Javea is situated approx 100km South of Valencia. It has a delightful sea front with a nicely developed promenade. The beach is sandy and curves gently between two rocky outcrops. It is surprising how mountainous it is so close to the coast.
We were surprised at how much we liked the Bay with its restaurants and shops. Being low season it had a relaxed atmosphere. It was a lovely place for an evening stroll.
There is also an old port which is still an active fishing port. Again, it was surrounded by mountains. Some have been built upon but there are still plenty of undeveloped areas. On our second day we walked along the sea front road to the port. We walked along the sea wall taking in the scenery and had coffee and cake sitting in the sun.
The next day we walked up to the old town which, as usual, was all uphill. We were directed by the campsite staff through the orange groves.
We still managed to take a wrong turn but were redirected by a helpful English couple who are regular visitors to the town. The old town was well worth the trek and we returned via the port, and Lidl. Plenty of exercise!
Spain has some of the most fabulous modern buildings I have ever seen, but if you look close enough you see that things are very often not finished properly. Multi -million pound shopping malls have lifting floor slabs and wall tiles have fallen off. Broken door locks have a piece of wire and a nail to close them, this is fine when you realize that that is the Spanish Way.
However, when you are driving down very steep hills from the Sierras with S bends, Z bends and switch backs and the only thing between you and a 3000 ft sheer drop is a Spanish manufactured and installed crash barrier, you tend to find yourself steering towards the centre of the road………
Valencia was our next main port of call. We booked into a campsite just outside the city, recommended by our favourite travel writer from the Motorhome Monthly Magazine. The campsite was nothing to shout about but was certainly convenient for getting into Valencia. The bus stopped just outside the campsite gates.
We had 4 sorties into the city as there is so much to see. The first trip was to the old centre with it’s ornate buildings. Too many to include here but just a taster:
This was so over ornate it was almost ugly. We actually paid to go in expecting it to be full of amazing ceramics. It was in fact a preserved home with a mixture of horrendous ceramic imbellished furniture. Still, it cost 3 euros for me and was free for Clyde.
I also pursuaded Clyde to undertake a tour of the Catedral with me and I had to agree that it was not the most uplifting experience! We would far rather have been in Lincoln Cathedral which is far more interesting and beautiful.
We also made a trip to the two historic markets. One is renowned for it’s fish and meat and the other now houses a number of flower stalls and restaurants. Both are extremely ornate
On the way into Valencia we had passed the modern part and promised ourselves a trip back to enjoy the architecture. It is such a contrast and very much our type of thing:
We were so impressed with the sweeping curves and the extensive mosaic tiling over the outside of these enormous structures. The reflections in the water enhanced the visual impact.
Having enjoyed one trip along the winding roads, we decided to visit Morella. This involved a trip back along the same winding road and was equally exciting.
Morella is an ancient walled town overlooked by a castle. It s located in the province of Castellon. The views from the village are stunning.
The village is a member of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain. There are 44 villages in the Association and they have all signed up to the agreement to preserve the character and history of the villages. The villages have to undergo a rigorous process to be accepted into the scheme and it is the responsibility of all the inhabitants to ensure the standards are maintained. This will ensure a steady flow of visitors that will support local businesses.
We stayed on an aire which was located within a reasonable walk of the village and had amazing views of the castle.
We had a very pleasant amble around the ancient streets with their traditional shops and restaurants. It was definitely a place that we would recommend.
The eager anticipation of the trip to Spain could not be denied any longer. We were now approaching it from a different starting point and decided to head down the N121 which would take us through the Pyrenees, around Pamplona and eventually to Pensicola. It is a jolly long way so, we decided to break the journey at Vera Moncaya – the usual hill village complete with monastery.
After a pleasant stopover (the beer in the little bar frequented by many locals was very welcome), we headed on across the sierra Moncayo. The road was long and twisty and then steep and twisty!
The driver remained calm and was rewarded once we arrived at Peniscola with a soothing dram. We just happened to have packed suitable nerve repairing licquor.
Pensicola has an amazing old town and castle on a promontary. Well worth a visit.
The sea front is also a delight and I suspect it gets quite busy in the Summer. The castle is really what makes this place so special.
The weather was still beautiful in France so we made a split second decision to delay Spain and go to St Jean de Luz. We were lucky to find space on a very pleasant campsite overlooking Ellamardie Plage.
It was a 40 minute walk along the cliffs into the town or a quick bus trip.
We decided to go into the town the next day as it was our anniversary and we would treat ourselves to a nice lunch. Unfortunately there was nowhere we really fancied so, after a stroll around the town, we had an ice cream and wandered along the promenade to await the bus back.
All was not lost as there was a little bistro at the edge of the campsite and we had an interesting tapas meal instead. Washed down with plenty of house white of course!
While at La Rochelle we decided to get organised and plotted a route to Toulouse via Bordeaux for two nights.We selected a site near Toulouse no 119 I closed the site book and Chris asked me to mark it so she could enter the co-ordinates in the morning.
Following morning sat nav set, off we went, half an hour into journey Chris said ” she ( Jane sat nav) is sending us in an odd direction and I cant find those road numbers”. An hour later I took a wrong turn onto a toll road and Chris was able to locate where we were, 200 KM in the wrong direction!
Last night when Chris asked me to mark site 119 in the site I opened the book and marked 119 not realizing that each region of France had sites marked 1 2 3 etc I marked the wrong 119, so we decided to press on and finally arrived at a large Aire among sand dunes, climbing the dunes we found ourselves looking at the Bay Of Biscay 10 foot waves , surfers and miles and miles of sandy beach called Capbreton so we stayed two nights and altered our entire plan.
We decided to head for the Ile de Re, but on the way decided on La Rochelle. There were 3 Aires to choose from and we could find none of them. However, we did spot a row of motorhomes on a car park overlooking the marina and joined them for the night. Very pleasant and free!
Next day I was accosted by an officious frenchman wearing a visivest who advised me that overnight parking was interdite. Not wishing to incur his wrath in the shape of a fine we made another effort to find the new official aire and headed there for a night. It was OK as it had free wifi and we caught up with some admin. (Not this blog, obviously).
I have enlisted Tim’ s help again as I cannot access the blog easily from my phone. Technical issues are still causing some concern.
After a grey trip across the Channel, we arrived in Ouistreham and had an exciting time looking for the Aire. Having located it we had to enter via the exit and were unable to pay as the machine was faulty. First night- free!
Next stop was Pont Rean near Rennes. Lovely Aire alongside a river. Locals busy practising their canoing skills which was entertaining. Evening spent looking at maps and guides for the La Rochelle area. Have decided on a trip to the Ile de Ré.
Prior to abandoning the country entirely, we flew with Flybe to Guernsey to visit the oldest and best of Chris’ children and his nursey wife.
As per bloody usual, we brought the rain with us. Managed a couple of sunny days, but otherwise around 50% of the time we have been here, it’s been hacking it down. Such is life on a small rock in the middle of the sea near (shudder) Normandie.
Whilst in Guernsey we visited the Occupation Museum. It was really interesting to see exhibits .com