Today was to be our day out to Peniscola, north of Benicassim, about an hour and a quarter away on the bus. We had decided to make the journey on a Sunday as it avoided having to change buses.
We had to walk in to town to pick up the bus. There were only two buses going there today and we were on the first one at 09:15. There were quite a few people on the bus when we first boarded but most of them got off after about twenty minutes. The reason the journey takes so long is because the bus drives off the N-330 and down in to the local towns and villages along the route. We're always happy to travel this way as we get a chance to see how the locals live, and as Saturday seems to be bath night here in Spain we were spared the Spanish armpits. The fare wasn't cheap at €11.60 (£10) for two single adult tickets.
Ten-twenty-five and we arrived on the seafront a Peniscola. The return bus was due at 14:45, and so we had plenty of time before our return.
The Old Town is quite picturesque with its fortified community topped by the castle which juts out on to a headland, and it was that area we were making for.
The castle was built by the Knights Templar between 1294 and 1307. After this organisation disappeared from the historical map, becoming nothing but a legend, and in 1411, Papa Luna, Pope Benedict XIII, made the castle his pontifical seat. He died there, pontificating, presumably.
At first we hesitated about whether or not to go in to the castle, but then thought if we didn't, then we've got a lot of time to lose doing other things before the return bus. At €3.60 each it was money well spent, there were lovely views from the top of the castle, and some interesting bits and pieces on the way round.
We were so lucky with the weather, though we knew heavy rain was moving in, and should be hitting us back at Base Camp at around 19:00. We had the wind-out awning deployed and I wanted to make sure we got back to the campsite before the rain arrived.
We were feeling peckish and so bought a cake and a coffee each. Something savoury would have been better, but then that would have required a nice cold beer, and then that could have meant my sitting crossed-legged on the long bus journey back to Benicassim.
The bus duly arrived, right on time and it was the same driver. Back through the communities en-route we went. This bus just has to be subsidised because so few people use it on a Sunday.
It certainly felt cooler when we got off the bus, even though the sun was still shining beautifully. We had arrived back before the rain, that was the important thing.
Once back at the campsite I immediately got stuck in to some chores. My thinking being that if it is to rain non-stop from this evening right through until Tuesday lunchtime then I want to be sure the loo and grey water tank are empty and there is a good supply of fresh water in the tank which sits inboard underneath the two-seater sofa, and filled from outside.
That done, I pontificated (if he can do it, so can I) before we set about preparing the awning for the forthcoming rain. Now I am no fan of roll-out awnings, the reason for that is probably best understood by taking a look at previous postings - America (West)/San Francisco-Malibu/19th & 20th April 2008. I need to gain confidence with this piece of kit. The engineering of them is a marvel, just how they manage to get so much to stow away in to such a small space. Firstly I dropped one leg down lower than the other to increase the drop off for any rain which hits the 'roof'. I had already attached strapping to hold the whole framework down on to the ground, I then attached a storm strap to ensure the 'canvas' roof doesn't flap about uncontrollably above the steel framework, and as a bonus I may attempt to use a little gizmo I made up which is a paint roller on an extending pole which I'm thinking of using to push up the 'canvas' to squeeze it between the roller and the storm strap above to further reduce the risk, both of flapping, and the pooling of water on the roof. Water weighs something like a kilo a litre, so you really don't want any of it hanging around up there.
I doubt if I'll sleep well tonight fretting over how things are shaping up outside, but after our previous bad experience I feel I need to give the kit a chance to prove it can do the job and at the same time trying to assist it to cope.
At about 18:50 we made our way down to the bar/restaurant for our 19:00 booking for another Sunday Roast with a Spanish Yorkshire pudding being the piaster résistance. We were surprised at how many empty tables there were this week. Clearly lots of regulars have already left for home, safe journey to them all.
Luck was on my side, last week the couple on the table next to us donated what was left in their wine bottle, this week the couple next to us got up and left soon after our meal was served, leaving half of their jug of red wine behind - waste not want not, I think everybody should recycle, and so I did. I told the waiter what I'd done just in case he tried to charge me for two jugs of wine.
We'd taken our macs with us expecting it to have started raining whilst we were up at the restaurant, but no, dry as a bone, but it pays to be prepared. Trying to dry wet clothes whilst motorhoming is challenging to say the least.
Back at Base Camp I had expected to tuck in to a portion of Christmas Pudding for my dessert, but had to reluctantly conclude that I would spend the whole night in discomfort with indigestion had I done so. I have promised myself that tomorrow I shall have Christmas Pudding for lunch.