Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Sunday afternoon cycle - Vinaros to Cases

Machine gun post near Cases 
We cycled all the way to Catalonia today! Yay us!
Admittedly this feat only actually meant about a three hour pedalling round trip, but it was fun to pass under the Welcome to Catalonia signpost on the N340.

We drove from Calig and parked near the outward point of our previous Benicarlo to Vinaros cycle so we could continue along this stretch of the coast. It was a glorious day so the promenades and restaurants were packed. Fortunately the car park is huge so we had no trouble finding a space and unfolding our bicycles. The route is on roads through the edge of town for the first 10-15 minutes which could have been hairy were we in the UK, but here drivers are patient with cyclists and gave us a wide berth when they did pass. Eventually, just after an uphill curve, we spotted the beginning of a dedicated cycle path and this continues all the way into Cases. There were stunning sea views all the way!

View from the Vinaros-Cases cycle path 
After detouring to zoom round a potential campsite for next year, Camping Estanyet, we pedalled into town. Cases was even busier than Vinaros. We paused at a little Tourist Office kiosk to pick up a couple of local hiking maps, pleasantly surprised at its being open on a Sunday, before continuing straight on as far as another campsite, Camping Cases, which didn't look as promising for future trips. We didn't immediately realise that this was about as far as we would get. We tried cycling further, but had to rejoin the N340 which was heading to a grim-looking industrial plant and wasn't fun. We decided to about turn and look for lunching opportunities in Cases.

It soon struck us that, while we might have enjoyed the excellent cycle path facility, we hadn't seen any bike stands or bike parking since Vinaros. A quick zoom around Cases revealed only one bike hoop which had a restaurant table so close to it as to be unusable. Despite many cyclists, there was nowhere to lock up bikes and weirdly, none chained to railings or lampposts either. Where were they all? Hmmm! Fortunately we hadn't been sure whether any food places would be open - they all were - so had packed an emergency apple! We ate this on the prom, hoping it would provide energy enough for our return to Vinaros.

Machine gun posts near Cases 
I was intrigued by the sight of these two Civil War machine guns posts just outside Cases. We had seen them on the way in and couldn't work out why they were just offshore. You can see in the first photo that Curious Dave nearly got his feet wet in reaching one to peer inside! According to a handy signboard (in four languages!) the concrete emplacements originally faced out to sea from above the waterline and were part of extensive anti-fascist defences along the beach here. Since the 1930s, sea moving the shingle underneath has turned them around so they now seem to glare inland. As well as these two, there was another single post about half a mile further on.

Once back in Vinaros we were pretty tired. It turned out that the 'flat' cycle route had been slightly downhill on the way out! We thought again about lunch, but couldn't make a decision so instead treated ourselves to coffee and cake (and a caipirinha for Dave) at The Royal Bar before heading home.

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