Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Cycling from Benicarlo to Vinaros

Artichoke fields 
At the end of February I blogged about our day cycling from Benicarlo along the seafront to Peniscola. Now we have done the opposite journey - starting again at Benicarlo, but this time cycling to Vinaros. We anticipated similar scenery so were pleasantly surprised that our green route mostly sent us through agricultural land a little way back from the coast. At one point, all we could see between our cami and the sea was endless artichoke plants!

Vinaros experienced its heyday in the 16th and 17th centuries when extensive fortifications and navy yards were built. Its prosperity continued for another two centuries thanks to ship building and Valencian wine trade, but the town suffered a strong decline in the early 20th century when phylloxera devastated the region's vineyards. Now Vinaros relies mostly on tourism and fishing. It's is known for its prawns and this industry is celebrated with a huge iron statue on the town outskirts by the bullring. The giant shrimp is the work of Lluiz Ferrer who lives nearby in Sant Jordi. If you visit Sant Jordi, apparently his is the madly painted house!

Giant shrimp sculpture by Lluiz Ferrer 
Do you see that gorgeous blue sky in the shrimp photo? This was taken about half past twelve and depicts the weather as it had been all morning. We kept cycling along the seafront promenade from the bullring and passed numerous cafes, restaurants and shops, most of which were open and busy. Once past this commercial area, we decided to keep cycling, crossing over a river and passing a motorhome freeloading area before we suddenly ran out of road. We could have turned into a residential area, but looking ahead across a small bay we realised that we couldn't see very far anymore! A thick sea mist was rolling in! I did take a photo, but it was so misty that the picture is just a grey square.

Vinaros seafront 
Somewhat disappointed, we headed back into Vinaros with out minds turning to lunch instead. After a brief stop for Dave to relax in a fabulous concrete seat - there are several of these along the promenade - we decided upon Cop De Mar as our lunch spot. Dave had chipirones and I had one of the best salads ever. When in Vinaros, eat Ensalata Mandragora at Cop De Mar!

Suitably refreshed, but getting a tad chilly from the encroaching mist, we did cycle round a little of Vinaros for a couple of blocks back from the seafront. It is a pretty town with decorated buildings and more sculptures in public spaces. I liked the fountain pictured below. We had to cut our meanderings short and head back to the car because we didn't fancy cycling in the thickest of the mist and it was showing no signs of dispersing. Once back inland at our campsite we had glorious sunshine again!



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