The past two days have been beautiful sunshine and hot so we have made the most and spent them on the beach, so much so that I do feel that I have had too much sun and have been suffering with a bit of a headache, although that could also be the very tasty and cheap white wine I have discovered but I doubt it and am sticking to my theory that it was too much sun, IT WAS TOO MUCH SUN!!
Last night we paid up the campsite so that we could have an early start this morning and make it an easier drive each day back to Calais. However, we did learn that today is a public holiday and whilst we are out of bread, milk and tomato ketchup (heaven forbid) it was doubtful that there would be a supermarket open today! That now explains why we saw all the Dutch and Germans at our campsite coming back yesterday on their bikes loaded with shopping! Just our luck.
We decided to cheer ourselves up with a meal out at the restaurant that is situated at the entrance to campsite, it was not good! As usual, the food was served up out of order as we ordered mussels to start, followed by our mains with a side dish of potato salad. Unfortunately, the side salad came out first and after some complicated explaining they took that away before eventually serving our mussels, then followed the potato salad and then the mains! It was OK but clearly Tony’s choice as he was given a bottle of ketchup without asking for it!
Now, before I continue with the rest of our day, I must quote what the guide book says about the particular public holiday that is happening today, actually for the past 3 days. It is called Las Fallas and I quote:-
“The exuberant, anarchic swirl of Las Falles de san Jose – fireworks, music festive bonfires and all-night partying – is a must if you’re visiting Valencia in mid March.”
My kind of a party, probably not Tony’s but I digress, sorry!
“The fallas themselves are huge sculptures of papier mache on wood built by teams of local artists. Each neighbourhood sponsors its own falla, and when the town wakes after the planta (overnight construction of the fallas) on the morning of 16 March, more than 350 have sprung up. Reaching up to 15m in height, with the most expensive costing in 2012 €400,000, these grotesque, colourful effigies satirise celebrities, current affairs and local customs.
Around-the-clock festivities include street, parties, paella-cooking competitions, parades, open air concerts, bullfights and free firework displays. Valencia considers itself the pyrotechnic capital of the world and each day at 2pm from 1 to 19 March a mascleta (over five minutes of deafening thumps and explosions) shakes the window panes of Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
After midnight on the final day (today) each falla goes up in flames – backed by yet more fireworks.”
Just like our November 5th!
Now that explains why we have been hearing all these loud bangs and thumps, why we have seen kids letting of these small banging fireworks and coloured smoke flares and whilst the partying was going on, where were we? On the beach or at the campsite!!
We woke early this morning and were the first in the queue at the campsite shop, almost banging on the door for it to open so that we could at least purchase some fresh bread (they bake it on site) some drinking water, not to mention two sachets of ketchup, that the supermarket man gave us for free, so that Tony could at least enjoy his daily egg and beans on toast with ketchup! The supermarket guy also told us that it was a local public holiday and as we were heading towards Barcelona, we may just find a supermarket open there and if we were passing through Valencia, we really should stop off and experience the Fallas!
We literally parked outside the campsite entrance to have our breakfast which meant we could get on the road again as quickly as possible!
The drive through the province of Valencia was extremely quiet, so little traffic, every shop, office and factory appeared to be closed and certainly no Lidl’s open!
We did stop on the side of the road to buy some oranges and clementines but are a bit short of room inside the van so have had to hang them on the bike rack at the back!
It wasn’t until we had almost reached our destination, just south of Sitges, that we began to see life again, shops were open, everyone appeared to be working and we even found a Lidl so Tony could stock up on his ketchup again!
We are now camped at Camping Villanova, the very same campsite that we first stopped at on our way through Spain and were shown to exactly the same camping pitch that they offered us the last time but we refused and chose another one! However this time, as it is only for one night, we have stuck with it, it is just on a bit of a slope but we have the necessary equipment to fix that!
Tomorrow, we will leave Spain and head on through France this time going over the Millau viaduct and finding another Aire in France to rest for an overnight stop.