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 Walk Across Europe

2008-12-28 - Trip 13 - Leg 97

Spain, Castellon

Benicassim to Orpesa

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10.9 km today.
177.6 km this trip.
1916.7 km from start.
0 metres minimum height.
40 metres maximum height.
54 metres ascent.
94 metres descent.
 Track Log: Logged.
 Travel: Car, Taxi, Car.

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A short walk along the disused railway including a tunnel. Wet weather.

We drove to Orpesa and waited for the early train, only to be told that there were no trains on a Sunday. Luck was with us and taxi number 10 was sitting there. The taxi took us to Benicàssim station. From there we walked back to Orpesa.

In Benicàssim we bought four large and tasty almond biscuits. Near the sea we encountered a hoard of local ramblers in their boots and cagoules Rain was just setting in. We followed this crowd and they led us down a useful cliff path to the beach. There the ramblers dithered and we sailed ahead, never to see them again.

Part of our walk used the old railway route. This is being converted into a Via Verde or green way for walkers and cyclists. The construction work is not finished (Dec' 2008). As it was Sunday and no work was going on, we used the route anyway. We walked through a tunnel, probably illegally. A torch would have been useful.

We drive to Orpesa. The station is locked and a man leans out of his flat window and shouts that it will open at 9. Meanwhile we stand about shivering. It is cold. Two taxi men are having a chat in the lee of a porch. A man obviously desperate for a loo rushes up to the station door and finds it locked. No tengo suerte he says as he dives back into his car. It is now light so he can't use my method of finding a secluded corner. One of the taxi men drives off on a job. Another person comes up and says the first train is a 13.00. I look again at my timetable and indeed this is true. There are no suitable trains today as it is Sunday. I have failed to read the timetable properly. Having established the meaning of Només as only I was proud of my achievement in establishing train times for Saturday. What I failed to do, however, was to check whether Sunday was the same. Details about Sundays were in a different location on the timetable. We now approach the remaining taxi man and ask him to take us to Benicássim. I explain my difficulties with the timetable and say I must improve my Valenciano. He says if you can speak Castellano, you can cope in Valenciano. That is true for most words but not for Només, fems or runes or a particular kind of pastry.

Neil says if we had known there weren't any trains we could have been all warm inside the taxi from the start.

A new railway line has been built for the high speed trains. We wonder if we will be able to use the old line. We check as we leave the town but there is no way up on to it so we use the road. We call at a pastellería. She doesn't have tarts but she does have almond biscuits. We get four and hope they will be as good as the tarts.

As we leave the town, we sit down for a minute for our first break. Just behind us is a group of local ramblers waiting to start their walk. We decide to wait to see where they go. They head off along the coast road and we wait until they have all got ahead so we don't hold them up. It then starts to rain and a few in the party decide to abort. We are in their way again. The rain gets heavier and a second group turns back. I pause and put on my cagoule and instate my dry bag to keep our lunch and other things dry.

By now, the party have headed off road, between two bollards towards the sea. We would never have spotted this gap and are grateful to the ramblers for their help. There is a steep track down to the sea, slippery in the wet. Once down we work our way through and round a number of buildings until we get close to the sea itself. Here a final stairway led down to the beach. The tide was very high and waves kept coming right up to the cliffs. The technique is to wait until a particularly large wave has come in and then make a dash for it. I am at the bottom of the steps. A rambler is behind me. The man in front seeing a wave approach hurls himself back into us knocking me hard and making the rambler behind me fall right over. She would have had a wet bum but I managed to break her fall so she avoided that. We both have wet feet. The woman thanks me but the inept man fails to apologise to either of us.

I get across the tricky bit under the cliff without getting wet a second time – pointless but I know but I wanted to test my system. Many of the locals rushed across in a panic but still got wet feet. Stoical Neil, strolled across and stayed dry. Everyone was in high spirits with this bit of minor adventure. It is difficult now to stay behind the ramblers as they have now stopped at a mirador to take photos. We get well ahead of them. Eventually the beach becomes impassable and we work our way onto a track slightly inland.

Today debiles pluges were forecast. It is tipping it down. Neil thinks that the weather forecasters look at what it's like today and say that tomorrow will be the same. We have decided that the safest way to get an accurate forecast is to see what it is like in London and to work it out from there. The chances are that high pressure in London will mean low pressure here. We are now on a way-marked route (red and white stripes). Where it leads we don't know. The rain has stopped and we are starting to dry out. We eventually find ourselves on the old railway which takes us through some lovely scenery, through deep cuttings and eventually through a long dark tunnel. Neil can see in the dark and could see the ground all the way through. I can't see in the dark even when not allowing myself to look at the exit to get dark adjusted and had to plough through hoping there wasn't a hole or a puddle. If there were any holes I missed them. I did not however, miss the puddles. My feet were soaked for the second time. We hear a train going through the new high speed tunnel parallel with ours. When we reach the end of our tunnel it has started raining again. Ahead is a sign saying that the route is now impassable. We go down a goat track to another path which runs parallel through woods. The route had been lovely all the way. This too comes to an end and we climb back onto the old railway track. There are brambles and soft sage thistles. Also sheep's-bit and cistus plants at the sides. Once we get near Orpesa, the track really is blocked and we fight our way through the brambles down the bank towards a road we can see ahead of us. This was waymarked but only just passable. Here there is a big bridge for the new railway. We sit under it and have lunch in the dry. A stream forms in the middle but luckily not where we are sitting. I decide that while we are this far north I will take my waterproof trousers with me as I am now quite cold. We get to the station at 13.05 and the 1 o'clock train is just leaving. If the man in his flat sees us he will wonder how, having arrived so early, we yet fail to be in time to be on the train. Luckily we can dry out in the car with the heater on full blast.

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