Novio a la vista (1954).

Let’s go to the beach and find a boyfriend! ¡Vamos a la playa para encontrarnos un novio!

This is the plot of the 1954 Spanish film Novio a la vista (Boyfriend in Sight), directed by Luis García Berlanga. Este es el argumento de la película española de 1954 Novio a la vista, dirigido por Luis García Berlanga. 

It’s Spain in 1918. Enrique (Jorge Vico) has no idea about history or geography. His family is making him prepare all summer long for the make-up exams in September. Loli (Josette Arno) is on holiday with her family. Her family has planned the holiday in Lindamar so she can find her a husband. Loli’s mother wants her to fall for the older engineer with money, but Loli, of course, meets Enrique and falls for him. Es España en el año 1918. Enrique (Jorge Vico) no tiene ni idea de historia ni geografía. Su familia está haciéndole preparar los examenes de recuperación en septiember durante todo el verano. Loli (Josette Arno) está de vacaciones con su familia. Su familia ha planificado las vacaciones en Lindamar para que pueda encontrar un marido. La madre de Loli quiere que se enamore del ingeniero mayor con dinero, pero desde luego, Loli conoce a Enrique y se enamora de él. 

While it is a commentary on Spanish norms, the film falls flat. It moves slowly, and I hate to admit that I was pretty bored by it. The actors seemed much older than 15 (though they were in their late teens), and I found it hard to enter their world. It isn’t one of Berlanga’s most well-known or received films, especially to come right after Bienvenido Mister MarshallAunque sea un comentario de los costumbres españoles del tiempo, la película no es una de las mejores de Berlanga. Es lenta, y me da vergüenza decirlo, pero me aburró bastante. Los actores parecían más mayores que 15 años (aunque eran en los últimos años de adolescencia. Me resultaba difícil entrar su mundo. No es una de las mejores conocidas de Berlanga, ni recibió buenas criticas, especialmente para venir después de Bienvenido Mister Marshall.

It was filmed at the Hotel Voramar in Benicàssim, Castellón (Comunitat Valenciana). It’s based on a story by Edgar Neville, who wrote the script with Berlanga, Juan Antonio Bardem and José Luis Colina. Fue rodada en el Hotel Voramar en Benicàssim, Castellón (Comunitat Valenciana). La base de la historia es de una idea de Edgar Neville, quien escribió en guión con Berlanga, Juan Antonio Bardem y José Luis Colina. 

Rating: C

Desert de les Palmes.

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Located near the popular tourist destination Benicàssim, the Desert de les Palmes (Desierto de las Palmas in Spanish) is a delightful surprise. A close friend took me there recently, and I wish it hadn’t been so hot so I could’ve taken advantage of the incredible hiking opportunties there. Situado a lado del destino turístico popular Benicàssim, el Desierto de los Palmas (Desert de les Palmes en valenciano) es una joya llena de sorpresas. Un amigo cercano me llevó allí. Ojalá no hiciera tanto calor para poder aprovechar las oportunidades increíbles de senderismo allí. 

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It has been a Natural Park since 1989. In 1985 and 1992 it unfortunately experienced two wildfires. There are some interesting ruins of a monastery near a beautiful lookout and a restaurant, where my friend and I had lunch with amazing views of the Palmes and Benicàssim below. Ha sido un Parque Natural desde 1989. En los años 1985 y 1992, lamentable sufrió dos incendios grandes. Hay unas ruinas interesantes de un monasterio cerca de un mirador bonito y un restaurante, donde mi amigo y yo comemos con las vistas impresionantes de las Palmas y Benicàssim. 

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The highest peak is Bartolo with 729 metres (2391 feet). The mountain range is 18.8 km (11.7 miles) long. The Prime Meridan crosses the park in the middle and on clear days, the Islas Columbretes can be seen. La pica más alta es Bartolo con 729 metros. Los montes tienen una extensión de 18,8 kilometros y el primer meridiano cruce el parque casí por el medio. En días claras, se puede ver las Islas Columbretes. 

It’s a place I would love to explore more. I will probably have a chance in September. Es un sitio me encantaría explorar aún más. Creo que tendré la oportunidad en septiembre. 

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Castellón, that other Valencian province.

Although the Comunitat Valenciana has three provinces, it’s usually the provinces of Valencia and Alicante that get all the attention. Valencia is the capital and third largest city in the Iberian Peninsula and  it’s the province that has Bunyol, home of the famous Tomatina festival, among other great places. Alicante is home to Benidorm, which is trying to outdo Las Vegas as being the most artificial place on the planet, home to a lot of palm trees and a Christian versus Moors festival. At a guess, I’d say Alicante has more British people than Great Britain. Castellón is just one of the two random provinces of the Mediterranean that seperate Valencia and Barcelona (Tarragona is the other). Castellón is also the province where I worked 10 months in during 2010-2011 while I lived in Valencia (the village was actually closer to Valencia capital than Castellón capital.)

Castellón has a lot of unspoiled beauty (and an infamous airport that may never be used, but that’s neither hear nor there.) It has a lot of beautiful beaches, and it is also home to some beautiful mountains. Like Valencia, it has 300 days of sun a year but is a lot less touristy. While the capital city is nothing to write home about, the rest of the province makes a great holiday destination.

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Peñíscola

  Peñíscola

Peñíscola reminds me of a San Sebastián-Donostia, only smaller and even more quaint and precious. It even has its own film festival. Located almost in Catalunya, Peñíscola is so charming and beautiful that various films, including El Cid, have been filmed here. Although it is considered one of the most beautiful “pueblos” (villages) in  Spain with a population of 8000 people, it’s technically a city thanks to Felipe V in the War of Spanish Succession. During the time of two popes, the Pope Benedict XIII (Papa de Luna) called the castle in Peñíscola his home. Although I was only here once on an excursion with my school, Peñíscola remains one of my favourite pueblos in all of Spain.

Morella

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Morella is one of the hardest to reach villages I have ever been to, but I was not about to leave Comunitat Valenciana without visiting this medieval jewel. I had to wake up super early to take the Cercanías train to Castellón and then catch an early bus to Morella that took about two hours. It went through some of the most rural landscapes of País Valencia.  The village (which has less than 3000 people living there) is built into a hill with a castle on the top and conserves its medieval streets and feel. Valenciano is definitely the language of the streets here, but they don’t mind if you speak Spanish. (I tried my valenciano, of course!) Every six years, they celebrate a Sexenni festival. Last celebrated in 2012, these festivals originally began to celebrate the fact that a statute of the Virgin Mary drove the black plague from the village.

Segorbe

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Segorbe is a nice little village of 9000 people located between Valencia capital and Teruel, and I highly recommend stopping here along the way. There isn’t a lot to see, but there are some beautiful views if you’re wanting to climb. If you’re going by bus, however, I strongly urge you to ask the bus driver just where to catch the bus back to Valencia to avoid any confusion. I speak from experience after having unexpectedly to stay the night there because everyone in the town told me a different story about where to catch the bus to Valencia! I still think it’s a nice little village.

Coves de Sant Josep

Although La Vall d’Uixò seems like a sleepy little place, the small city does feature something incredible:  The Saint Joseph Caves! These caves feature a navegable river around 5 km long. The Caves are some of the coolest I’ve seen, and I grew up visiting Mammoth Cave. The Coves de Sant Josep are definitely not as big, but there are worth a visit.

Villareal, the football (soccer) club that could

Villareal is a small city of 50,000 people that is like so many Spanish cities of its size. Industrial and not much to write home about. However, they do have one thing they can boast about. Their football team. In 1998, this small football club made its way to La Liga, the big boys, and found themselves playing against teams like the putrid, horrible Real Madrid and the amazing, awesome and fantastic Barcelona FC and València. (What? I’m not bias! Really!) Although they’ve made a few return visits to Second Division, they always find their way back to Primera División, where I think they belong. They’ve even made it to Champions a few times. I got the chance to visit their stadium, El Madrigal, to see them defeat Malaga. Amunt Vila-real!

Benicàssim (Yet to be truly discovered)

Benicàssim is a coastal village that attracts many Spanish tourists due to its beaches and music festivals. It’s located just 13 kilometres (7 miles) from the Castellón capital. It offers something for everyone, from hiking and biking trails to the beautiful beaches. I hope to visit soon.

Vilafamés

25 kilometres (15 miles) from Castellón de la Plana, Vilafamés is another medieval mountain village with beautiful buildings, ermitas and a castle. It doesn’t have quite the fame as Morella, but it looks amazingly beautiful, and I’m going to have to make a visit there on my next trip to Castellón. As much as I try, there are just too many beautiful places in every part of Spain to be able to visit them all. That doesn’t stop me from trying!