Peniscola has a great beach, but people only come to look at the castle these days.

Peniscola today

Marigold Says...

 

Last trip through Spain we called at Penis in me Cola.  Tired, hot and thirsty, we settled on a very swish hotel lounge, even though we weren't actually booked in, we just walked in – as one does – and looked like we had just climbed out of the rather vulgar, ie yellow, Ferrari (badly) parked outside.  Am sitting in bar, having ordered G and T.  Guess what waiter said, lemon or lime madam.  I said put your penis away young man.  Just because we are in Penis Cola.  Anyway he did his fly up pretty quick before I splashed it with Cola.  There is actually a cocktail called Penis.  Will order one immediately.  You can have a 6 " glass or 10", um um matron.  G said ask for a couple of black olives.  

  No more nonsense, okay? Serious travel report. Think The Guardian features section, but with fewer spelling mistakes, hopefully.

Over the road is the castle where they filmed episodes of  Game of Thrones.  As an avid fan will discuss with friends who watch it and understand our excitement.  They are our very intelligent friends.

The  castle was originally built by the Knights of the Order of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, better known as the Knight Templars. Good thing too as Knights of the Order of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is a fair old mouthful. 

The main road running alongside the beach, is Avenida Papa Luna, taken from the name by which Pope, or more accurately perhaps, Antipope Benedict XIII was known in Spain and he set up his Papal HQ in the castle. This was at a time when there were two rival popes, an era known as the Great Schism and  he was very much an outlaw recognised as Pope only by the Crown of Aragon and Sicily. There had been a Pope in Rome and another one in Avignon already, but Papa Luna chose to live in the castle of Peniscola and if the Papal rooms that survive are any guide, obviously  lived a very ascetic life. 

From being the headquarters of a Pope, Peniscola is now a film set. El Cid was filmed here in 1961 and the same locations familiar to Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren are now home to the vast and varied cast of Game of Thrones. 

That's quite a varied history. Such a shame so many visitors are attracted to the City in the Sea after giggling childishly over the  way the name of the town reads in English. Yes, I plead guilty. Even the local garden centre, Penis Vert, starts me off. Honestly, Green Penis, fancy having that on your business card.

El Cid in 1961