5. Mar, 2017

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SATURDAY 4-3-17

We had a lot of strong wind and heavy rain showers overnight. Never mind the rain would have given the roof a good wash.

I had set the alarm clock last night to make sure we were in time for our excursion to Sagunto. Off it went and we struggled out of bed about fifteen minutes later.'My', I thought,' It's pretty dark this time of the day', and I even had the entire shower block to myself, as did The Chef in her section.

I think it was while I was sat munching on my Weetabix, those mini bales of hay, that I looked at the clock on the 'mantelpiece', then looked again. Oh dear, time to confess to The Chef that I'd set the alarm clock an hour too early. We had got up at 06:45 and not 07:45. Oh well at least we didn't have to worry about having to run for the bus.

That's the annoying thing about local time in Spain. The Greenwich Meridian passes north to south just down the road from here, between Benicassim and Costellį½¹ de la Plana. Therefore nowhere in Spain has reason to be on GMT+1. The only reason they do it is to match their European neighbours which is understandable. But what it really means is that when our clocks say 07:30 here it's really 06:30, which is my defence for our not getting up very early in the mornings.

Our small coach left at 09:10, ten minutes late because a Brit had to dash all the way back to her pitch to get her campsite-issued ticket, which she didn't really need anyway, given that they arrived at the bus 09:02 and there were just two seats left, logic would have dictated they were both theirs. We hadn't been travelling long before the coughing started, I just looked at The Chef and she smiled back. After that Norwegian cruise she knew exactly what I was thinking.

Our first stop was the 'Coves de Sant Josep', www.covesdesantjosep.es  basically the caves on the underground Saint Joseph River. We were ushered on to two small boats and taken through just a small area of the vast complex. I was soon told "No Photo" as I tried to take a picture of the 'Bat Cave', not that we were in Gotham City, but because bats used to occupy the huge cave, now floodlit in a Disney-like way as was the rest of the tour, but who then evacuated the premises after the flootlights were installed. We had to duck our heads at various points along the way and had the benefit of one of those audio guides that you hang around your neck and keep pressing the buttons at various points along the way for additional information. Well now that's all well and good if you have excellent vision and can see in very subdued lighting, but me, I could hardly read the damned numbers on the display panel. They weren't laid out logically like a mobile phone. I gave up in the end, as did a Brit sitting next to The Chef opposite me when his started to talk to him in German.

The water in the river was crystal-clear, it probably came from the same source as the water we'd been drinking back at the campsite.

After the tour we had a whole hour to kill before our coach left for Sagunto at 12:00. This was spent drinking an unpleasant cup of coffee each at tourist prices, before wandering over to the promotion posters near the ticket office and taking some close-up photos of their photo's, something I have no problem in doing if I'm denied the opportunity to take my own. Then fellow travellers spotted what I was up to and did the same themselves.

Then it was off to Sagunto www.aytosagunto.es/turismo where we were dropped off close to the town square. We were to meet up again at the Tourist Information Office there at 17:00 to watch thirty minutes of the scheduled Carnival Parade before leaving town at 17:30.

There are two main tourist sites in town, the Roman Theatre and the Castle, which dates back to the 1st century. First then up to the Roman Theatre. It is said that it's 'restoration' was very controversial, and you can see why. Back home huge amounts of both money and effort would have been put in to rebuilding it as close to the original as possible. But this is Spain, and instead of that they covered the seating area with marble slabs, then they built a completely new staging area in modern brickwork, thus joining the modern with the original work by Wimpyus Buildicus in a very obvious way. Still I suppose it could be argued that they turned it in to a usable entertainment venue rather than a monument. Fortunately they did resist putting solar panels on the roof.

Off then up the hill to the castle. Fortunately the Spanish have done very little to it, which is why there are piles of rocks everywhere, it's better that way I think, unless they are going to do the job properly, and it's a huge castle so it would be a big job.

The Chef was running out of puff a bit on the way up, she'd only had about three hours sleep last night (it would have been about four had it not been for the alarm clock), so that considered, she was doing pretty well. After a bit of encouragement we were at the top to see a magnificent view of the coastline with presumably Valencia on the horizon.

Down the hill we went for a general look round, including the Jewish Quarter, "But to you my son, for cash -  three sixteenths".

The remains of the 'Temple of Diana Wall' was indiscernible from other crappy walls in that area, then we were off to the 'Gate of the Roman Circus'. We didn't find it and weren't sure what it was we were looking for, concluding that it must have just been a pile of rocks somewhere there.

Back in to town for a coffee and a warm up. All day we had endured cloud, a bit of sunshine and a very cool wind. After that it was over to the other side of the Town Square to grab a vantage point for the Carnival Parade. As with most carnival parade's there seemed to be a lot of young kids involved along with men wearing dresses. It left me wondering if these parades were organised by the Roman Catholic Church.

The floats are well armed with huge bags of boiled sweets which are thrown in to the crowd, I guess for the kids watching the parade.

Then it was back to the coach for our ride home. It wasn't long after setting off that we realised a number of our fellow travellers had eaten a tradition Spanish lunch as the smell of garlic-on-breath began to fill the air. But Yeh Verily, The Lord moves in mysterious ways, and very soon afterwards they all dug in to their pockets and fished out wrapped boiled sweets they had picked up from the street during the parade. Soon the air was filled with the smell of oranges and lemons.

When we arrived back The Chef popped over the road to get a baguette. We had decided it would be too much like work to prepare a meal and we weren't that hungry, we were therefore to buy a take-away meal of fish and chips from the restaurant. One portion to share between us both. Whilst in the restaurant we booked a table for tomorrows Sunday Roast.

One meal shared was sufficient, and not long afterwards The Chef announced she was off to bed. Rather than disturb her typing up this rubbish I turned in too.

Soon my ears were enduring The Chef's impressions of a snorting pig, whilst I lay there with heartburn and indigestion having gone to bed so soon after eating.