19th November 2016. Benicàssim, Spain.


OK when did those dogs hide away in our van?

It was a very confusing night, I truly believed we were still in Peniscola a couple of times, once when the rubbish van emptied the bins in the middle of the night and this morning when the dogs did their early morning howling.  It’s intriguing, do the dogs belong to people or are they strays?  We haven’t seen any strays walking around (except the cheeky tiny one that popped into the aire yesterday to play with the visiting dogs) and yet it sounds like a HUGE pack when they start their howling and barking.

Surprisingly after such a disturbed night we were ready to cycle into the next town at a reasonable time today.  Lynn and her Darren had a quick chat with my Darren while he was getting the bicycles out and then went off for a walk.

We cycled into town, Darren insisted on going on the pavement on one bit and shot back onto the road when he saw someone walking along towards us, I did the same way before the man came near us but I got an earful from him anyway as I passed him!  Whoops!

We cycled very slowly along the promenade, in fact so slowly that we were overtaken by a jogger!  The promenade was very wide but it was particularly popular this morning.  Maybe it’s always like this at this time of day we’ve just never been up early enough to witness the streets with people in them.  Throughout Europe the streets have been deserted by the time we finally emerge from the van.

Nearing the end of the promenade we heard a loud “Oi” as we passed some people and stopped to see who was calling, it turned out to be Darren and Lynn, I was concentrating so much that I hadn’t noticed them.

It was quite fortuitous for us because we weren’t really sure where we were going so they gave us directions and then we carried on our way.

Cycling along the cycle route was brilliant, it had a nice smooth surface and apart from the first hill up to it and the short slope down at the other end it was virtually flat.  We cycled through some great tunnels, one was very long but we felt like we were cheating as we cycled through because it had lights all the way through it.

During the ‘90’s when our boys were young we took them on holiday to North Wales a few times.  There was one walk we enjoyed doing but it involved walking through an extremely long tunnel cut through the mountain beside the river.  That tunnel had no lights in it and we NEVER remembered to take a torch.  It was pitch black when we entered and although there was light at the end of the tunnel it was just a pin prick.  The boys and Darren used to love walking through it, I wasn’t quite so keen and on one occasion I suggested we took the path next to the river.

My mistake, it became a VERY narrow ledge in some parts high above the raging river, definitely not the place to be walking with three boisterous boys.  I acquired quite a few grey hairs during that walk especially when we were greeted by the rather unusual and slightly worrying sight of two youngsters, about 11 years old, having great fun sitting in two large inflatable rings floating down the river.  I shouldn’t really say ‘floating’ because that conjures up the image of one of those nice sedate rides at a water park, this river was giving them the white water ride of their lives (before that became popular!) and I’m sure their parents didn’t know they were ‘playing’ in it!  Needless to say we never walked along that little path again, it was far too exciting, we always picked our way slowly through the creepy tunnel instead.

Anyway to return to yesterday.  The views along the route were gorgeous, there were benches placed in little alcoves at intervals but we were on a mission to find an ice cream shop.

We noticed two of our British neighbours (Lynn and Darren’s friends) sitting on a bench, we would have liked to have stopped and introduced ourselves but it seemed a bit of an imposition when they were probably sitting enjoying the view, so we just waved and carried on.

We entered the town and Darren noticed an ice cream shop almost immediately but we had a bit of a tour along the sea front just in case there was anything better further along.  There wasn’t so we went back to the very first place we’d seen.

We sat eating ice cream and drinking coffee when Darren asked me where I’d put my bike.  I suddenly noticed a shadow moving around by my bike through the gap in the wall and was a little concerned that someone was about to steal it but Darren informed me our neighbours were just padlocking their own bikes up. I was pleased to hear that as it gave us the opportunity to invite them to sit with us for coffee, then the British reserve kicked in and I was worried that they’d feel forced to sit with us when they’d rather be on their own.  Lynn had told us the previous day that she’d lost the British reserve issue since she’d been travelling so long, she told us most people were happy to have a chat and if they didn’t want to they would say so so as our neighbours walked up the steps towards us I invited them to sit with us.

I’m so glad they joined us, we introduced ourselves, their names were Steve and Jane and they travel for 6 months of the year, flying home for Christmas, which sounds perfect.  Due to one thing and another they were on a whistle stop tour at the moment.

We had a great time swapping stories and sat there until we were all frozen, Jane and Steve were wearing shorts because it had been warm when they set out but now the sun was starting to go down it was rather chilly so we got on our bikes and headed back to the vans.

When we came to the end of the railway track we thought we’d try a different route back (at least we hoped the cycle path went back towards the aire).  We eventually got back to an area we recognised and carried on on the route that Steve and Jane had come in on, funnily enough it turns out there was a cycle path on the other side of the building where I got told off earlier, maybe that’s why the man was so cross!

As we said goodbye at the aire Jane asked whether we’d like to meet up later with them and Darren and Lynn for drinks and we most certainly did so we invited them to our van.

We had a lovely evening, it was SO nice chatting to them all and listening to their entertaining anecdotes, they are such friendly people.  It was a shame when the evening finished, however Lynn showed us another tip, this time how to finish an evening without it becoming awkward (I’m never sure how to say goodbye) she just said that as she needed the loo it was a good time to make a move.  Perfect!  One of my friends from home also has a great way of winding up a get together, she says “would you like another coffee before you go?”  I’m sure she must wish she’d never told us that because now we tease her every time she asks us if we’d like a coffee (yes Jayne you know who I’m talking about!)

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