Day 4 - Benicassim or Bust
Benicassim Travel Blog› entry 8 of 15 › view all entries
We wake up on day 4, get washed and pack up our stuff. Nick offers to drive as I'm feeling rough (nothing to do with the drink consumed last night - I blame lack of a propper night's sleep) and we head into the centre of town to grab some breakfast. We all opt for omlettes, either plain, cheese, ham or cheese and ham (cheese and ham... haven't had that before this holiday). The food's not bad, we finish up and hit the road. Next stop, Spain.
We head along the coast on the A9, down through Perpignan, up through the hills and mountains towards the border. As with our passage into France, we are once again shocked to be waved through without being asked to produce our passports. If anyone from the Daily Mail is reading this, you may have been right all along (we actually you haven't but you'll have to wait until you read day 14 to find that out).
Driving in Spain is a lot like driving in France except the speed limits are lower and the petrol costs less. It's also a bit surreal on occasion when you suddenly realise that you are driving your car that a week ago was trundling around the centre of Sunderland is now driving in the Costa Brava and will be passing Salou later today.
The drive is pretty uneventful until we reach the outskirts of Barcelona. I've never been to Barcelona, but I have heard it's quite a picturesque city, but from the road, it appears to be an industrial dump with its skyline dominated my large ugly production/refining plants with large poluting chimneys. But many cities have industrial zones on their outskirts, so I cannot judge it on that merrit alone. I can however judge the roads that pass by the Catalan city. They are just crazy. Large lorrys travel at 70mph and switch from one lane to the next like it's going out of fashion. Their stability at those speeds was made worse with strong cross winds to dangerous levels. It got to the point where Nick had my blessing to put his big heavy lead foot onto the accerator and not stop until we were out of the mayhem. Even the 90+mph speeds that we were doing did not phase me as we hurtled past the wobbly wagons. After around 15 mins the traffic subsided and it was back to normal cruising speed toward Benicassim.
We make good time and its not long before we pass the turnings for Salou and the Port Advenure theme park, and decide to stop at the services for a fill-up... water for us, petrol for the car. On leaving the service station shop, me and Nick are approached by two young females who asked if we speak english. By their accents they sound like they are from Eastern Europe. They ask if we have room in our car to give them a lift to Alicante as their car has broken down. We can see a car a few rows away with the bonnet up and some largish men looking at the engine. We politely say we haven't as they start to get worried as the notice Kerry and Anna appear behind us and we hop into our car and head to the garage for petrol (NB: A good 35 cents cheaper than France). If they were worried about approaching us when they saw the girls, how whould their large "friends" have reacted if we had said "hop in baby"?
Back on the road we finally reach our turn off. We exit via the toll booths and turn onto the local roads. Suddenly all signs for Benicassim are gone. We have no idea where to head so we start to drive arround a sea-side resort that we think could be Benicassim. Its seems very nice (and posh... there were 5 star hotels) but not like it would host a festival. It turns out that we have been driving around Oropesa del Mar for the last 45 minutes. So we leave the town and spot a signpost for Benicassim. We follow the road and turn off at the next junction. This takes us down a steep winding road towards the sea. After what seems like an eternity, we finally round a corner and see Benicassim in all it's glory in front of us.
Our jubilation, however, was short lived. Where on earth was the campsite? Once again the lack of signposts began to frustrate us. For the next 3 HOURS we drive around the whole of Benicassim, search in vain for the elusive Bonet campsite. It all starts to get a bit much, so we decide that calling at the supermarket for our supplies would be the best option. Once in there we spot some festival types and ask them if they knew where Bonet was. Result! It turns out to be just along the road. We hurridly gather up our shopping, pile it on top of the girls in the back of the car and set off to find it.
Pulling up to the entrance of the campsite in the car we think our jouney is finally at an end - WRONG! The very rude security guard can only grunt the words "No coche" before moving a iron railing in the way to stop us from entering the campsite. This forces us to rejoin a major road and we have to travel another 5 miles back to Benicassim's main street. As we pull up on the main street, I jump out of the car and ask a policeman where to park. He's not very helpful but I say thank you anyway and go to rejoin the others. By this time Nick had pulled into the town centre car park which was blocked off by bollards, hence my asking the policemen where abouts to park. We decide to cut our losses and park here. We load ourselves up with tents and head off to the campsite.
At the campsite we get our wristband from the main desk and start to look for somewhere to pitch up. This becomes a prolem as there is nowhere to pitch a tent. We start to parade up and down the walkways, but there is simply no room. We ask a security guard if he knows if there is any room to which he replies that there is none. Then when asked if the other campsites (Camp Fib and Mercat) were open, he tells us that they wouldn't be open until later in the week.
This is a disater. We have travelled 1500 miles and we have nowhere to camp. Fortuately, by luck, we stumble across a small space next to the shower block. It's not big enough for the large tent but if we position correctly we can fit the two small tents. Within minutes our tents are erected. Not that we can relax just yet. We still have the mountains of stuff back at the car to bring to the campsite.
Sometime later we can finally relax. We break open the beer and apple schnapps and have a good old drink. After a beverage or two, Nick finds that he has ran out of cigarettes. This calls for a wander into town. En route we pass three naked english guys walking back to Bonet campsite. Very surreal at 3 in the morning. They did get a compliment from Nick. When I say compliment, I mean he said "nice length" as we passed by. We reach the main street but everywhere is closed (well it was 3 in the morning after all). We bump into some spanish girls as I get directions, in spanish, to a back street bar where we can buy the cigarettes from a vending machine to quench Nick's nicotine craving.
Loaded with cancer-sticks we head back to the campsite for more drink. Unfortuately my memory of what happened next is hazy as the strains of the day and the alcohol take hold. I fall asleep while drinking in my chair. Nick assures me I was trying to stay awake and proving it by still drinking with my eye shut, but as I say, it's all a bit of a blur.