Slept very well, thankyou; the room had blackout curtains, which did a great job. Up at 7:30 – no rush, as the hotel doesn’t do breakfast till 9:00 am. Tried to shower – it was broken. Had a bath instead – and the water barely got lukewarm. That’d be my first bath in years, and years….
Packed up, looked at the weather from the balconey – slightly cloudy, but no rain forecast; fairly warm already. Downstairs for breakfast, which was pretty poor – not even any cereal; sliced meat and cheese, various types of bread, lots of sweet cakes and chocolate croissants, fake OJ and coffee. I made do with several croissants and cakes, washed down with coffee and OJ. Out and on the road by 9:30 am.
Peniscola has an interesting series of one way streets, which confused me a bit, but I followed the signs for the Parc Nationel de la Serra d’Irta – which led me back out of town, and then all signs disappeared. I checked my map, headed back into town and found my own way – up the Carrer d’Irta. And I do mean up. I followed it till I got lost again, then backtracked a bit and swung onto a goat track, which apparently is the route through the parc. Very steep up and down, very broken surface, no guardrails, and it hugs the cliff edge. Awesome 🙂 I met two or three mountain bikers, and dozens of walkers – big on walking, the Spanish.
I came across the Torre Badum – one of few remaining lookout towers that were used back in the day to spot pirates; when they saw some, they lit a signal fire, which could be seen from the next tower or town. No doors or windows – dunno how they got in – the Torre Badum is dated 1560.
A steep drop from the tower, then undulating tracks following the ocean to Alcossebre, where the dirt track turned to tarmac again. Hard yacka; soft sand, then pebbles, then a really broken surface – this track has it all. A slow couple of hours, but the best riding I’ve had in Spain; this is the Spanish coast I’ve been looking for – not the tourist-ridden strips of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops that have pretty much lined the coast from Barcelona. Lots of little coves and tiny beaches.
South of Alcossebre is a major wetland, so I swung North and joined the N-340; past Torreblanca, and around 2:30 I came to Oropesa Del Mar; 50-odd Km done, legs a bit weary from the up-and-down of the Parc, so I pulled in. Interesting place. It’s not open yet; doesn’t open until tomorrow, June 1st. The only place open is the Marina d’Or, a complex of amusement parks, with a 5 star hotel, and a 4 star, the Duque – which I’m in; dinner, bed and breakfast is 82 Euro – not cheap, but it’s the only game in town. It took me nearly an hour of meandering to find it, too.
Dinner isn’t until 8:00 pm, and I’m starving – not eaten anything since breakfast. I’m writing this while I wait. My room is pretty big, and the bathroom is fabulous; there are three outdoor pools, and an indoor one which isn’t open, as it’s being renovated. It’s pretty much a resort, but a bit more upmarket than the apartment/hotel setup I’ve stayed in elsewhere. Let’s hope dinner’s up to par.
See you down the road.