Valencia, Pucol and Sagunto

We decided on a final visit to the coast before heading for home, choosing a site near Valencia (Camping Valencia) in a small town called Pucol.

Van on site in Pucol

Even though first impressions of our chosen site were, shall we say, less than favourable, we managed to move to the nicer part of the site on the 2nd day and ended up extending our stay to a whole week 🙂

We did spend a fair bit of time simply relaxing here, but we also visited the nearby town of Pucol on our bikes – there are many opportunities for cycling, with a really good cycle/running path into town.  We also cycled the other way along many green lanes/farm tracks – of which there are many 🙂

Days out were 1 day driving to Valencia, failing miserably to find a parking space so parking on the outskirts and riding back in!  More on that later 🙂

We also drove in the opposite direction to visit the ancient town of Sagunto, which is well worth a visit.

So let’s start with our visit to Valencia.  Having parked on the outskirts (I’m sorry I can’t tell you where exactly (it might have been Benimaclet), but it was adjacent to the cycle path and we parked for nothing).  I do know that we headed past the university and into the city before finding our destination of The Turia Gardens.  We had heard that this was a wonderful way to cycle the city situated as it is through it’s heart where the Turia River flowed until it was diverted to prevent further flooding.

With numerous exits and entrances to this 8km long area we joined a little way before the futuristic Museum of Arts and Sciences, an amazing building bordered by numerous wasterways and fountains.  A beautiful, tranquil area to relax.

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We simply cycled along the paths of the gardens, eventually stopping for some lunch near the old city – I think it was the Bar Baja la Puente Calatrava (no. 7 on this list of Turia Garden eateries from JuliaEats).  I do know that we enjoyed our lunch and that there was plenty of parking available for our bikes 🙂  I also know that whilst we were sat there there was a long series of VERY loud bangs, which startled us but seemingly nobody else!  We later discovered that this is a daily occurrence in the weeks leading up to The Fallas Festival – The Mascleta; read all about it here.

We left the gardens at the Puente de Flores, bordered as it is on both sides with beautiful floral displays 🙂

We came out by the old gateway to the city (that we saw on our last visit), had a little cycle around the fountains before returning to the gardens and heading towards the car.  Which we eventually found – even though we took a completely different route!!

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Our other day out was to Sagunto, a small town with a big history.  There was a market on the day we visited so we couldn’t drive directly into the old town; after a detour of about 2 miles (well it felt like it anyway) we found ourselves about 100m up the road and on the other side of the old town – these were very narrow streets!  Even in the little car it felt tiny.  We had to be really careful as many of the streets turned out to be dead-ends and it was pretty awkward reversing back down the steep hills whilst navigating the amazing Spanish parking!!  We finally spotted a space by the side of the road.  Leaving the car we headed up one of the steep roads towards the hill holding the massive castle.

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I say massive – this castle is visible from miles away (including from the campsite), and during our visit we discovered it actually ranges across the top of the hill for about 1/2 mile.

We followed stone steps and pathways up, up and then down, down the hill.  Which was a little disconcerting!  We passed a small white chapel on the way before coming across the Roman Ampitheatre, free to visit and definitely worth a visit.

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Around the hilloutside the ampitheatre was the old cemetry (Judio Cemeterio) consisting of graves dug into the hill itself.  We walked passed many more as we made our way up the steep hill towards the castle itself.  Also free to visit we maybe managed to see half of what there was to see!  There are extensive ruins to be seen, although it is a work in process of renovation.  I would suggest taking a picnic and spending the day exploring 🙂

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I need to point out that the beach at Pucol was lovely, but unfortunately we didn’t really have the weather to take advantage of it 😦

All in all we had a lovely time here and there were a couple more excursions that we could have taken, but we just wanted to relax by then!

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Here’s hoping I manage to finish off posting about our last trip before we head off on our next one (in a couple of month’s time!!)

 

We stayed:  Camping Valencia, Pucol 

Previous Post:  Banos de Fortuna

Next Post:    Albarracin

Tarifa and Bolonia (Roman ruins – Baelo Claudia)

A few days on the south west tip of Spain with it’s stunning beaches 🙂

From Casares we headed back to Castillo Duquesa to pick up the little car, and from there it was off towards Tarifa for a few days.

We had decided on Camping Valdevequeros from the ACSI book, which wasn’t our favourite site!  However, it was opposite the most beautiful beach – Valdevequeros – which reminded us very much of Portugese beaches.

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So we spent a very pleasant afternoon on this beach – I even went in paddling (the water was cold but I got in up to my belly!)  We found an area where many campers were parked up – unfortunately we couldn’t take advantage as we had a problem with the gas that Calv didn’t fix until we got to our next site).

We also found out about Baelo Claudia, an extensive site of Roman remains just a few miles away that is free to visit and has lots to see – we spent a good couple of hours here.

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Along the road where Baelo Claudia is  there are several areas where campers are parked up – we didn’t really fancy any of these areas though.  But we did drive on up past the roman remains until we couldn’t go any further on the rutted road (we were heading into a military area…)

We also went into Tarifa on the Saturday.  Once we had parked just past the port we took a footpath down towards the beach (this isn’t such a nice beach!) where we explored a few abandoned houses – there were many that looked abandoned but on closer inspection they were several that were clearly lived in, as well as a couple that seemed to house several dogs – that liked barking!

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Once back up on the road we headed into the old town.  The town was very busy on a Saturday afternoon, with the tapas bars full and lively.  When we wound our way round to the castle we found that we had just missed the chance to visit as it was closing to new visitors.  It was all pleasant enough, but certainly didn’t grab us as several other places have.  Still, worth a visit.

We stayed:       Camping Valdevequeros

Previous Post: Casares

Next Stop:       Cadiz

We stayed:       Camping Playa las Dunas, Puerto de Santa Maria

 

 

A few days of relaxation in Oliva

A place to recharge the batteries on the way south

After our few days in Vilanova we chose our next site to be Kikopark in Oliva.  This represents a long drive for us (we normally try to stay below 150 miles, and this was 250 miles).  We eventually settled on Kikopark even though it appeared that we were heading into the area where only 4kw of electric is included within your ACSI card rate (this was the case for our next 3 sites, Kikopark, La Fuente and Mar Azul – all with varying degrees of cost attached.  Kikopark was the most expensive).

We were happy when we arrived, and not just because it had been a long stint!  The site is right on the beach and is very well maintained.  We also met a fair few more Brits than we have done so far (we have no problem meeting other nationalities, of course, but we are finding that many Germans just won’t engage at all… which is a shame).

What did we do during our 4 nights/3 days here?  Very little is the honest answer!

On the first day we had a wander around the site and along the beach.  It is a lovely beach, but unfortunately there is a very short section where the plastic washes up.  Calv spent a very happy 30 minutes clearing much of it up!  I wander along the beach and found some locals fishing – well wrapped up of course against the 22 degrees of cold.  I, of course, had on a vest top….!!

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Me on a warm sunny day in Oliva
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The locals on a warm sunny day in Oliva

We went off for a bike ride, taking in a bar where there was a group of Brits getting drunker and drunker, and louder and louder (it was about 3pm!)  Carrying on Calv took 1 of his detours onto the beach, so I tried to follow him (not actually on my bike – my bike doesn’t do sand…).  Of course, as usual, as soon as I caught him up he changed his mind…  At which point my bike and I had a minor argument.  Of course, I didn’t fall OFF – oh no, I fell ONTO my bike….

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The bruises did get even better than in these pictures!!  I’m sure people thought that Calv had been hitting me as a couple of days later I noticed that I also had some pretty bad bruises on my right arm!

Anyway continuing on we went down a random path and found ourselves cycling through beautiful orange groves (there are thousands of orange trees growing in any possible space here).  They taste pretty good straight off the tree too 🙂

We had decided to go out to eat that night and got all dressed up (well, sort of!) only to find that the site’s restaurant on the port wasn’t open during the week.  Change of plans meant that we ate instead in the restaurant at the entrance to the site, which was perfectly pleasant.  We did have a brilliant evening though, chatting to a British couple who were having a drink in there before our meal and then spending the rest of the evening chatting to Jane and Sue, basically being entertained by Jane!

The next day entailed a walk into Oliva.  As ever we went at the wrong time of day – when most places were closed!  The part of the town that we visited didn’t really float our boat, but when we left we noticed the signs for the old town and we did see the castle up on the hill, but decided it didn’t look interesting enough to warrant a cycle ride up the mountain!!

That afternoon we went for another little wander and found that the bar/restaurant in the marina was actually open.  A nice little spot with a lovely swimming pool (obviously not open at this time).  They serve an extremely strong sangria – I only had the 1 but believe I will be forever known as ‘sangria girl’ by our neighbours, Roy & Jackie…   I particularly like the ‘girl’ bit of that nickname!! 🙂

 

So that was our time in Oliva – not very exciting, granted, but a well needed spot of relaxing.

We were going to move on to a site that we had previously stayed at (Los Modriles in Isla Plana) but in the end decided to head a little inland instead to a site slightly to the north of Murcia, La Fuente in Banos de Fortuna.

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Site used: Kikopark, Oliva (click for our review)

 

Days 17-19, 16th-18th June. Beach and moving days

Day 17, 16th June, started out sunny so we decided to go to the beach. I actually wanted to sit by the pool, but Calv wanted to cycle to the beach. He rarely states an opinion so when he does then that’s what we do! Even if I didn’t really like the look of parts of the cycle path (being on a busy road..) After a half enjoyable, half not, ride (on my part anyways) we arrived to find the market in full swing. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it but markets aren’t really my thing, and it stood between us and the beach!

We had to go round a few back roads to make it to the front (because the market was busy and I would probably have run someone over..!) It was pleasant enough, but the water was COLD. Continue reading “Days 17-19, 16th-18th June. Beach and moving days”