Monday, 23 July 2012

Peñíscola from above

As today was Eddie and Ann's last full day, and Ann was feeling better, we drove down the coast to take a look at Peñíscola. It was, as many have remarked in recent weeks, very busy and crowded, with several kilometres of beautiful sandy beach packed with parasols. I wasn't really prepared to discover how much of an urban environment by the sea-side it really is. It reminded me of pictures I've seen of Rio & Miami with high rise hotels and apartments just behind the beach highway. It's pleasing to see such extensive provision for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and joggers separate from vehicle traffic, and sensible low speed regulations. 

We could have found a parking place, as there were several cars going away for lunch as we arrived, but nobody except me fancied walking around the old walled city in the heat of the day. It was recommended to me to drive up as high as possible to get a panoramic view, but finding a road which didn't end in one of the many gated urbanizacions was something of a challenge. I spotted a signpost advertising a restaurant with a panoramic view, and climbed uphill on a winding road which brought us to the prestigious looking urbanizacion de Atalayas publicly accessible on the summit of the highest mountain overlooking the town. The restaurant Perla Blanca was one of several serving this complex of holiday homes, and it is open to the public. It should be known as Perle Blanche, as the cuisine was excellent nouvelle cuisine and the proprietaire was a lady from Bordeaux. Once we started conversing with her in French, there was no point in making the effort to order in Spanish - the conversation was too interesting.

We ate well there, with a most spectacular view before us, and I got an opportunity to take photographs from the terrace, over seven hundred feet above the port, and the town's famous mediaeval walled town and fortress, made world famous as a film set for the classic sixties movie 'Ed Cid'.
I think I'll use the bus for my next visit here, so I don't have to think about traffic, or parking, and just enjoy wandering around on foot, and being part of the holiday-making crowd.

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