Goodbye Peñíscola, Hello Nules Playa

Kelpie is parked up on a large free site behind a Spanish restaurant in Nules Playa, Valencia – overlooking the mountains behind (39.83535,  -0.10492).

Some breathing space in Nules Playa

We wakened this morning to a fast-filling site at Peñíscola. Vans were arriving one after the other. A Spanish family arrived last night and parked in the pitch beside us which is fine, but they parked as close to our habitation door as it was possible to get, without actually joining us for dinner, making our already cramped pitch feel even smaller. Alan said he was starting to feel hemmed in so we gathered our stuff together and prepared to move on.

We were just about ready to leave when our Spanish neighbours set up their table behind their van – i.e. to the side of our cab – for their lunch. Alan didn’t want to start the cab and suffocate them in diesel fumes while they were eating, so we waited it out. Well, you know how long Spanish lunches last?

The noise of our engine starting seemed to catch the attention of the other campers who came to watch Alan maneouvre the van out of our very tight pitch. I kid you not, but one Dutch gentleman actually got his deckchair out and sat at the side of the road to ensure a ringside seat of the proceedings.

To give us more space, Alan had asked the gentleman diagonally opposite to us if he could move his car from the front of his pitch for a couple of moments and he gladly obliged. Then with his usual style, Alan swung the van off the pitch, reversed slightly and drove off – amid much smiling and nodding from the gathered crowd.

Said Dutch gentleman came over to tell me what a great driver Alan was and that our motorhome was “spectacular”. We made our way to the services area amid much waving and smiling from the same campers who had for the previous three days totally ignored our existence.

Services took about 3/4 of an hour so I went to settle our bill. 4 nights at €12 per night = €48 right? Apparently not, we had overstayed our welcome and had been expected to leave by 12.00 so were to be charged for an extra day.

I smiled and said that was no problem, and that we would finish our services and park back in our original spot for another night ensuring that we left before 12.00 the following day.

This response momentarily confused the owner but he had a little think about it and realising that we were actually taking up two pitches and new vans were still arriving, said “its no problem – 4 nights – €48” :-).

We are in the Valencian region and that means one thing – oranges. Orange groves stretch for miles as far as the eye can see and the fruit is now in season. I love the contrast of the small orange fruit against the dark green leaves. The area is busy with teams of fruit pickers filling plastic crates and loading them on to the backs of lorries.

We headed off to a free aire at Castella de la Plana which Sally and Dory amazingly took us straight to. Unfortunately it was full so we headed on down the coast towards Nules Playa and another free site behind a Spanish restaurant.

Dory did her usual and disappeared up her own arse and Sally took us down a road with a railway bridge about 3 feet lower than our van roof! After reversing the van back out onto the main road, Sally pulled herself together long enough to take us on a very long but scenic detour through the orange groves – finally arriving at the site just as it was getting dark – no change there then.

The town of Nules itself is a few km inland and gives its name to a variety of tangerine grown widely in the area.

The aire is just a large gravel car park behind the L’Alquería restaurant/bar. Its free to stay, but we felt it only polite to ask if we could, and make use of the bar. One thing led to another and we ended up staying for dinner. which came to €40.60 for some very tasty but basic food. At least now we know why the pitch is free 🙂

Tostada con tomate y anchovas

Alan enjoyed his meal more ordering anchovies on toast for starters followed by John Dory with pineapples served with fried potatoes, a grilled baby tomatoe and grilled courgette. But he was also disappointed with the price with the food coming from the same menu as the Menú del Día which is €9.90, but then with the items having been charged individually . One thing Alan hates is being ripped off – so if you plan on staying here, eat earlier and insist on the Menú del Día. Needless to sayy on the second night we eat in the motorhome.

We headed off the next morning to explore on the bikes. At the end of the road was a nature reserve/bird sanctuary, the L’Estany de Nules, which is an important stop off point for migratory birds and was very peaceful with lots of large black water birds roosting in the trees.

We headed down towards the beach which was beautiful, not another person in sight. This coast had been ravaged a couple of weeks earlier by the storms but it was now an oasis of calm – nice to just sit and relax and listen to the waves gently lapping onto the shore.

The beach was mainly large pebbles with sand towards the water line. The pebbles were all shades of pastel colours ranging from rust to pink, gold and grey.

We ventured further through the town. The main street runs parallel to the shore with direct access to the beach between each block of buildings. The street is lined with hundreds of palm trees and park benches – but there wasn’t a sinner to be seen.

Alan took the opportunity for some light exercise on the beach gym followed by me!

All the cafes, bars etc seemed to be up closed for the winter. We eventually found a cafe open, and had a coffee sitting outside in the sun listening to the waves crashing in. It had been a picture postcard day.

We headed back to the van for some lunch and a spot of sunbathing – on 28th December! I need to get some colour about me before we hit the Costa del Sol.

On the first night, we had the aire to ourselves, but on the second night we were joined by a couple of other vans – one of which parked less than three feet away from us!  Their habitation door is nearly touching ours. Another 2 formed their own little camp by putting the wagons in a circle opposite us! They even had poles with warning markers they stuck into the ground! What is it with people needing to huddle together – is it safety in numbers or what lol.

We decided to move on after two nights – just a couple of km down the road onto a campsite for the New Year. Plans were to find a Lidl or Mercadona and stock up before booking in.

Somewhere between packing up and leaving I managed to trip over the kerb and hit tiled terrace of the bar – chin first. I didn’t actually knock myself out but managed to split my chin open. The ladies in the cafe came over with ice and plasters. Alan ran (yes RAN) from the van with the first aid kit. He applied two steri strips and a plaster and I limped off carrying my wounded pride to have a little lie down. HUGE bruise on its way tomorrow.