A month and a half of our journey „Golf around the World”, which we have traveled almost 5,000 km through Poland, Germany, France and Spain. As in every trip, sometimes it is time for a short rest. We enjoyed the beautiful weather last week on the east coast of Spain, on the Balearic Sea.
At the beginning of the week we left Catalonia and drove to Valencia, the coastal region of Spain in the north that borders Catalonia and the south to Murcia. The climate of the region can best be described by its location – it is located on the same latitude as the most popular Spanish islands – Majorca and Ibiza.
We started our stay in the region from its north. We stopped in Peniscola, a city famous for its 13th-century Templar castle built on the foundations of the former Arab fort. The town is situated in picturesque hills, with gentle slopes falling to the shore.
At this time of year the sea is severely agitated. On the rocky coast, high tides fill the wells with sea water. During the day, the water in the shallow wells is heated, making it perfect for washing the body or the dishes.
For a few days we just stopped in here with a view of the city center. At night darkness is flashed by the lighthouse located near the castle in the central part of the hill.
We started the tour of the city from the headland where is the castle of the Knights Templar and the surrounding city at the foot of which, in the 16th century massive city walls were erected to protect the city from the sea as well as from the land.
In the north and east, the city is protected by the sea, while from noon to the present there is a protective city moat that separates the city from the port area.
City walls are preserved entirely. We see one of the gates leading to the medieval center of Peniscola.
The charm of the city adds that almost all the houses in the center are plastered in white but the city walls, the castle and the churches have the natural beige color of the stones from which they were built. Balconies are decorated with ceramics.
We reach the Church of Our Lady of Ermitan, adjacent to the Knights Templar.
Another of the characteristic colors of the center of Peniscola is blue. It probably has a connection with the sea, which can be seen practically from each of the narrow streets filled with restaurants and cafes, in November rather deserted or quite closed. Also windows and shutters are painted blue. This colour also dominate in ceramics, which are decorated with balconies and plaques with the names of urban streets.
Let’s go further towards the castle. From one of the streets we go straight to the coastal city walls with such a view.
Palms are quite ordinary trees here. The staircase leading to the castle is filled with a row of these date-palms.
On our way we also pass an artillery park. Despite the extraordinary charm of the fortifications here, one should remember what their proper destiny was.
We are almost at the castle. From the city walls there is a panoramic view of the modern part of Peniscola. It is a small town (about 7 500 inhabitants), which mainly lives in tourism. Along the beach are mostly hotels and restaurants.
The walls erected by Philip II of Spain in the days of the Turks in the Balearic Islands would certainly withstand some bombing today. Fortunately, that’s not going to happen.
Templar Castle. The Order was originally created to protect the Crusaders and pilgrims who came to the Holy Land, after the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291, remained homeless. First, the knights of the Order moved to Cyprus and later to France and Spain, where in 1307 they completed the construction of the castle of Peniscola. Today it is the second most visited castle in Spain after the Alhambra in Granada.
From the top we look south. We see a modest harbor, a breakwater and some of Peniscola’s buildings. To the left of the hill is the place where we stayed for the night.
Going down from above, we look again at the city. It is worth mentioning that many movies were filmed in Peniscola. The titles that are exchanged at the various points of the city are mainly Spanish films, but the walls visible in the pictures can be found among others in the sixth season, „Game of thrones”.
By the 6 p.m. we were already home so we managed to observe another beautiful sunset on the Mediterranean coast.
In the last week, despite a longer rest, we were still able to visit Vinaros, a few kilometers north of Peniscola. This is a typical tourist town, along with Benicarlo and Peniscola. A coastal town on the Balearic Sea with tens of kilometers of unbroken sandy beaches, which limits the mountainous nature reserve of Parc Natural de la Serra d’Irta to the south.
The city is most famous for the Vinaroz carnival, which is always held at the beginning of the year and in August, „Langusta Festival” (the name comes from the city name: Vinaros – land langust). Unfortunately, we are here in November, so no carnival was there.
As in other neighboring cities, life in the surrounding areas is taking place around the beaches. In November, there are few tourists who prefer coastal restaurants to Mediterranean specialties.
So we went for a well deserved vacation. The next place we stayed was Alcossebre, just across the Serra d’Irta Reserve. Golf parked under the palm and calmly waiting for further adventures.
This week we are going to Castellon de la Plana and Valencia, two of the three largest cities in the region.