Peniscola. Eden camp site.

We stuck a pin in the map to find a site between Calpe and Barcelona as we wanted to drive about 200 Kilometres which is halfway.

We came up with Peniscola and chose ‘Camping Ferrer’ as our preferred site. It seemed to have all the facilities we were looking for with a Supermarket next door and a Beach 500 metres away.

When we arrived we really didn’t like the location, it seemed to be much further out of town than we’d expected (I would guess it’s more than 500 Metres to the Beach as we’ve since cycled out that way) and it just didn’t have the right feel. There are several camp sites in this little area some of which are in the Caravan Europe book.

So we decided to drive to the Beach and see how far away it was.

As we did this we saw a sign for ‘Camping El Eden’ which looked to be beachfront. Jaki looked it up in the book and dais she’d discounted it because the estimated overnight cost was €71 in 2013 where as the one we’d initially chosen was €22. These costs can be misleading as the price for Camping Ferrer was correct in 2010 an may well have gone up by now so may not be a true comparison.

When we arrived at El Eden we liked it immediately. It was as reported a ‘spit and a lick’ from the beach, had a really welcoming reception/entrance area from where we could see the pool and Restaurant and looked a nicely laid out. They also identified the Wifi hot spots on the site plan and said wifi was good all over but these particular plots had really good coverage.

We chose a plot close to the shower facilities and with good wifi but had some difficulty manoeuvring the van onto the plot in the position Jaki wanted it (so it would have most Sun) and in doing so nicked the awning runner on the side of the van on an overhanging branch. Luckily this hasn’t punctured the body of the van but it has spoilt what was up until then the completely un marked body work. It’s repairable but it will always be a scar.

A reminder that even with two Dutch blokes and Jaki all trying to guide me into the plot, all giving different instructions and different hand signals, it can still go wrong.

The Beach here goes on for miles. If you leave the site and turn right you head to the old town and the Fort high up on a rock overlooking the Sea. We cycled to the foot of the rock and then walked up through the cobbled streets to the Fort itself where for €6 including my senior discount we were able to enter through the main gates with it’s Knights Templar insignia and explore.

There was an exhibition about the knights Templar in the Dungeon but this was a further €6 and my boredom Levee was almost breached so we settled for a photography exhibition in one of the other rooms.

The view from the top of the fort was fantastic and we took way too many pictures trying to capture the scale of the view. Interestingly this was where El CID was filmed and the beach was the very beach where, strapped to his horse, his corpse rode through the Moorish army scattering them back across the Med.

My brother Tony and me loved that film when we were kids. Bet it doesn’t hold the same appeal now. Even Charlton Heston is no longer an idle primarily because he’s a ‘neocon pro-gun tosser’ but hey I’m not biased.

We eventually descended and walked round the harbour where some pretty big commercial fishing boats were moored. There’s a nice little cafe here that we discovered later.

Getting hungry we went in search of a cafe and soon realised that the location may change but the Menu does not and we were disappointed not to be able to find a little back street bar with nice cheap tapas. In the end we stalled for a place on the edge of Dolphin a Plaza with a view of the sea across the road. A beer and some Tapas were summoned but our Spanish let us down and we ended up ordering Olives (more olives) Calamari (which was fine but here they’re cooked in thick batter and look like a very thin doughnut so plenty of spongy batter and not much Calamari) and Tortilla which I really like.

Having explored the resort more thoroughly there is a lack of choice when it comes to eating. Although there are loads of restaurants they all offer the same fare and the only one we’ve found that looks a bit up market was in Benicarlo which is the next resort up the coast. This is more Spanish with less tourist influence. We also found our first Beach Bar here but it was a bit soulless and needed a touch of Bob Marley.

This is a great site in a great beach resort but it lacks the variety of a Mojacar. There is nowhere with any live music or in fact any music.

Last night we got very excited when we heard some loud music so we set off to find the source hoping for a bit of an exciting evening. We were a bit disappointed to find it was a kids birthday party with a bouncy castle.

We sat on the beach last night and made our own cocktails (no cocktail bar either) till the sun went down. This avoided sitting outside the Van where the Mosquito’s seem to love Jaki. We’ve taken to covering up at night as well as slapping on the Mozzie cream and we’ve installed electric mozzie killers in the van as Jaki is getting bitten during the night. They can only get access to her face so they seem to make the most of that. She looks like she has Leprosy in the mornings.

It’s hardly surprising there are Mozzies as at the back of the site there is a huge swampy area which I think is a nature reserve but it looks ideal breeding ground for the little blighters. Some great cycling though!

We’ve cycled quite a bit here. Primarily cause there are well marked cycle routes everywhere and they’re all off road. One runs the whole way from Benicarlo in the north to the Harbour in the South, I should think maybe 7 Kilometres. But on an evening when the Spanish go out for a stroll this is a nightmare. The worst are the dogs on extendable leads that stretch right across the cycle path waiting like a trip wire to unseat any passing cyclist.

On balance,this is a great site at a great resort but it has some drawbacks.

Apart from the Mosquito’s the lack of entertainment on an evening would become tiresome and they say in winter it is dead.

I think I can believe it.

So it’s onward to Barcelona. Bet that ain’t dead!

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