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Castellon’s blue skies and “courageous potatoes”

The weekend brought me further North to Castellon region at the invitation to spend the weekend there of my friend Anamaria. As her parents live here, she came for a short visit. And so did I.

My trip consisted of visiting Castellon and Sagunt, yet I had the chance to have a small night walk through Valencia as well. I will talk about each part in a separate article, so here we go with Castellon first.

Castellon de la Plana, Castello de la Plana (Valencian) or simply Castellon is also in Comunidad Valenciana, just like Alicante and as well on the Mediterranean seaside.

The Romanian community here is big. Compared to Murcia where you barely notice their presence, in Castellon it seems like you’re in any other touristic place from Romania where occasionally you can hear other languages too.

I arrived in the evening and the first thing that stroked me – literary – was the strong wind. In fact throughout the entire weekend it was quite windy and even if the sun was quite strong for December, the wind made the air quite cold. And then the Park Ribalta with its beautiful, relaxing atmosphere.

During the night it was more likely to feel the atmosphere of the Christmas as the lights were on. During the day it felt that the city had its regular daily life course of a weekend. With people shopping, walking out with children, having little festivities and small markets of oranges it looked like Christmas was somewhere far distant.

Now let’s get to the sightseeing part. Unlike anyone would be expecting from its name, Castellon has no castle. The historic references mention the connection with the Iberian town of Cartalias, Castalias or Castalium from where the name eventually changed. Even so, there were walls that could led to the idea of the castle as we imagine it.

With a history of centuries of crossing from Moorish Kingdom to the Spanish ones, Castellon was funded eventually in 1252 when they moved the town from the mountains, down on the plain. With time it got the right to defend itself with walls and towers but despite these the city passed under various occupations, many times. In the 19th century the city walls were taken down and it started to grow rapidly in wideness.

The main attractions, all situated in the old centre, are:

  • the Concatetral de Santa Maria in a Gothic style (13th Century)

  • the Ajuntament or the city hall in a Tuscan-style façade with an arch colonnade just outside it (18th Century)

  • the bell tower El Fadri (15th Century)

  • the Lllotja del Canem or the exchange market (17th Century)

The streets in the old side keep the narrow, paved look all the medieval towns have, with shops of all kind.

Close to Castellon, perhaps a neighbourhood, perhaps a pedania, there is El Grao de Castellon, a settlement at the seaside. The shore offers a quite large port for small boats, the casino and plenty of small bars and restaurants. The houses are colourful painted and offer that relaxation mood.

I sat down at a terrace facing the harbour to enjoy a bit the sun and eat something. I’ve chosen “patatas bravas” or “courageous potatoes” as I call them: big pieces of potatoes fried in oil and served with tomato and other types of sauces, depending on the area.

Not very far from the harbour there are the beaches and the Planetarium. I couldn’t help it not going to the seaside and enjoy a bit the feeling of the sand and the salty air.

Ready for the next part? Sagunt adventures tomorrow!

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