Friday, 3 August 2012

Midnight fireworks at Peñíscola

At the Vinaros drop-in centre this morning Les and Brenda reminded us about tonight's fireworks display at Peñíscola, starting at midnight, so we resolved to go, and get plenty of rest during the day. This wasn't so difficult as it was humid as well as hot well into the evening. After supper, thanks to satellite TV, we sat and watched the performance of Bach's B Minor Mass at the Proms, the first time I'd listened to it straight through for many years. By the time we set out by car at 11.15pm it had cooled down enough to make an hour of standing on Peñíscola beach tolerably pleasant. 

The drive in the dark was an interesting challenge, but we found our way through the back streets of Benicarló and along the beach road, and stopped just past the boundary between Benicarló and Peñíscola, where we saw a free parking spot. Mindful of the risk of traffic jams at the end of the show, I turned the car around in the homeward direction before parking it, and crossed my fingers, just in case I'd failed to understand or recognise any parking restrictions. The last thing I wanted was for the car to get towed away at half past midnight!

We settled on a wooden walkway on beach, in the light of the almost full moon. I noticed here and there fishing rods with tiny lights on their tips planted in the sand and groups of people nearby seated at picnic tables attending them. Others had commandeered beach loungers, for hire during the day, for a relaxed view of the spectacle. A small group of young kids, not very well supervised by their parents were letting off firecrackers, just at the place where spectators were slowly making their ways on a beach steeped in darkness. We must have been a couple of miles from the peninsula fortress at Peñíscola, it was hard to tell in the dark, but I did get this shot before the floodlights were turned off.

When the fireworks came, my camera, sans tripod, for all its excellence at low light capture and image stabilisation, was simply not up to the task of taking useful firework photos at ten times magnification. Impressionistic at best, but you should see the thirty one other pictures  discarded in disgust.

Fireworks seem to be have been set off from several different points. One beneath the fortress, and at least two other locations along the beach itself. We had a good view from a distance, even if the delayed sound of fireworks exploding made it a little confusing on times.

We left punctually at twenty past twelve, and being so far from the area which would have been crowded with spectators, there were no traffic jams, and we were home by a quarter to one. That's the first time I've driven in the dark since I've been here, so I was feeling pleased with myself to have done so safely and without incident. Especially not a car towed away at midnight.

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