More than half way through my allowable Schengen visa stay….. A short day. Although my knee feels fine, I still don’t want to work it too hard, and the next town, Torrenostra, would add another 40 Km to the day, some of it quite up-and-downish. So I’ve stopped in Peniscola..
The Hotel Montsia advertised “an exquisite cooked breakfast, prepared to satisfy the business or tourist traveller’s appetite”. I call bullshit. There was a Bain Marie, but it was cold and empty; there was a choice of cornflakes or chocolate cereal, a few small croissants, and an array of sliced meats and cheese: coffee (which was drinkable) and reconstituted OJ, with added sugar. A really poor effort, especially as the hotel itself had set the bar so high. I’ll give it a 1. I had two bowls of cornflakes, 2 small croissants, a glass of OJ and two cups of coffee; that set me up for the ride.
I forgot to mention that I found a barber opposite the hotel yesterday afternoon; looking in the mirror in his window I thought I saw Wurzel Gummidge – but it was me. I took a seat, and for 6 Euro (5 for the cut, plus a tip) got thirty minutes of pampering; scissors, razors, hair trimmers, a gentle head massage. Awesome.
Anyhoo – I packed up, lubed the bike chain, and set out. I’d checked the route out of town previously, so just followed Avinguda de Santa Barbara until it became the N-340, followed that towards Vinaros, where I picked up the N-340a, an even quieter road; it follows the coast, whereas the N-340 and the AP-7 run inland – and as it’s a weekday, are much busier with commercial traffic.
A warm, sunny day, with just a slight haze to it, as if a storm was likely later. There often seems to be, but so far no storms have happened. When it does rain it must rain hard, as the N-340 gutters are big, deep and wide.
Into Vinaros, then an even quieter road, the CV-1405, through the middle of town towards Benicarlo. Into old, cobblestoned streets, past the main church
into the town square, where I picked up a bicycle path that followed the Mediterranean edge for the last few Km into Peniscola. West of Peniscola is the Parc Natural de la Sierra Irta; there is a road that hugs the coast, but is a bit hilly, and the next town is a while away. So I pulled into the Hotel Ma Christina – a two star among a massive array of four star hotels; its got clean sheets and hot showers, and a pool, and a restaurant; can’t see what else a 4 star hotel can offer me.
Checked in, changed, and strolled along the beach into town. Found the tourist office – closed for repairs – so just meandered; lots of small streets, lined with restaurants; the old town is on the peninsula (Peniscola is a mistranslation of peninsula, actually – he says, eruditely 🙂 )
Too hot to walk up there, so I gave it a miss. Back to the hotel – a leisurely lunch – seafood paella – I’m an addict…… – with a beer.
It’s now 4:30, and I’m back in my room, writing this. Will take an evening stroll later, then crash.
See you down the road.