Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Benicassim - Spain - Day 80 - 89

Sunday 18th - Wednesday 27th February 2018

Well, I was going to leave this next episode until the beginning of March but I've got a bit of time on my hands because rain has stopped play - probably for the next 2 days 😞!  However, having said that, and looking at Blighty's forecast I suppose we should thank ourselves lucky - at least it's reasonably warm rain here!

We've also got a bit of very exciting news that I'm dying to share with someone - our new Grandson arrived safely yesterday (26th) weighing in at 6lb 9 ounces, and both he and Mum and Dad are all doing well!

His Aunts and Uncles say
'Grumpy face like his Dad!!'

He hasn't got a name yet so it's 'Little Mr Varney' for the time being - but he has got a very proud big brother (Jack) who's more than happy to show him off!  Obviously, we're absolutely dying to meet him but with the freezing weather (and more snow forecast to come) we're starting to think our homeward journey might have to be delayed until nearer the middle or end of March!   And that's mainly because our camping spot in Ripley is without the luxury of Electric, thus requiring us to rely entirely on T4rdis2's resources to keep warm and provide battery power for all our needs.

However, we're still very much (mostly) enjoying our time here in Benicassim and we've been spending much of it cycling in both directions along the coast.  The area is laced with cycle paths and although some of our rides have been partly on tracks beside roads, for a good amount of the time we've also had the pleasure of riding on dedicated sea front trails.

To the North East a Greenway takes you to the town of Oropesa and the resort of Marina d'Or, and this was a ride that we first did on Saturday 17th, but on that occasion fog blotted out nearly all of the lovely views - but this time they were truly stunning!

And Marina d'Or was quite an interesting place to explore!  It's a resort that is composed of loads of moderately high rise hotels, and one of it's claims to fame is the fact that it's home to Europe's largest sea water spa - which you can enjoy at any time of year as long as you've got plenty of 💶💶💶!!  Within it's streets it also has lots of manicured colourful flower beds and several very unusual sculptures - but at this time of year there was hardly a soul to be seen anywhere!

And beyond the precincts of the town there were more miles of stunning coastline!

And glorious picnic spots!

We also cycled in the  opposite direction - to the South West, and just beyond Benicassim we found another campsite - Tauro - that even on our flying visit proved to be very friendly and would have made a nicer place for our stay!  However, it was full - but we've noted it down and hopefully it will be one of our venues for next winter!

Further on in that direction we toddled into the City of Castellon where we found a couple of pretty parks with quite a few unusual sculptures .....

Butterfly Hair
Horses with musical instruments on their backs
..... and then as we made our way back towards the coast and headed into  Port Grao which is both a working port and  home to a huge number of opulent yachts, welcoming eateries and the area's posh casino ......

Then after that came the Grao Observatory.......

...... and their next door neighbour is a well equipped motorhome Aire that is quite likely to tempt us into it's grounds for a few days after we complete our stay on the Azahar campsite (on Thursday)!  It's only about 5  miles form our present parking spot but it has the advantage of offering alternative cycle routes and it's free!!

The above area is a place we've cycled to and from several times during this part of our stay - mainly because it's a traffic free paved trail that has fantastic sea views for several miles, and to be quite honest, if we had to go back several times more I don't think we'd tire of it!

And that just about brings me up to yesterday (Monday) when we nipped off up into the mountainous region behind Benicassim - The Parc Natural del Desert de les Palmes. The park runs parallel to the coast and has many crests, rocky outcrops, valleys and offers fantastic coastal views - so even though our path was a bit steep in places we were mostly distracted from the hard work of getting to the top by what we were looking at!!

And along with the breathtaking scenic views there were also several castles, hermitages and monastery ruins to spot!

Additionally, along with all of the above we have spent some of our time at several of the very plentiful eateries within the area - on Sunday we indulged in a gut busting 3 course roast at an Irish bar called Sam's - and not only did they provide roast beef with all the trimmings and John's favorite apple crumble- they also had real Guinness!  The pic is only our starter - and by the time we'd finished that 'I' was just about full!

Anyway, I think that's about  all I've got to say  for this episode - we've got two more nights here (at Azahar) and then our forthcoming itinerary is a bit up in the air.  We had planned to start our trek home around the 7th March but that will depend on what we're  going back to!  The picture below is of  the car park that is the  M 20 and if you look carefully you can spot a motor home who stated his journey a bit too early - and we definitely don't want to join him!!  Therefore, although we're desperate to meet the new 'little Mr Varney' we might need to delay for about another week!!

Courtesy of BBC News!

So until next time, when I'm sure we'll still be in sunny Spain - take care

Click here to see our Spanish camping spots