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Gallavanting in Gandia..

by Loraine Gostling

My daughter and I decided that we should take a trip once a week, to places we have never visited before. So, last week we read all about the Palau Ducal in Gandia and thought… yes, that will do for us, not far away, straight along the AP7 and within half an hour we would be there to enjoy a few hours of history and culture.

You would think….but it was, to say the least, an eventful afternoon!

We knew that we could not go in until 4pm on that day, so we left ourselves plenty of time for the journey, filled up with petrol, gave the windscreen a quick clean, loaded up with enough nibbles for the 27 minute journey and went on our merry way.

However, what I did not realise by looking at the map was that you cannot actually park near the palace and so putting the address in was NOT a good idea! We arrived in Gandia within 30 minutes (easy!) but “Ms Annoying Voice” on GPS maps seemingly could not count how many exits there were on any given roundabout and we were sent back and forth along the same roads for another 45 minutes or so. It also did not help that I have never been able to tell my left from my right, despite a number of tricks that my kids have tried to teach me for 30 years… and so the befuddled GPS coupled with my affliction of being “Directionally Challenged”, left us dizzy.

Not THAT left… your other left!!

So, I shut up the annoying voice and tried map reading, after having conceded that she really did not know where this palace was. I am also useless at map reading unless I have the map always going in the direction I am travelling in, and so my phone was constantly turning from horizontal to vertical and after 15 minutes of that I just wanted a large beer and a taxi and to chuck the phone in the nearest bin!

But gaining my composure, I set off again, promising my daughter a bag of chips and a bottle of Desperado if ever I could find a parking spot.

However, the parking place was to find us, as no sooner had I thought of said refreshments, a red light appeared on my dashboard which flashed angrily “STOP” !

So stop I did… in a picturesque spot next to the rubbish bins, whereupon I glanced at the temperature gage which was blinking “Scorchio”.

Well, I am about as good at solving car engine problems as I am differentiating left and right but I ramped up the hazard lights, donned mask and gloves and when the engine stopped hissing at me, I gingerly clicked the bonnet catch, whereupon, a rain cloud appeared from nowhere.

Ever the optimist, I thought that was handy for cooling down the hot metal .. this was my first bit of luck that day! With soggy gloves and puddle filled sandals, I sqidged my way to the front of the car, opened the bonnet and the cap on the wee bottle thing where I saw my mate pour some agua in days gone by. The cap was eager to come off and like an erupting volcano, a load of brown sludge burst forth for what seemed like eternity.

No, that’s not me… I would never wear red lipstick with boots to match!

Having never been a good Brownie or Girl Guide, the water bottle in the boot had about half a cup left in it but maybe that would get us as far as a shop. Optimism paid off and the annoying voice on the GPS told us there was a Mercadona nearby. We made it there!

Deciding at this point, that we deserved a coffee break and wanting to let the car cool down more, we set off on foot where our wishes were granted by a little cafe on the edge of a park, where we were serenaded by a local freelance singer… a bare-chested man of dubious character who belted out one line of a song every so often. The half empty bottle of equally dubious liquid probably accounted for the lack of complete lyrics!

Having used our supply of masks to stuff in our ears, we decided we would explore a little and try to find the palace on foot. With my phone now almost out of charge, (bearing in mind that I may still have to call Thunderbirds to rescue us and the fever infested Peugeot) I managed to get a quick look at the map and decided that would be a piece of cake… go through park, turn right by the vocal “Mario Lanza”, turn left, bear right and there it would be… 9 minutes walk. Simples!

You would think eh? But no, this really was not our day and time was running out. We had visualised taking loads of photos of Spanish history, architecture and culture but all we had managed so far was a snap of Hogwart’s Express in a previous life!

Then, by some strike of fate, we found ourselves in a little square which housed the old church and lo-and-behold, a non verbal, non annoying old fashioned map from which we could see, very clearly, that the palace SHOULD be just around the corner!

No….That isn’t me either

Within 2 minutes, with a quick look in a very interesting shop full of my favourite bird ( no not KFC!) ……..all guarded by an army of pink soldiers…………….

Ducks galore!

There it was!!!

The link below will take you another page ( if you still have the will to live and read more). Karlee’s photos will show you around the palace and give you some serious information about it.

In the meantime, we have to say that, just outside the main gate there is an amazing tiny coffee shop. Open the door and the aroma is every caffeine addict’s dream. Two large coffees and two big cookies for little more than a cup of Airport Costa!

Our journey through the palace was well worth the kerfuffles of the day, although my daughter did have a bit of a problem balancing the the “kit”, comprising of mask, glasses, hat, phone camera and the earphones.. one of which would land on the floor every couple of minutes!

What was NOT worth it was the parking ticket I had smiling at me when I got back to the car but at least she got us home without exploding. Small mercies always welcome!

That actually does look a little more like me! 🙄

And now the serious information about this beautiful building. Click the photo below.

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