March 20th, 2007
We all wanted to see some of the coast from Valencia to Barcelona, and the only way to do that was to rent a car. Herz was nearby, and we picked up a little Skoda for an expensive price, but full insurance. We all fit, and it isn’t gutless, which seems to be very important driving here. Despite having three versions of road maps for Spain, none of them seem to have any of the names of the roads other than the major toll-ways in between the cities. This is less than helpful when you want to explore the countryside. We still managed, if with a few last minute decisions.
Driving in the city was a bit crazy, as the lanes are somewhat arbitrary. Outside the city it was a bit easier. As long as you were cool with the traffic circles, it was pretty easy driving. Though I felt like an old man on the freeway only doing 130 KM/h, everyone else was blowing by me at 180ish in their german bullets.
You could definitely see why they named the region Costa del Azahar – the orange blossom coast. We are here when the endless carpet of trees are heavy with oranges, but I’m sure the scent of this many trees in bloom would be almost overwhelming.
With Anna and Colan castle/fortress spotting, we headed up the coast. We headed inland at CV20 to Montanejos and drove the windy roads up the river valley through tiny towns as scattered rain showers dramatized the sky. It was a very nice drive, and certainly a different sort of environment compared to the coast. I managed to make Pete green from the roads and the funky sausage we had for lunch.
Montanejos itself wasn’t much grander than any of the little towns we passed along the way. Apparently it is a bit of a spa town that becomes a destination in the heat of summer. It also seems to be gaining in popularity for climbing and rafting, but it sure didn’t seem the season for it. It was hard just to find a place open for a simple sandwich and drink. Ultimately it the drive was still worth it, the hills were gorgeous.