We finally moved on today having said our goodbyes to Roy and Susan and lots of those we met at El Campello. We drove to Oliva and we were both really excited about being on the road again. We only travelled 79 miles north up the coast as we had arranged to meet John and Pam Gilbert from Alderholt at a camp site they were staying on called Kiko Park. We enjoyed the afternoon in their very nice caravan and heard all about their journey across Spain. These brave souls came to Santander mid January to start their month’s holiday only to find thick snow on waking after their first night in Spain. We then moved on to Daimus to stop at a camperstop which was only 300 metres from the beach. What a nice greeting we got from the man running the site and there was everything we needed for just 6 euros a night. The only thing is that it felt really cold, as the wind had got up but I steadfastly refused to compare the weather there with the weather in El Campello unless we were tempted to return there back to Costa Blanca Camping and all the friends we had there.
Bereta was our next destination so we left reasonably early and arrived there around 11 am. The camperstop we arrived at was perfectly located as it was only 300 metres from the metro station that would get us into Valencia. We quickly parked up our home on wheels and headed down to the station. The very helpful man at the camp had given Elaine a map of Valencia and marked on the map all the places we should look for in the city. We chatted with a Dutch man who was staying at the site who was also on his way into Valencia. That same helpful man had not given him a map and did not give him any information at all. Obviously he was a ladies’ man.
We had a superb afternoon touring the old part of the city looking at a lot of the ancient buildings and walked along just a part of the dried up river bed. Fifty years ago there was a terrible flood and a lot of Valencia was suddenly under 2 metres of water. Determined that that would never happen again, the very wide river was diverted around the city and only a small amount of water was allowed to flow through in pipes underground following the original course. All the bridges remain in place and the whole length has been turned into the most beautiful park, giving the most fabulous leisure facility for people to enjoy. The whole “river bed” is now the biggest park any city could boast of. We walked through to this park and headed to the mainline station as we had been told that this was a must see on our tour.
Located right beside the Bull Ring, the station is indeed a work of art and the massive foyer of the station is beautifully decorated and I was soon busy taking lots of photographs.
We headed back to the metro train to head for our stop which was the one before the end of the line at Bereta. We took the train to Seminari- Ceu to wait for the train to take us back to the campsite. We had about 20 minutes to wait so we went into the station café for a coffee while we waited. I went into the gents and could not stop laughing. Sorry ladies but I just have to include here a photo of the best urinal I have ever seen.
We got on our train but what we didn’t know was that we had to tell the driver that we wanted him to stop at our little station by pressing a button by the door. We sailed past and then had to wait for the train to take us back the one stop.
We headed back into Valencia and we had already decided our plan of action for the day and headed straight for the “river bed” park to follow it much further along down to the “Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciences” this is a large area of futuristic buildings where the arts and the sciences come together. The opera house is huge and has 14 floors above ground and 3 floors below ground and the whole area is a tourist attraction in its own right without even having to enter any of the exhibition areas. We walked on down past the massive Oceanarium which claims to be the biggest aquarium/sea world in the world.
Having walked many miles already on this very warm day, we decided to catch a bus back into the city centre. The bus driver gave us a demonstration of how not to drive a public service vehicle, so for our own safety we got off and walked the rest of the way before we became a traffic accident statistic. We returned to the cathedral and we paid our 2 euros each to be allowed to get to the top of the tower there. After the 204 spiral steps up we arrived at the top and the views were stunning over this most beautiful city. As bad as it was getting to the top, for me, going back down was even worse. Round and round, down and down, and by the time we got to ground level I felt quite giddy.
We had been told that we should have Chocolate and Churros whilst in Valencia so we found a very nice café with seating outside which bordered a beautiful square with a fountain in the centre (Plaza de la Virgen). What arrived at our table was a cup each of the thickest, hot, melted chocolate and a plate of sickly, quite heavy long thin doughnuts covered in granulated sugar. The idea is to dip the doughnut sticks into the chocolate. Thank you, Pam G. (from Alderholt), any further suggestions will be viewed with great suspicion.
We saw the following massive poster on the side of a house as we walked down a narrow street on the way back to the station. There was no explanation what the Paella dish was all about but hope you enjoy the photo as much as I do.
21st and 22nd February
We moved up the coast another 60 miles to Benicassim (or Benicasim). We have seen it spelt both ways. We wild camped here for two nights right beside the Civil Police station. What an up market, small place this is and the many villas along the sea front must have stories to tell of the opulence of the past when they were occupied by the rich and the famous. Benicassim is very well known for its music festival and July, it becomes the magnet for music lovers from all over. Behind the church, outside a bar there was a large crowd all enjoying a rock and roll band playing on a make shift stage as live music goes on there throughout the year as well.
23rd and 24th February
From Benicassim we drove the 35 miles to Peniscola and having parked up, we took our folding bikes out of the box behind our motor home and cycled all along the front towards the spectacular castle mound. We went up the huge rock mound which has houses on one side and the wonderfully preserved Castle of Peniscola all the way across the top of it. We learnt that it was built by the Knights Templar and was completed in the 14th century. From the top of the castle we could see the small sheltered harbour on the other side and then we got into conversation with some Canadians who proceeded to tell us the best times to visit the different states in their country. One lady said that she flew from her home at the weekend and when she left the temperature was -35 degrees centigrade which was a record minus temperature for that time of year since records began That must make us all feel good! As we cycled back we came across a large man made ornamental lake with lots of birds and counted 7 cormorants fishing in the different parts of the lake.
At 3 o/c in the morning a donkey started braying very loudly somewhere in the vicinity which set off all the local dogs and their barking went on and on. I have never had a donkey burger but after that then I would eat one as long as I could choose which donkey it came from.
The wind has got up and it is now blowing very strongly indeed. Elaine immediately proclaimed it a good pegging out day so I was soon asked to put up a washing line between a tree and the fence behind us. Soon other campers were able to see what smart underpants I wear as they were there for all to see drying on the makeshift washing line. As long as the winds die down then we will move on tomorrow.