Day 165. Pucol – Pucol, 0 km.

I slept well in my very cold room. The hotel seem more or less empty so I enjoy my tostadas in front of the always present TV. The highlight of the day is when I walk along the big road that leads in to Pucol and do some shopping in the Supermercat.

Figure 1. Map day 165-168
Figure 2. Hotel

I do almost nothing else all day, since the walk to downtown Pucol is to far and unpleasant I have my meals in the hotel. The proprietor allegedly is Gallego and the cuisine is supposed to be as well.

The meals are delicious and there are lots of veggies. In the local papers I find an advertisement for a Lavenderia Autoservicio in Sagunt, this will be the highlight of tomorrow. I have done some washing in the bathroom sink but no washing machine since Benalmadena.

This accommodation was very expensive, I am so hoping that once Easter and semana santa is over I will be able to find cheap accommodation.

Day 166. Pucol – Grao de Castellon, 61 km.

I manage to get an early start, I want to be at the laundry when it opens at 9. The first bit is through the nice countryside with orange threes in full blossom.

Orange Three
Figure 3. Orange Three

Then I find that the road I was planning to bike on had been converted to autovia so I could not bike there. Instead I had to bike through the enormous and mostly empty Parc Sagunt. It is and industrial estate measuring roughly 3 by 1 km, most of the land is empty but as always in Spain the infrastructure is built.

No biking
Figure 4. No biking

After Parc Sagunt I get to the industrial harbor, not a very nice place either. I bike around in Port de Sagunt and manage to find the laundromat.

This being Easter Sunday it was very, very quiet in town. I start my laundry, one machine, four Euro, 30 minutes, amazing. The drying takes 24 minutes and cost another 4 Euro. So in less than one hour I have a whole bag full of clean and dry clothes. Perfect!

Figure 5. Laundry

Before laundry I had some tailwind but it’s gone and now there is a headwind. The route takes me through half completed and/or half empty tourist ghettos along the coast, sometimes on bike lanes, sometimes on small roads.

Going down ?
Figure 6. Going down ?

All in all this is not great cycling, it feels more and more just like transport. The villages, views, food and accommodation are uninspiring.

Figure 7. Caca

Once in Le Grao de Castellon I find a small hotel/bar/cafe/restaurant, still 6-8 Euro more than it would have cost if I had gone inland but such is life on the happy costa.

Day 167. Grao de Castellon – Benicarlo, 81 km.

Today actually looks like there might be some rain, very dark clouds over the mountains in the west. There is supposed to be a bike lane all the way to Benicassim and from there a Via Verde to Oropesa del Mar. The bike lane/road and Via Verde is absolutely crowded withe people, it seems everyone is out and about today. They are also very fast to bike on. The Via Verde is the old road that has been converted to walk/bike road, complete with tunnels and all.

Via Verde Tunnel
Figure 8. Via Verde Tunnel

After Oropesa del Mar I ride through the countryside to Alcossebre, I have decided to attempt riding through the Serra d’irta nature park. In theory it will save me from riding the big N-340 road and it should be shorter. The information I have managed to find is that the track is somewhere between facil and dificil, ranging from 20 to 30 km.

Figure 9. Map

It turns out that I have to push the bike for a very long while and the road is at best very rough gravel. The clouds hoovered on top of the mountains just west of me so I guess that riding the N- 340 would have meant rain. But I doubt it was worth the effort going through the Serra d’irta. Maybe with a full suspension MTB it would have been more fun.

I started to look for a hotel on the other side of the parc, in Peniscola, but the prices were very high. It felt like they had doubled already high prices. There were some drops of rain but I decided to keep biking and in the next town I found a reasonably priced little hotel. It was about 10 Euros more than what I would have expected.

Everything but Lidl was closed so I bought dinner there and ate it in my room. The general impression from today that this part of the coast is not very nice, lots of garbage and smell of sewage. Yet another day of transportation.

Alien spaceship
Figure 10. Alien spaceship

Day 168. Benicarlo – L’Ampolla, 63 km.

I did the first 30 km on N-340, really fast biking but horrible with all the noise from traffic. I cross the border of Catalonia and things become very Catalan.

Figure 11. Catalonia

When I get to river Ebro delta I have a close look at the map and find two canals with small roads next to them, first Canal de navegacio along TV-3408 and then after crossing the Ebro Canal nou de camarles. Really nice biking in the delta.

Next to the canal
Figure 12. Next to the canal
Next to the canal
Figure 13. Next to the canal

I have lunch with low value for money, food and accommodation is becoming more and more expensive. Tomorrow will be a day of rest, some of it will be spent on planning some train travel across Europe.

I find a hotel in L’Ampolla, a small tourist-place, not very nice at all. When I park my bike in their storage area I notice that yet another spoke has broken. I will fix this tomorrow.

Figure 14. Hotel

Before dinner I visit the tourist information, they were surprisingly well informed and had maps of all sorts. I also got some train related information.

Dinner was a mediocre menu del dia, all meals in this part of the world seem to come with a hefty serving of aoili, I like it and it makes other people less smelly.