Monday, 23 February 2015

The windy delights of Cullera

We didn't need to stop overnight at Bigastro after all. The first part of our
Mulberry trees at Camping Santa Marta 
journey went so well that we just pushed on after lunch and arrived here at Camping Santa Marta in Cullera about 5pm on Friday. To be honest, I felt a bit despondent about the site when we first got here. There's nothing particularly wrong, but it felt dark and is mostly empty which did feel odd after the bustle of Roquetas. We initially had our terrace of a dozen or so pitches to ourselves. Now, a couple of days later, there are only three pitches remaining empty - apparently we are trendsetters! Our arrival was much later in the day than usual so the sun had already sunk behind the neighbouring hotel block and we don't have a nature view, more of a currently-unoccupied-apartments view! We are on an open section of the site where the pitches are marked with the pictured mulberry trees which have beautifully pale coloured trunks and branches. Unlike pretty much every other tree here, they aren't yet showing any signs of Spring. Most of the rest of the site is under a pine tree canopy so very shaded all year round.

In sunny daylight, there are quirky features here that are fun. This huge
Dave thinks at the Roca De Los Pensamientos 
boulder, the Roca De Los Pensamientos, is signposted and is right in the middle of a number of chalets. I suspect the owners were simply unable to shift it when building the site, but it now has a 'myth' and visitors are meant to lay a hand on the stone and think a happy thought - as Dave is doing in this photo!

We also have a 15th century Ermita in the cliff above the site and this path leads up there from the edge of the tent pitches. It's a big campsite. The path is made easier with lots of concrete steps added amongst the natural stone and the climb took us about 15 minutes, but we did stop to admire the views out to sea part way up. Unfortunately, the main part of the Ermita is sealed off with a locked gate. I think there might be a chapel through an arched doorway but we couldn't see it. Instead, I took a photo of 'next door'. The Ermita track is supposed to continue on and around the top of the hill, but practically vanished into undergrowth soon after the locked gate so we came back down the same way we went up.

Path to the Ermita 

At the Ermita 

The swimming pool is empty and both the supermercado and the cafe are closed up for the winter, but the shower blocks are lovely. Nice decor and copious quantities of hot water. We are also happy that not only is there hot water for washing up and laundry, but these sinks are all indoors. A luxury especially considering that there are still very strong winds here most of the time. I just learned that there was an earthquake today too - we failed to notice at the time.

Tiled street in Cullera 

Castle above Cullera 

Exploration of the local area has already begun in earnest with a lengthy cycle ride along the wide beachfront promenade to a river with small boats moored each side. We also found the railway station which we will need to get into Valencia soon. A car journey took us the other way along the front and around a lighthouse. And today we walked into and around Cullera admiring the architecture. It being a Monday afternoon, nothing was open, but we saw this stunning tiled street and the castle on the hill above town. A large park just off the seafront included a duck pond and a giant fibreglass squid. What more do you need?

 

Over the next week or so we want to visit the castle as the approach to it is supposed to be worth seeing. Sadly the Rice Museum is closed at the moment, but there are several other tempting walks and cycle rides, a lagoon to wander around and hopefully a Civil War air shelter to visit. Plus we have two days back in Valencia with our friends Andy and Barbara. No time to waste ... !

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