Monday, April 3, 2017

A birthday weekend

Last year we celebrated Margaret's birthday by going to Majorca for 10 days, the year before we were in Rome for 10 days. This year we went to a hotel 20 minutes down the coast at Peñiscola for the weekend and it was superb!

However, the celebrations started on the Thursday on our way down to Vinaròs when we stopped by Les Moles just outside Ulldecona for lunch. A superb way to start.

On Saturday lunchtime we checked into the Gran Hotel.

Our room was very comfortable with not 1 double bed but 2.

I must admit I have become resigned to the fact that if you go to an upmarket hotel then you have to pay upmarket prices as that is how they make their money but this place didn't follow that way of thinking. We had a toasted sandwich and a beer or glass of wine for lunch, 4€ each, very reasonable.

After lunch we walked along the promenade.

It was Saturday afternoon and the place was very quiet.

On the way along we stopped at a quiet bar for a coffee...

...and a bit further along we had an ice cream.

All the time we were getting nearer to the castle...

...and then we walked back to the hotel.

Evening meal was very good but I have always found the sweet course dissappointing in so many restaurants and hotels, it would be sufficient but not necessarily very exciting.

However, in this hotel it was exciting! I just had to try a variety of what was on offer. 

Incidentally, the house red wine, a Rioja, cost €6.25 a bottle. Good value.

The following morning, Sunday, was the actual day of Margaret's birthday. 

We had booked to go on a bird spotting trip and so we all met 
at 9:30 a.m.

We were taken in the tourist train along the sea front and then behind the rows of hotels to the grassland.

The area of wetland is a nature reserve and is visited by migrating birds throughout the year... well as having indigenous species.

The only problem with birds is that they rarely stand still long enough for a photo so here are a couple of ducks.

Some people had brought bread rolls with them, presumably from the buffet breakfast, and fed the birds and fish.

We walked quite a long way along the wooden pathway that had been constructed to cross the wetland...

...and ended up in the park area of the town with a wide expanse of water which was home to all sorts of wildlife... well as the numerous pigeons and seagulls.

It was then time for a coffee and we saw the end of a cycle race...

...which was finishing nearby.

The tourist train arrived...

...and took us to a viewpoint near the top of a hill where you could overlook the entire coastline.

Then it was back on board for the return trip to the hotel.

What an interesting morning that had been.

Back at the hotel we treated ourselves to the toasted sandwiches and beers...

...and as special birthday treat Margaret had a fresh pineapple juice. We spent that afternoon in the spa - no photos as I didn't take my waterproof camera - but we had a great time in the pool with waterfall massage, the jacuzzis and the Finnish and Turkish saunas.

For evening meal I chose one of my favourite red wines, Ribera del Duero, which cost €7.50 a bottle. Again, good value.

Once again the food was good and the sweet course superb.

On Monday morning we had another session in the spa then checked out. On the way back we stopped off for lunch at McDonald's. You must have noticed how so many children are taken there on their birthdays so I took Margaret! A great weekend of celebration.

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