Peñíscola, Comunidad de Valencia, Wednesday 13th September 2017

Beautiful old Peñíscola and castle from Playa Norte

After 6 very relaxing days at Riba-Roja d’Ebre campsite, I am very pleased to say that the road east towards the Mediterranean coast was a piece of cake compared to the nightmare on the hills from Mequiñenza, and we arrived at Medieval and beautiful Peñíscola on Monday morning.

Beach along Avenida Papa Luna 

Whilsts at Riba-Roja d’Ebre campsite, I ventured out on my bike one morning on the 6km road along the river Ebro  to the village itself, stopping a few times to take photos of the beautiful and peaceful scenery and admire the dam. Once at the village of Riba-Roja d’Ebre, I found a mixture of old and quaint and modern and dilapidated or half-built houses and blocks that gave the place a run-down and neglected feel, even though the old town was quite pretty and lively, with people socialising outside bars for mid-morning coffee.  I did a quick shop for bread and fruit and cycled back to the campsite.

Gorgeous and peaceful scenery along the River Ebro on mu morning bike ride
Old and quaint Riba-Roja d’Ebre

Adonis caught a 32lb carp in the night, but unfortunately I was in bed and couldn’t take any pictures to mark this memorable event.

We found the campsite itself in need of a lot of TLC and hygiene standards could have been higher, as washing up sinks were pretty filthy and the hand-wash basins a no-go area, with the pipes underneath so loose, the water came straight out onto the ground.  Good job I didn’t need to use these facilities, as I can just as easily use sink in the motorhome, but if you were camping in a tent, it wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience.  Having said that, the toilets and shower block were clean, the water was hot and the staff very friendly and helpful.   But most important of all, it is brilliant for carp fishing, as campsite is on river bank and that kept Adonis busy and happy.

I was also eaten alive by mosquitoes while sitting by the river, keeping Adonis company whilst fishing, and I think I had a bad reaction to these bites and spent a day with a bit of a temperature, unable to function properly and completely lost my appetite, but I recovered the next day and I avoided the river in the evenings after that.

Luckily, we don’t seem to have a problem with mosquitoes here at Vizmar campsite in Peñíscola, although flies can be a bit of a nuisance at lunchtime.

View of castle and old village from Playa Sur

Still, we have enjoyed 2 lovely days at this pretty village, which happens to be celebrating their annual September Fiesta with lots of entertainment going on to suit all ages, including some bull-running activities along the road and beach near the old part of town, quite exciting to see and no blood spilt (a very much scaled-down version of the San Fermín Fiesta).  There are also Tapas Inauguration evenings, with several restaurants taking part under a huge marquee at the Parador de Fiestas near the port, as well as numerous sporting competitions like tennis, cycling, football and fishing, catering for different age-groups, and other fun activities to keep children happy.

Bull running along seafront. No bloodshed.  Playa Norte
Imaginative sculptures along the seafront promenade
I think this is meant to be a giant squid or octopus!

I am very much looking forward to the big parade at 7pm  on Saturday, which is supposed to be quite impressive and involves the old-time tradition of Moors and Christians and it was recommended to me by the friendly and helpful receptionist here.

Looking south from port and marina
Playa Sur

In the meantime, we have enjoyed cycling and walking along the seafront promenade, swimming in the warm Mediterranean sea, sightseeing and generally delighted in the good food and drinks and the locals’ friendly and cheerful attitude.

Walking around old castle walls
Being brave exploring the old castle walls. Not for the faint-hearted as sheer drop to the sea to my left

The views from the Castle (home to Pope Benedict XIII or Papa Luna from 1415 to 1423) are spectacular, and if you have the stomach, a tour round the castle walls can be very thrilling indeed due to the sheer drop to the sea below.  But walking along the old ancient streets, all decorated with bunting, festoons  and lights for the Fiesta, is the best thing of all.

All ready for 10 days of celebrations.
Magical, medieval streets
And how about this for a sight for sore eyes?


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