Benquerenca – Vila Velha de Rodao
Jenny kindly lent me her MY-FI to log on and get emails and a little FB fix before they left this morning. Had to stop pretty short when they left so sorry if I was talking and then just disappeared!
Made a tortilla out of last nights veggy leftovers – yummy brekky and snack for later!
The bus decided to spring us another little problem in the form of a leak in the garage – a 12mm fitting on a curved pipe has come loose and is peeing water everywhere! Can’t shut it off so just had to try and move everything around and head for Castilo Branco to find a DIY store to get bits to fix it. Found a BricoMarche on the outskirts – no fittings – bought glue!
Next step Lidl and then find an aire for Mardi Gras eve!
Settled for Vila Velha de Rodao at Cais Fluvial – a lovely spot on the River Tagus with a gorge formation which is apparently quite famous!
We arrived at 5.30 and within the hour we were joined by another 7 campers.
We took a walk along the river and back up into the town. Nick fixed the leak, I made a Chicken dinner for 3 and an early night was had by all!
Vila Velha de Rodao – Batalha
Drizzle and mist this morning – can only see the first level of houses on the hill!
Took Bert for a walk along the River Tagus before brekky.
We were thinking of checking out local Mardi Gras celebrations, only to find they had all happened at the weekend! Everything is closed today for the public holiday however, and to be honest the weather isn’t conducive to visiting anything much – fog, rain and blowing a hooley! We decide that in weather like this the only thing to do is head to Nazare – right across the other side on the coast – where some amazing 100ft waves can be seen when conditions are right. Checked out a few aires nearby, and plumped to stay at Batalha… nice and close to Nazare and with a monastery to visit.
The monastery is among the most visited sites in Portugal – and you can see why!
Despite the weather it really was quite stunning and we don’t think the pictures do it justice!
Bert wasn’t allowed inside, so he relieved himself on every pillar, post and tree he could find around the square!
The aire was in the car park of the sports stadium – with loos and once again, free services. Although Portugal has fewer aires than Spain, and France, the services are almost always free (unlike France where most are token/coin operated).
We decided to bed down here and go on to Nazare in the morning and check out the waves… plenty of time tonight then to tuck into some local vino tinto – Terra de Selmes (Vinho regionale Alentejano) 13.5%, quite delicious and less than E1 a litre – don’t mind if we do!
Batalha – Nazare – Foz do Arelho
More pissing rain! Off we go then….
Reached Nazare, and went 3 or 4 times around the same roundabout trying to decipher a road sign which appeared to prohibit motor caravans!
Eventually decided we weren’t prohibited but just couldn’t stop in the listed roads!
We headed up the hill and found the bullring – the cobbled roads got smaller, and smaller, and the buildings closer and closer together – and maybe those roadsigns WERE for us after all!
So we headed back down the hill to the seafront. Found a carpark with other vans in, and proceeded to try and back our bus into the front of another van!
Barkworthy Dad quote of the day “Don’t let me reverse without you getting out, okay? – I need you to get out!”. Hmmmm okay, but could you just stop the bus first?
We donned wets and took a walk along the front – got blown to bits and soaked through.
The vernicular was nice but not operational – we couldn’t even see the waves as visibility was so bad – so we decided to leave Nazare and head a bit further south to Foz du Arelho and a beachside campsite for E3 a night, including WIFI…. time to update the blog!
Our second Barkworthy Dad quote (after off-gridding for miles today) “I think when we get home we’d better think about updating the Satnav software”… it’s only 9 years out of date lol!
Foz du Arelho
Spent a lazy morning watching a hive of industry in the lagoon here….
prawning, cockling and beach clearance!
In the distance we could see dredging going on to keep the mouth of the lagoon open – 3 JCBs and as many trucks just moving sand away and dumping it just under the cliffs in a huge bank.
We walked on the beach down to see the kite surfers, and the huge waves beyond the sandbanks at the mouth of the lagoon… mental waves – just undoing all the work of the diggers and trucks…
Bert loved having a play on the beach!
Picky supper tonight with padron peppers, frango (chicken), cheese and some of our lovely Iberico Chorizo we picked up in Salamanca… Lovely! AND BLOG!
Chatted to Mrs Smith tonight – massive congratulations to Jasper Smith on getting a place at Cardiff Uni 🙂
Trying to keep our computers and notebooks running is now becoming a bit of a nightmare, as our little inverter is struggling! We’re down to 11V which is okay for most things but when it comes to charging our laptops it just keeps giving up! We resolve to ask about electric hook-up in the morning, and if there’s none available – we’ll be leaving!
Poor Bertie kept us awake whimpering and whining…. we thought it was the storm, so gave him lots of cuddles and let him outside a couple of times, but what he actually needed was a proper walk…. he got one at 3am when Nick relented – and poor pooch had a ‘dire rear’, and promptly threw up! No crying when he got back – just curled up to sleep…. he kept trying to tell us, what a good boy!
We’re moving on – no electric available here and we can’t charge anything on a depleted battery – the inverter keeps cutting out so we’re headed for Peniche and a municipal campsite with electric, and hopefully WIFI too, so we can upload what we’ve done so far on the blog. (Parque Municipale de Campismo de Peniche).
The storm is raging this morning – pouring with rain and blowing it’s t**ts off!
The plan is for a small shop today and hunker down to wait for better weather. Need a proper campsite so we can stabilise the bus overnight – it’s all a bit rock’n’roll! Laundry too – if we can find one!
Left at 1.30pm, found an Intermarche just outside Peniche with laundry machines – YAY! Did everything… washed AND dried. Then off to the site – it’s HUGE!
There was a bar and cafeteria and a mini-market all on site, and the best thing was the rain eased a bit from this mornings torrent, and it feels a bit warmer.
Couldn’t use the camp WIFI anywhere but in the cafeteria, so headed off there for a beer (E1.90) and all is good! Lindi tried to talk to the Friday sisterhood but no answer!
We’re parked right at the peak of the site – with water on both sides of us. There are some VERY old vans here, with gardens around them and everything!
Got followed back from the cafe by 2 large dogs. The site is infested with grouse! I’ve never actually seen one in the wild – and they are just hysterical to watch… when they see you they either run like billio (Man, they’re fast!) or freeze and snuggle down to try and make themselves invisible. They make me smile! It’s a challenge trying to get a picture of them…
Showers and clean bedsheets and snuggle down for the night listening to the rain and the wind whistling around the sand dunes!
Woke to the same rain and wind again!
Across the dunes we can see huge waves crashing up against the small island – almost the full height! Visibility is so poor through the drizzly mist and rain we can’t get any decent photos!
Am determined to try to get a picture of the grouse though!
The site is strange – it’s like a place where old caravans come to die!!! – I’m sure it looks quite different in summer; but right now it’s bleak, and unkempt, and a bit depressing.
The shower blocks are okay, but all need a coat of paint and some love, a bit like most of the vans! Look at this poor thing – blown all to pieces!
Only 2 campers brave (or foolhardy) enough to be up here with us at the top of the site – the rest are in a gulley sheltering a bit lower down – but we couldn’t face that – give us a view anyday, even one that’s obscured by rain.
Settled down to do some moving about of photos from cameras and phones, then went down to the bar/cafe to finish uploading them to the blog and have a couple of beers. Left Bert asleep listening to the radio.
Three of us shared the remaining chicken tonight – Bert’s as it came and ours in an alfredo sauce with pasta, plenty of plonk and settled for an early night and an early start towards Faro – well, halfway there at any rate.
Peniche – Porto Covo
Happy Valentine’s Day all!!!
We got completely hammered by gusty winds all night – rocked our little bus to bits – woke at dawn and put up the shutters to see the causeway island being completely deluged by waves!
If we though they were big last night we were mistaken! The breakers were going right over the top… you’ll never guess where our glorious leader wants to go now eh?
That’s right – straight down there to the beach. I think he’s trying to drown me! It was MAD blowy – we decided to head south while there was a break in the rain though…
Refuelled at Lorinhas and Intermarche for shopping – steak, salad and bread, and back on the road.
Stopped for lunch at Sobral de Monte Agraco, then the nightmare that was Vila Franca de Xira – getting through it and onto the N10 was ridiculous!
Every road led to a 3.5 tonne weight limit or straight to an electronic toll motorway to Lisbon…. after 3 attempts and u-turns, we made it to the bridge and away!
The IC1 is without doubt the worst road I’ve ever been on…. it shook all my fillings loose, all our books fell out onto our heads – and everything rattled so badly that when we eventually turned onto the IC33 we thought we’d gone deaf!!!
Arrived at Porto Covo at 6pm. The Aire is open, some sand and some mud pitches!
Parked next to a new Autotrail Scout with British plates. It’s occupants were very happy as they’d found vodka in the local shop for £5 a bottle…. As we arrived the rain started once again – still our journey has been quite sunny since lunch, so no complaints!
Porto Covo looks lovely – we’re parked opposite the local primary school, in an avenue of palm trees. We can just glimpse the sea through the town, it’s about 2 minutes walk.
The waves look mental! Looking forward to chilling out here – we’re not quite as exposed as we were at Peniche – and the prevailing wind is on the front of the bus so we should get a good night’s sleep!
Took Bert for a quick snoop around, Nick’s replacing the saddle bolt on his bike which fell off (probably on the IC1 with my fillings!) and then he’s going for a Bertie bike ride. Spoke to Pete and Jude today about a plan for internet access – hoping they can bring us a Currys Know-How data sim and a MI-FI when they come to Mojacar in 4 weeks – maybe solve our internet problems in the short term!
Just when we though the weather had turned – it chucked a mahoosive hailstorm at us…. happy days! I did some more work (3 1/2 hours) on the computer while the boys chilled.
Nick cooked a very romantic Valentines Day dinner of steak, chips and salad – and presented me with a lovely gift – a washing up brush! He’s all heart!