2017-07-23 Sant Carles Marina, Sant Carles de la Rapita, Spain

Today we decide to take a pleasant Sunday drive and visit some of the nearby towns
Our first stop is the fortified seaside town of Peniscola, south of Sant Carles de la Rapita
Ric decides to drive up the narrow alleyways to a car park closer to the castle
We invited our new friend Ricci whom we met at the marina to join us for the outing today
The white vehicle bottom left is ours, well parked Ric!!
We see fabulous views over the busy beach beside the castle as we climb to the highest point
On our way up we visit the church with its Cistercian austerity
The interior of the church which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Three Kings
As we climb higher the views become more spectacular
Looking south over the port
The Peniscola Castle and old town are built on a rocky outcrop with water on either side and joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land

The gardens below overlook the sea
The castle also known as Papa Luna’s Castle (Pope Benedict X111) was built between 1294 and 1307. The Pope made the castle his pontifical seat in 1411
Papa Luna lived out the final years of his life here at Peniscola and his grave is under a flagstone that can be seen in the church
Leaving the wonderful Peniscola Castle we pass the crowds on the beach enjoying the sun and water on another hot and humid day
We next head north west to the town of Morella passing some magnificent terrain on the way
In the far distance the spectacular town and hill top castle of Morella can be seen
We approach the town of Morella which is an ancient walled city located on a hill-top
We park the car and on foot we decide to explore the walled city and castle
The castle dates back to around 1084 when it was rebuilt
One of the gates to the old walled city
The ancient bell tower of Morella
Many of the old buildings are well restored in the old town
The quaint narrow cobbled streets of Morella are popular with the many tourists that visit the town
The houses with the suspended balconies are typical of this area
We purchase tickets to continue up to the castle from here
As we walk higher the view over the town and beyond is fabulous
We continue on determined to reach the top
Interesting facts
A statue of the infamous gentleman, Ramon Cabrera who was born in 1806 and was the commander-in-chief of the Carlist forces
The massive gates to the castle
Overlooking the town below from the castle walls
Continuing higher, we see the top of the castle
An impressive piece of weaponry!
A bull fighting ring below!
We still have higher to climb
We overlook the magnificent Santa María la Mayor Archpriestal Church below
Not far to go now!!
Finally at the top to enjoy the magnificent view in all directions
While on top of the castle we heard quite a lot of loud thunder
As we make our way back down, the clouds seem to look more threatening too
We pass the infamous well photographed statue once again
On our way down from the castle we stop and enter the Convent de Sant Frances where many musical concerts are held
The gardens of the convent were quite lovely
Unfortunately we missed photographing the facade of the magnificent Santa María la Mayor Archpriestal Church so this one was poached from the internet!!
We quickly make our way back to the main street of Morella as a few raindrops start to fall
Once we were safely sitting undercover at a table in a small cafe in the main street we experienced a massive storm. Torrents of rain and and also hail fell for almost 30 minutes. The street almost turned into river!!! The cafe owners were pleased with the extra business they got from the unexpected storm!
Once we were back in the car and underway heading back to Sant Carles de la Rapita, the sky cleared and the sun came out again
Again we pass the cement factory on our way back to the boat
In the evening Ricci, Ric and I take a walk into town passing the crowds of people enjoying the town’s festivities
The streets are lined with families waiting for the procession to arrive
The first float in the procession arrives and makes it’s way down the street towards the water
We continue on to the Tapasanta Restaurant which someone at the marina said was good
We order some tempura seafood with vegetables and shrimps with a cream sauce
…….and a paella to share
The three of us shared a bottle of wine
I couldn’t help taking a photograph through the window of these gorgeous well behaved twin girls sitting with their proud parents outside the restaurant 

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