On 2nd June we left Ibiza and headed back to the mainland. Our destination was Denia approximately 58 miles away. The crossing took us 10 hours during which we encountered thunder & lightening and heavy rain storms for part of the journey. On a lighter note, we also saw a swordfish jump out of the water and a flying fish too!
Our reason for heading back to the mainland was that we were heading back to the UK on 14th June to catch up with family and friends (those that we had not already seen on route!) and also had tickets to go and see UB40 at Pembroke Castle! – Not To be missed.
We had booked in to El Masnou Marina just North of Barcelona for a month whilst we returned home so were going to make our way up the coast over the next 2 weeks, starting at Denia. Denia marina was very smart, with a ‘day club’ free to berth holders. The Club was no competition for the Ocean Club in San Antonio but we spent an afternoon there relaxing, people watching, swimming and drinking cocktails. The Marina also had an extremely cheap launderette, which for us boaties is an absolute dream!
On our second day in Denia we unloaded our bikes and headed for the Castle. Situated on a hilltop above Denia, the castle dates from the 17th century and can be seen for many miles out to sea and throughout the town. The views from it’s turrets are superb and as we walked around there were many birds nesting and feeding their young.
From Denia we headed to Valencia Marina. We were already familiar with Valencia as we had visited during our ‘road trip’ in February. We met up for dinner with our friends Jenny and Trevor who live nearby, before moving on the following morning.
No, we didn’t build the sand castle!
The sail along the coast to Oropesa was all down wide. We reached a maximum of 11.7 knots with an average of 6.8 knots! For you sailing friends…this was with a fully reefed main! The entrance to the marina was extremely narrow and only 3.3 m deep. With gusts of over 25-30 knots of wind we radioed through to the marina office for help getting us into a berth. They decided that our best option was to moor up to the sheltered fuel berth, and remain there for the night. Apart from a walk into the nearby town that evening for something to eat, and Alistair spying some naked beauties bathing on the beach, we remained on board and left the following morning.
Next stop Las Fuentes, only 15 miles away. We decided to pull in to this marina as the wind increased yet again and rain, thunder and lightening was all around us! On enquiring at the marina office as to the cost per night, we were informed 60 Euros! We couldn’t believe it and were temped to move on but it was just not worth the risk as far as the weather was concerned. How could they justify this cost when there were no smart facilities like Denia for which we had only paid 30 euros a night.
Roda de Bara (23 euros per night!) bargain! our next stop enroute to Barcelona (El Masnau). We wished we had known about this marina before we had booked El Masnaua for the month. The railway runs within walking distance, with easy access to both Barcelona and the neighbouring town of Tarragona. We spent two nights here and again unloaded our beloved bikes to explore. We cycled along a fully paved coastal path passing exclusive properties along the way before arriving at a large sandy beach lined with cafe/bars. We sat down for the obligatory coffee and of course some people watching before returning to El Roc de Sant Gaieta, a beautifully preserved village with a Grecian influence on the outskirts of Roda de Bara. Everywhere was well kept and there were surprises around every corner. For some reason we only seem to have one photograph… we must have been cycling too fast!
We arrived in El Masnou on 9th June and were directed to our berth, no 457. The marina is not pretty and the railway line and main road pass between the village and the marina, however, it suited our purpose perfectly and after settling in we spent two days exploring Barcelona by catching the train which took only 30 minutes into the centre. Marina berth holders are given use of the neighbouring Nautical Club facilities and these included a 50m outdoor swimming pool plus sun terraces and also an indoor pool if preferred. We used these facilities daily.
We had had a brief stop in Barcelona during our road trip but this time we were able to take our time exploring this wonderful city. Street artists performed throughout the centre of the city and around all of the tourist areas. We visited Barcelona Cathedral and took a walk up on the roof top where the Sagrada Familia dominated the skyline of the city. We also visited the fantastic Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, examples of the amazing work of Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect. His work was influenced by his love of nature and the world around him and he integrated this into his designs using ceramics, stained glass, wood and ironwork. The Sagrada was filled with the most amazing colours and structures and should not be missed if visiting Barcelona. It is due to be finished in 2026 to mark the centenary of Gaudi’s death in 1926 when he was sadly run over by a tram.
Out on the roof of the Cathedral!
On Thursday the 14th June we caught the train to Barcelona Airport and caught our flight home to Bristol. We would be returning in three weeks.