Day 127 – Benicassim to Saldes

A windy day took us from Valencia to the briefly independent state of Catalonia, recognised as such by the Republic of North Korea and the Scottish Government. With the British view split on the matter, as it seems to be on many important matters right now, we opted for the English stance. Catalonia is not a separate state – so no Catalonia flag on our van. That vital issue resolved, we pulled into a service station to buy a 5kg sack of Valencia oranges for 5 Euros from the back of a Romanian van. The fruit had probably come from the grove just outside the service area – it is orange harvest time.

As we approached the disputed international border, I noted more and more Spanish flags outside people’s homes, and tied to railings on balconies, however, once in Catalonia, I only saw one Spanish flag; all the others, and there were a great many, were Catalonia flags – with or without the star.

I note in the news that the deposed Catalonia Government in voluntary exile have pulled a blinder: extradition hearings and appeals will take up to three months, with elections called for December 21 (my birthday) it would look very bad if the Spanish Government were to lock up freshly elected Catalonia Goverment leaders immediately after their triumphant voluntary return to Barcelona on December 22. I’ll be looking on with interest from another European region with independence on its mind – Sicily.

Some time ago, in Lithuania, Ben noticed a wind sock, and questioned what it was for. I explained that pilots landing at the airfield we were passing could judge the direction and speed of the wind. A few days later, on a motorway bridge in Poland, Ben saw another wind sock, and remarked, “That’s so aeroplanes can land” in typical Ben speech style. I explained that that wind sock had a different purpose – to warn drivers of strong winds which might affect their driving. Jack, being in a very contrary mood said, in typical Jack speech, “I don’t like it wind sock!” Every time since then, whenever we have seen a wind sock we have ribbed Jack, “Look away Jack, you don’t like it wind sock!” He takes it in good humour. Today we saw dozens of them, and we were continually battered by the strong winds. Somewhat more alarming, so was a Moroccan coach as it overtook us.

We didn’t stop in Barcelona, with such political turmoil and a police force, with deposed police chiefs, under opposed direct control from Madrid, we didn’t feel it was a place for us. Instead we fled for refuge in the mountains to the north. At 1400 metres, this is our highest camp so far. A week ago we were sweltering in 30 degree heat, tomorrow night the temperature here is forecast to drop to -5C!

Staying just 2 nights we decided to just use the Safari room – the wind out awning and three side panels. With our luggage piled up to one side there’s just enough room for a table, two chairs, and a high bench for the boys. The lighting we have for it is excellent. We dined on frankfurters, pasta and potato salad.

The safari room panels peg out well, with four pegs on each panel, plus a couple of tensioning bungees to peg down, and two pegs in each awning leg. Coincidentally, there has been some discussion on the VW camper forum about pegging out awnings with side panels, and whether or not it is necessary to guy down the awning if side panels are used. I haven’t guyed down, and while calm earlier, it’s now blowing a gale outside. I will sleep with trepidation.

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