As the Time Goes by

Saturday, Aug.14th, 2005
A lazy day that ended unexpectedly
Not an active day, it started very casually, all we had in mind is to load the refrigerator before the coming long weekend; Sunday when all supermarkets are closed and same is true for Monday which is a Spanish holiday called “La Paloma”.
And as we were discussing what to do for our night program with our Valencian friends, nothing seemed interesting enough, but as we were talking about it we remembered a guy whom we met at the ferry going to Ibiza and he told us about the beach nightclubs located between Castellon and Benicassim, so we thought we’d try them out for a change.

The trip took us about twenty minutes and after getting lost on the way, we ended up in a beach bar near the tower of Saint Vicent, had a drink, then continued looking for the night clubs until we found them, and they were as awesome as the guy described them, we decided to stay one hour, at the most, in the clubs then go back home, but to our surprise we stayed there until six AM, if we had stayed longer till the sunrise we would have witnessed the morning party when people take off their clothes and dip in the waters, but we were too exhausted to do that, besides, we had driving back which we were worried about.

Sunday, Aug. 15th, 2005
Peniscola; a Spanish paradise indeed
We were supposed to wake up early and check Peniscola, a place which I have heard about a lot in the past and never got to visit. The thing is that everyone who advised us to visit had never mentioned what’s so special about this place; They’d all say go and see it for yourselves. So for us it was a discovery day, and we were planning to go and spend part of the day and leave the rest unplanned and come what may.
From the minute I entered the town, having a critic’s eye off course, I fell in love with it. Nature is all around, you see mountains, beaches and greeneries wherever you go in Europe, but the thing about Spain is that no place is like the other, the towns and villages could be fifteen minutes far from each other and may have the same nature yet they have a completely different atmosphere and landscape which marks as a landmark of that specific place, and that is truly amazing.

But, we did not get to go there as early as we had planned since we spent the night before out and hardly had anytime to sleep, Elegance was completely drained, but I was more energetic, I woke up, made a beans and oil dish (fasoliya bilzait; the Lebanese style) just in case we needed that, prepared all my things and was ready to go. When Elegance started to feel fresh again; I started feeling drained out of energy and slammed on the sofa, hesitating to go or not. So it was not until three pm when we lazily hit the road to Peniscola (which I like to call Pepsi Cola, btw), but I’m really glad we did.

The place was a pure paradise on earth; I have been to many places in Spain and Europe as a matter of fact, but like this place!!!! I have never seen.
It’s a mountain peninsula with steep cliffs on one part that feels like the mountain is cut into the sea, and flat with powdery sand beaches on another part, it is renowned for its castle which was built by the Arabs, and visiting the castle is another experience. All around the curvy rounds that leads to the top of the castle is restaurants; café’s and gift shops with their special artisan pottery that speaks of a real talent. And as you go up these roads you can see different parts of the city that feels like earth surrounding water in the most beautiful landscape articulated by nature and man. Well, I can’t say more about it, you have to see it for yourselves.

We spent the rest of the day there and we did not get back home until midnight.

Monday Aug. 15th, 2005
The sports day
After spending a magical day in Peniscola, we had a very good night sleep and woke up fresh and dandy, and got ready for drafting which we had planned with our Valencian friends. It took us about an hour and a half from Valencia to reach Venta del Moro where we purchased the tickets and another 40 minutes drive to River Tamayo where the rafting was supposed to take place, and since we had three hours till our activity starts, we pick-nicked in a shady area (kashta), sunbathed and dipped into the freezing cold river.

There were two tunnels through which water drifts from one side of the river to another, so we challenged each other to go by the small tunnel with less drifting water and swim against the current to the side, so some of us held hands and helped each other to where the drifting was at it’s max and then each was on his own, some others would wait at the tongue of the river to pull out the ones who could not make it. The game was really exhilarating, and we all took turns.

Then we got confident enough to try and do the same only this time we would go on the other side of the tunnel and drift through the small tunnel, then out and swim against the current where some of us stood to shoot pictures and pull us out.
Well for me it was a bad experience, because the minute I dipped into water, my foot got stuck between the rocks and as I tried to free it I lost balance, one of the guys asked me to swim to the side before the current takes me, and when I did, I found myself drifting towards a broken tree with sharp edges coming out of the water between the two tunnels, the current was so strong that I could not avoid the crash, but fortunately the guy swam close to me where there was less current and pulled me away just before the collision. And with the pull we both ended up drifting in the big tunnel which we were not supposed to go near since the current was enormous there and no one was waiting at the top to pull us out, every one with their cameras were at the end of the small tunnel. I swear to God I almost drowned in there, but luckily I swam against the current and made it through and Elegance managed to take tiny photos of only my hat above the water.

The rafting though was another experience; some of us including me have never tried it before so we took the beginner’s trip. Our group consisted of three boats journeying through the drifts together, and each boat had it’s guide. The Spanish people are really crazy, it was not only rafting that we did; the guides would pretentiously collide us with rocks asking us to raw quickly with the current where we ended up hitting what ever object was on our way, at the beginning we did not know what we were doing, but after few collisions and us flying into air and into the waters, we realized that the guy was doing this on purpose. We started hitting him with our oars, throwing him into the water; the collision was not only with rocks, we did that with other boats as well.
In one incident the guide of another boat pulled Elegance to his boat then threw her into the water she held on to the side of the boat and drifted with it far from our boat. Our guide started cussing him and telling us that he is the rescuer who is going to save our queen. He swam to the other boat that was close to the boat that Elegance was holding to and held her life jacket trying to pull her up, the other guide would not hear of it, so he pulled her legs towards him, the scene was so funny, Elegance looked like a sardine in and out of the water between the two boats and her face exploded with anger, I wished I had a camera with me, but with this tripping of the boats in most of our journey, I don’t think my camera would have survived.

As we were putting our gears on, a guy took off his clothes completely and was naked to the public, and would you think that would escape my camera? 😉