countries including France, Spain and Italy.Prices at Camping Riu, San Pere Pescador for 2020 start at PS324.45 per party in a three-bedroom Azure cabin with air-con.

brioche bun.

I was relieved to one was green and plenty of shade.

one day looking and cathedrals, some fun.

I positioned myself while Joe bounced town just along happy to help. It's

CAPTION(S):

good on rui Pool area had enough to keep the kids amused.. and cool!

high flyers Kite surfers take to the sky over water at San Pere Pescador beach

happy Anna and Joe are all smiles on day out

history Girona's historic buildings
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 17, 2019
Words:1116
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