There are a few drops of rain on the windscreen as we drive through the darkening landscape but it doesn’t amount to anything that could be called rain. When we arrive in Chulilla around 11pm, the air is still really hot. The next day starts about as hot as others have been at mid-day. Neither of us have ever experienced this kind of heat. There is a really hot wind that makes everything inside our van hot to the touch. The metal sink feels like it’s had the sun shining on it even though it’s been in the shade. Touching the glass of the oven door feels so hot that I check whether we inadvertently left the gas on! One local woman says it’s reached 44 degrees in the shade! It really is like living in a sauna. Lucky for us that we don’t have to work (we see others who carry on with their hard physical work despite the heat!), so we can park up in a quiet spot by the river and alternate lying in the shade and reading with submerging ourselves in the fast-flowing, freezing cold water.
The next day, temperatures have come back down to a pleasant 25-30 degrees, and we go on a walk in the beautiful gorge below Chulilla, walking along the river until the little lake called Charco Azul. The water is very cold and clear. We take a refreshing swim and head back.
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Finding a place to stay in or near big cities is always difficult, and sometimes we end up going to an official camping place, mainly to ensure the safety of Emma. When we come to Valencia, we find Valencia Camperpark, which has everything you hope to get from a place like this – internet, washing machine, nice hot showers and a quiet place to stay. In addition to that, they have a pristine outdoor swimming pool, which is a blessing, as temperatures are around 35 degrees now!
The crew is incredibly friendly and everyone is very happy to work there. The campsite is conveniently reached from the motorway and access to the city is easy via the metro. We end up staying three nights instead of one. Eugenio, the owner of the campsite, passionately loves Valencia and tells us so many things to see and do there, that we could easily have stayed a month. It is indeed a beautiful city, which we explore on our bikes for two days, and we sample the local cuisine too in a restaurant, called Di Fredo, recommended by Eugenio. Frank lies on the floor of the main post office to take a picture of its domed ceiling and nearly gets clobbered by the security guard, and on one of the main squares, we see an amazing mosaic made of seeds and blossoms. The old city centre is large enough to get thoroughly lost in all these little streets with cafés and cobble stones. But we feel drawn to smaller places up in the hills, so once we have done all our washing and had a good stint on the internet, one evening we say good bye to Eugenio, Rocio, Iris and Kike and set off towards Chulilla.
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