Day 9 – September 11, 2004 – Barcelona to Peniscola to Valencia
This morning Saturday, September 11th we left Barcelona. The BBC and CNN International are paying tribute to the 9/11 tragedy in NYC and Washington, DC. There is very little traffic as we move out of the city at 9:00. Even though we got back relatively early last night people seem to be dragging this morning.
Ellen gave us more of the political history of Spain and Franco as we traveled south along the Mediterranean Coast. It is very hazy today with low lying clouds that obscure the coast and the hill sides. We stopped at a Highway Café/Gas Station at 10:45 for a coffee break and restroom stop.
Our destination this morning was Peñiscola, a famous beach resort on the Mediterranean. It must have been 100 degrees with 90% humidity (seriously) but we climbed the winding roads and finally the steep steps that led to the local castle, a fortress from the 13th century.
There was a festival to the patron saint of the local area, so all of the streets were decorated and full of people. There was even an afternoon bull fight and we were able to watch them unloading the bulls and then see the first stage of the afternoon activities.
The poor young bulls (all are 2 years old for fighting) were so confused and disoriented, this does not seem to be a very humane sport!
We found an air-conditioned café and had a ham and cheese sandwich and two drinks for only 7.5 Euros - the best deal we have had on this trip.
Vic’s shirt was soaked both in front and back and he was suffering from the humidity - we certainly do not get this weather in Colorado! We had a short wait on the beach board walk before the bus came to pick us up, but none of the men in our group seemed to mind the wait as many of the women on the beach were topless!
Traveling to an international country gives everyone a new perspective on life. Ellen reminded everyone - “If you are offended - don’t look!” She also said something from one of the men in a previous trip “ A woman is like a book, each has a different cover!” Good advice, I guess.
At 2:00 we left the city and continued through orchards of oranges and other citrus fruits as well as almonds and olives following on through the 'huertas' on our approach to sunny Valencia.
Our driver, Francisco, gave us a mini tour of the city so we could see its Roman and Moorish history and an orientation including the Town Hall, the Bull Ring, the Towers of Serrano and Cuarte and the Cathedral.
We stopped for a walking tour of the old section and the Plaza La Reina. We had an ice cream - this is getting habit forming - and took photos until about 5:00 when we met the bus again.
Even though it is late in the day, it is still 100 degrees. Most have very little energy left today as we got to our hotel. Dinner was at the hotel; most meals have been simple but good, so we have had little complaints about the hotels or the meals so far! We know that this is a good way to keep people happy!
Our Hotel was the Holiday Inn in Valencia and we found out that the regular charge was 250 Euros per day. The service during dinner was chaotic as they were not ready for us.
Everyone complained about the meal, our paella appetizer was good but the main meal - chicken - was tough and dry. Hardly anyone ate.
Just when I compliment on the food, we have a serious problem!
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...