Hit the road again after a brief look at the maps, (I could seriously wallpaper the van with these Michelin monsters but they’re very necessary for route planning, a sensible investment), and a chat with our Bakewell buddies, Brian and Vera who know this coastline well. We seriously need some downtime after the last few crazy days. My feet wish to be reunited with my flip flops pronto! We don’t want to travel too far as the weather is picking up and joking apart, we are knackered! We decided to go to Peniscola. Jo and Karina, our caravanning Chums from the Lake District whom we met at the beginning of our travels, had just left there and their photos looked lovely. Very inspiring you two! It was an easy journey, although that’s got to be the windiest motorway on the planet. The roads are brilliant in Spain and the toll system is a doddle. So straightforward. All you need is a credit card and very long arms to reach the machine! B and V’s directions were perfect. Arrived at the free Carpark without issue. No sea view but 2 minutes from the beach and a beautiful view of the hillside village behind us through the pampas grass. The beach is a long strip of white sand, very clean and well maintained. It is a holiday resort but a fairly low key one. For us, it’s all about the castle and the old town. Can’t wait to explore!
We tired the hound out on the beach first job. He’d missed his beach time in Valencia. It was still windy enough to blow your wig off. My face looked like I’d had a bad dose of Botox when I got back after being sandblasted!! We called for coffee and cake (obligatory) and then headed back to chill with our books. I’d prepared a Piri Piri chicken dish in the slow cooker before we left the campsite, courtesy of Jamie’s 30 minute meals, so no fuss supper. Rustled up some roasted veggie couscous and hot pittas to go with. The sunset was fabulous, fiery red skies over the hillside with its white casas and spectacular castle. The Rioja was quite nice too. Hot water bottle and an early night for me. I was out like a light.
The next morning we hopped on the Bromptons and took a ride along the seafront. The cycle path goes on for miles. As seaside resorts go, it’s all very nice and has a really relaxed feel to it. We rode around the little harbour and checked out the fishing boats. The nets were all laid out ready for the next trip out to sea. There are some great places to eat at the foot of the castle. I am fancying Langoustine, they are supposed to be very good along this coast. Mark of course wants a big burger (makes a change from curry I guess). We can never agree on what to eat when we go out but it’s my turn to choose as we did burgers in the City!! By the time the sun went down and we’d scrubbed up, however, neither of us could be bothered to get dressed to go out so I threw together a simple Tartaflette, (my favourite easy peasy Motorhome dish – sliced potatoes, finely chopped onion, crushed garlic chopped bacon or raw prosciutto, stirred together in a buttered oven proof dish. Place a Reblechon cheese on top, half if there’s just two of you. Works almost as well with Camembert. Cover with oiled foil and put in the oven for an hour and forget about it while you drink wine. It’s gooey and gorgeous when it comes out). We had some fresh crusty ciabatta bread to dunk. It all went down very nicely with a Rosado Rioja, my new best friend.
We saved the castle and old town until last! First though, we needed to fill up,clean and dump, I won’t elaborate but the Motorhomers will understand!! We had enjoyed two days and nights free camping and didn’t want to take the mick so we headed down the road to a little Motorhome Aire called Els Daus. It’s a great spot. Very quiet and private and close to the sea. It’s 8.40 Euros including services but no electric hookup. We didn’t need that as the sun had kindly filled up our solar panel! There is a very nice campsite called Eden which is central for the beach, castle and old town with all facilities if you prefer. It was very popular so I assume it’s good. Mark did all the yukky jobs and I did my stint of domestic detention inside. And so, with that all done, let us make haste to the Castle!
The old town weaves around the base of the castle. The whole thing is built on a fortified promontory jutting out into the turquoise Med. It’s a warren of tiny lanes and alleys tucked inside the medieval castle walls. It is known as ‘the City in the Sea’. There are various bars, restaurants and quirky shops, a little maritime museum and also a museum of magic. It’s very quaint and well preserved. The castle has historic links to El Cid, (no, not the guy in the Sombrero on the TV advert, that’s El Sid,) the famous Spanish knight, the film was made here in the 1960s starring Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston, and also, Papa Luna, the controversial poisoned ‘anti-Pope’ of Avignon. More recently, its claim to fame is Game of Thrones. Large parts of that series were also filmed here. Finally Mark has agreed to watch it!
It’s a great place to visit. We spent hours wandering up and down the winding streets and passageways. We ate our picnic looking down at the silver sands below, it was just lovely. The castle itself costs 5 Euros admission. There are several, very informative films to watch. It’s a bit of an eerie place, you can almost feel it’s past. We loved it. The views from the very top are amazing, you can see for miles, it made my legs go a bit wobbly! Don’t go too close to the edge!!
This morning it was time to stock up on supplies. We headed up to Mercadona. Shopping for us is just hilarious, such a tuned routine, Mark has one trolley for booze and I have another for food. We meet at the check out! What a pair! We did a 52 mile drive today towards Tarragona. We found a pretty series of pine clad coves at L’ametlla de Mar. This is home for a couple of nights by the side of a little ruined Fort.
I’ve had worse views from my bedroom window. And so we reach yet another Friday and the end of a week. The maps are out again and scarily now it’s the French guides as well as the Spanish. Will be hanging around here while the sun shines and then motoring on towards Tarragona and beyond. Four weeks left and counting…….
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Hope you enjoyed our little update.
Much love my friends. Stay safe on your travels ❤️