18th November 2016. Benicàssim, Spain.

Luckily for us our doggie alarm clock went off again this morning so it gave me plenty of time to write up the blog before we left for our next stop (and another recommendation from Kathryn) Benicassim.

As we ate breakfast I watched a cheeky little stray come into the aire where he caught sight of our neighbour’s little dog tied up to the van and started trying to get her to play.  As she got up to come and see him he shot off round the van then stopped to see if she was following.  When she didn’t he wandered slowly back round to see why.  They had a little play then he wandered off to see if he could find a more exciting play mate.  He tried again with a dog coming back from his walk who was up for a play but his owner was having none of it so the little dog gave up and wandered back out to the street. We took the main road this time, no mucking around trying to find a coast road.

During our trip it’s been very interesting noticing how quickly the landscape changes as we drive along and this was no exception.  We passed a lot of orchards growing mandarins on this leg of our journey and a number of olive trees.  We saw someone selling mandarins at the side of the road for the first time too.  We also saw some very swanky signs warning that there was a corner coming up, the arrows were covered in tiny red lights which strobed along the sign from one arrow to the next which was surprisingly hard to get a photo of, my first attempt got a lorry and the next few after that seemed to catch the sign between flashes.  We have an ongoing joke now that when we see something interesting even if it was in the middle of a vast plain the minute I pick up my camera and press the button a tree/post/lorry/hill/wall will obscure the sight, it has happened time and time again.

It didn’t take long to get to Benicassim, we were desperately low on fresh food and had intended stopping off at a supermarket to do some shopping before we got to the aire, but when we found the supermarket there was a height barrier across the entrance to the car park so we had to drive on past, luckily a bit further along when we saw a Frankia motorhome parked outside and we found a space to pull in further up the road.  It didn’t seem very far from the shop when we walked in but it felt an incredibly long way when we walked back laden down with heavy bags.  We carried on to the aire which was only a few minutes away and Darren found it with ease, makes a nice change and there was the Frankia motorhome too.

We packed away the shopping and I was just writing some more of the blog when we had a visitor.  His name was DARREN as it turns out and he popped over for a quick chat because he hadn’t seen any other British vans for 6 weeks, a while later his wife Lynn appeared, she said she’d come to either rescue us (if we wanted to get on) or join us to see what she was missing so we invited them in for a coffee and we had a nice long chat about various things.  They’ve been touring for 3 years and hope to carry on doing it for many more.  It sounds like they’re having a fantastic time, they’ve obviously met a lot of people and while we were chatting their friends unexpectedly drove in and parked up.

After they’d gone back to their van we had lunch then sat and read until it got dark.  Lynn had told us the way into the town was well lit and pointed to the tunnel we needed to walk through to get there so we wandered into town, it’s the first time we’ve been close enough to a town to walk in at night without the risk of getting lost.

Yet again we got the timing wrong, we went out too early and the town was just starting to re-open (we assumed) however we did find one shop open and by a lucky coincidence it was an ice cream shop.  Strangely enough we were the only customers sitting looking out into the dark High Street (we noticed it had a lot of customers as we walked back to the van later that evening).

We walked for what seemed to be a very long time through the back streets to the sea and then wandered along the promenade, it’ll be great to explore it tomorrow in the daylight.  We were really surprised at how warm it was this evening, we’d gone out in coats but had to take them off because we were sweating.  It’s been quite chilly during the evening recently.

By the time we got back to the town the cafes were starting to open so we stopped for a beer and peanuts at one place, we’d been hoping to have Tapas for the first time but they didn’t have any menus however after we’d paid and were about to leave we noticed the waitress putting a board up, it had lots of tapas on it but at between 11 Euros and 15 Euros for a shared plate we decided to go somewhere else.  That somewhere else ended up being a kebab shop where we were greeted by a lovely man who spoke to us in a mix of Spanish, teeny bit of English and French. He kindly switched the TV channel to one showing how things were made (we didn’t need to understand the words for that).  We had a very good meal whilst watching the manufacturing process of a Morgan, it was very interesting and the first TV we’ve seen in ages.

We sauntered back to the van via the tunnel, the roads were virtually empty except as we came up to the crossing a police car drove up, we assumed they’d carry on driving but they stopped and let us cross the road.  We’ve been told that the police constantly patrol the roads especially the camping areas, which is very reassuring.

It has been a very nice day and tomorrow we’re looking forward to going for a cycle along the disused train track as recommended by Kathryn and Lynn.

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