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 

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Finding a little gem right on our doorstep – Warblington & cycling the Hayling Billy

During our time at home, as well as meeting with family, friends & work colleagues and helping Louise to celebrate her birthday on the actual day, we also managed to find a hidden gem right on our doorstep.

This happened on our very last day at home, the very hot Bank Holiday Monday 🙂  We were to meet up with Calv’s daughter, husband and grandchildren at the beach in Hayling, and Calv thought it would be a good idea to cycle there.

He had often told me that the little lane on the left, just before you joined the A27 from Emsworth towards Portscmouth, had a house that had ruins in it’s garden.  So we decided to start our ride from there.

We found that the lane stopped where the church, St Thomas a Beckett, and cemetery are located.  The church was a huge surprise, and rather special.  The huts in the graveyard (with the blue doors) were commissioned in the early 19th Century to enable a close eye to be kept on the churchyard to deter graverobbers – read more about this fascinating history here.

From here we headed back up the lane and took another lane (the only 1) on the left.  Going left again at the end we came to the beach where it was possible to cycle across (even when we returned at high tide there was enough beach left – I don’t believe that would necessarily be the case in the winter though!)

The path after the beach is quite busy and we did have to push our bikes for most of it.  But it takes you past a couple of duck ponds, an old mill (now a private house) before you come to a lovely pub, The Royal Oak, fronting the water.  When you reach the main road cross over and cross the bridge – this is where the Hayling Billy starts.   Click here for the route (although it’s easy to follow and is completely off-road.

The trail ends at the old station, now a theatre.  It is a very popular trail, and was particularly busy on this hot August Bank Holiday.  It’s wonderful to see so many families out enjoying themselves.

We continued on to the beach – also very busy!  We weren’t to stay too long as we had to get ready for leaving the following day, but it was a lovely afternoon with Calv spending time on the paddle board with his grandson and me making sandcastles (only for them to be immediately knocked over!)

My point is that we may well all be able to find a hidden gem, or two, on our doorstep – if we would only but look 🙂

Happy hunting!

Spurn Head via Patrington, the Meridian Line and a reminder of the gunpowder plot

 

Spurn Head is a constantly changing spit that reaches out into the Humber like a bent finger.  It’s formed from the erosion further up the coast and, whilst once it had a proper road connecting it to the mainland, it is now cut off at high tide and connected by a causeway at other times.

We took the A165 south and then headed along the road from Hull towards Spurn.  As we entered one of the villages on the way I remembered that our neighbour who had left the campsite the day before lived there.

“John and Mary live here” I said.  As I said this I look to my right.  “There’s John!”  He was out weeding his garden!  So in we went for a cuppa and some stories from John about strange goings on in his garage…!  This isn’t the only coincidence we’ve experienced in the last couple of weeks either.

They told us about a couple of things to look out for on our way to Spurn Head, including a stone denoting the meridian line, and the memorial to 2 of the gunpowder plotters who were brothers who lived on a farm in the area.  This is done in the same style as the memorial to the airmen at Lisset.

We then visited the church at Patrington, otherwise known as The Queen of Holderness.  Chatting to a man inside we found out that the column that looked out of place was, in fact, part of a much earlier church that had been on the site.

Finally we made it to Spurn Head.  Or at least we thought we had!  We parked just past the café by the toilets and were confused that we couldn’t see anything obvious to suggest we were about to cross a causeway.  Well, this was because we weren’t there yet!  We should have turned right at the café….

We parked on the road outside the car park, unloaded the bikes and set off.  It wasn’t long before we came to sand; sand that you couldn’t cycle over unless you had those special fat tyres.  Why we hadn’t realised that the causeway would be sand I really don’t know!

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It therefore took a while to cross this 3/4 mile stretch!  Luckily we made it to the other side and the 1st shelter before the heavens opened!  The shelter was just big enough to fit 4 people in ‘cosily’.  There were just the 2 of us so that meant that Calv was able to bring his bike in too….  It was great fun sharing that space for about 20 minutes!

Luckily the one couple who passed by were so soaked already that they decided to just continue.  Once you’ve got past the last bit of sand (and the bit of the path that’s fallen into the sea) the path isn’t bad at all (although we had an awful lot of big puddles after the rainstorms we were dealing with!)

There are several nature trails to follow along the spit, a lighthouse that is open at certain times and the RNLI station.  This is also where the river pilots operate from.

You cannot drive onto Spurn Head.  However, you can book onto a Spurn Safari, ride your bike or walk.  The authorised vehicles use the same narrow paths as walkers and cyclists so be aware!

The total cycle from the car park is 3.5 miles.  On the way back the sun came out for us and we were delighted to spot a number of seals bobbing their heads out of the water close to the shore.  And then we had a rainbow 🙂

Being late home we eventually realised that we were going to have to eat on the way.  We followed the coast road back and driving through Aldbrough we spotted a fish and chip shop that had a café – The Frying Farmer.  What a find – the best fish and chips we have ever had.  And I had a slice of gorgeous Victoria sponge to take away!

Despite the weather we had a wonderful day out when we visited Spurn Head and would highly recommend it – don’t forget to check the tides, but there is plenty of information available when you get there 🙂

 

An 18 mile cycle around Rutland Water

I’m going back 2 weeks now to our trip around Rutland Water.  The main point of visiting this area was to go around this reservoir.

Built in the early 70’s the area lost Lower (or Nether) Hambleton and much of Middle Hambleton (some of which survives as the promontory jutting out into the reservoir (an extra 7 miles on your bike ride if you choose to take it – we drove another day!)  At low water it is still possible to see the foundations of some of the buildings that were demolished (which included a mediaeval cottage…)

You can read here about some of the dwellings that were lost – quite an interesting read (if a bit long..!)

The reservoir is now a bustling and well used leisure area.  The day we cycled around it we were most certainly not alone – they were hundreds of others cycling or walking the route (perhaps not all the way around though!), as well as hundreds more enjoying the facilities available around the water or sailing, kayaking or paddle boarding on the water.

It was wonderful to see so many people out and about enjoying the big outdoors 🙂

One day we will have a go on that obstacle course 🙂 Continue reading “An 18 mile cycle around Rutland Water”

A dribble along the coast, a ride along the steam railway and a wander around Filby & Ormsby Broads

We weren’t really up to doing much the day after visiting Norwich, so after a lazy morning we headed out for a drive along the coast.  We started with California & Scratby where we parked up and went down to have a look at the beach.  Being a windy day it was actually quite nice as the beach was really sheltered.

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Next we saw Hemsby.  These are actually all nice little resorts typified by many chalet parks (yes chalet parks, as opposed to statics).  Don’t get me wrong there are several static parks, but I do like a chalet (I think it’s because that’s what we always stayed in when I was a kid – must be an age thing!)

There were all the usual things you would expect in seaside resorts – amusement arcades, ice-cream stalls, fairs and fish & chip shops. Continue reading “A dribble along the coast, a ride along the steam railway and a wander around Filby & Ormsby Broads”

A cycle ride from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness, Sizewell Beach and Leiston Abbey

Our last day in Suffolk before moving onto Norfolk (‘South Folk’ and ‘North Folk’ denoted by where they lived in relation to the river.  I’m not sure what river – there are many, many rivers in this area!)  We’d already decided that this was the day we would cycle from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness – because the children were going back to school!

It turned out to be a lovely day, if a little windy.  We parked at the south end of Aldeburgh on the Slaughden ‘peninsula’ (mainly because it’s free..) and cycled along the seafront, this time going on past the Scallop, which was as far as we got last time.

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I did think that the cycle path went all the way to Thorpeness, however, whilst there is a path all the way along the seafront, there comes a point where it isn’t suitable for riding on so we had to move onto the road.  However, the road is absolutely fine and not too busy so it wasn’t a problem.

Thorpeness is just a few miles away from Aldeburgh and it is absolutely charming.  Originally conceived as a purpose built, upmarket holiday village Continue reading “A cycle ride from Aldeburgh to Thorpeness, Sizewell Beach and Leiston Abbey”