Thursday, 6 April 2017

Bonterra Park, Benicassim, Spain (31/03/17 - 06/04/17)

Friday, 31st March 2017

Despite the weather forecast suggesting another sunny day, we wake up to find it is cloudy and positively cool. This is just not good enough! Fortunately by 14:00, normal service is resumed and we have blue sky, sun, and 21C.

Since the weather is not being too kind, it is decided we will go to the market at Grau Castellon (Castellon Port), about seven miles away, on the scooter.

The market at Grau Castellon is much larger than the one at Benicassim, and, the whole place is busy. We initially have difficulty finding somewhere to park. Our first attempt turns out to be reserved for Police Vehicles only. There are no signs that I can see, but, the clue is in the large, more or less empty, space, with a single Police car and two Police Motorcycles parked in it. Fortunately, a kindly Spanish Policeman comes across and moves us on, nicely, rather than give us a ticket.

There are several things I do not understand about Markets, particularly Spanish Markets:

a) why are women fascinated by them?

b) given that most items seems to cost just a few Euros, and hardly anyone seems to be actually buying anything, how do they make any money?

Later in the day, when the sun puts in an appearance, we do some more cycling, to keep up with the Runkeeper challenge.

Finally, it is "hair care day". Hair care usually a major pre-occupation of Kathleen, but, this trip, it has been almost "no problem", while this makes for less stress, it also means one of my regular subjects has been virtually eliminated.

This appears to be all down to a combination of the hair care products purchased as advanced Mothers Day presents, plus, the hair cutting skills of the Romanian hairdresser, Anca.

Saturday, 1st April 2017

Blue sky, just few clouds, sunshine and 20C, back to normal.

First priority is to ensure we cycle enough miles to reach our 80 miles, Runkeeper target, we have 12 miles to do today, and this we achieve with a cycle ride to Orpesa, before lunch.

Weekends are busy times, it appears that the locals all go out en-masse, walking, jogging, cycling, children included.

For lunch, I have bought a pack of Lamb Chops, as I prepare to cook them, it becomes apparent that my rudimentary Spanish has failed me, clearly, the pack is meant for four people, not two.

Fortunately, the error is spotted before I had cooked them all, and, half are packed away in the fridge for tomorrow or Monday.

To smooth things over, I open the wine early, amazing how a couple of glasses of Vino Rosado, or Vino Tinto improves a tricky situation.

Sunday, 2nd April 2017

Oh dear, it looks as if the weather has become, what we would call in the UK, "unsettled". Bright, sunny and warm this morning, but blowing a gale. Does not look like I planned cycle ride or scooter ride is going to happen today.

Kathleen decides it is "a good drying day", which means she decides to wash every thing in sight, clothes, bedding, you name it, it will be washed.

Eventually, both the wind and the washing fever calm down.

We are able to have a peaceful lunch, and a stroll along the coast (the demon Runkeeper must be fed). It turns out there is a cycle race on at the coast, so every bar, cafe and bar is full, so we end up in town, to get a cooling beer.

Back to the van and Kathleen embarks on a second washing marathon.

Now, here is a mystery:

I am, peacefully, reading my book, just at an exciting bit of the plot comes up, I am disturbed, to remove my shirt, so it can washed.

I get back to my book, wearing another shirt.

Another exciting bit, bingo, disturbed again to help wring water out of a pair of jeans.

My question is "how do they (women) do it", I mean, there are 24 hours in the day, in which to disturb your reading, how do they manage to pick the two crucial times? It is undoubtedly a skill.

Monday, 3rd April 2017

Blue sky, 22C.

A few chores, ie Food shopping.

A cycle ride to Castellon de la Plana, and return via the coastal route (24 miles in total).

Castellon, like most European Cities we have visited, is very pleasant.

Beautiful Parks.

Little squares, with pavement bars and cafes.

There are a lot of new housing developments on the edge of the city.

Most, seem very smart, with open spaces landscaped with seating areas etc.

But, to be fair, we do pass a couple of graffiti covered high rise developments.

There is one development, we have not seen anywhere else, they have areas within there towns, parks, which I could only describe as "Dog Play Grounds".

There is one in Benicassim, and, we come across another at this park in Castellon.

Typically, they have a fenced off area, with "toys" for the dogs (ie hoops to jump through, small fences to jump over etc), and of course, the base is gravelled, so they can do their crapping without unpleasantness or danger to anyone else).

Seems like an excellent idea to me. True to form of course, not all dog walkers take advantage of the facilities provided.

The park in central Castellon de la Plana is particularly pretty and well kept.

We stroll into one of the small squares to find somewhere to have a little lunch, and a drink of course!

We come across this place, serving up portions of Pizza, with a very novel cutting tool.

It is like a hammer, with a sharpened edge, and cuts through the Pizza by virtue of its weight.

Kathleen is so taken by it, she cuts her entire Pizza portion into bite sized pieces!

Tuesday, 4th April 2017

Blue sky, 21C.

Kathleen off to church to do the Lent thing.

If you have followed our travels, you will have realised that we do not really do the "tourist thing", at least not the visiting tourist hot spots, ancient monuments etc. The only bit of the "tourist thing" we usually follow is the excessive eating and drinking.

But, checking the map, I noticed there was a village, reasonably nearby, which is in Spain's list of most beautiful villages. Vilafames, according to Google Maps, is about 25 miles away.

This should be a plausible trip on the scooter, although, Kathleen is not exactly enthusiastic about long distances (ie over ten miles) and major roads (ie major dual carriageways, with lots of large wagons, on the scooter.

The approach is simple, just leave out the unsavoury bits, I suggest we visit Vilafames, saying, "it about 20 miles", and, "we do not have to go on the N340, in fact, about half the distance is on the CV-149, which we have travelled along several times".

It is not so much what you say, it is the bits you leave out that matter.

Agreement is reached.

Off we go, on the CV-149, to the Castellon ring road, we have travelled this way several times.

Once on the Castelon ring road north, it is all new stuff.

No problems, traffic is light, and signposting is good, soon, we are joining the CV-10 heading towards Boriol.

The CV-10 turns out be NOT a minor road, but, two-lane dual carriageway, with lots of Articulated Wagons thundering along it.

Fortunately, the wind noise prevents me from hearing Kathleen's comments on the bluetooth helmet inter-com.

Not to worry, it is only about 6 miles until we reach the exit for Vilafames, and join a smaller, quieter, single carriageway road, through the hills.

The remaining five miles is more to Kathleen's liking as we wend our way through scenic hills.

Eventually, we reach Vilafames.

Thankfully, it is a beautiful little place, but, not spoiled by tacky tourist shops.

Kathleen concedes, it was ALMOST worth
being scared out her wits on the way here, in order to see Vilafames.

Fortunately, there is a Church open, so, Kathleen can light some candles for our safe journey back to Benicassim.

Full marks to her, she most definitely has her "NVQ Biker Chic" badge now, or, she will have, after we have eaten lunch and made the return journey.

Wednesday, 5th April 2017

Dull, cloudy and blowing a gale. By 11:00, the wind drops, but, that just means it rains.

Our very jovial German neighbours leave, they have spent the winter at La Manga, and are now heading home to Dusseldorf.

They are replaced, by lunch time, by two Rosie and Jeff, from Chester.

Eventually (14:00) the sun puts in an appearance, still windy however, and we manage only a 10 mile cycle ride, so, Kathleen's Runkeeper Challenge is looking a bit sick, we should be on approximately 48 miles by now, but, we have only 44 miles done.

Thursday, 6th April 2017

Back to blue sky, sunshine and 21C, thank goodness.

Kathleen off to church. I do a (very) few chores, to make it look like I have done something, then, read my book (in peace).

We cycle along the coast, to keep the Runkeeper Demon under control, we are now ahead of the game at 63 miles, so far this week.

Lunch by the coast, with copious amounts of wine, followed by falling asleep.

Our very pleasant neighbour, Rosie, gives us some strawberries, she bought on the market this morning. She was only able to buy in quantities of 2Kg (for 3Euro), I can assure you, 2Kg of strawberries is a hell of a lot of strawberries!

We do our bit and scoff Strawberries and icecream for most of the evening They are delicious!

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