A short summary of 3 weeks on the south coast. It gets more interesting once we leave this area (but we have been before, so see previous posts for more detail)
We already knew that we were heading for Cabopino when we got south, the only question was for how long. It started out as 7-10 days but ended up as 3 weeks – I’m not quite sure how this happened, but it did mean that we were able to have a night out with Steve and Denise’s friends for Steve’s birthday before we left. Apart from that 7-10 days would have been more than enough.
We really didn’t get out and about much as we don’t have the car with us and it’s not cycle friendly unfortunately.
So, where did we go?
Well we went, on the bus of course, to Marbella old town, La Cala market (Calv and I walked the 5 miles back) and Fuengirola. Other than that we just had walks and trips to the beach and, of course Happy Hour down at Jorge’s on a Friday 🙂
Buses are really cheap over here. It cost us just over 6 Euros per couple to get to Marbella and back, less than 3 euros to get to La Cala de Mijas and just over 3 euros to get to Fuengirola. Very good value 🙂
Marbella old town is definitely worth a visit with a number of lovely squares. La Cala de Mijas has numerous bars and eateries together with a lovely beach. Fuengirola is surprisingly nice as well with a long promenade along the beach.
We also got back to ‘running’ (both of us) and I did a fair bit of swimming.
I’m sorry it’s a bit boring, but it does get better once we left Cabopino and started seeing new sites. I will try to update much quicker now!!
Parked up at Area de Autocarvannas in La Guardia de Jaen
Last time we took the ferry to Spain in January 2017 we went into Bilbao and had to then spend 5 nights at our 1st site in Zaurutz whilst waiting to get my tablet back (I’d left it in our cabin…) This wasn’t a major issue though as we were taking our time to reach the coast, via Pamplona.
This time however (January 2022) we docked in Santander (after a nightmare journey – read about it here), and the intention was to travel in the most direct manner south. Together with our travelling companions, Steve and Denise, we decided on the next night’s stop each evening. Actually, let’s be honest here, Steve and I found each evening’s park up between us!
We decided on 3 overnight stops before reaching the coast – it can, of course, be achieved quicker, but we wanted to enjoy the journey and see some new sites on our way.
So the 1st leg was Santander to Aranda de Duero just south of Burgos, roughly 150 miles in total. We stopped in an approved area with services, by the river and had a wander into the lovely little old town across the river. I also met a lady who had the misfortune to have had the same horrendous crossing as I experienced – only this poor lady hadn’t benefitted from the comfort of a cabin 😦
The following day we made it a further 125 miles south to the beautiful town of Aranjuez just south of Madrid. We had been somewhat concerned about negotiating our way around or through Madrid, but it was Sunday and we decided to head straight through (on the motorway of course!) You just need to keep your wits about you and make sure you follow the signs for Cordoba/Granada. I think I was more stressed than Calv trying to ensure I got the navigation right!
This time our stop off was by the side of a river, and just before a campsite (Camping Internationale). We parked up and headed straight across the bridge to the Palace Gardens to follow the river into town. Sadly the Royal Palace was closed, but plenty of bars were open, and we took full advantage. This is a lovely place and we would happily return for another visit.
We had a slightly longer journey the next day (about 175 miles) heading to an Area de Autocaravannas that I’d found in La Guardia de Jaen– it looked wonderful but some of the reviews suggested that we might struggle to reach it in our van. We decided to give it a go anyway as we were coming from the north. Absolutely no issues were experienced and this spot is an absolute gem 🙂 We stayed 2 nights in the end. The only problem was that it took us 3 attempts to find the little supermarket open, and the only bar open at all while we were there was a very local one – Calv poked his head through the door and said it looked like someone’s front room filled with men (exclusively) smoking and drinking.
We saw a red squirrel in the trees in the valley by the area, and Calv and I walked up to viewing point high above us – a very steep climb; one of those that was as bad coming down as going up! We also walked around the town and up to the castle (sadly closed), around the back of the castle to the church (similarly closed) where there were additions tacked on where families were living, down to the garage to get drinking water – there was another bar here that was actually open – entailing another steep climb back up to the van.
The guy in the van beside us also stayed a few days and he used to go off cycling for miles while his wife sat in the sun relaxing 🙂
Click on the link above for advice on how to arrive at this area (i.e. we would recommend that you don’t try and come through the town itself, you need to approach from the north, which might entail going past and then coming back on yourselves). This is probably the best free stopover we have ever stopped on (although Algodanales in the hills north of Ronda comes a very close second 🙂 )
After La Guardia de Jaen we headed for the coast and 1 last free night (in Cala de Mijas) before arriving at Camping Cabopino for a few weeks. We had to go via Granada having found a Caravan Dealership where we could buy ACSI cards (we had ordered ours before christmas but they hadn’t arrived before we left home).
This final stint we did in 1 hit (apart from the stop to buy ACSI). We know the free area in La Cala (de Mijas) well from previous stays, but on arrival we were shocked at how many motorhomes were there! It’s normally very well policed, but they were spilling over outside the accepted area – there must have been 3 times as many vans as would normally be allowed 😦 We decided to stay for 1 night however (it’s very handy for a night out)). We were now able to head out to do a proper shop – we tried the Aldi (not too keen tbh), and then headed back out to Lidl in the morning for the bits we couldn’t get in Aldi!
A meal in El Gusto (because Biddy Mulligan’s shut the kitchen at 5pm – their loss, we discovered El Gusto next door and will return!) was most welcome and very, very good.
We did see last week that the car park has now been cleared of the excess motorhomes and there is just the corner now available (as per usual – there’s still about 30-40 vans in there though)
We’re now settled at Cabopino for a few weeks and in my next post I’ll tell you about trips to Marbella Old Town and La Cala de Mijas (on the bus!)
Cornwall – the most beautiful place in the world – especially North Cornwall 🙂
A new campsite found (to which we will return), and meeting with old friends.
This was a very special part of our trip 🙂
It’s been a few years since our last trip to Cornwall, but, considering it’s my favourite place in the world, it won’t be our last!
This trip in particular was a bit special. Not only was it wonderful to be out and about in the van again, but we were meeting up with friends who we hadn’t seen for nearly a year. AND we got to watch England beat Germany in the Euros together. What more could you want??
We discovered a site (Old MacDonalds Farm) that not only gave a wonderful first impression, but managed to build on that as our stay progressed – if we hadn’t had other bookings (due to worrying about being able to get in anywhere if we didn’t!) we would have stayed longer without a doubt.
We had 5 nights here and crammed a far bit in – here’s a summary:-
Day 1 – Arrived (via a typical Cornish lane – meeting a tractor coming the other way!) We drove down (we were tired) to the Bay (it is walkable, but probably about 3/4 mile and quite a trek back up the hill!) There is a bus though 🙂
The beach is beautiful. The tide was out and we just walked out to the surf’s edge, exploring all the little caves and coves along the way.
We also noticed that all the beaches in this area have ‘litter picking’ stations, which is a wonderful idea. If we had been staying longer Calv would most definitely have got involved 🙂
Day 2 – It rained all night and didn’t stop all day, so we pulled on our wet gear and walking boots and headed out to get some fuel for the little car at St Merryn. Calv said the shop was amazing! So any camping needs should be filled here 🙂 We then took the road opposite the garage (and past the chippie) down towards Harlyn Bay and Trevone Head.
Initially we kept going straight on taking us past the golf course and driving range, before turning round and taking a left down towards the 2 holiday parks. There are 2 national trust car parks down here to take in the views or visit the bays. At the end of the road is the Trevone lighthouse – but the road goes no further!
We came back to the 1st car park and walked, in the rain, down to the delightfully named Booby’s Bay, which links up to Constantine Bay. I scrambled down to the beach via some rocks only to walk around the corner and find some wooden steps! Beautiful golden sands and patrolled by lifeguards, this was a lovely find.
Then we got a call from our friends to say they were waiting for us at our van! So we headed back and had a lovely afternoon catching up before they carried on to their holiday home in Padstow (normally rented out – #seaviewpadstow).
Day 3 – We headed slightly south to Bedruthen Steps, from where we walked to Mawgan Porth and back, a total of 5 miles. We didn’t know we were going to walk quite so far, and on leaving Mawgan Porth we decided to try to avoid the diversion on the cliff path (they’re putting in steps) by walking up the hill on the road (next to the Pitch and Putt). We thought this had worked, but the path ended up taking us back down to the beach anyway!! Massive fail…
An evening at #seaviewpadstow (our friend’s holiday cottage in Padstow) finished off the day. A taxi back to the campsite cost just £15 (although the taxi driver was pretty miserable!!)
Day 4 – Steve and Denise bought our little car back and then we took them back to Padstow, via Padstow Farm Shop (very disappointing) and Tesco’s. They later joined us at the campsite to watch THE match of the Euros so far (England v Germany in case you’re wondering) in the bar. The evening rounded off with a buffet meal outside the van and a few games of boules.
Day 5 – Our last day on site. We had a lovely sunny day so lathered on the suncream and took the kayak down to the bay. Great fun, especially surfing the waves back into the beach and even though Calv then tipped me out into the shallows – bless him….
Our last hurrah was to go back to Padstow for a wander before collecting Marie and Steve to come to pick up their car from the night before. They had all been on a Boat Safari during the day – seeing lots of dolphins 🙂
This part of the country is simply amazing – beautiful beaches, country lanes and stunning landscapes. A new view around every corner (and a tractor of course!)
A ride on the Lynmouth/Lynton cliff railway has been on my bucket list since way before I knew what a bucket list was! Recent appearances on travel programmes re-ignited my interest, plus a walk on Julia Bradbury’s Great British Walks ignited Calv’s interest too – so was the 1st stop on our UK mini road trip decided 🙂
After a slightly stressful run-in to Lynmouth (don’t take the A39 – read why here), we settled down for a few days of walking.
We arrived the day after a big storm and the weather was still a bit dull, but the following day was much better, and we set off, pretty early for us, at about 9.30am. The main reason for this is we were looking for somewhere to treat Calv to a big English Breakfast on his birthday 🙂
We found the footpath out of the site and set off down the lanes and across the fields to head down the hill. Some wonderful views greeted us even at this early part of the walk.
Once we hit the path we weren’t sure which way to go, so we headed left as this seemed the most logical direction. We were wrong as this took us back up the hill and around a gorge back downhill, before heading back up to meet the road skirting Lynton – meaning a walk along the road (some of it on the road) steeply downhill into Lynmouth. It wasn’t a problem, at least we saw more of the countryside!!
Arriving in Lynmouth we headed down towards the main area where there is a good selection of tourist shops, bars, cafes and pubs 🙂 We were here at the end of July so everything was open with social distancing protocols and masks in use.
At the far end of parade of shops we found The Ancient Mariner, just the right degree of quirkiness and a simply wonderful breakfast. We liked it so much we returned a couple more times during our trip 🙂
Revived by our breakfast we set off in search of the cliff railway that I had spent so many years wanting to visit. We first found the seafront and the Rhenish Tower (originally built in 1860 to store salt water for indoor baths, it had to be rebuilt after being destroyed in the disastrous flood of 1952). The historic cliff railway cannot be missed (both literally and figuratively), carving it’s way at a seemingly impossible gradient up the hill as it does! And it is still completely water powered.
At £3 each way for an adult (£2 per child, £1 per dog) it was well worth the total cost of £12 (we came back down later on in the day). A childhood dream finally realised!! I can’t wait to go back and do it again. And again. And again 🙂
At the top we took a walk around Lynton which is a bigger town than Lynmouth with more choice of shops and eateries. Perhaps not quite as charming though.
Completely by chance we looked at a info board in front of the town hall (and cinema. Apparently Lynton is the smallest town in England to have it’s own cinema) and decided to follow the walk up Hollerday Hill to find the old Hollerday House. There really was no evidence left of the house when you got there, the most complete area left was where the tennis court had been, although there is a really good information board.
Once you have walked up (and I mean up) as far as the house it is definitely worth walking the extra 5/10 minutes to the summit of the hill and the site of the old Iron Age Fort. It was VERY windy on the summit, but what a wonderful view we had – to the east the bay in front of Lynmouth, to the west ‘Valley of the Rocks’ and to the North the Welsh coast. We really wanted to visit The Valley of the Rocks, but simply ran out of time. Yet another reason to return 🙂
Once back down in Lynmouth we popped in for a drink in the Ancient Mariner before visiting the Glen Lyn Gorge . This perhaps feels a little expensive at £6 per adult, but it is privately owned and they have provided plenty of pathways up to the waterfalls, together with the loan of a mobility scooter that can get the less abled up to see these. The little museum is brilliant. Once the families left we had the place to ourselves (in these Covid times we waited for them to leave) and we were in there a fair while!
You learn a fair bit about the flood of 1952, which devastated the town, here. The other place is the Flood Memorial Hall which is near The Ancient Mariner. It’s free to visit but was unfortunately closed when we were in town (due to Covid no doubt).
So now we had to get back to the campsite. We knew we had to go uphill, but asked the guy in the Gorge what was the best way. The answer is to go to the right on leaving the gorge, and very soon there is a pathway up through the houses (we missed it at first, but I really don’t know how!!) You start off following the Two Moors Way (Devon’s coast to coast walk).
It is very steep, right from the start. And it doesn’t really get any better for a good long way…. Once off of the tarmacked path and into the trees you zig zag for what seems like miles (and not helped by people coming the other way telling you you’ve still got a long way to go!) before hitting the flattish path near the top. Here to get back to the campsite (Lynmouth and Lynton Holiday Retreat), you need to turn right. Then you will find the gate into the field waymarked for West Lyn. Good luck 🙂
This was a really long day and I’m sure you can imagine our legs were really tired, having walked over 11 miles – half of it up really steep hills. So we didn’t do much more that evening (not even a quick drink in The Beggars Roost...)
With tired legs the next day was spent visiting Ilfracombe. It’s so memorable that I forgot I’d been before….
In my next post I’ll tell you about our walk to Watersmeet and back to Lynmouth (the same walk that Julia Bradbury did on the telly).
By ‘so far’ I actually mean join us from the beginning of our trip! We left the UK yesterday on a pretty empty ferry out of Newhaven, bound for Dieppe. To all intents and purposes it would appear we left in the nick of time, as much of Europe is now beginning to close their borders.
Now before I go any further I do feel the need to defend ourselves for going ahead with our trip. It’s not a decision we made lightly, but we don’t regret it for a second. Even though we are fully aware that we are unlikely to be able to visit all the places that we were hoping to (mainly Croatia, but this entails a trip through Italy so fairly unlikely – although we do have 5 months, so you never know…), we are currently heading down towards the South of France – where would you rather be stuck? Continue reading “Travelling during the Coronavirus Outbreak – Our experience so far”
So here we are at the end of February with a planned date to leave for Europe of 5th March… Our plans? Head down through France to Italy, take in Rome and Venice on our way through Italy to visit Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Belgium.
Hmm – little spanner in the works now called CoronaVirus means our plans are up in the air – what to do?
Do you ever get that feeling that you should be more excited for your upcoming plans than you are? And then something happens that suggests you were right not to be excited – you’re pshycic – you knew all along that this might happen (or not, as the case may be). Ever been there?
Well, I suspect that we’re not the only people in this position currently. Only perhaps we are slightly more fortunate in that we have nothing booked and we can just do what we want, when we want – to a certain degreee anyway.
What am I talking about? Well our plans for our next trip were well underway – in sofaras we ever plan. This time the plan was catch a ferry, possibly on 5th March (we haven’t booked it yet), pootle down through France, finally crossing the Millau Viaduct on the way; head into Italy and down Continue reading “Coronavirus and Travel Plans – To Go or Not To Go…..?”
Are you travelling to, or from, Spain via France? This is the route we took on the way home last year and the overnight stops we used (all free). It’s a route we would definitely use again 🙂 (GPS included)
Whilst trying to decide what route to take home from Spain last year, we were thinking of heading up to Pamplona and taking the motorway from there to France, maybe visiting Biarritz on entering France.
But then somebody told us about the Somport tunnel which goes through the Pyrenees. We had no idea! After a bit of investigation we decided that this then would be our route home 🙂
We didn’t have to alter our plans too much as we were using the same road north through Spain, just leaving it a little earlier.
As we approached the tunnel (well a few miles away) on the Spanish side, we stoppped at our last service area, I think it was at Jaca, where there was a rather lovely chocolate, patisserie shop. We managed to resist before heading off on our last stretch of road in Spain, which was punctuated by charming little villages and blue sunny skies. We would probably try to stay at least 1 night in future in this area.
The tunnel itself is free to use and 5.3 miles long. It’s amazing to think that you’re driving through the Pyrenees! So we left Spain’s sunny skies and emerged on the other side in France to drizzly rain!
But there were still lovely features – better roads for a start… Also an old railway line (I believe the Pau-Canfranc) running along the side of the road, in places this seems to have been restored. Again, we would like to stop in this area on a future trip and making sure we visit the Canfranc International Railway Station on the Spanish side.
We found the roads absolutely fine for our 8.56m motorhome towing a Citroen C1 behind, although, I have to say, Calv IS a lorry driver and very confident in pretty much any situation.
I think that perhaps we travelled too far on the French side on our first leg, and unfortunately, despite some investigation, I can’t remember the name of the town/village we stopped in. Sorry – I’ll do better next time!
We arrived in the dark and the parking was all taken, so we parked on some ground next to it which was being used by coaches to park up overnight – we parked next to a Morello! We set off nice and early in the morning though and then headed to our next stop, which was to be Montreuil-Bellay, apparently celebrities as diverse as Edwina Currie and Mick Jagger have homes here – I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s a lovely area and it wouldn’t surprise me 🙂
Although we were aiming for a different overnight stop (3 spaces behind a wine cellar at GPS, N47.13.522:W0.11121), when we got there it turned out to be too small really for us, so we set off looking for the other stop (Les Nobis – 30 spaces at GPS, N47,13272:W0,15835), which would have been easy to find had we not already left the main road! Trying to make our way through town was not easy, entailing leaving the van parked up, unhooking the car and driving round and round in an attempt to find the site… (There are areas in town where it’s not possible to take a camper or caravan; low, narrow arches and suchlike).
We discovered what a beautiful, historic town this was and eventually found our destination. And how amazing it was too – a dedicated area big enough for a couple of dozen vans, located in front of an outdoor swimming pool and next to a nice looking campsite (closed out of season), alongside the river and with a wonderful view of the castle 🙂 See the pictures below:-
And those photos are just of the Aire! We actually stayed 2 nights as the town was so lovely. Photos of the town follow 🙂 Most of these pics are within a 5-10 minute walk of the Aire.
Once we managed to tear ourselves away and get back on the road we headed on up to Le Mans, where we had already decided to stop overnight – the medieval old town is something special, known as Cite Plantagent as Henry II was born there in 1133. The Historic Quarter comprises 20 hectares of cobbled streets; still inhabited and a wonderful walk.
The Aire is immediately at the foot of the Historic quarter, on the Quai Louis Blanc (N 48 ° 0’45.0036 ”E 0 ° 11’55.7628) , at the end of a series of large car parks (it’s a dedicated area but several cars choose to park there during the day, despite there being more than enough car parking spaces in the other car park areas…).
It is next to a busy road, but this does quieten down outside of rush-hour, and it’s opposite the river with a lovely view of an old mill and an historic bridge almost exactly opposite. The real downside is that, although there is water available, it costs 8Euros!! Just make sure you have enough onboard before you get there would be our advice 🙂
We only stayed 1 night, but arrived fairly early in the day so were able to explore the historic quarter at our leisure, including a lunch watching, yet another, French protest. This time lorry drivers who were no longer to be allowed to park up in front of the new town hall. They had been blocking the road for the last 24 hours, with another 24 hours to go – or so we were told by one of the policemen looking on (there were many, many policemen).
We had 1 more stop before the ferry – we were going from Caen. We chose a small stop behind the town square of Hermanville, with a 5 minute walk to the British War Cemetery (GPS, N48,97026:W0,31243). A lovely little find with a shop, bakery, florist and hairdressers right on hand Plus a nice little walk around the village and a 10 minute drive to Caen.
We spent the afternoon in Caen and discovered the old part of town as well as the beautiful beach; although this does evoke mixed emotions when you consider the history of this whole area.
And of course, knowing that you only have a 10 minute drive to the port in the morning for your ferry is very welcome!
A final Spanish stop on our way home. Another little find; another place to revisit (especially as we missed the best part of the Monasterio del Piedra – the park itself)
Our final stop in Spain before our run through France to catch the ferry home. We chose Nuevalos via the ACSI book mainly for it’s proximity to Calatayud, not realising it’s a lovely area in it’s own right.
The drive was interesting with the SatNav taking us along a narrow, bendy road through the mountains for the last 20 or so kilometres. Luckily we didn’t see too many other cars, and when we did we were close to passing points (with the little car on the back it’s not so easy to reverse). For most of this section there was nowhere to go on the right hand side of the road. Calv would have loved it if we had just been in the little car; in the van – not so much! Anyway, we survived and made it to our campsite on the lake, Camping Lagos Resort, Nuevalos . This is a nice, terraced site overlooking a beautiful lake. Quite steep in places and unfortunately, at the time we were there in mid-March, there were alot of little, annoying, flies 😦
We stayed 4 or 5 nights and were lucky to enjoy some beautiful weather (although we couldn’t really sit outside the van due to the flies). We visited Calatayud, a pleasant town about 10 miles north, where we were able to stock up on groceries. We also wandered along the lakeside, around Nuevalos itself and took a longer walk to the Monasterio del Piedro.
We enjoyed a wonderful stopover in Albarracin and would highly recommend a visit to those touring Spain. Possible if you’re heading north either towards France (via Somport Tunnel) or to either of the ferry ports.
Sometimes, when you have no idea where to go next, the ACSI book supplies a corker!
When unsure where exactly to head we decide on a general direction and roughly how far we want to travel – then we simply get the ACSI book out and see what’s available! (This doesn’t always work of course. At which point we get out the ‘Motorhome Stopover’ book and/or defer to the internet).
On this occasion though we knew that we were heading for the Somport Tunnel as our way out of Spain (as we were towing the little car we were avoiding Northern Spain), so we were to head in the direction of Zaragoza – further away from Valencia than you would think!
We were originally considering the town of Teruel but on checking the ACSI map saw a site a little further on at a place called Albaraccin. A quick check online confirmed that this could be a nice place so the satnav was set accordingly. The A23 (non-toll) took us most of the way before we headed off onto the 234 just after Teruel, and finally onto the road running into Albaraccin. This is where we really started to get a feel for where we were heading as the scenery was stunning as we headed through gorges and past ruins high up on the hills.
Camping Ciudad de Albaraccin is located on the outskirts in the ‘new’ part of town. By going this way you also understand that there is more to this region than just the beautiful old town (cave paintings/bouldering/walking/dinosaurs…)
Once parked up (with amazing views of the old fortification walls forming a spine on the mountain) we set off to explore immediately (we were only staying overnight).
Our pitch at Ciudad de Albarracin
The old town beckoned. With little time we took the little car and headed back out to park in the big car park we’d seen as we took our first left towards the campsite. Even this was pretty with a little stream running alongside.
Wandering through the lower part of town we found a couple more carparks (possible for motorhomes perhaps to park – not sure about overnighting though) before starting on the long climb up to the main old town. One thing we didn’t manage to find though, on a warm Tuesday afternoon near the beginning of March, was a cafe!
No matter, what we did find more than made up for the lack of a beverage 🙂
After finding the Torre Blanca (sadly closed for visits) and the stunning scenery surrounding it we made our way towards the castle, the el Salvador cathedral and, eventually after a wander around the narrow, steep, winding cobbled streets – at times together, at times separated by my desire to explore a little set of steps or a covered alley, we found the Plaza Mayor (from where the main picture was taken). On my circuitous route to this spot I also found the base of the wall snaking it’s way up the mountain. Although there were 3 lads clambering up towards the wall itself it was definitely way beyond my capabilities!
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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 🙂
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!
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!!)