Peniscola. It was almost too pretty to be real. The castle and the sea sat on a peninsula, the fortress built on a hill. It dominated the world below. It invited exploration and G and Grimble intended to: eventually.
Satnav lady had directed them nearly faultlessly to their destination only messing up once with her finishing, which seemed habitual. She directed them into a modern housing estate and, as occurred with the crisis, it ended abruptly in an arid piece of scrubland whereupon Satnav lady declared they had reached their destination. Grimble had done research when planning this holiday. She knew this to be untrue. So Google nav once again took charge.
They arrived at Camping Ferrer and anyone who thinks that Grimble was going under canvass for the majority of her holiday, does not really know Grimble. In fact, Grimble did own a tent that had an array of empty alcohol bottles as the backdrop to the canvass. Grimble had never slept in it. G had had to erect it, the tent that is and other friends had reposed in it. However, Camping Ferrer was an all encompassing business: campsite, self catering lodges, small hotel and quite possibly the busiest bar in Spain. The reasons Grimble selected it: pool, proximity to the sea and parking.
Parking…hmmm the official hotel bar parking was insane. Cars were parked 3 deep. There were vans that had called to deliver and stopped for a menu del dia and beers. There were scooters closing up any narrow gaps between cars. It was sheer madness. The owner gave them a camping bay for their car and explained that the car park would become quieter “mas tarde”. Several days into their stop here, they still awaited “mas tarde” and their car remained a happy camper.
The beach beckoned G and Grimble and so they loaded up: folding mats, parasol, towels, sun cream, cooling drinks and wandered to the shore. Peniscola had two beaches: North and South. They were nearest to the Sud which seemed to have permanently damp sand, handy as the brisk wind made no impact on creating a sandstorm. The first problem they encountered was trying to secure the parasol. The sand was damp, the sand was compacted. This meant that G needed to bore into it like he was drilling for oil. He did this cheerfully enough and Grimble thought she only heard cunt four times, suggesting he was happy in his work. They looked around the beach and wondered at how the Spanish had managed to perfectly position their parasols. Were they born with these natural beach skills being coastal and canny? Then G spotted the tiny attachments to the parasol base, pointed caps with a hand turning mechanism. Being a bloke, he had to have one of these ingenious devices or his trip would be incomplete.
They reclined and observed that the sea water was so shallow that people were wading barely waist deep for 200 meters. Either that or they had discovered a location where giants resided. The waves were not existent and the sand soft. Finally, had they discovered beach nirvana? They tentatively dipped their toes, anticipating a sudden frost to dispel up their body, counteracting their notion of heaven. However, the water was warm, ridiculously warm, like a salty bath. All these features made for a lovely beach afternoon where they contentedly sat, swam, slept and repeated. Even though this was Friday afternoon, the beach was not so rammed as to be standing room only. It was indeed beach heaven.
Not ones to stick with a good thing, they opted on a different day to try Norte Playa, a massive stretch of soft sand. This was a further ten minute walk which doesn’t sound far but is when carrying equipment in the oven like furnace sun of midday, it was like an eternity. However, as it was Monday, they at least expected beach space. Not so. This beach was rammed causing G to ask Grimble if anyone bloody worked here and then contemplate wistfully a life where Monday work did not exist. The multitude of collective parasols were so close that they almost joined into one continuous sun shade. Under this canopy was a melee of a mass of people and huge inflatables. The beach area was being wrestled with screaming children, six foot crocodiles, unicorns and flamingos. Add to the scene: jet skis, pedalos, high speed banana boats and it looked like beach hell. This was not the beach day G and Grimble envisaged. With hindsight, they should have returned to the relative normality of South beach, but they were intrepid, they walked ever further Northward until they eyed a brief gap in the crowd plus it was now nearly one pm and beach exit time for the Spanish.
Finally, they sat in a space and then realised what the kiddie commotion meant. It was not the shrieks of pleasure and frolicking. It was the shrill cries of pain. The wind here was fierce, the sand very soft and within seconds of sitting, G and Grimble were coated in a sand shell as it deftly stuck to their sun screen. They only option was to run to the water, which had the same ambient temperature as before with just a slight current. However, the sand was not for leaving them. In addition, it had got into Grimble’s eyes so she floundered around in the water with no discernible way to remove the now painful gritty mess from her vision. If she rubbed them then the sand from her body would create more. G’s comments that it was lovely were lost on Grimble as she could see bugger all.
Desperate and squinting, Grimble left the water for desperate measures and poured the water she had brought to save her from dehydration over her face. Though this might have seemed like a fail safe cure, Grimble’s water was sparkling which gave a very strange sensation to her already beleaguered eyes. It was fizzy in her eyes but momentarily stopped or diverted the gritty pain into a different type of hurt. She could now open her eyes a fraction but this would allow more sand to blow into them. This is when she realised why everyone was hogging the damp shore line, as there, the sand storm was marginally less fierce.
There was no option but to leave this tortuous beach for lunch and G guided the blinded but still baggage carrying Grimble away from the bastard beach of doom. As they mounted the promenade, the totally unaffected G looked across the vista and reliably stated, “Bloody hell, look at the way that sand is blowing, it’s like a sand storm.” Grimble would have loved to witness this vision but at that precise point, her eyes closed fast, she was not entirely sure which direction she was standing let alone looking. Blindly, she resolved that Sud playa would be their only beach destination from that point on.