Ghost towns

Whilst we are here we are touring around on our bikes and trying to work out which areas are which. We have looked at adverts for flats to rent in estate agent windows and also in the local newspapers and have seen various areas advertised and now have a rough idea of the prices for the areas, but we also wanted to be able to see the areas.

Yesterday we went for a cycle down the coast about 10-12 miles, we are staying in a village to the south of Valencia called Pinedo which is just inside a national park. The Park is there because there is a large freshwater lake and the land around this lake is used to grow rice, this agriculture and the sand dunes are what the park is protecting.

The cycle south was lovely, we were curious to see what two of the villages / towns were like at the other end of the park (which is about 12 miles long). The village we are in is very nice - but it has one thing that spoils it - the port of Valencia which is to the north. The port spoils the view in a few ways - the lights are always on and this mucks up the sight of the stars at night, if you look to the north the cranes of the port are always there and if you look to the south in the distance on the water you can normally see a few boats queueing to get into the port (huge cargo boats that must be about 0.5 km long).

We were interested in seeing if the villages further south were that bit nicer without the proximity of the port.

The cycle was really nice, through the sand dunes and on a newly built path that was part of the improvements to Valencia that were made for the Americas Cup this year. Eventually we reached the first village, El Saler, this was nice but quite a way from the sea - then we saw lots of huge apartment blocks, with the sand dunes around them. The strange thing was there was no one there, this was before the siesta so there was no reason for it to be so quiet. The setting of these tower blocks was actually in the sand dunes and there was lots of trees between each block so the lack of noise and people seemed quite appropriate.

We cycled on, at one point we stopped to put on sun cream and watched a team of park rangers who were being taught how to use a Segway which I thought was really interesting, but most of the cycling was through the dunes and park land. We then arrived at El Perellonet and then the park evaporated to be replaced by lots of tower blocks and the odd set of smaller houses.

El Perellonet was one of the places we had seen adverts for and were interested finding out more about - it sounded nice in the national park and also not too far from Valencia. What we found was not what we had expected!

The tower blocks and other houses were all deserted - there was no one there. We had heard that people in Valencia had places to go to at the weekends but did not expect them to be on this scale. There was block after block after block and then some smaller terraced houses and more blocks - all within about 150 meters from the all seemed to be empty. We must have cycled 3 miles along this area near the beach and all of it was covered in property, but we only saw about 30 people!

The shame is we took no pictures because I think it would have explained it better than I can with words. We are very glad we went though as it would be awful to live in one of these villages in the winter or maybe even just in the middle of the week. The next time we are likely to visit El Perrellonet will be in May and I am sure it will look a lot different then!