7. Mar, 2017

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TUESDAY 7-3-17

We woke to a fairly clear sky with some cloud, with signs that the day's weather was just going to keep getting better.

The shower block was fairly busy, which suggested we'd got up earlier than usual, probably due to the fact that The Chef was going to do her hand washing this morning before we went out for a bike ride.

On leaving the shower block I bumped in to Mrs Taff who was sat in their motorhome - they were heading for home. I wished them a safe journey and made my way back the short distance to our pitch. Joy of joy, the yapping dog two rows in front of us had left for who cares where, along with its mummy and daddy. It was one of those things that got transported around everywhere in a small nylon 'kennel' on wheels (you can actually buy them) which was attached behind daddies bike, thus able to save all its energy for long days of yapping.

Herman wif der Husky seems to have been keeping a low profile over the past few days but there he was this morning up a ladder and adding to his jigsaw puzzle on the sloping front roof of his motorhome.

Whilst The Chef did her hand-washing I did the dishes, I like to do it from time to time just in case I forget how it's done.

I just had to pop back and get the pocket camera to get a picture of one of these portable camping washing machines which those too helpless or lazy to do hand-washing buy and bring along with them. This was the first one we'd seen on this trip. It seems to be mainly caravanners who buy them and transport them standing in their caravan's bathroom unit.

After the washing was hung out it was on our bikes and off south along the cycleway towards Castellį½¹ de la Plana, the port of Castellon. It was a lovely ride and we stopped once or twice to have a sit and admire the sea view. We passed the local Flying Club who were taking free-fall parachutists up in aircraft two or three at a time.

Unfortunately The Chef wanted to call it a day when we were only just down the road from the port area, I think she was finding her bike saddle a bit uncomfortable, but never mind, it had been a nice ride out. We turned around at the Playa de El Pinar area, where we dropped down towards the beach to check out an area I'd previously spotted from the bus, which looked like a motorhome park. And there it was, off Paseo Maritimo a very large parking area. Now when you go to 'Street View' on Google Maps, you can see that it is almost empty save for one or two cars, so clearly it is not intended as a freebie campsite for foreigners, but has been hijacked by them for the winter season, a bit cheeky really, especially on such a large scale. These mean sods spoil it for the rest of us.

Cycling back we fancied a beer and maybe some fries. We don't do tapas, The Chef has an allergy to shellfish, I don't do seafood, and to me olives probably taste better soaked in WD40, but I have no intention of finding out.

Passing one establishment the waiter gestured to us to come on over, and so I suggested to The Chef that we pop in there for a drink. As we were going to be seated outside we didn't need to lock the bikes. All we  wanted really was a beer each and some chips, but the waiter was very pushy and was beginning to pee me off. As I can usually find room for a morsel or two at most times of the day, I said I'd have a hamburger as well, The Chef gave it a bit of thought and said she'd join me. So the beers came first, followed by the hamburgers, no complaints about them, as well as two plates with a small portion of fries on each. Then after we'd finished they were trying to tempt us with desserts, bringing them all out for us to look at. We made it very clear we did not want anything else and asked for the bill.

We didn't know what it would cost us but thought our guess would be pretty accurate, The Chef said she had just over €25 on her, and I said not to worry, I had €15 in my back pocket, so we should be fine. Well when the bill came they'd charged us €3 each for each of the beers, we'd usually pay €2, but it was the fries where they screwed us, as they were not listed as a menu item - €4.75 a portion, about £4, that's £8 in total. Honestly The Chef can go over to the supermarket and buy a bag of frozen fries with more in them they we were given between us for ninety-nine cents. The total was exactly €25, about twenty pounds. Needless to say we didn't leave a tip, and I am currently in the process of getting the restaurant listed on TripAdvisor so that I can give it a slagging. I'm having a problem at the moment because in trying to list it they want me to give examples of the type of cuisine they offer but when I click on the box to list them, it won't let me go any further.

Unfortunately for this restaurant, they don't know me, because if they did they'd know that once I decide on my target I'm like an Exocet missile, I lock on and don't back off. No matter how long it takes I'll have my revenge, as well as warning future potential customers.

At the Chinese Shop, on the edge of town we splashed out €3 on a plastic tablecloth to go on the table we have sitting outside. It will serve two uses, firstly as a cover for the time, very soon we hope, when we can sit outside in the evenings to eat our meal, and secondly as a cover in the event of rain, the top is laminated hardboard I suppose, and when the water gets in around the edges there is a real possibility it will rot the wood.

So there I was in the Chinese Shop, Rothchild, the Big Spender, going for my back pocket, only to discover that I didn't have a bean on me. Either I had dropped the money out, and please don't let it be back at that restaurant, don't let it be €40 they got out of us.

It suddenly made us realise what a close shave we'd had in paying the bill back at Casa Sergio, the rip-off restaurant, without realising it. Luckily The Chef had a bit of shrapnel in her purse, enough to buy the tablecloth, but not enough to buy a baguette from Lidl as we passed by just down the road.

On arrival back at the campsite my first job was to check the back pocket of my swimming shorts which I often sit around in. Luckily there was my €15 in the back pocket. I had obviously put it there before changing in to proper shorts. So as it was my error, it was me to get back on the bike and cycle back to Lidl for the bread together with a lump of blue cheese for me and a couple of large fresh orange juice drinks to sustain us tomorrow on our excursion to Fanzara, or 'Graffitti Village'. There are only two restaurants there and we're not going to get caught again.

We now have new neighbours next door, I think they might be English, I think most people who arrive now are probably heading up from the south and making their way home.

It was a glorious hot sunny afternoon and we made the most of it by sitting out in our reclining chairs and soaking it up.

We do feel privileged to be in such a position.