So now we’re in the Valencia region…….no more signposts in two different languages so life should be simpler ….EXCEPT….Catalan is more French than Spanish and, thus, to me anyways, is far more comprehensible! Now we’re venturing into a totally new language experience…..Just Spanish!! We left The Wetlands and drove through the Orangeries ,for which the Valencia Region is famous ,for a grand total of 70km until we landed in Peniscola – our chosen spot for a bit of weekend campsite luxuriating ( and laundry!!!)! Co-Pilot let us down big-style here- trying to send us down a totally undriveable laneway! Thankfully, a very nice German lady on a bike pointed us in the right direction, using several different languages(!)…..and we finally landed at our chosen campsite by lunchtime, having already mooched around a Spanish hypermarket to buy lunch and , possibly, enough food for a month! The campsite, Eden, was chosen for it’s location i.e the closest to the town and beach ( not necessarily in that order, says Harley!) plus the fact that it takes our ACSI Discount Card and, hence, we get a decent sized pitch, with electricity and all other services for €19/night PLUS, for the first time in Spain we can actually use our charcoal barbecue!! Everywhere else we have stayed this has been Verboten on the grounds that we were within 100m of a “protected area” i.e forest lands. Now we are not – and we intend to fire up the BBQ come what may! Bring on the sausages and burgers we bought earlier!
The ‘old town’ of Peniscola, a mass of whitewashed buildings, cobbled streets and narrow walkways, all built within the walls of the medieval castle out on the headland is beautiful – quite the prettiest we have seen so far! However, the “new” Peniscola is just a seething mass of pretty characterless high-rise apartment blocks and a very uninspiring town centre full of restaurants and tacky shops- the only thing it really has in it’s favour is it’s 5km of sandy beach! “No dogs!” signs everywhere but, since everyone else was blatantly ignoring them, we did too, and Harley enjoyed a daily swim!
The El Eden campsite had fab facilities – spotlessly clean toilet blocks and an absolutely unlimited supply of hot water! The pitches were awesome too! Our “standard” pitch was 80m2, had electricity AND a sink with a draining board! Unfortunately, Roy was brutally attacked by a “serpent” in this particular “Garden of Eden”! Having set out , in all innocence, with his towel and toilet bag, hell bent on having what promised to be THE best shower he had had in a week, he had a bit of a “nasty” experience……this is how he related the occurrence when he returned, somewhat traumatised, a while later…..
“I entered the shower block and was instantly impressed by the modern, uber-clean, fresh surroundings but I DID notice that the showerheads were hanging limply rather than being attached to a hook in the wall…..I was momentarily downcast at the thought of having to shower whilst juggling the showerhead from one armpit to the the other ! I ventured into the third cubicle, and could see there was, indeed, a wall mounting for said showerhead! Happy Days! I locked the door, got my kit off ( as you do!), shampoo, soap and flannel at the ready, and entered the “Serpent’s Lair” , totally unaware as to what terrible fate was about to befall me! Assuming, as one does, that it will take some time for the water to heat up, I banged it on full tilt, preparing to step back and wait for the opportunity to fine-tune it to the perfect temperature. This, however, did not go to plan! Unfortunately, I had omitted to hook the showerhead up on the wall at the outset!! The Serpent came instantly alive, bucking and rearing, spewing torrents of boiling hot water at, in my estimation, at least 5psi – this showerhead had a life of it’s own! Like a Medusa on Speed, it tormented me and I feared for my life! Luckily, the “survival instinct ” finally kicked in and, faced with the option of “Fight or Flight”, I decided to fight the raging beast! I reached out blindly and managed to grab part of it’s long, slender, slithery body, only to realise that this was NOT the source of the abusive water torrent! As I groped my way along its body, The Beast became angrier and angrier as I moved towards it’s head and throat! With a few final thrashes, that felt like the vicious swipe of an angry crocodile’s tail, I managed to suppress the demonic creature! It’s venom was now spewing in the direction of MY choice i.e NOT all over me, nor my clothes and the surrounding district! I was finally able to wipe my eyes and reach forward with my free hand to turn the tap off! Calm returned and a wave of “Thank Goodness” euphoria rushed through my body and I felt like Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan- for those of you too young to know!!) would have felt after having slain the aforementioned crocodile! As my breathing and self-control returned to normal, and all ideas of savage intent abated, I thought to myself -“Jane’s (aka Karen!) gonna love this one when I tell her”. Only then, did my stupidity strike me….. why in God’s name did I not just turn the frickin water off at the outset???? Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, ain’t it????? Battered and somewhat bruised, somewhat embarrassed, but with a Neanderthal -sense of victory, I returned to my “Jane” armed with “useful” information which I thought would be of great use to her “ablutions” – I relayed the sorry tale of my horrendous experience – at which point she cried, and cried, and cried yet not a tear of sympathy was shed! Having never having being faced with a “life threatening” situation and with the benefit of hindsight, she managed to cease laughing for long enough to ask “but why didn’t you just turn the tap off?????” A week later, and I’m still using a flannel and a sink of water – I’m just not ready to get back on the horse just yet!!”