16th November 2016. El Catllar and Peñiscola, Spain.

This morning was a case of ‘should I stay or should I go now!’ (we really must make a list of songs used/sung/abused on this trip) One minute we were heading to Tarragona and the next I wanted to spend another day in Sitges.  The people next to left early but must be coming back we assume?

Eventually we decided to move to a small town called El Catllar so we could go straight into Tarragona in the morning.

The journey along the coast didn’t go quite to plan, we followed the SAT NAV off the main road through residential streets until it told us to turn left under a 2.4 metre bridge!  It was adamant we should go that way and kept telling us to do a ‘U’ turn as Darren drove away from it.  Heaven only knows where we went but we did have a tour through the streets until we eventually hit the main road again and doggedly stayed with it for the rest of the journey to our stop.

Darren had two places programmed to stay.  The first one was in a car park beside the sea and it did look beautiful as we started driving down towards it however there were large concrete blocks scattered around when we got down there and signs saying no motorhomes or caravans (it’s in a couple of blogs as a place to wild camp but the locals have obviously got fed up with it, shame)  so we turned around and drove back to the main road and on to the town which was about 15 minutes away.

It was beautiful, we drove down beside the castle to the aire which was beside a small river (although it looks like the river is sometimes much larger) and nestled amongst some trees covered with Autumnal leaves.  There were golden stone walls on two sides of the aire.

The town had provided amenities to empty and refill the van and had also written up a large list of do’s and don’ts in various languages.   We parked up and I started cooking lunch (I’m never that organised usually, I don’t know what came over me!).  We’d been there no longer than 10 minutes when a man appeared at the door, he spoke to us in Spanish and when we told him we didn’t understand he said 1 Euro and then started talking in Spanish again, we thought we caught the words coffee and milk but the whole thing was bizarre especially as the aire was supposed to be a free one.  Eventually after we’d both told him we’d no idea what he was asking he wandered back up into the town.  We thought maybe he was from one of the cafes trying to drum up trade but it wasn’t a nice feeling.  I carried on preparing our meal and a while later he reappeared but came round to the drivers door this time.  Again he started talking in Spanish and Darren kept saying we don’t understand you but this time the man was interspersing his Spanish with a few more English words, we thought we caught the words change and coffee and assumed he was after some money although he was dressed quite smartly, the whole thing was very strange.  He gave up in the end and walked off in a different direction from before.  That incident changed the whole feeling of the place for me and I decided I didn’t want to stay there, I wouldn’t have felt happy to leave the van while we explored the town so we ate our food quickly and cleared up then made a hasty new plan.  (That’s the great thing about being in the van, if you don’t like somewhere for some reason you can just move on anytime you like).

This area seemed to be behaving the same way as a lot of the towns on the French Riviera who also didn’t want motorhomes stopping so we gave up on the idea of visiting Tarragona which was very disappointing because it looks amazing and we decided to make a 2 and a half hour dash down to Peniscola which had been recommended by Kathryn.

We were so intent on getting away from this area that we broke our unwritten rule about not using motorways and hopped straight on one.

We arrived at Pensicola and our SAT NAV made certain we had at least one narrow street to negotiate just to keep Darren on his toes.

We had a minor detour into the car park of a closed car wash when Darren misread the SAT NAV but after a quick zip round we returned to the road and pulled into the aire 2 doors further along.

We had had such a ‘day’ that by 8.30 p.m. we felt exhausted and we were asleep by 9.30 p.m. which is unheard of for us, we didn’t resurface until 10 a.m. the next morning

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