Thursday 4th December
Only three weeks to go and I heard my first Xmas carol yesterday. Clive, where are you, it’s almost totally Xmas free here, you’d love it as much as I am loving it.
Saturday and Sunday were almost non stop rain so I decided to make focaccia, “when in Rome…” as they say, and it turned out rather well. It was out of a packet, all I had to do was add the water and bash it about a bit then add sun dried tomatoes and olives to the top. Went down a treat with my €2 a litre wine from the site supermarket. I must say that the prices in the supermarket were far cheaper than I was expecting, captive audience and all that, meat and wine were very reasonable prices.
The postal farce has finally ended to great relief. We ended up staying nine nights in total, always thinking that the letter would arrive next day. Emma let slip late on Monday night that she had sent the letter to us as a tracked package which means that it has to be signed for. When I went to reception the following morning they said that if the letter had arrived it would be at the post office in Villanove but a note will have been put into reception that we had to go and sign for it and since we had no note, it can’t be in yet. Thats eight days and Emma had paid £7.50. It was a lovely day so we decided to get on the bus and spend the day in Villanova.
We had a lovely walk the full length of Villanova beach in the surf ending up next to the harbour where there were a couple of gin palaces almost as big as the Pride of Canterbury. After lunch sat on the front we walked up the main parade of shops and found the post office. We went up to the counter and in my very best Spanish I asked if my letter was in, I think she was deaf because she didn’t understand a word but after a bit of sign language she found our letter, only slight problem being that I didn’t have any proof of ID with me.
Next morning we booked out of the site and parked in the main car park right on the front which had half a dozen Dutch and German motorhomes in and went to get the letter. This time they couldn’t find the letter but since I knew where it was I sent the woman back three times before she found it. We set off south aiming for Peniscola, not just because it had a funny name but it also had three aires.
I had spotted Devils Bridge in one of our guides which was just outside of Tarragona. Didn’t really fancy the town itself but this looked like a good diversion and I do like taking photos of bridges, ask anyone at Dagenham Camera Club.
The Pont del Diable was part of a water canal or aqueduct that supplied water to Tarraco. It was built at the time of Augustus and took water from the Francali River near Puigdelfi. It is 217 m long and has a maximum height of 27m.
You can just see a group of German hikers walking across the aqueduct. They were part of a guided tour which walks the full length of the aqueduct.
Obviously we walked across it as well and took photos from the other side. The whole area to the left has been turned into a park with lots of wandering paths and sheltered areas, it could have done with some picnic benches since it was our lunch time again. Other than the Germans we saw no other people.
We moved on after lunch heading for the next aire. Stella was saying “in 26 miles make a U turn” which was a bit odd, she’s normally telling us to do u turns as soon as we wander off her carefully selected route through the narrowest streets possible. It was only as we got to where she wanted us to do a u turn did we realise that there were no turning points, no stopping points, no chance of pulling over and more traffic that we had seen anywhere else. It was a good six or seven miles further on before we could even contemplate turning round by which time we had decided to move on to Benecassim.
And then Stella came up trumps. 10 miles short of Benecassim she showed a little motorhome icon right next to the beach so I pressed on it and this is where we ended up. Exact location is 40º08.165N, 000º09.916E and it is called Torre de Sal.
We are in a car park, behind the photo is a 100m wide strip of nature reserve. In the distance we have three large blocks containing roughly 300 holiday apartments. There are no cars, no swimming pools, bars or restaurants, nothing to suggest that this is a holiday destination at all. One flat had a window box and at night there are two or three lights on so there are people living there at the moment but it really looks as if it is closed or abandoned.
This is facing the other way. We had 8 units with us last night and nine this evening, all Dutch or German. I must ask them where they get their information from, definitely not from one of our aires books, maybe they all have Helga the Helper showing them the way. (I’ve been chatting with two of the Dutch vans, they normally stay on the site just down the road but found this place last year, they’re here for 5 days before moving on south.)
During the day we went for a long walk through the nature reserve and spotted three Kingfishers, two herons, two cormorants and lots of swifts. Lucy built a stone tower and that was about it. We’re busy, busy, busy.
On Friday there wasn’t a cloud in sight so we decided to stay another day, we have all the food we need, we’re full of water and empty of black and grey waste so there is nothing stopping us. We got on our bikes and rode south along the front reaching Oropessa which looks like a lovely summer destination. In the winter all the hotels and apartments are closed, no one is on the beach or in the sea and all the shops and restaurants are closed. What they did have was a wonderful promenade area along the front, at least a couple of miles long, with nicely set out gardens and “Gaudiesque” benches and statues.
We took our kindles and lunch with us and sat on the beach sunbathing for a good four or five hours before a breeze got up and I had to put my t-sirt back on!
Saturday morning we couldn’t decide on wether to stay or move on. We had everything we needed but as we sat out in the sun eating our breakfast beloved decided that we were moving out. Our destination was Denia but on the way we had to stop at Benecassim’s Lidls to restock on wine and a bit of food and took the long route south. Nearly three hours driving, mostly on motorway but to avoid the tolls we had to keep going off track. Must investigate the cost of the tolls and see if it is worth staying on the main motorways.
We passed acres and acres of orange groves, the harvest is being picked now, fields of olives and rice paddies. I was surprised at the number of young women trying to hitch a lift by the side of the road. Lucy wouldn’t let me stop to pick any of them up which I thought was a bit mean, some of them had been there for ages because they had chairs with them.
The site itself is a bit grotty. The original aire has closed so this campsite next door has taken over. The fees are the same but we have free showers. Some units have been here for a very long time, it looks like a shanty town in places but we’ll stay, do our washing and move on.