Morella and Mojacar (week 5)

1st June
After waking on an industrial estate, we decided that we would look for somewhere more picturesque to spend the day. We continued south and passed through a resort called Peniscola. It was too busy for us to park the campervan, so we continued onwards. We eventually found a place called Tarragona. It was a seaside resort that had been built up but not yet populated by ex-pats and tourists. It was almost a ghost town. There were plenty of places to park and the beach was sandy and quiet. We had a swim in the sea, sunbathed and afterwards had a shower in the open-air beach showers. Dinner was potato salad but the dressing had passed its best.

2nd June
We decided to drive inland today and visit a place that was in our guidebook, “Morella” which apparently means fortress wall. There was a useful campervan service area right next to the town which had water, toilet emptying and plenty of place to park/sleep. We rode our bikes down the steep hill into the town and walked around. The town is very picturesque with lots of interesting shops selling queso and jamon, soaps made in Morella using local herbs as well as souvenirs. In the afternoon it started to thunder and dark clouds appeared overhead. The sound of the thunder was epic and before long the rain started to pour. We ran for cover but before long we were so soaked, that we gave up trying to avoid the downpour. The rain stopped as we returned to our bikes and we decided to attempt the tough uphill ride back to the van. We had aubergine pasta for dinner and dried off.

3rd June
Today we drove the van downhill into Morella and decided to do the three main tourist activities in the town. One ticket buys entry for all three and costs 7EUR per person. We went into the church first. There was an impressive collection of paintings and the carving within was, like most Catholic churches, exquisite. The next attraction was the castle itself which sits at the very highest point of the town. It was a hard walk in the midday heat but the view was very impressive.  The final attraction, the dinosaur museum, was closed for siesta so we had a cold beer on a balcony overlooking the town.  The dinosaur museum had no English translations but it was easy to tell that all the fossils were about 65 million years old and had all been found in Morella. There were some huge bone fossils and diagrams to show which body part they were.

Afterwards, we looked for a supermarket. They were all closed and seemed to be shut until early evening. We found one with an open door and the owner soon appeared. We had a choice of pasta and sauce or sauce and pasta. The wine was cheap and we bought a carton of red for 90 cents.
4th June
We started the day by topping up water etc at the campervan stop, before proceeding south and heading for the St Josef Caves. We stopped at a Lidl on the way that had a great choice of fresh bread and pastries in the bakery section. The older Lidls seem to just bake bread but the newer ones offer all sorts of goodies and a strange arcade style scooping system to get hold of the pastry that you want.
We soon arrived at the caves. No photos were allowed unfortunately but the trip involves getting on a boat of about ten people and rowing through the dark caves. They had cave paintings, and there was
evidence that the Romans had explored them.

We carried on driving after the caves and soon got lost. The mountain road we were on passed by a safari park in a place called Aitana so we decided to spend the night there. Had a BBQ and a few beers whilst listening to monkeys, donkeys and even lions inside the safari park.

5th June

Today was the day that we had arranged to meet with a Spanish lady called Montse about housesitting for her in July and August. We drove to Denia and had a beer at a bar whilst chatting with her about all sorts. She then showed us around Denia, a busy seaside/port town with plenty of English and Germans living alongside the Spaniards. She would let us know her decision with regards to the housesit. We drove on a bit in the night and stayed in a rather insalubrious layby in the hills.
6th June
We woke up very hot and decided to get moving asap. We had a long day driving south and visited an Aldi en route. The long journey paid off as we ended up on a nice quiet stretch of beach near Mojacar and parked the van on the beach itself.
We had a quick swim and cooked dinner.

7th June
We stayed in Mojacar today, taking plenty of dips in the sea to cool down. We read our books and fished a little before riding our bikes over the steep cliff path that leads into Mojacar.

Our local was an English run bar called The Rusty Nail. We had a few beers and relaxed before returning to our van for sleep.

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