Hetty’s Crew have been back home now for 10 days .. Hetty is emptied .. back in storage with instructions to Ashley at http://pendlecaravanservices.yolasite.com/ ..Our do it all camper van mender to seal the leak in the main skylight ..
The washing is done but not the ironing .. but hey ho it will keep as its all summer stuff ..
The only problem in coming home was a knackered Central heating boiler .. Only 5 years old and it looks like of the thing had gone kaput..Called out our plumber ..A lots of oohing and scratching of heads and it was decided its the PCB ..The brains of the boiler ..The plumber will order one as it’s not in stock ..We are still waiting ..None in UK ..None in Germany where they are made ..Now in production so it may be here this week ..We are fortunate to have a wood burning stove in the kitchen and a gas burning log stove in the sitting room and a fan heater in the bathroom but zero hot water other than an electric shower so all in all we can cope ..I just think back to my days as a child with one fire in the living room and surprisingly we survived ..
Yet again San Sebastián Pintxo wins ..but Taverne de St Jacques in Navarrenx ..even though we didn’t understand a word of the menu came in a close second ..Third but by no means last was La Bathía in Moana Portugal for their fish dish .. still don’t know what is was but was delicious
Just gorgeous with its massive waves .. A little too tourist for our liking .. I think a winter visit would be good I wasn’t over amóured with The Algarve ..Far too many tourists and a little too warm at 35C
Portuguese Romanies ..
The boulder village .. The houses just slotted into the crack between boulders
WEIRDEST Bone Chapel in Campo Major
Public washing lines along with a public wash house on the quayside near Porto
BEST SUNSET AND DAWN
Cabo de St Vicente Portugal .. We watched the sunset on the west side of the peninsula and The Driver thought it an idea to waken me up to go take a photo of the dawn on the East side of the peninsula which I did 😇😴
Didn’t like Pamplona or Vigo…
PORTUGAL Monsaraz and Monsanto SPAIN Cereres Olivera and El Ricio
The carpark which doubles as an aire with out any facilities other than a bin is scruffy but very useable and free with 30/40 Motorhome’s parked up and a gorgeous view over the river to Porto itself
A walk says The Driver and off we go .. trainers on .. but dressed up in clean shorts and nice top .. carrying a sweater as the weather looks changeable..A board walk has been layed out on the river side of the road away from the traffic making it a pleasant 2mile walk to the bridge to take us across the Douro river and into Porto itself.. On the Gaia side of the river are all the derelict Port Houses sadly left to rot away ..The live aboard River Cruises are on the side of the river awaiting the next influx of guests
We walk across the lower bridge The Ponte Luis 1st which is the traffic bridge and wander the quayside in Porto.. Lovely restaurants and cafes with the lunch trade spending mega money to eat there ..We didn’t !
The Driver turned UP at the end of the wharf area ..I knew it .. nothing flat round here .. A lot of renovation going on and the town needs it .. The old historical buildings are dilapidated to say the least and work is going on without much awareness of H&S as we walk down the lovely old streets with building work going on everywhere., even the Cathedral is being done up and is a no go area just popped my camera in to take a pic More up HE said on to the top of the bridge.. Very high .. Don’t look down ..
The Drivers observations..
The bridges top level combines pedestrians and the Metro which made The Cook jump out of her skin when a modern double tram went past .. She scares easily ..The views are great from so far up even though the sun was not conducive to take photos.
.. Wending our way down to the river level was fine but wouldn’t have like to climb up this side
The Cook complained of a stone in her trainer and sat down to remove it .. she got up without any help from me so decided she could sit down on the river side cafe for a beer without seizing up .. The river gondolas which ferried the port barrels out to the ships for transportation around the world but mainly to the UK apparently are all moored here .. A walk of 14,118 steps in total which is the best daily average so far..
Holed up here in an Aire de camping in VISEU 1000 ft above sea level awaiting an Apocalyptic storm .. Yes it rained .. and blew .. Rocking Hetty but nothing to panic about ..The German van next to us had left the coast to come here inland and high .. They were very worried ..We’re not scared as we’ve been in much worse on our last adventure in The Outer Hebrides with Storms Ophelia and Brian which led us to park up in between shipping containers to shield us from the winds which went on for days .. This storm was all over in an hour or two but Portugal isn’t used to weather as we know it coming from T’Nowf of England
Survived the storm a few trees down as we went out for a walk to see VISEU A tad run down sadly
.. but very unusual buildings ..Sort of on a Dutch style .. Nice but empty 18th century buildings just awaiting either the bulldozer or a VERY rich benefactor to put them back to the original
Look who we found sunning her self on the Cathedral wall
Back to Hetty via a bun shop for The Drivers lunch and off again to the coast ..
En-Route Hetty had a birthday 100K on the clock .. and how we cheered ..
Another mountainous journey towards the coast finding a sleepyspot about half an hours drive away from the sea .. WHAT a find The place is called ESTARREJA.. GPS COORD are
€2 for 48 hours with Leccy Water Loo Dump .. Just go to the Cafe Piscina for a key to lower the parking space lock which is yours for the 48 hrs even if you go off to Lidl or the coast ..it’s yours ..
Please UK try harder .. Just think of the business that would be brought into villages if we did this .. At least Barrowford has caught on and put a sleepyspot in the Heritage carpark for £5 GPS55.8542 -2.21006
So that’s about it for today Frey Bentos Steak n Kid Pie.. Mash n Mushy peas for tea as it’s cool enough to cook tonight.. and a need to empty storage as well to make room for wine to bring home in the under seat storage..Ohh and a lovely sunset as the oven goes on
“Whose squirting water on Hetty” The Driver grunts as we are awakened by water being intermittently showered on Hetty .. Not Friday night yobs but the sprinkler system for watering the grass at our sleepy spot at way past midnight
Guess what … More up n up n up but this time in Hetty not Shank’s pony .. “I’m not going through the town ” says The Driver turning right and UP and not straight through the town and the lower valley .. I didn’t ask why .. sometimes I keep my mouth shut .. not very often but now seemed to be the right time ! We are off up SERRA DÀ ESTRELA
Narrow roads with drops to make your insides turn inside out
Over the top with a smart hotel awaiting us (closed out of season) The up side was green and lush but as we went over to the next valley we came across the evidence of last year’s wild fires which killed 100s of people ..
We are now in VISEU and a rest before another trek to the town …
The object of today’s journey is to get as far away from Spain as possible as its their National Day ..A holiday to commemorate Christopher Columbus finding America Its on Friday so off we go back to Portugal to what The Driver says is a Roman bridge …Romanesque Alcantana …It’s raining and The Cook has a bad back .. and NOT in the mood for yet another Roman historical walk ..Being a kind Driver we go to the bridge instead of the town (yawns) to find its not Roman but Gothic Romanesque.. the bumf said it was the tallest bridge and we would like to argue that fact as we think the Ronda Bridge is much higher ..photos were taken in the drizzle that we int nowf call a soft day..
On now to the garden .. This is JARDIM do Paço Episcopal in Castelo Branco just over the border in Portugal..The attendant turned the fountains on for us as he explained “Its late season No tourist ” We like them and wandered .. looking at the water gardens and The Driver collected a few lemons off the trees .. and off we go again to MONSANTO … A sleepy spot was recommended in the village of Relva .. A village square allowing campervan a sleep over .. The Driver thought it unsafe or possibly impossible to take Hetty up to the village on the hill and he was correct.. A walk was called for but a sleep first as The Cook had been awake all night because The Driver had cheese for supper and kept The Cook awake by kicking her when the gorilla he dreamt of was trying to escaped !!!!
Early morning and ham n eggs for breakfast .. walking trainers on .. sunscreen ..hats and cameras in The Drivers rucksack .. and off the intrepid adventurers go … UP and UP and more UP to the village on the hill build on boulders … It’s fabulous Yet another of this country’s treasures..We climb to The Citadel .. Muslim built and after the Knights Templar had finished Twatting em turned it to Christianity A church was built into the Citadela walls .. it was closed but that doesn’t stopThe Cook getting her photo.. Its a touch Troglodyte with houses built in the hole in between the bolders .. The narrowest of Streets ..
It’s was a climb of 2486ft but worth it .. what a view from the top although The Driver did take his life in his hands walking on the walls of the castle without any barriers .. and only slipped once .. ouch
Tomorrow is a mystery..as you know we don’t have any books or info for Portugal and are just playing it by ear .
Today we had a plan of visiting the Bone Chapel and Castle at Campo Major then onto Marvao….After a slow start we arrived at the tourist office at 12:00 ..picked up a town map and had a walk around the outside of the Castle (not open) reading the map wrongly because we intended to do the Bone Chapel first now off to find the Bone Chapel but guess what it was closed too . The Cook rang the door bell next to the chapel a gentleman informed us it closed for two hours, the access door was further away than his door and went back to his flat above the Chapel to finish his lunch. The Cook and I put our noses against the bars on the very dirty Chapel window to look inside and the cook then put her camera against the window to take a photo successful . “Very mucky window “she said.
Here is the history
Annexed to the lovely Campo Maior Mother Church, this is the second largest bone chapel in the Country (the biggest one is located in the famous São Francisco Church, in Évora).
Dated from 1766 the Chapel was built after the huge explosion on a powder magazine back in 1732 which destroyed much of the city and caused around one thousand deaths.
The Chapel’s interior is totally covered with the victim’s bones of this tragedy. The floor pavement dates already from the 20th century.
So there you have it
Back to Hetty and off again towards Marvao…Passing through a very smart looking village we stopped for lunch in some nice shade next to a very full stream. The Driver discovered it had two weirs with a bridge across to a busy and very noisy cafe .
After lunch on the road again satnav said turn right after 5 mins The Cook said are we sure this is the way it’s more like a track in the Lake District. Onward we went the track was very smooth but narrow (so narrow that if we met anything we would be buggered) with no passing places and we wended higher and higher( I did not know that Heather grows on the Spanish/Portuguese border) then on cresting another rise at a junction the road widened(sigh of relief from The Cook) Shortly after what’s that on top of the mountain in front ..A castle and a bit of white .It’s Marvão at 2840 ft from sea level!..Very imposing and very high . Hetty climbed very well and we arrived at a Motorhome service point with a sign saying no overnight and a fine of €150. Off we trotted to a parking spot a lot nearer the top.
Marvao is a fabulous spot not as touristy as Monsaraz but better because of this. There seemed to be lots of unused houses becoming a bit bedraggled and with narrow roads with no traffic which made The Cook happy. As we walked an climbed to the top a lovely garden and fountain in a pond just before the castle entrance reminiscent of the towns Moorish origin
€1.50 each to enter(no pensioner discount) but I can thoroughly recommend an extended walk around this imposing and well preserved Castle ..its fabulous . If you have children beware the walls only have protection to the outside and it’s quite a drop on the inside but well worth the walk around. You can see for miles and miles in all directions. The Driver went up all the towers and round all the walls but The Cook went into the gift shop and said the scarves where quite reasonably priced.
We sussed out an overnight spot in carpark 0 the only level place on this hill but decided to move down to a village nearby as a sleepy spot in Castelo de Vine’s sports complex was on the map as available in 12k
“Naaa!” Said The Driver as he inspected my 5 days worn white shorts “ No one will notice if the’re mucky or not “ take it from me they are mucky
We are at Cabo da St Vincente amongst dozens of campervans of all size’s and shapes and then the Portuguese arrived to see the sunset …
amongst the Tourist Tat stalls .. Jumper stalls (its said to be cold here ) Even the Muppet Train turned up(The Muppet train is the sight seeing tourist vehicle with a couple of coaches tagged on the back which usually touts around a big town sight seeing …There’s one in Gozo and this is where we got the name MUPPET TRAIN used by our daughter for tourists )
A chill wind made me shiver as the sun was setting over the Lighthouse and a fleece was put one for the first time since northern France.. Autumn approaches ..
The Driver lit our BBQ although me being ever cautious thought it a tad windy .. lots of spark in a tinder dry area .. A shield of baking trays was erected to control the wind under the flame Lidl’s finest Burger and sausages were slapped on with a Kebab of old peppers onions and tomato’s served with couscous ala Lidl A cheese board followed with Emmental Cheddar Camembert and a black skinned French one which is a favourites of The Driver A red wine was called for.. one small glass of Crianza Estola @ €3 fro Lidl but perfectly acceptable and much better than the 90c cardboard packaged bricks of red wine we gave up early in our European travels
I awoke at 7am ish with The Driver said “Go take a photo of the dawn to complete the picture “ME staggered out of Hetty and did as requested
Now we’re off to the hills and away from tourist hell !!!
Preparing to leave the Rocío camp GPS 37.1415 -6.49083 site we had to park Hetty on the grey water dump that doubled as a motor wash area and as Hetty was now a grey brown with fly smudges I decided to have a free car wash . They charge for this but as the site was so dusty and the pool closed I decided to just go for it. By the time the tank was empty her nose was clean so I flushed her tank from the drain and did her bum whilst waiting”sneaky I thought”.
We stopped after leaving the site and The Cook said I have a castle for you so off we rolled to Castillo de Niebla . On arrival we parked at the front and went for a stroll to find it was a Moorish fortified town in its previous life. The fortification gates had the Moorish arch but the original entrance was offset at 90 degrees to prevent the use of a battering ram with a murder hole above the doorway. The Portuguese had cut a big hole in the wall to allow present day traffic to pass .
Inside the walls the mosque had been converted to a Catholic Church but the washing area had been preserved as a potted plant garden.. very nice it was too. Inside the space felt much warmer than outside which seemed strange.
After a stroll across town to an original undamaged gate we wandered back to the castle ..Its internal space is used for theatre and shows etc The recently used stage and seating was being dismantled. The old Moorish castle has not been well preserved but has not been badly knocked about either . It is famed for having been the first to be involved with gunpowder but did not have structures for its use defensively so I assume the attackers used it . Access was available to some of the towers and to the dungeons which had been decorated with lots of ghoulish kit to torture and damage bodies. An area inside was described as a gunpowder store but there was nowhere on the battlements for cannon.
At €2.50 each I thought it was good value for money, but if you bring children take care as some of the areas have no barriers to big drops and the stairs are uneven and slippy but they will love the dungeons.
Back in Hetty for a big drink of water and off we toddled off to Travira and The border
A TOLL TALE
PORTUGAL has a Toll system which if we inadvertently use a Toll even for a mile we would be charged BUT if you haven’t put your credit card into the system you are tolled and a fine is added so we decided rather than risk a fine to put my credit card details in as security BUT where is the machine to do it The Driver asks as we can see the border bridge.. The Cook doesn’t know so The Driver Shouts But The Cook still doesn’t know !!! The border looms and a sign saying “Foreigners” in big writing is very obvious.. off into the foreigners area where there’s a machine to enter Barclaycard details a photo is taken of your registration plate we are relieved of 75cents admission fee .. now we will be tolled and not fined unless we go on a “Green route” but we haven’t worked that one out and The Driver has stopped shouting so all is well
Now we are in Portugal
Most Motorhome’s are on the gravel but we decided to take advantage of a bit of shade on the very large carpark GPS 37.1229 -7.64323 for the municipal market… well away from the business end as we have had issues with markets erected around us before.
After bedding down we had a few local car buffs “The Cook said hooligans” revving and burning rubber for a bit but they soon became bored and roared off into the distance so no problem really.
Next day it’s an explore ..So many tourists … it’s a very pleasant town with a river and narrow lanes leading to The Church but I The Cook hasn’t got a lot to say about it other than the veg and fish market was in full sway ..
Where now said The Driver ? The Cook has found a carpark on a cliff so off we go again
GPS 37.09025 -8.412564
A place called Praia da Marinha
A very successful wildcamping spot ever though a “THOU SHALT NOT PARK “ sign was observed and ignored along with six other camper van of all shapes and sizes
A youngish guy came by searching the ground seemingly he’d lost his key for his hire car .. he’d upgraded to a BMW and driven to Portugal from Malaga where the spare key was .. what a mess .. he’d hired another car to drive back to Spain to get the key and had a tow truck tow the BMW to a secure storage .. We didn’t find the key !
After a quiet night we decided a trip to the beach was in order. Rucksack packed with water ..towel .. and books.Off we trecked down lots of steps to the beach On arrival the waves where pounding onto the small beach and access to the main beach was passed a cliff promontory being pounded by the waves . Some intrepid souls managed to negotiate the lull in the waves and pass round ….Some did not and either where splashed or pounded on the cliff face A family returning .Mum Dad and kids made it Granny and Grandad did not and where rolled by the waves. People still tried the route and not until 2 people were treated for dislocated shoulders did the beach patrol marshall people on both sides of the promontory. Great spectator sport..After a couple of hours we packed our chairs and wended our way back up the steps to Hetty. Our space on the beach was taken in seconds.
Hetty was quite cool as we had left the screens in place so we quickly prepare for the road and headed for the lighthouse on the southwest tip of Portugal stopping at the Sagres Intermarche to service our tanks and as it was the cheapest fuel seen so far in Portugal topped up that tank too( English prices oh shit) .After a stroll around
The lighthouse compound and a look at the tat and pullover stalls back to Hetty . We intend to free camp here tonight GPS 37.023355 -8.994450
We have run out of mobile phone data and have had to buy more .. so don’t expect the same amount of posts I will write em but may have to access WiFi on a campsite soon
These blogs are our way of sending postcards home as I know my brother and sister in law like to read em but don’t know whether our kids bother to read em or not …. sighs
Spelling and grammar mistakes come free of charge .. smiles