Another bloody party rehab booked

22nd October

Had a lovely evening round Pete and Daisy who live in Almuneca in a stunning townhouse. Pete was telling us that he has completely renovated the building. It reminded me of a Moroccon riad. Cherry and I went to explore the rest of the building which is three storeys high. On the third level was a roof terrace with a small outside kitchen. Its all been done up so nicely I felt quite envious. We had a lovely meal of Indian food made by John with some help from Altaf, Helen and Daisy. A good night was had by all and left there with our belly’s full of delicious food and drink.

 

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23rd October

Today our next door neighbours – Eddie and Cherry and their dog Loyta are leaving to go back to Holland. We are so going to miss those guys as we’ve spent a lot of time in each other’s company. I suppose that’s what life is about. We’ve met some lovely likeminded people during our travels and just have to be thankful that we’ve had this opportunity to do this sort of thing.

24th October

Woke up today feeling a bit lost without our lovely neighbours. We’ve decided to turn our van round today so that we can face the sunshine rather than be in the shade all the time. We didn’t do it before hand as we quite liked coming out of our motorhome and saying good morning to our dutch friends. Spent the day just pottering around and getting Alfie used to his dog trailer.

 

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We’ve also got lumbered with a cat that John was asked to feed whilst its owner went away for a few days. Unfortunately she’s now left the campsite and abandoned her cat, obviously thinking we could take on the responsibility. Unfortunately this will never happen as we have our Jack Russell dog Alfie who would never allow a cat to live with us. We were told by the campsite owner not to feed the cat otherwise it will keep hanging around but easier said than done.

29th October

Gone round to see Helen, Altaf, Pete and Daisy in their lovely townhouse. Helen has asked John if he could help her sort out some food this evening to take to a 60th birthday party tomorrow night which we have also been invited to. The person that’s 60 is Heather who we met once before. Her husband is Geoff who sorted out our van when John pranged it. Unfortunately the evening didn’t go so well. Helen and Altaf were really late getting back to the house after work and John was a bit clueless as to how many he was supposed to be cooking for. He did manage to make a lactose free savoury tart and cook everybody another evening meal with the help of Daisy which was gratefully received.

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30th October

Had a lovely day today. The 60th birthday party was organised by Heathers sister, Carol who lives not far from her. It was a surprise party and Heathers family from the UK made a guest appearance which was lovely for her as her little grandson was there as well. Carol lives more in the countryside ‘campo’ and although the actual house was quite small in relation to the amount of land they owned, it had been done up really tastefully. The front of the house opened right up which allowed it to almost become an outside kitchen and dining area. The land at the front of the house had a large piece of flat land which incorporated a swimming pool and large veggie patch. The land at the back of the house was completely different. It was really steep with a stream running through the centre of the land. There was a long wooden bridge that went right across to the other side of the stream filled with various fruit trees which were planted on both sides of the stream. In the garden they had advocados, peach, lemon, walnut trees, etc, and the biggest pomegranates I’ve ever seen.

 

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2nd November

Have desperately been trying to get someone to look after this abandoned cat. John and I aren’t really cat people but this cat was really friendly and quite cute. Just waiting to hear from one more person that runs an animal sanctuary not far from Almunecar. If no luck, then its bye bye pussy cat and hope someone adopts her. We feel really cross we’ve been put in this position but that seems to be the norm in Spain. So many abandoned cats and dogs over here, its heartbreaking!
John has gone into town to stock up as we’re leaving on Thurs 5/11 to make our way to Torrox for a 5 day rest in our motorhome friends’ villa. Their 3 small dogs get on well with Alfie so hopefully we’ll have a lovely time…..watch this space!!

Cherry, Eddie, John and myself have made a pact to give up the booze

17th October

Had a pretty relaxing week this week as taking it a bit easy after having another accident on the “beast”. Well it wasn’t completely the “beasts” fault as I had a couple of drinks in town but it didn’t help that the road was uneven and stony and before I knew it I misjudged the road and had a nasty tumble. A nice man in his car stopped to help me and a passing pedestrian but it wasn’t until the next day that I saw the full extent of my injuries. I had the biggest bruise on my stomach and bruises down my leg and ankle. Not a pretty sight! Think this will take a few days to heal!!

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don’t look at my fingers I’ve been making chicken tikka

18th October

We all went to a local bar in Almenacar to watch local bands perform this evening. All the musicians just turn up and take it in turns to strut their stuff. A lot of them were of the older generation but still very talented. The evening turned out brilliant especially a young boy of fifteen who played the lead electric guitar. It was his debut performance and he was slightly nervous to start with but soon got into his stride and played really well. There was also an older guy who has played with Bob Dillon in his days. He was amazing on his classical guitar and wowed the audience.
We had such a great evening dancing the night away and we really enjoyed ourselves and met some great people.

19th October

Today is Monday and Cherry, Eddie, John and myself have made a pact to give up the booze for the first three days of the week…..every week! Well that’s the plan anyway. Lets see how long we can last.
We had a really heavy rainfall last night and poor Helen and Altaf’s tent got flooded out. They were also at the local bar last night but left after us. Helen came round to our van this morning to inform us they had a big argument with the owner of the campsite when they got home as the owner wasn’t willing to take any responsibility. Because voices were raised, the owner ended up calling the police and three police cars turned up!!

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Fortunately no one got arrested but Helen and Altaf have decided to move out of the campsite which is so sad. They havent got anywhere to go but refuse to stay there another night. We were really sad to say our goodbyes but knew we would see them again at some point.

20th October

Just as well our lovely friends left the campsite because there was a massive electrical storm last night. It went on for about three hours with constant lightening then thunder and rain and hailstones. Helen and Altaf would have been swept away with the amount of water that came down had they stayed put. We had a message from them stating they had spent the night at their friends house – Daisy and Pete – in Almunecar town. We sent a picture back to them showing the spot where they had been camping. It was completely flooded. Pete has invited us all over to his place on Thursday eve which works out well as our Dutch friends, Cherry and Eddie are leaving on Friday.IMG_1503

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21st October

Can you believe it, I’ve fallen over again. This time I wasn’t on the bike when it happened. John and I had gone into the town of Almunecar with Alfie. John took his bike and I walked with Alfie. On the way back John went ahead and I started walking on this unmade track as there wasn’t any pavement. I somehow tripped and went flying again. This time I landed on my knee and hands which took the brunt of the fall. When I got back to the campsite I was met by John, Eddie and Cherry who were shocked that I’d fallen again. In fact Cherry asked if I’d been drinking! No doubt you blog readers thought the same but of course I hadn’t been. I certainly felt sore when I retired for the night and guessed I’d wake up with more bruises which of course I did.

Alfie, Helen Altaf and Me

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Altaf and Gill

 

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Almunecar east of Malaga in Spain

2nd October

Gill – John has asked me to do the blog today bless him so hopefully it will make more sense. We are in Almunecar east of Malaga in Spain. Camping Tropical is a small campsite with a beautiful view of the mountains and the town of Almunacar.IMG_1455

 

The people who run it are German and Spanish. The woman is Spanish and they have two very young children. Within the camp site they have a bar where you can help yourself and put the money into an honesty box. It also has a kitchen next to the bar so yoiu can make yourself something to eat. The kitchen also has a dishwasher which is a real bonus! It also has a separate building which is used as a lounge come reading area and there’s separate washrooms around the place. Its priced really reasonably compared to some of the campsites so I think we will be spending a bit of time here.photo 1

4th October

We’ve met some lovely people here. We have a dutch couple in the motorhome next to us who speak really good English. They’ve got a little long haired type of datchund called Lotyer (or that’s how its pronounced)

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She’s really cute and she gets on well with Alfie which is a bonus.

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We’ve also met another couple called Helen and Altaf. They’re an amazing couple. She’s originally from Ireland and he’s from Scotland. They are really lovely if not a bit crazy!

John was going shopping on his electric bike  when he came across Helen who had reversed half the land cruiser of the side of the drive way, she was very up set surrounded by Spanish people.

I said not a problem the land cruiser can handle this. The Car was still running so i had some ideas and she left me to it while she went and got Altaf her husband.12143237_758894647566562_2897885060263354523_n

 

They’re travelling round the world in a Toyota Land Cruiser and have decided to make it a way of life by working as they go along.

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They do housesitting for people as well which allows them to have the comfort of a proper bed on occasions. They’re also really versatile and are always up for a challenge.

Altaf and my self got our heads together and came up with a cunning plan!

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We all spent the evening together swapping stories between a few drinks. It was a great evening and we all hit it off really well.

6th October

John has had another prang in the van ouch!! He decided to move the van to get rid of the waste water and has he was manoeuvring he hit the wall. Of course I wasn’t at all happy and let it be known!!

8th October

Helen and Altaf have a friend in the next village who they think might be able to sort Henrietta out with her nasty bump. This evening we all went over to meet them. What a lovely couple they were. They were an English couple, Heather and Geoff, who moved over to Spain 14 months ago. They had only had their new motorhome for a couple of months and had come over to visit Heather’s sister and ended up buying a run down house in La Guardia, east of Almunecar. We ended up going to the local bar and having Tapas all evening which they bring to you free of charge each time you order a drink. Needless to say, none of us were hungry by the time we left there! Geoff said he would come over to the campsite on Saturday to fix the van so we were really relieved and thankful.

 

 

Cordoba and another bloody prang

Cordoba
Our next stop is Cordoba in a free aire to get rid of the ablutions and top or with water.
We found anther van parked there with also anther English couple who also come from West Sussex.
Who have doing the fire verdi trail which is old dish used railway lines turned into cycle paths.
After swapping stories and helping them out with there gas supple the next day we drove towards Malaga to meet up gils sister Teresa and brother in law Stephen who are there for a weeks break in there apartment.

Malaga

We found their abode quite quickly and called Teresa and planned a visit for the next day, then we had to go undefined a camp site. Yuk i hate camp sites!
We found one for the night and settled in.
The next morning we want out and saw Teresa’s place which was situated within a golf complex with views looking out towards Morocco which can be seen in the distance.

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Then off to lunch we went. The restaurant was situated right on the beach with a very small menu which is a great sign.

We all enjoyed a brill lunch washed down with Stephens favourite rose Rioja great Hic Hic.
What a great restaurant on the beach. We then headed back to their house for a look at the motor home a guided tour and a coffee. We said our good byes and thought wed better head off for to find some where to put our heads down. Just as we were leaving a cat jumped up on the bonnet of the van ,
Alfie didn’t know which way to turn.

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We left the cat and drove on we eventually found a place after the sat nav took us to a wrong location again thought it would as its a bloody women.
our mission at the moment is to get a dog trailer for the bikes so we can take Alfie along with us.\

The dog trailers I’ve seen are large enough to put gill into as well what a good idea.
Again the location for the next stop is a small called Torre del Mar.

The stopping places are very quite now , which is great as its out of season then they all becoming cheeper as well.
our main worries tat the moment are have we got enough water, is our gas ok , is it going to be sunny and where do we buy wine and beer from.

The sun is still hot and its great to walk on the beach again with Alfie in the morning on our own while the make up van is attending to Gill.

TORRE DE MAR BEACH
TORRE DE MAR BEACH

 

 

Gills main problem is her hair as always although sometimes i feel that we should have brought a mobile hair dresser with Gill.
All over Spain we keep on seeing statues of bulls OR BALLS every where on top of hill sides, in the streets on round about and later on i even saw them in the butchers.

BULLS
BULLS
BALLS
BALLS

 

Our first night at the aire which we found late at night and in the dark. That night it really rained very very hard . Talk about raining cats and dogs its bloody raining bloody buckets .
We both were praying that Henrietta would hold up and we didn’t get wet, because i didn’t fancy swimming with Alfie.

Wow she held up and we spent two days at the air.

We then moved on campsite called “ Camping Tropical” WHAT A GREAT PLACE IT TURNED OUT TO BE.

 

 

 

40 DEGREES

Saville Royal Palace

 

 

The royal palace has been in in inhabited since the middle ages. The ceramic tiles and the ceiling built in the 14th century.
please see picts below

The food all around the centre is tapas which we had for three days on the trot with delicious offerings such as oxtail, fried cuttle fish ox tenderloin with fois gras.
Just around the corner we found the shopping area which was what the doctor ordered for Gill little streets with little shops. Restaurants all around us full to the brim with smiling faces.

Again Servile is centred around a river with a busy port. The aire is opposite the port with 10 mins bike ride for me and 20 mins walking tor Gill.
The only down side is the port at night bloody busy and noisy , we suppose we cannot have every thing
Sad to say we are know waving good bye to Saville and we would like to go back in the future.
Although we all will not miss the heat 40 degrees bloody hot ,

Saville Oranges, Oranges BLOODY oranges

Saville

In the last two weeks we have stayed in Saville. What a very beautiful city with lots of history.

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The city centre its self is very small and well worth a visit.

small tile work depicting all the major towns in Spain
small tile work depicting all the major towns in Spain

The royal palace with its grounds are beautiful especially with the influence of the moors in the architecture .IMG_1323

 

The royal palace has been in in inhabited since the middle ages. The ceramic tiles and the ceiling built in the 14th century.
please see picts below

In the Palace as well Christopher columbus planned his route for his trip to the new world.

I got in free to the palace with my blue badge for disabled people.
Across from the palace lies the cathedral in which lies Columbus. The food all around the centre is tapas which we had for three days on the trot with delicious offerings such as oxtail, fried cuttle fish ox tenderloin with fois gras.
Just around the corner we found the shopping area which was what the doctor ordered for Gill little streets with little shops. Restaurants all around us full to the brim with smiling faces.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME,HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

IMG_0290Mon 31/8
Today we are off to the shops in Portimao – hurrah cant wait.
When we got there I headed straight for Primark. Unfortunately most of the shop had its winter range in so there wasn’t a great deal of summer stuff to be had. The same went for H&M although I did manage to buy a few bits and bobs so was quite pleased to be able to have a few different clothes to put on……hmm just need some shoes now and I’ll be a happy bunny!

 

 

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Tues 1/9
We’re moving on today to Albufiera as need to get to an aire for a refill. We found a really nice aire which had a small swimming pool to cool down in but beside that it seemed to have a nice atmosphere to it. There was also several Brits on site so was able to communicate with them. After a couple of hours being there another british couple pulled in. They introduced themselves and during the conversation they found out it was Johns birthday tomorrow so before we knew it one of the ladies was arranging a birthday get together for tomorrow. It was arranged to have a bbq between us all at lunchtime and then go out in the evening for a drink.
This evening one of the British couples, Tony and Joy suggested we get a take away Indian meal from down the road. It was so nice to have our first Indian meal abroad for what seemed like such a long time since we had our last one. We had a lovely evening in our camper van eating and drinking the night away.

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Wed 2/9
Johns birthday today. We’re still having problems with our gas supply so the other two British men, Andy and Tony came over to try to help. Everyone was really stumped because no matter what was suggested, we were still unable to get any gas coming through on the cooker. Even the camp owner and his assistant came to help but to no avail. One of the British couple stated her husband was a gas fitter and proceeded to fetch him over. He took one look at it and said why have you got two gas regulators fitted on it? Nobody seemed to realise that there was two regulators on it. Even after taking one of the regulators off the damn thing still didn’t work. John ended up getting a lift with one of the guys who kindly took him to a gas station to refill his bottles and then stop off at the supermarket to pick up some bbq bits. On returning to the camp site, John was then able to refit the British gas bottle so all was not lost. Time was getting on by the time all this was sorted so we knocked the idea of going out this evening for a drink and combined the bbq with a drinking session. It turned out to be a really good day and John really enjoyed himself.IMG_0294

 

Thurs 3/9
Had a really quite chill out day today. Tony and Joy were due to move on today but have postponed it until tomorrow as we have decided to go out for a drink this evening. The bars are only down the road so not far to walk to. Its gone a little chilly this evening but decided to take Alfie with us as we could still sit outside. We were there for a couple of hours but then we were all getting colder so John decided to go back for his sweat shirt and take Alfie back to the motorhome before rejoining us at another bar nearer to the camp site whereby we can all sit inside out of the ‘cold’.

Fri 4/9
We are currently parked between to other motorhomes. On one side is a German couple and on the other side are a French couple. John was told by the German couple this morning that the French couple aren’t very happy as our dog was howling last night when we were out and that they were going to mention it to the owner of the site. Not only did we have that to contend with but also our sensor wasn’t working on our waste water and so we weren’t able to gage when to empty it. This meant it was all overflowing before we realised what was happening. Also the toilet flush was lighting up like a disco and flashing so that wasn’t working. I asked John to apologise to the French couple which he did. He was surprised when they said it was not a problem and didn’t seem at all annoyed with us. After saying our goodbyes to Joy and Tony, we decided to move places next to one of the other British couples – Andy and Margaret – as we knew they were doggy people. As we were having to move the van we decided to would first get the problems fixed at a recommended place about 30 minutes away from where the camp site was. It was called Camperserv and was owned by a British guy so it was nice to be able to explain the problems we were having without any language barrier. He was such a nice decent person and soon fixed the loo problem but stated the waste water sensor might have to wait until we got back to the UK as it was quite a problem getting to the sensors and would be quite a big job. As the van was under warranty we decided to take his advice and just keep an eye on the waste water. On the way back to the camp site we stopped off at another retail outlet in Albufiera. Whilst we were in there we heard this woman call out my name and on turning we saw Maggie – one of the British couples – waving her arms in the air at us. She stated she was really pleased to bump into us as she would like to invite us over this evening to her place for a meal. The proviso was that she buy the meal including the spare ribs and John cook it as she would like to see how he does it. That was fine with John so that evening we went over and had a really nice meal with nice company.

sun sun and more sun

Ferragudo  harbour
Ferragudo harbour
sun set at Ferraudo
sun set at Ferraudo

Frid 22/8
Woke up to beautiful sunshine. Decided before we left to take some photos of the two bays as they looked so beautiful. As I started to take a picture of the smaller bay on the left I realised I was actually photographing a nudist beach!! Fortunately or unfortunately it was a long way down so unless you had binoculars you couldn’t make anything out!! We left there and made our way down
to the furthest point on the south west tip called Sagres. This was okay but not on the same par as Porto Covo. The camper vans were parked on a bit of rough ground and although it was classed as an aire it had no facilities, although it had a couple of nice looking restaurants which looked quite inviting. Whilst we were there a large refrigerated lorry pulled in. We hadn’t noticed it to start with but then his refrigeration unit started up. To start with we didn’t think anything of it but as the day wore on and evening came we were getting really fed up with the continuous noise. John went over to the lorry and knocked on the door but he didn’t open the door. The noise went off for a short while so we were pleased about that but before long it came back on. This time John went over there again and banged on his door. No answer. John knew he was inside so because he was so annoyed he came back to our motorhome and picked up our rubbish bag and took it back and tied it on his door handle before coming back. Before long the guy came out of his van and looked around before going back in his van. The noise went off for a short time but again it came back on. The lorry stayed there for the rest of the night but was gone early the next morning thank God.

 

 

 

what we woke up to
what we woke up to

Sat 23/8
Today we went along the coast to a town called Lagos – (pronounced La-goosh). We decided to go there as there was free wifi and we needed to catch up on a few things. The aire was based next to a football stadium and was a huge space. We hadn’t been here long when we realised we had run out of gas. John changed back to the small British gas canister that we had as a reserve and then we had to head off looking for a diy place to buy a bit of tube that he needed to connect a larger Portuguese canister. After a lot of travelling around we eventually found a hardware store. Whilst he was parked on the side of the road, a transit looking camper van came along and his wing mirror hit our wing mirror with a load bang. The transit van kept going leaving us with our mirror hanging off. I couldn’t believe it as these wing mirrors are really expensive. John went round to the wing mirror whilst I still had my head buried in my hands and miraculously fixed it! Glad to get today out the way!

 

small church above
small church above

Mon 24/8
Just catching up on the blog and realised Ive been a day out for a while….der….hopefully back on track now. (must be a touch of heatstroke).
Have been in Lagos for the past 3 days. Really enjoyed it mainly because we have been able to catch up with the internet here. Also, Lagos is a really nice town. Its got a lovely marina and we had a nice lunch there. Nothing else to really report but will be moving on tomorrow to see what other nice surprises are ahead of us.

Tues 25/8
We’ve come to a place called Alvor today. I saw it on someone else’s blog and thought we’d give it a go. This is a little town on the coast so we knew Alfie would be happy being back on the beach. The motorhome car park was really large and not that many motorhomes in the carpark. That’s because they charged us 10 euros for the the privilege of staying in a dusty car park for the night oh and it had an aire so we were able to get more water but no internet! We had a quick look round and realised that no dogs were allowed on the beach…..oh no poor Alf!! Oh well we’ll explore further in the morning.

 

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Wed 26/8
Went for a walk today along the outskirts of the beach. There were large sand dunes there but fortunately they had long wooden walkways running all along so wasn’t too bad. After about 15 minutes of walking we saw tons of large kites in the air. Alfie started barking his head off and wouldn’t shut up. (He’s like that with hot air balloons so wasn’t surprised). However we met a Portuguese couple as we were walking and they told us this is where they hold the European kite flying championships because of the size of it and where its situated. There wasn’t any championships going on but there was still loads of kites up there. We took a picture but its not that easy to spot the number of kites that there actually was in reality. There was also a bit of beach further on that would have been fine for dogs but by then John was struggling with his walking so we came back. Alfie was okay though as he spent most of the time running after the kites and yapping so he used up lots of energy!!
Thurs 27/8
Decided not to stay another day as the weather is really hot and dont really want to pay another 10 euros for staying in a place where we cant go to the beach. We’ve ended up in a lovely town called Portimao.
Again its got a large car park but it looks like theres more to do here plus its got wifi and costs a third of what the other place charged. It also had a cafe bar in the car park so didn’t have to go far to socialise. John went off to check out the bar whilst I mooched about back at the van. He came back after about half an hour asking me to join him as he’s been talking to a lady by the name of Tracey who’s been parked on the site for quite a while and was interesting to talk to. It turns out her husband and her came out to Portugal for a 6 week break and decided they didn’t want to come back they loved it that much. They’re now in their third year and still enjoying it. Her husband works mainly from his computer but has to go back to the UK now and then as he has his own business. He was presently in the UK for the week. She informed us of places to visit and things to see in Portimao. Unfortunately Portimao doesn’t allow dogs on the beach either but she told us about another beach just over from Portimao called Ferragudo which allows dogs on the beach. We’ve decided to go there tomorrow to do a recki.(not sure how to spell recki)! I told John that it would be nice to go for a walk this evening to see some of the town. He agreed to this so after his 4th pint we went back to the motorhome to freshen up before hitting the town! Shouldn’t have bothered because we hadn’t gone very far when I noticed John was having trouble walking. He blamed it on his MS which might of had a bearing on it but I knew a lot of it was down to the drink. I wasn’t very happy as I was looking forward to this evening. John decided to go back to the van whilst I carried on with Alf to explore the place. Part of Portimao town is perched on a cliff but there’s lots of steps to climb to get to the top. It was worth doing though as it was a lovely sight looking down on the town and beach, plus it was a beautiful evening with a warm breeze which was well appreciated. There were loads of restaurants and shops which couldn’t be seen from ground level and there were lots of people milling around. I suddenly realised I had no poo bags on me so thought it best to head back to the motorhome just in case the worse happened. Fortunately I can report no accidents on the way back.

Fri 28/8

Since leaving France we’ve not had any satellite system. Not sure why but we also havent had any power to it. We found out through Tracey that the car park assistant – Carlos – in Portimao, is a qualified electrician (dont ask why he’s working as a car park attendant!). We had spoken to him briefly yesterday and he said he would come over to the motorhome this morning to see if he is able to sort out the problem. He did manage to get the power on again but unfortunately not able

to get any signal for us so back to square one (maybe that’s why he’s a carpark attendant!). We weren’t too disappointed as we’ve got used to not having any telly. After he’d gone we decided to drive over to Ferragudo for the rest of the day. It was only about 7 miles further down the coast. It was a quaint fishing village with a large beach which we were able to park on for free. We had a lovely time sunbathing even though Alfie decided to go for a poo right by the waters edge in front of everyone. It was so embarrassing and I constantly apologised to the people watching me as I tried to scoop it up as the waves rolled over it!! We stayed there for a couple of hours and as it was so lovely we decided to stay overnight further on down the beach hidden from sight. When we got to the other end of the beach we were pleasantly surprised plus it was right next to the restaurants which were just tucked away round the corner. This was obviously where all the fishing boats came in with their catch for the day as there were loads of nets and crab or lobster baskets piled high. As the sun went down over Portimao across the stretch of water where we were parked, we felt truly contented.

Sat 29/8
Contentment never lasts. John is still having trouble with the gas as there is hardly any pressure coming from the bottle. We know we need to do something about it or we’ll be up the creek without a paddle! We also needed to get to an aire to refill with water and do all the necessary things. John thought we ought to head back to the little hardware/gas store in Lagos where he bought his last fixtures. Unfortunately they didn’t have the fixture he needed so we managed to find another specialist gas store who informed us that we would be lucky to get this particular fixture in Portugal. John has now compromised and we have gas at a lower pressure but better than it was until we get into Spain. We headed back to Ferragudo never thinking our space would still be available but luck was on our side and we parked back in the space that we left. In the evening we went out for a meal to the fish restaurant around the corner leaving Alfie in the motorhome much to his disgust. We both shared a fish called Dorado and the whole meal including 2 starters, two large wines and a pint of beer came to 74 euros. Considering the main dish alone was 52 euros the rest was quite reasonable. John reckons the fish must of been covered in gold leaf!! Whilst we were waiting for our meal, one of the guys from the restaurant was preparing a humongous fish by the quay side. John went to watch him. This fish was called a stone bass or wreck fish as it is found usually around old wrecks. The fishermen don’t catch many of these fish as they live so deep down on the ocean bed. This particular fish was about 40 pound in weight. God knows how much they charge for that fish in the restaurant!! The weather has become really humid today and at one time it looked like it was going to pour down, but as usual nothing happened and come the evening, the rain cloud disappeared leaving a lovely breeze which was very welcome.
Sun 30/8
We were looking at going into Portimao town today as there is apparently a large Primark and H&M. Really need to get a few more clothes as fed up wearing the same things. The weather was a bit overcast which is an ideal day to go to the town but unfortunately or fortunately the clouds have disappeared so we are staying put. John has also found a load of mussels on the beach which he wants to cook so shopping is going to have to wait for another day.

What a load of bulls

Fri 15/8
We decided to have a look around the town today and go into the Tourist Info Board for more information about the fiesta and what it entailed. On speaking to the girl there she told us the itinerary which also consisted of fireworks this evening followed by the bull run at 1.00am. That should be a challenge staying awake for that as we’re normally in bed by 10.00pm! As the evening progressed, the world and their wife turned up. Goodness knows where they all came from but the place was buzzing. Like a lot of these european countries, Portugal is very family orientated, and that certainly showed this evening. Most people seemed to be eating or drinking or both. At 10.00am the fireworks started so we made a move back to the motorhome as we’d left Alfie there and he hates the sound of fireworks. They’re really big on their fiesta celebrations…..anything to set off more fireworks it seems! The fireworks seemed to go on for ever and so did Alfies barking!! It was a real effort staying awake until 1.00am but we were determined to see the bull run as this was a first for us. 1.00am finally came but we knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon as there were still loads of people and cars around. Half past one came and went, and eventually at 2.00pm the four bulls were let loose in the street and a few brave or mad people were standing in the street daring the bulls to chase them. There was a man with a big stick moving the bulls in one direction and at one point the bulls all turned to come back and he had to start shouting and waving his stick at them to keep them going in one direction. Once they reached the end of the street, they then headed back down. All they seemed to want to do is get back to their pen. It was a bit of an anticlimax really as we expected the bulls to be more aggressive and charging at people but they weren’t playing the game! We couldn’t believe we’d stayed up ’til 2pm to watch some bulls run up and down a street but hey ho we did it and lived to tell the tale!

Sat 16/8
We’ve decided to move on today as its a religious day today in the town. I’ve been looking forward to going to Lisbon which is exactly where we’re going today. We managed to avoid the tolls until Lisbon came into view and we were about to go over the longest bridge I’ve ever been on. I dont know exactly how many kilometres it was but it seemed to go on and on so quite happy to pay for that toll which amounted to about 6 euros. We’d put the coordinates into the sat nav to take us to a place on the perimeter of Lisbon by the name of Santiago do Cacem which looked really nice in the book…..big mistake. When we reached to wherever the coordinates took us we ended up in what looked like the poor part of Lisbon which looked really run down. After researching further we realised the book was completely wrong and that Santiago do Cacem wasn’t anywhere near Lisbon. We then proceeded to put in another coordinate which was nearer the beach of Lisbon. When we eventually got there we were waved into the car park and shown where to park by a dodgy looking guy. After parking the van he came over to us and asked for money for parking. We realised by his dishevelled look that they were con men and just looking for an easy buck. We told them we might not be staying and we promptly left there. By this time John was getting really fed up and tired and wanted to leave Lisbon. We looked in our Camperstop book and decided to go to a place called Palmela which was south of Lisbon. It didn’t have a picture in the book so we didn’t know what to expect although we did know the car park was outside a castle. As we approached Palmela we ended up going through the town. The castle looked quite impressive on top of a hill surrounded by the town. The town itself was really cute but very hairy getting to the castle as it was in narrow cobblestoned streets and very steep. When we arrived outside the castle there wasn’t any parking places. A man came up to us and in his broken French he guided us to a place to park and promptly asked us for 4 euros. We knew he wasn’t the car park attendant but we gave him 2 euros as we just wanted to settle down. He was thankful for that and promptly went over to a tree nearby and started picking small peaches off the tree and brought them back to us. I felt he was just really lonely and enjoyed speaking to people. He might even of had a mental health problem, but I felt he was quite harmless and meant well. John was ready for a rest so I took Alfie and we headed on up to the castle. The castle was first there in 794ad and was occupied by the Romans to begin with an then the Moors who were from Northern Africa took over the castle until 1300ad. before a Portugese prince took over. Since that time it has been excavated and exhibitions have been put on showing the excavations throughout the centuries. The views from the castle were absolutely amazing and you could see for miles. In fact you could see Lisbon and all the surrounding areas. When I reached the top the castle the light was fading but all the castle had been lit up and there was a really lovely little tavern/bistro up there. I then proceeded to go back to John to let him know what I’d discovered. After dinner we both went back up there and had a drink before coming back down.

Sun 17/8
We went for a walk around the rest of the town today and too a few pictures. It was a really nice little place with a typical Portuguese feel about it with its pretty houses although some of them were in a poor state. We stopped for a drink and I told John to get me something refreshing as I was fed up with beer and wine. He came back with a white sangria that consisted of white wine, a shot of triple sec, a shot of tequila, lemonade, mint, kiwi and white grapes with plenty of ice. It was absolutely delicious. We spent a good part of the day there before leaving and going on to a town not too far away called Setubal. Again we couldn’t find the aire there as it no longer existed. We did find a bit of rough ground with a load of camper vans on there so we ended up joining them. It was right on the port side of the town and there were some fishing restaurants although we didn’t go to any of them as we already had our dinner back at the van…..beautiful large prawns!

Mon 18/8
Weather looks a bit overcast today. Not to worry I’m off to the shops and leaving John with Alfie. Wasn’t sure exactly where the shops were but eventually found them. I haven’t been overwhelmed by the fashion out here, so wasn’t expecting to get too excited. I’m really fed up wearing the same shorts and tops the whole time and feel the need for a new wardrobe. No chance of that, and came back empty handed and feeling quite exhausted as the weather had now brightened up and I was in leggings.

Tues 19/8
Gone inland today to a place called Alcacer do Sal. A very small aire in a natural park by a small reservoir with a large dam providing Hydro electric power. The area was really isolated but still had a beauty about it. The soil is really orange in colour and there are loads of cork trees everywhere. Apparently when these cork trees reach a certain age (we believe its 25 years) the bottom half of the tree is stripped of its bark which is what makes the cork and then it is left alone for another 9 – 12 years before being stripped again. This happens each time and the quality of the cork gets better each time its stripped. The year of when the tree is stripped is marked on the tree so they know when to re-strip it. Even though the area looked really isolated there was a cafe bar there. Its amazing where the people appear from but theres always customers going in and out of the cafe.

Wed 20/8
Today we are heading for the coast again at a place called Porto Covo as it was recommended to us by a lovely couple that we met during our travels. Porto Covo is a series of coves with a mixture of beautiful fine sand and rocks which made it look very picturesque. We also found some Ostriches in a large paddock with a couple of donkeys – one of them being just a foal. It was really weird seeing Ostriches in Portugal instead of their natural homeland although they seemed quite at home. We found a brilliant parking space on top of a cliff that had a walkway down onto the sand. Alfie was in his element as it also had a large rock pool that was like a mini swimming pool and was lovely and warm from the sun. It was also dog friendly so fortunately we didn’t feel awkward taking him on the beach. It was like taking a child onto the beach. He was digging in the sand like he was looking for Australia. The sand was flying up in the air and he was loving it. He then pranced around in the water before going out of his depth and clumsily swimming. When it came for him to go back to the van he was very reluctant to leave the beach and literally had to be dragged. This was the first time we had actually gone on the beach to do a bit of sunbathing which seemed a bit crazy when we’ve been away for well over two months. We decided to wild camp there overnight and it was beautiful to see the sunset without anyone else around and wake up to a beautiful clear blue sky with no one on the beach for a while.

Thurs 21/8
Decided to go on the beach for our last bit of sunbathing as we knew Alfie was dying to get his paws wet. I did some more sunbathing whllst John took Alf along the sea front to tire him out a bit. When John got back we wrapped Alfie in his towel and were both able to relax whilst Alfie had a nap. After going back to the motorhome and showering, we went to the nearest aire in Porto Covo to fill up with water and headed down the coast. We stopped off at a place called Aljezur where we found a place to park that was not an aire but there were a lot of camper vans parked there. It was based high up on a cliff overlooking two bays. The sun was just setting when we arrived and it was a beautiful sunset. As I looked to my left I could just make out a figure half way up a cliff. He was fishing! I couldn’t believe it as it was so high up. As soon as the sun went down he got up and disappeared. Hopefully he made it back to terra firma okay.

Little Venice

Sun 10/8
Cant believe we’re having to move on today. The wind has died down leaving a lovely warm breeze and an ideal day to spend on the beach. Unfortunately neither ourselves or Geoff and Janet had enough supplies to eek it out another day. We decided to move further south whilst G and J were staying round Porto airport as Janet was due to have a two week break back in the UK to spend some time with her daughter and grandchildren, leaving Geoff to look after the van whilst she’s away. We said our goodbyes which was quite sad as we really bonded with them, and headed off towards an aire in Pardilho near the coast. It had a little cafe shack by the waterway. It seemed to be in the middle of nowhere but it was obviously popular with the locals because people were coming and going all the time we were there and it got quite busy. We decided to have a drink there. There were lovely smells coming from the shack so John asked what was cooking. The lady went behind the counter and came back with a saucer of snails that she had obviously cooked herself. They were really tiny snails, no bigger than the winkles you used to be able to buy. John tried one and said they were delicious. I went to follow suit until I saw the little snail’s antennas poke out and that was that. No snails for me thank you very much. I did eventually try one and I must say they did taste very good, but one was enough for me. Sorry to any veggies out there….sorry Susie!!

Mon 11/8
Heading down to Aveiro as the book we’ve been using to find the aires recommends this town. We were really pleased we decided to go there as it was really lovely. They had a canal system running through the town and had used it to their advantage by turning it into a little Venice without it being tacky. The boats on the canal weren’t gondolas but they were colourfully painted and the town seemed to have a vibrancy which brought in the tourists. We looked round the town then stopped off at one of the many restaurants, had a spot of lunch then headed back to the motorhome and drove on down to a place called Coimbra which is a university town with the river Mondego running through it. The old part of the town is perched on a hill with the University sitting on top. The motorhome site is on the side of the river Mondego. It was also on an activity parkland which was the size of 57 football pitches! The river also has parts sectioned off for children swimming, also another part for paddle boarding and canoeing. There was a big poster there stating that one of the girls who trained there won a bronze in the London olympics. To top it all, the river which was very wide had a footbridge over it that consisted of large panes of coloured perspex and at night the whole bridge lit up.

Tues 12/8
Today John and I are going to walk over the bridge and into Coimbra town as one of the locals we spoke to gave us directions.
It was a lovely walk through the parkland and the town itself was really busy. It had lots of little cobblestone alley ways and lots of steps everywhere. The weathers gone a bit cloudy today so its an ideal day to go for a walk in town. John spotted a little barbers down one of the backstreets so he headed off to get his hair cut. In the meantime I went off to find the Mango shop as I had seen girls with Mango carrier bags. Its a rare treat to see any English fashion as Portugal’s fashion is not like ours. When I got there I was disappointed as it was more expensive than at home and it obviously catered for the Portuguese fashion so I left empty handed. Im getting a bit sick of the same shorts and tops that Ive been living in for the past couple of months, I need a change. A big grey cloud was looming overhead so went back to the barbers and waited for John. The guy had made a good job of Johns hair so he was happy. We started walking back to the motorhome expecting a downpour on the way but it came to northing. It would be nice to have a downpour to clear the air.

Wed 13/8
Woke up to find it was still overcast although no sign of rain. Didn’t mind as we were heading further south today. Yet again we came across another toll road which cost us 9 euros this time. Daylight robbery I say! We stopped off at a place called Fatima as we had heard about a very popular historic church there where people actually crawl on their knees as they pray. Parked in this really large car park which had a couple of motorhomes already parked there and a couple of coaches. Decided to have a cooked lunch before going to the church. John was busy cooking our meal when….yet again a policeman on a bike told us we cant park there as its a coach parking place. It was a massive car park so I dont know what the problem was buy hey ho off we go again. Tried to find the car park for motorhomes but gave up in the end as there were hoards of people there and John was getting in a mood so decided to head out of there. Pity as I would have liked to have seen it. Our next stop was by the river ? in a place called ?? I know I keep saying it but it was another really nice place. To get there we had to go along this track over hills and forest. They called it a road but to me it was definitely a track. The sun came out as we got there and quite a few people were milling about. By the river was a little cafe/bar and a castle out on a little island. To get there you had to go by boat although by rights you could have waded over to the island but I think its a way of making some money as there was a sign there stating you had to go by boat to get to the island. We were going to spend the night there but as everybody started to leave I realised there were no lights around and as there were not other motorhomes around, we decided to move to an aire that was only 7 minutes away. This was in a place called Constancia again by a river but this river was called river Tejo which flowed all the way from Lisbon. We stayed there the night and were woken around 1am to water hitting the motorhome. We suddenly realised it was an automatic water spray for the grass adjacent to the motorhome so John quickly got out of bed to shut all the windows before we got a drowning and went back to sleep.

Thurs 14/8
As the Aire was really quiet we decided to give Henrietta her first proper clean down. It took us a couple of hours but afterwards she was gleaming. Felt really good that we’d done it. Whilst we were in the middle of cleaning her an English couple pulled in. They introduced themselves as Rob and Tracey and said they were heading down to a place called Coruche where there is a festival taking place at the weekend. During the festival there is a traditional bull run whereby the bulls run through the street. We thought this would be interesting to see so decided we would also head that way. Coruche is a small town to the east of Lisbon and still hold on to their traditional values. The aire is huge and holds 100 motorhomes although there was only two other motorhomes there when we arrived so we had our pick where to park. Right next to the Aire was a Lidls which pleased John no end. The town was bustling with activity as they were setting up all the fencing and laying sand down along the road. The street had a large display of lighting which looked very pretty as night fell.

Fri 15/8
We decided to have a look around the town today and go into the Tourist Info Board for more information about the festival and what it entailed. On speaking to the girl there she told us the itinerary which also consisted of fireworks this evening followed by the bull run at 1.00am. That should be a challenge staying awake for that as we’re normally in bed by 10.00pm!