Wednesday 18 May … Vinaros to Benicassim

If you guestimate your ETA add 1- 2 hours

Johnny had a spring in his step even before he got out of bed … Booking.com had offered some accommodation he had been looking at for 12€ a night. It was short lived; by the time we arrived in our hotel that afternoon, he had been notified there had been a mistake … round 2 … find some other accommodation.

Vinaros was very quiet as we left this morning at 9am … not far into our ride we were riding through market gardens … a field of artichokes on one side and tomatoes on the other. It wasn’t long before we were back down to the coast to Benicarlo. The beaches were lovely, walkers everywhere, great cycle paths.

A continuous beach for about 10km the hotels, apartment buildings and hotels became denser as we approached Peniscola, on the point is a castle. It’s 10am and the cafe’s are starting to do their pre clean before opening for the day. We ride part by the way along the castle wall … lovely views of the beaches and high rise accommodation.

Further around the point and more stunning views. Our route now takes us through the Serra d’Natural Parc. Wow factor in many ways … the hardened dirt road was challenging while navigating around small rocks and soft surface. It was very bumpy at times and we had to walk the bikes. Many mountain bikes we on the road, a perfect surface for wide tyres. The reward was at the crest of hills as the views along the coast were spectacular … a very rugged coastline. The park was very pretty, colours of yellow, pink and purple splatterings of flowers, the low shrubs in various shades of green. We were happy to see another tour cyclist, she was on her way to Switzerland. Further on we meet a guy from Holland who informs us there is a German couple very close. He asks how much further on this shitty road, we tell him 15km; his face fell! The German couple catch up and soon the guy from Holland takes of saying he has a long way to go today … very despondent at hearing he was only 3km into the rough road. The German couple were off to Greece eventually … away for 5 months. We all went our ways and we continued the last 3kms of rough road.

Back on the coast road again and lunch at Torriblanca; more nice coastline then back and forth on green ways. Some towns look almost forgotten … foundations of streets and cycleways little buildings, then around the next beach was Oropesa … my goodness a cut above … hotels, restaurants but where are the tourists… coming in July.

A disused rail trail lead us into Benicassim for the last 6km avoiding a decent hill. 3 cuts into the hills and 2 tunnels made the way easier to finish our 73km day with the weather heating up to around 30C.

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