Lisbon and beyond

13.3.2016 – Well I’m afraid something interesting did happen last Sunday – the first was Sesimbra and the second was Cabo Espichel.
We drove for a couple of hours on a rutted, pot-holed main road and came into Sesimbra, a lovely seaside town with a huge number of seafood restaurants. As we wandered around it was obvious that this was where the Portuguese came on a family Sunday to take part in `lunch`.

4059 - 13.3.2016  - Sesimbra 4060 - 13.3.2016  - Sesimbra

We walked the length of the beach to the Port and saw people queuing to get into the majority of the restaurants who were still there when we walked back. There’s no urgency like there is in the U.K. to get eaten up and off for the next punter, it’s all very relaxed! We stopped for an ice cream and decided that we ought to get off before our car park became jammed.

It was rammed but I managed to get out and along the cliff road to Capo Espichel, a wild camp on a lighthouse car park that was…………….RAMMED with a capital R!!!! Everyone and his dog had come out to see the old church and lighthouse, but to be honest with views like these who could blame them!!!

Apparently 2 locals had a dream in the 15 century about a lady being taken up the cliffs on a donkey so someone built a Church!!

4080 - 14.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel

I happened to see this car at the bottom of this cliff so we had to get a photo.

4063 - 13.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel 4062 - 13.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel

We wandered the church and the lighthouse until the sun started to set and the crowds started to thin.

4069 - 13.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel 4069a - 13.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel

Anne popped out and tried for the sunset shot but was a little late I think.

4074 - 13.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel

I’ll kick her out of bed at 6 in the morning and see if she can get a sunrise!

14.3.2016 – Well it wasn’t Anne that got out of bed it was me! I wandered around the deserted car park and general area taking snaps of the sun coming up and a fantastic stealth van that was parked nearby.

4087 - 14.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel

4091 - 14.3.2016  - Cabo Espichel

After a steady wake up we got off bound for Lisbon. The road took us over a fantastic toll bridge adjacent to a large statue akin to the Jesus thingy in Rio de Janerio but not set on a mountain top!

4097 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

We found our way around the ring road to the parking area next to the river. The drive was a bit hairy in places especially getting on the wrong dual carriageway but we had an early rest and then lunch.

4130 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon - Copy

Armed with fruit and camera we headed for the train station next to the car park and deciphered the ticket machine instructions to find a ride into the city was 1 euro 75 cents. A bargain indeed!!!

We rode the line from Belem to Cais do Sodre, a short walk along the river/sea front to the centre. We came out at a huge square fronted by a large bronze man on a horse, backed by a huge, beautiful arch decked with friezes. In the distance you can see the Castello de Sao Jorges (more of that later).

4096 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

After the tourist info office I couldn’t resist this picture of local Polis Nacional cut backs!!

4099 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

We walked through the main town to the Cathedral, dodging Tuk-tuks and trams on the way.

4100 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

The Cathedral is not very inspiring but the organ was magnificent!!!

4102 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon 4103 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

After the religious bit we walked to the Castle of St. George up on the hill. On the way we passed an archaeological dig that had uncovered a Roman Amphitheatre whilst mending the road!!

4104 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

The castle provided wonderful views over the city and one or two surprises!!!

4113 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon - Copy 4119 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon

4120 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon - Copy 4127 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon - Copy

4118 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon - Copy

4109 - 14.3.2016  - Lisbon - Copy

The weather had been a bit overcast and we were a bit cold in the wind so when a nice Kenyan chap offered us a sit down in a nice warm restaurant who were we to refuse. Nice warm, nice pizza and a very nice old, slightly drunk Portuguese bloke to chat to! What could be nicer!!

We walked back to the train station, re-charged our cards first time and caught the train back to the van. All in all a lovely day!! David (the Aussie who we met last week) had described Lisbon as grungy but with a charm all of its own – he was spot on!!!

15.3.2016 – On the way back to the van yesterday we had picked up the open top bus tour flyer and had got up with every intention of doing it but, as we stood waiting for the bus to come the heavens opened and it poured down. We had another 20 minutes to wait for the bus but we decided to get back to the van, dry off and make a decision after a coffee.

As it didn’t stop raining we decided to move on to an Aire at Sintra for the night, plus we needed a download!!!

The rain persisted as we made our way out of Lisbon, it didn’t stop the Portuguese driving like morons though, no lights, far too fast, and without a thought for anyone else on the road!! Anyway, rant over, we arrived at the Aire, a sportsground, shortly after lunchtime so that was first, then up and download then I found another Aire on Snooty actually in Sintra which, from the map seemed to have a lot of promise as a place. We set off but after negotiating a very tight car park in the bottom of a valley in Sintra we came back to the Aire!!!

Sintra certainly looked good and after we had parked up we walked back into the town. Sintra and the surrounding area are home to several Palaces and a Moorish Castle. The area has been a Unesco heritage site for 20 years and is fascinating.

We wandered about the place, up and down tiny lanes overlooking stupendous views over surrounding valleys.

4134 - 14.3.2016  - Sintra 4138 - 14.3.2016  - Sintra

There were all sorts of statues celebrating the 20 year mark, only one of which I really understood!!!

4143 - 14.3.2016  - Sintra

It’s all a bit strange really, you wander through this UNESCO heritage site looking at wonderful buildings that have been restored over the years then you happen across a wreck of a house that has just been left to fall down. Next there will be a brand new glass and steel monstrosity that never would have passed planning in the U.K.

4149 - 14.3.2016  - Sintra

The best of it is is that we haven’t seen the best bit yet, the Palace of Pena, which sits on a sheltered hillside and was home to the Portuguese royal family for several generations. We shall be having a look on the morrow!!

16.3.2016 – Were we ready for a climb? Yes we were! We found a trekking path up the hill in San Pedro right to the Palace Entrance. The path went through a wonderful, quiet valley then onto a car park full of buses and noisy schoolkids!! We joined the queue for tickets and were delighted to save a Euro as we bought them during happy hour, 0930 to 1030!!!! Then it was another climb to the Palace up hairpin bends, dodging the shuttle buses but it was well worth the climb! The place is awash with tiled walls, strange sculptures and wonderful architecture.

4160 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena 4162 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena

4162a - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena

From here you can get a good view of the Moorish Castle.

4164 - 14.3.2016  - Moorish Castle

We walked the wall for the views then wandered around the inside which was created by King Fernando the second in the 1800’s.

4172 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena 4175 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena

After a bite to eat we walked to the grounds and started climbing again to view the Palace from the Cruza Alta Cross, where a cross has stood since the 16th century.

4188 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena grounds

The view of the Palace was simply stunning!!

4192 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena grounds

We wandered back down through the gardens, grottos and lakes and finally to the duck pond with two castellated duck huts!!!

4203 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena grounds 4212 - 14.3.2016  - Palace of Pena grounds

All in all this is a stunning place and deserves another visit to see the other four palaces and the castle sometime in the future!

17.3.2016 – Today, after much deliberation with the Aires books and Snooty we have decided to move on up and have a bit of a beach rest. Several places have been recommended to us as good places to visit but we can’t do everything in the first year so we are now at Parque Foz Do Arelho beach.

4228 - 18.3.2016  -Parque Foz Do Arelho beach

We are looking out over Lagoa de Obios, basically the lake of Obios which is a walled fort town on the edge of this natural sea/fresh water lake. It is stunning. We can see clam diggers on the opposite beach, birds a plenty, jumping fish and all for 3 euro a night!
The beach just goes on and on. We walked to a nearby café for coffee and out of the wind it was lovely and sunny. Hopefully we’ll be here for a couple of days.

18.3.2016 and 19.3.2016 – We have stayed here for the last two days and we’ll move on tomorrow. It is a very restful place even when it’s raining. We have walked the cliffs and found a boardwalk/viewing platform and some very nice cafes along the beach front. Incidentally my axle weight has grown considerably as this is a shelly beach!!!!!

4236 - 19.3.2016  -Parque Foz Do Arelho beach

4239 - 19.3.2016  -Parque Foz Do Arelho beach

20.3.2016 – Today we were up relatively early and off to Obidos, another walled town with a castle. We arrived and parked on the Aire next to the aquaduct/viaduct I don’t know which, and wandered over to the entrance to the town.

4267 - 20.3.2016 - Obidos

As its Palm Sunday we knew that something religious was occurring and as we walked through the town entrance our sense of smell was assailed by Juniper and Rosemary. This was because the cobbled streets had been strewn with said clippings plus palm fronds and Olive branches. There were a fair few people in the town and all the clippings were being crushed underfoot hence the wonderful smell in the air.

4242 - 20.3.2016 - Obidos

Obidos churches date back to the 13th century and there is a sense of calm solemnity here, unlike other so-called religious places we have been to. There is also a chocolate festival here in April!!!!

4252 - 20.3.2016 - Obidos

We walked up the main thoroughfare and into the castle grounds that are used in the festivals and for re-enactments. We climbed onto the walkway and proceeded to walk round the castle walls viewing the surrounding countryside. Nowhere was there a little man in a booth to take any money and we wandered at will. Alright it was a bit health and safetyless with 100 foot vertical drops off the inner edge of the castle walls onto cobbles but the signs said be careful, that was enough for me!!!!

4257 - 20.3.2016 - Obidos

There were microphones set up outside all the churches and a big sign announced a procession at 3.00 pm so we lunched then wandered back to the town where we witnessed the local clergy blessing the crowd by throwing holy water at them then walking the cross of Jesus through the town to the Church.

4270 - 20.3.2016 - Obidos

I got all excited because I saw this bad boy in the car park putting his armour on.

4268 - 20.3.2016 - Obidos

There’s going to be some battles and jousting and manly stuff thought I but no, he got dressed up, put a cup in front of himself then stood at the town gates for tourists like me to take photos of him.
Anyway, this was a good way to spend a Sunday!!

Sunday evening after Obidos we went to Intermarche in the next town, did a bit of shopping and the washing, all by 5.00 pm. So we decided to drive up to our next stop, Balatha where there was a Gothic monastery that had been UNESCO sited. We arrived on the Aire next to the sports field in the pouring rain. We got a pitch and settled in for the night.

Incidentally, if you happen to be following this blog, unfortunately I have nearly used my 3gb of WordPress storage so I have created motorhome ramblings 2. https://kimmsummerlin2.wordpress.com/ Which is available here.

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Along the West coast…………….

Monday 7.3.2016 – It’s raining and very windy so the plan is to stay put, hunker down and ride out the storm. It didn’t last all that long actually as the rain stopped mid-morning and the sun came out. It was still very windy though. Despite the wind we walked down the kilometre track to the main road where we had seen a couple of cafes and sat and had a coffee in one of them. Down in the valley we were shielded from the wind and it was lovely and warm. After wandering back we did a bit of housework/internet searching for houses and planned for the morrow.

8.3.2016 – It’s still a bit windy today but no rain so we are up and off by 9.30 to Monchique, a mere 7 kms down the road. We found a place to park and wandered into the town.

4017 - 8.3.2016 Monchique

Monchique is lovely, multi-coloured buildings dropped onto a hillside with a nice church and centre.

4011 - 8.3.2016 Monchique

There were also some strange bronze statues about the place, this one had to `low five` me!!

4007 - 8.3.2016 Monchique

The town also boasts a convent that is in fact derelict, inhabited by strange folk who beckoned us in.

4013 - 8.3.2016 Monchique 4014 - 8.3.2016 Monchique

In view of the state of the building we decided against the enticement and moved on!!

We’ve now climbed up to the highest point on the south west coast of Portugal called Foia. The views are amazing, a bit hazy but from here you can see the south and west coast of Portugal. The sunset was amazing and the photos do not really do it justice.

4019 - 8.3.2016  Foia

4024 - 8.3.2016  Foia

9.3.2016 – We meant to get up early and take a photo of the sunrise but unfortunately the van was cold, the bed was warm so we stopped where we were!!! The wind is still blowing and I popped across to say farewell to David and Belinda, an Aussie couple doing Europe. Lovely people whom I sure we will come across again to swap wild camps with!!! Check out http://mohomoments.blogspot.pt/ – well worth a read.

We set off with the intention of lunching at a dam but, tragically maps.me on the Hudl didn’t keep up with the van and we missed it!! The road was terrible, probably one of the worst we have been on but we eventually arrived at Odemira. Camper stops (Snooty) put the Aire on one side of the river and it was actually on the other so we had lunch and moved round. Then it started to rain so we decided to have a well-earned post crap road rest. The town itself is nice, typically Portuguese, with blue and white houses, tiled at the front and the obligatory Castle!!! It wasn’t very photogenic so we had a cup of tea in a local café for a bit of free Wi-Fi and I watched a bit of Benfica against someone else in one of the many European cup matches on the aged TV. I’d forgotten how much I missed 22 millionaires chasing a bag of wind and falling on the ground clutching their head/leg/arm/groin at every challenge!!!! The locals seemed to love it though, shouting at the screen and moaning about various players! The universal language of football!!!! It’s still drizzling so we went back to the van for a DVD night then to bed.

10.3.2016 – The sun woke us this morning, as well as the dinging sheep coming down to the river for a drink. Dinging because they all have bells round their necks!!!! We headed for Porto Cova via Vila Nova de Milfontes.

We found a most splendid place to park the van on a cliff car park at V.N.d.M. and had a walk on the rock strewn beach taking in Atlantic man –

4027 - 10.3.2016 Atlantic man - Vila nova de Milfontes

4029 - 10.3.2016  - Vila nova de Milfontes

then into the town where we stopped at a way-side café for lunch. I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t like Kimm and Anne to make a decision and then actually go into a café/bar for something to eat but we did and it was really good. Two bowls of soup, a ham and cheese toastie, coffee and a cup of hot water 6 euros 40 cents which equates to £4.92 and I was stuffed!!!!

Anyway, as V.N.d.M is undergoing major sewer and water works surgery we followed the Devisio signs to get out of the town which we managed eventually. A little way up the road was Porto Cova, our destination for the night where we easily found the large car park being utilised as an Aire. We are about 500 metres from the sea that is crashing against the rocks with 40 or so other vans.

4039 - 10.3.2016  - Porto Covo

Again the town is lovely, full of cafes and shops selling tat!! (Anne nearly bought a solar powered waving daisy but she resisted!!)
We did have a small walk along the cliff tops but the wind was blowing hard and because of our lack of body weight we were a bit scared of being blown off so we returned to the van.

4046 - 11.3.2016  - Porto Covo

11.3.2016 – The wind has abated and we have managed to have a walk along the cliff tops this morning. The place is wonderful, full of little coves where, if you wanted to, you could bake in the sun all day!!

4044 - 11.3.2016  - Porto Covo

The white washed houses provide a perfect back drop to the coast line. Coffee was taken in a small café and then we were off, heading for Sines and some LPG as we were very nearly empty. This part of the coast is not actually awash with LPG stations and we found one tucked at the back of an industrial estate where we put 20.7 litres in (capacity of tanks 22 litres) so we were nearly out.

On to Sines, another more industrial town with a large port and power station in the distance but small streets and a castle therein!

4047 - 11.3.2016  - Sines

4048a - 11.3.2016  - Sines

We managed to find a large, lost, Labrador for a young girl in the streets. It had been for a lovely swim and it stank!!! Luckily Anne had some Aloe Vera hand wash with her so we able to camouflage the smell until we got back to the van to wash our hands. Lovely place though.
We are now sat on a Bus space for the local swimming pool at Santiago de Cacem. This looks an interesting place with Roman ruins, a castle and a fabric shop that Anne saw on the way in! (What bliss!!) Oh and now we have some gas its chicken for tea!!!

12.3.2016 – We slept alone last night! A French van turned up but was far too long to get in the bus space what with his car trailer as well!!! Anyway, we got up and walked through the town then down to the tourist office where a map was obtained then after a fruit stop we started the climb through the cobbled streets of the old town to the Castle and Mother Church. (No, I’ve no idea, sorry).

4058 - 12.3.2016  - Santiago do Cacem

The walk around the Castle provided stunning views over the landscape to the Atlantic and towards Lisbon.

4056 - 12.3.2016  - Santiago do Cacem

The next surprise was when we walked into the Castle. I was expecting it to be restored as others had been as a re-enactment type of place but no, it was a Portuguese Cemetery. It was a wonderful use of space (That sounds a bit mercenary but it’s not) and felt very sacred. Photography was not allowed and we respected that but we did walk the castle walls.

4057 - 12.3.2016  - Santiago do Cacem

After that we wandered the cobbled streets and found the perfect coffee shop in the sun with free Wi-Fi for lunch!!!
We’ve decided to get a bit of a move on and leave the Roman ruins for our next visit so we drove on to a large non-descript town called Grandola where we parked on the Aire next to the exhibition centre. A Portuguese family were having a barbeque in the middle of the roundabout next to the Aire, very strange!!! We met up again with Les and Pat who were at Porto Cova (Pat was born in Sutton on Sea – small world isn’t it!!). Then we just walked to the town with its numerous uninspiring fountains. Luckily it has been a beautiful day which made up for the town!!

13.3.2016 – Today will be spent mostly driving to a wild camp area just short of Lisbon so with the benefit of free Wi-Fi from the exhibition centre I will publish this today and if anything interesting happens you’ll read about it next week.

Turning North for home………………..

29.2.2016 – We set off from Lagosh and found Lidl for the weekly shop then onto Turiscampo where we met up with the Caravan and camping club stewards, who were still on site despite the rally having finished yesterday. From our conversation and wander around the site I think that this will probably be us next year for a few weeks. It’s all very laid back and friendly.

After that we drove onto Intermarche at Budens where there was a washer/drier unit outside. We parked up on a small gravelled area outside that was already populated by several `groovy` vans hand-painted with stove pipes coming out the roof.

3922 - 29.2.2016 - Intermarche Budens

It would appear that this is the meeting point for the local new age traveller community down here. We were sat there for 3 hours waiting for the washing and there were so many of these vans that turned up I didn’t think we would get the washing done. Don’t get me wrong, after dealing with new age travellers in the U.K who were aggressive and so anti-establishment I expected these people to be similar but I could not be more wrong, they all spoke, said hello, chatted at the washer, a great bunch of folk.
We did speak to one guy from Colorado who was working over here and as a `local` he didn’t have a lot of time for them as they over populated the lovely deserted beaches around the Algarve in fact he wasn’t really very chatty with us either. Each too his own I suppose. Anyway, washing was done and we are now on the Figueira Camper van park for an overnighter before venturing down to the edge of Portugal at Sagres.

1.3.2016 – Scratch that last comment, Anne has found a drive leaflet for this part of the coast so we have back-tracked a little way from the Aire to a cove called Boca do Rio near Salema.

3924 - 1.3.2016 Boca do Rio

Apparently this used to be a free for all on the beach wild camp but the GNR/local council put down a hard standing parking area for Motorhomes and coned off the beach parking (however they left a gap big enough for smaller mohos and campers to get onto the beach). So, here we are, we’ve had a stroll along the beach, lunch and then after we had laid in the sun for an hour we wandered over the cliff top walk to Salema, a small fishing village with a few little shops and cafes.

3925 - 1.3.2016 Salema

This was about a mile but by the time I had navigated the many sheep tracks along the route I suspect that we actually did about 3 miles there and 1 mile back!!!!
There is a Fort on the opposite cliff top that was erected to protect the Tuna fishing fleet – it is in a state of disrepair but there is a path leading up to it so we may have a go at that on the morrow but for now the moon has come up and the stars in the sky are fantastic. There is no light pollution here and the heavens are very clear, if only I had studied Astronomy I’d know what to look for! I did see the plough but that’s an easy one to find!!!!

2.3.2016 – This morning we walked up the cliff path in the opposite direction to the old fort where we stopped for a photo op.

3926 - 2.3.2016 Boca do Rio Fort

Then we wandered just a bit further to get a better view of the fort. When we got back to the van we met Carol and her hound Bob (as in Dylan apparently – he was a well laid back hound!) who told us of a couple of wild camping spots further along the coast that she had visited.
Anne fired up Snooty and we set off, venturing down narrow lanes and close fitting hedges until we came out on the next bay, called Zavial. Anne did a recce on foot but the car park was full of surfer dudes and we moved down to another wild camp at a place called Ingrina. Apparently the vans used to park on the beach here but the council are building a new cars only car park so many of the vans are in bushes at the back of the old car park. We parked up and had a word with one of the `residents` who told me it was `cool to stay`!! So we drove up a rutted path and found a spot.

3932 - 2.3.2016 Ingrina

The lady in the next van, Jaq and her adorable dog Dougal made themselves known and after a brew and a chat we set off on the cliff path for the next bay – the hippy bay!!! After a climb and a descent across the green heath-like landscape we came across the hippy bay. It is named quite correctly as there are about 50 vans of various ages and numerous makes, none less than 10 years old I would imagine, with surfer dudes, Rasta’s, all sorts of folk wandering around.

3934 - 2.3.2016 Hippy beach

One van had a three piece band playing garage music outside. I think it would have been quite an experience to stay but it’s a 5 km rough ride down to the bay and as there were no other newish vans there I would have felt a bit out of place. Probably just me but can’t be helped I suppose. (Neither do I like garage music!!). The bay itself was stunning. You can see why they’d made camp there! We walked back over the hill by which time night was upon us.

3.3.2016 – We’re up early and off for a walk in the opposite direction today towards a surfer beach Zavial that we couldn’t get parked on yesterday. We again climbed the green heathery cliff tops through another traveller type site complete with van/greenhouse for growing herbs obviously!!! We descended through the heather down what I thought was a path but I think was actually a stream bed into Zavial bay.
3939 - 3.3.2016 Zavial beach

Surf was up; surfers were out as was the sun and the wind. We sat on the rocks and took it all in. There was a small cafe on this beach but unfortunately it was closed for re-decoration! Their loss!! We walked back along the road as we didn’t fancy the climb back up the cliff side. It didn’t take long and we were very soon secure and waiting for the off.

3935 - 3.3.2016 Ingrina beach

We said farewell to Jaq and Dougal and made our way back to the main road and down into Sagres where we found the Intermarche and had an upload and download plus a quick top up shop. Then it was down to the Fort car park (after a quick trail round the town looking for a defunct Aire that Snooty had logged in to her system) where we parked up for luncheon.
3955 - 4.3.2016 Sagres

The Fort is set on a peninsula and was used as a defence against `the pirate Sir Francis Drake` according to the guide! I didn’t realise he was a pirate; I always thought of him as an English hero but I suppose if someone’s dropping in to pillage your womenfolk and rape your town they’re a pirate! Different perspectives I suppose!! The Fort was 3 euros each to get in. It is in the process of regeneration but it was well worth the price if only for the views from the peninsula.

3942 - 3.3.2016 Sagres Fortress 3947 - 3.3.2016 Sagres Fortress 3950 - 3.3.2016 Sagres Fortress

We spent some time walking around the peninsula then wandered back into the town for some coffee, cake and Wi-Fi to catch up with everyone.

After that we walked to the Port. We more discovered the Port actually. We were just wandering the main street and saw a patch of water between some houses, headed for it (down the steps)

3952 - 3.3.2016 Sagres

and came out at the port. This is a fishing port and still very much in use as opposed to a Marina that stores posh boats!!!

3953 - 3.3.2016 Sagres Port 3953 - 3.3.2016 Sagres Port4

After taking a photo of Captain Heron we walked back to the van where now several other vans had parked up for the night. It was a bit windy but nothing that we weren’t used to by now – I think the main buffeting was being taken by a huge German Pan-Technicon camper that was parked behind us!

4.3.2016 – Today has started very overcast and dull but with very little wind. The first port of call was the Market in Sagres that is on on the first Friday of the month. In the winter months don’t bother, it’s not really worth it unless you want clothes or strange mulita coloured silicon baking utensils.
On return to the van we set off for the most South-westerly point of Europe Capo de Sao Vincente. This is marked with the most powerful lighthouse in Europe.
3956 - 4.3.2016 Cabo de Sao Vincente

After a wander and a stand and a think about the fact that this was the point where we actually start to head northwards and home

3958 - 4.3.2016 Cabo de Sao Vincente 3966 - 4.3.2016 Sagres fort from Cabo de Sao Vincente

we moved on up the coast to Castelejo beach. This is another isolated beach with a café and very little else. Wonderful place!!

3975 - 4.3.2016 Castelejo beach

I feel, dear reader that you get a tad jarred off with these constant referrals to beaches but there are just so many down here and so unpopulated. I’m sure that I the summer they are mowed out with surfer dudes but at the moment it’s like walking Skeggy beach on new year’s day but without the rain, howling wind, cold, mud and dog crap!!!
As we couldn’t overnight here we moved up to Borderia and Carrapateira beach which is part of the South West Atlantic costa Vincentina natural park, created in 1995. We are sat in the sand dunes on a car park next to a little river but we can hear the sea crashing against the rocks. . We’re going to wander over the cliffs and along the beach shortly.
3979- 4.3.2016 Borderia and Carrapateira beach

The walk was exemplary!! Wonderful Atlantic views, crashing waves, wildlife, the works!!! The only downer was that I lost half my biscuit in my tea!!!

3984 - 4.3.2016 Borderia and Carrapateira beach

When we came back it started to drizzle, then the sun came out and then a full rainbow over the car park. Sadly Anne didn’t run up the dunes quite quick enough to get the full effect but you get the idea!!!

3989 - 4.3.2016 Borderia and Carrapateira beach

We had two new age traveller vans turn up and park next to us. They let 4 dogs out followed by 2 small children then put their gas bottles and other sundry rubbish outside the vans. When I say van I mean that literally, these were both just vans with a window and door hacked out of them! Again I suppose you do what you have to do with what you’ve got!

5.3.2016 – After a good night’s sleep we have moved on to Aljezur, to an overnight spot that snooty picked out. This is a lovely area. Aljezur is made up of an old and a new town, the previous one being destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. The old town has a lovely old 15th century castle atop a hill that we climbed to after we had wandered round the nearby town of Igreja Nova that has a nice Church.

3996 - 5.3.2016 Aljezur Castle
3995 - 5.3.2016 Igreja Nova Church

There were also a lot of groovy people at the two cafes in the church square; I think they come from the hostel nearby. Lots of talk about love and peace, nice coffee and Wi-Fi!
We both like this place. There are so many different aspects to it from the castle to the river to the sea, all well worth an extended visit next year I think. We parked up on a very quiet car park next to the river where we were joined by 4 other vans during the evening.

6.3.2016 – We were awoken by a cacophony of ducks and geese on the river next us, obviously complaining about the presence of an interloper in their midst!!!

4002 - 6.3.2016 Aljezur wild life

After ablutions we moved off along a stunning mountain road to an Aire at Monchique.

4003 - 6.3.2016 Monchique Aire

We needed a washing machine and some interweb and found it here, a most splendid place overlooking verdant green valleys. We will stay here for a couple of days and have a travels rest methinks!!!!

4006 - 6.3.2016 Monchique Aire

Silves and to the west.

22.2.2016 – Well I hate to repeat myself but we shopped again at Lidl, the motorhomers shopping paradiso!!!!! This was after saying farewell to our neighbours. We made our short way across to Silves, a town with a castle that had been recommended by several people and found a car park next to the swimming pool. Unfortunately mohos were banned as was anything over 3.5 tons but we espied several satellite dishes in an upright position about 300 metres away and, lo and behold there was a free Aire. Apparently, according to Richard and Ron, two Yorkshiremen parked just inside the gate this used to be an Aire created by the council who had put in a dump spot and water plus barrier and hut but, they looked to rent it out but asked to much and nobody wanted it, hence they turned the water off, left the barrier open and now it is a semi-legal wild camp.
Silves appears to be a lovely place. We walked into the lower town for some free wifi outside the town hall which is adjacent to the Castle gates and sat in a café amongst the red stone walls.

3864 - 22.2.2016 - Silves

Tomorrow we will Castle!!!!!

23.2.2016 – After coffee and wifi again at the same café we walked up to the castle.

3888 - 23.2.2016 - Silves

3867 - 23.2.2016 - Silves

It was 2.85 Euros entry and worth every cent. It appears to have been restored but there are still some archaeological digs going on in the grounds.

3870 - 23.2.2016 - Silves

The views from the towers were superb.

In the afternoon we sat out in the sun because it was gorgeous out. We chatted to Richard and wife Marian and Ron and Ann about everything and that over the course of the afternoon because that is what one does!!!!

24.2.2016 – Today we are staying where we are. We had a walk to the end of the town past the bridge,

3892 - 24.2.2016 - Silves

on route we admired the stamina of local OAP’s who were out in front of the swimming pool doing circuits and no I didn’t join in as I was not old enough!!!!!

3891 - 24.2.2016 - Silves

We then did a quick tour of the towns sculpture park and after coffee, cake and wifi we wandered back to the van.

3894 - 24.2.2016 - Silves 3895 - 24.2.2016 - Silves

The weather has changed and it is quite dull and overcast and my shorts and tee shirt were a rookie mistake!!!! Anne is now cooking the chicken and keeping the van cosy and I have changed into my walking trousers!!!

The weather really did take a turn for the worse and it poured down this afternoon necessitating an afternoon in front of the computer. With no wifi we were forced into watching Mr Darcy (Anne) and Tom Hanks (me) so all in all follow that with a chicken dinner and it’s not a bad day at all!!!!

25.2.2016 – After an early night we were up early and ready for the off at 10.00am. We said goodbye to Richard and Marian then made a quick stop at Complimente (local supermarket) as they had rugs on sale!!!!! One cannot have enough rugs in one’s van apparently!! Then it was off to Portmao along one of the worst roads we had been on so far in Portugal.

We had heard all these scare-mongering stories about all the Aires being full in Portugal, especially the Algarve due to there being 26,000 more vans on the coast this year but we drove onto the Aire at Portmao and admittedly we couldn’t get a spot on the concrete area but there was more than enough room for more vans on the field at the back where the overflow was. (The joy of solar panels!!!!).

As we set up a couple introduced themselves to us as Angela and Keen who were going to a Motorcaravanners meet at Turiscampo. They, like us were first timers in Portugal and it would have been nice to chat but they were up and off!!!

We wandered into the Marina –

3896 - 25.2.2016 - Portimao

then round onto the almost deserted beach where we lunched on grilled sardines and omelette!!!

3900 - 25.2.2016 - Portimao

Obviously I had the sardines and they were delicious. Follow that with a wander along the beach and up to the view point at both ends of the beach and that equals a very nice day!!! This is a very nice place and we will explore some more on the morrow.

3903 - 25.2.2016 - Portimao

26.2.2016 – Well today started with rain and wind and has continued all day, so much so that we haven’t been outside at all. The field we are in is very wet and although it is huge we now have three French vans so close to us that I could actually lean out of our window and knock on their van. Safety in numbers!!!

27.2.2016 – I think there was method in the French madness as we bore the brunt of the wind last night being the last van on the line and it was very gusty!!! We’re still overcast with occasional showers this morning although the wind has died down and we are getting the odd sunny spell.
We were going to stay awhile and explore the area around Portmao on foot including Ferragudo and Alvor but what with the rain and the mud and the close fitting French I got a bit stir crazy and wanted to move on. After a very wet up and down load we moved over the river to Alvor where we drove round the Aire which was wetter and muddier than the one we had just come off but we managed to find solid ground on the adjacent car park so that we could have a wander around. This is a lovely little seaside town with a fine 500 year old church and splendid Marina complete with watchdog!!!

3906 - 27.2.2016 - Alvor 3908 - 27.2.2016 - Alvor

After coffee and cake it was on to Lagos (I think its pronounced Laygosh but that’s hearsay) where we found a space on the Aire next to the football stadium complete with Circus big top!!!

DSC00666

This again is an Aire for 18 vans but has overflowed onto a large adjacent car park that now contains another 50 or so vans!!!

After ramping up we walked to a new supermarket, Pingo Dolce as we (I) had run out of tea bags and neither Lidl nor Complimente seemed to be stocking them at the moment. Success!!! Box of 40 PG tea bags successfully found by Anne in the “Food is great! – Britain” section along with Branston pickle and birds custard powder!!! Then it was on to the Beautiful Marina (apartments cost between 250 and 350 thousand euros) and down to the old fort and seawall.

3911 - 27.2.2016 - Lagos 3918 - 27.2.2016 - Lagos

We are saving the town for the morrow but it looks very promising!!!!

28.2.2016 – Sunday = lazy day so that’s what we did. We had a restful morning after being awoken early by the donkey braying in the next field, skyped Emily (apparently the signal wasn’t very good and we sounded like transformers!) and grazed on coffee and biscuits. The weather is definitely on the up and the sun is shining although it’s still windy. We were going to move onto a car park in the town for a night but we came to the conclusion as it’s only a saving of 2 euros `why bother` so we didn’t. Instead we wrapped up warm and walked into the centre of Lagos and trod its cobbled streets for a couple of hours, had coffee and cake (it is the law!!) and then, when we were getting cold we walked back to our lovely warm, sat in the sun van!!! Although it is a lovely town Lagosh is not very photogenic and Anne couldn’t find any nice pictures to take but again, the beach and Marina are very much worth a visit. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching a film (Anne) and plucking (me). Tomorrow we will move further West I believe. I want to have a quick look at a Camping and Caravan Club meet at Turiscampo site to see what it’s like for next year maybe.

Onto the Algarve!!!

15.2.2016 – We’ve decided to have a little meander inland today, mainly to bypass Faro because I don’t fancy going so we are at a small Aire at Estoi which is supposed to be a pretty village. After inspection we have found that Estoi isn’t as nice as it’s cracked up to be.

3829 - 15.2.2016 - Estoi

Yes it has nice views but not our cup of tea when they have turned the old town hall into a Pharmacy.

Onward to Quarteira we ventured, along strange side roads as directed by snooty. We’re now just outside Quarteira on a commercial Aire at Fonte Santa for 3 euros a night. We caught the afternoon bus into the town and found the sea front and the old town which was all very pleasant!!! We saw the trees and seats in the centre had been `knitting bombed` – again all very strange!!

3834 - 15.2.2016 Quarteria

We walked back along the sea front, sussing out the wild camp spots

3839 - 15.2.2016 Quarteria

then walked back to the Aire where we settled in for the night. It has been very windy over the last few days and cold at night so I had the thermal jim jams out again!!

16.2.2016 – While we were discussing our plans last night and checking stuff out on the free interweb it came to light that we had missed out on Vilamoura, a large marina/town/resort just out of Quarteira. We had missed it by a couple of streets apparently!! Also there is a large market on the Aire on Wednesday so all the vans move off the Aire and onto a large car park next door so we have decided to stay. We woke up to a caterpillar of French vans stretched from the gate to next doors car park right the way back through the Aire. It seems there is a competition to get the best space!! It didn’t actually matter because parking is supervised by the Aires staff and is all very civilised.

We caught the 12.10 bus into Quarteira and walked the rest of the way to Vilamoura Marina where lunch was taken

3841 - 15.2.2016 Vilamoura

then a stroll round the marina shops and a walk along the virtually empty beach towards Felisia.

3840 - 15.2.2016 Vilamoura 3849 - 15.2.2016 Vilamoura
3854 - 15.2.2016 Vilamoura

This is a great place to be at this time year. Everything is open and it’s not too busy. As its half term in the UK there were several British accents in the cafes which was nice to hear.

Between you and me dear reader I’m starting to worry about the Mem-sahib.

3856 - 15.2.2016 Vilamoura

Whenever we walk on the beach she picks stuff up and secretes it in her back pack. Then, when we get back to the van she puts it in a plastic bag under the seat. I don’t think she knows that I know what she’s doing but I do!!! Let’s hope we don’t get stopped and weighed because the hundredweight of sea shells will be the first to go!! (I once bought a large bag of cobbles back from Scotland that she had purloined off the beaches and then she had hidden them in the spare wheel well in the boot of our Austin Maestro – The Maestro didn’t pull very well at the best of times but that return trip from Scotland took 2 hours longer than normal!!).

Anyway, we walked back to the van again – my legs were hurting and have settled in with the 100 or so vans that are now parked here.

17.2.2016 – We had a latish morning today and there was frost on the outside of the windscreen! The nights have been rather chilly but we’re snuggly warm and the sunny days make up for it! I expected to be awoken early by the setting up of stalls next door but we slept really well, showered and then wandered around probably the biggest market we have seen on our trip……….. maybe second biggest as there was one in France that was huge!! Anyway, wander we did amongst the many clothes, jewellery, cork, and food stalls. I found a very nice green and brown leather wrist thong

3857 - 16.2.2016 Fonte Santa Market

– really freak the kids out when we get home with long hair, beard, beads, thongs, ears/nose pierced etc!

We stopped for a coffee in the centre of the market and sat people watching for a while then did the other half where we met the coin man. Bill from Birmingham takes coins and cuts out parts of it to create an inner pattern – 3857a - 16.2.2016 Fonte Santa Market

Interesting bloke who nonchalantly changed language accordingly to whoever was looking at his creations. I bought the pig from him because I could and I thought it was great! Bill has facebook page – search for The coin man –

-and a book on kindle that I will be reading eventually.

https://kindle.amazon.com/work/one-foot-south-east-asia/B011W61LBC/1326262467

After lunch we had a siesta. I had asked the nice lady on the gate of the Aire yesterday what time we would be allowed back on and she said it would be about 5.00 pm. The lady came round about 2.30 in the afternoon to ask if we were staying and I duly paid her the required 3 euros.
At about 3.10 I noticed that a lot of vans had started moving off the car park. Bit strange thought I so I opened up the roof vent and had a look out of the top to see a queue of French, German and Dutch vans along both sides of the road outside the Aire and backing onto the car park we were on. We did some more relaxing and at about 5.05 pm the gates opened and they all trailed into the Aire. We dropped off the ramps, and drove round and we were set up again on the Aire at 5.20 pm. I can’t understand Jonny foreigner sat in his van for 2 hours on the roadside just to get a space on a 100+ space Aire. Any old way, needs must I suppose – we’re in the same place as we were on Tuesday, all good!!

18.2.2016 – Up, up and away in search of a washing machine today as I only have one pair of pants left

3858 -17.2.2016 Albuferia

they are my penguin Christmas pants so I’m looking forward to wearing them, nearly as much as my danger mouse pants!!!

We wandered lonely as a motorhome in, through and around Albuferia looking for an Intermarche that had a wash station – I had received intel regarding this from a fellow mohoer but she failed to warn me that there were three Intermarche’s in Albuferia. We visited two of them with no result and after a further failure with a search for sites daytime parking place that turned out to be a building site we decided that we would find an Aire that Anne had discovered. We found it with comparative ease and luckily got the last spot. Ya-boo-sucks to the Dutchman that was trying to reserve the pitch for his mate who was arriving later!!!

Next job was two loads of washing which was hindered at first that same Dutchman who was wanting my washing machine and secondly by the water supply stopping. I reported the problem to the site warden (when I say warden I mean surly Portuguese chappie who doesn’t speak a lot of English and wanders about with a fag hanging out of his mouth shouting at the maintenance man ). The water supply got repaired, I got my washing done and out to dry and we walked into the town. Even the Dutchman was happy. (He actually asked me where I was from and when I said England he said – “so that is why your English is so good!!” You couldn’t make it up!!).

Anne and Emily came here in April 2009 for a girly treat and I must say I can see why. It is a lovely town and the beach, curving round to the headland is a treat. It’s been a tad cool of late and we were out in trousers and layers so as the sun set we wandered back to the van.

3859 -17.2.2016 Albuferia

19.2.2016 – We’ve had a good kip, I’m up, washing is out and I’m on my second cup of coffee – life is good!!!!
We had a very steady morning chatting to the neighbours, Geoff and Jenny about the Iboost then, after lunch we walked down through the town to the Marina. Now Vilamoura this is not!!! The boats are all there and the apartment buildings are all painted pretty pastel colours, but there was only one terrace of shops and cafes and there were very few people about. We had a coffee (thought about a crepe but at 7.50 thought again!) then walked back the way we came. The houses and flats within a stone’s throw from the Marina were very colourful and finished but the surrounding area looked like a half finished ghost town that had just been abandoned.

3861 -19.2.2016 Albuferia

It had been quite warm during the day but the warmth bleeds out very quickly as the evening draws on and we headed back to the van for rest and recuperation!!!

20.2.2016 – Today is Saturday I think! It does get confusing!!!! The sun is out and everyone but the Portuguese are wandering around in shorts and tee shirts. I got the chairs out and after coffee we walked down to a flea market at the local market area. The flea market is just as it says old tat with lots of fleas. The Municipal Mercado is something else, it’s a large building with a central courtyard, one side sells fish, the other meat, and the other veg. On the final side there are two cafes. All very enterprising. We were `chugged` (charity mugged) by the same bloke 4 times. Each time he rattled his tin at me I politely said not today thank you. On the fourth I just said no, to which he replied I only said good morning, to which I informed him that it was the fourth time he had shaken his tin at me and that his powers of recall and recognition were not very good. In true chugger fashion he shrugged and walked away shaking his tin at people as he went!!
So then it was back to the van, chairs out, books out and gather the rays!!!!! Our neighbours told us a sad tale about a Swede from one of the vans on the Aire who had died recently in the toilet of his van in the middle of the night. He was found the next morning but apparently he had had a massive heart attack.
The evenings are cool, as stated before and we were back in the van about 6.00 pm. Luckily Anne had taken the chairs in because it started the rain, yes dear reader it started to damn well rain!!! It was quite heavy as well but stopped before bed time luckily.

21.2.2016 – I am informed by my precious (you have to say that in the voice of Gollum or its just wrong!) that today is our 300th day out. Well done us!!!!
As its Sunday we’ve decided to wander into the Town for lunch – this was taken at a splendid little café on the corner of the seafront called Louisiana. After that we wandered the beach eastwards as the waves crashed onto the sand driven by the wind, all very exhilarating!!
On the way back we were stopped by another couple from the Aire who told us that someone else had collapsed and had a stroke in front of their van. He was a Frenchman who was given first aid then taken to the hospital. I’m glad we’re leaving tomorrow; I think this place may be jinxed!!!

Seville and first impressions of Portugal

8.2.2016 – The Aire was extraordinarily noisy last night with some sort of generator running and dogs barking so we’ve decided to move on. We set Snooty for the Aire at Chipiona and she took us through the town and down to a deserted beach front car park which looked a bit suspect so we re-set madam and headed for the Aire at San Lucar which we found after a tour of the town on the sea front.

3715 - 8.2.2016 San lucar de Barrameda

It is in fact a large car park that at the moment is half occupied by the circus!!! When I say huge there are at least 50 vans on here at the moment and when I went to find the dump spot (as described in the Aires book), folk were taking their cassettes to the road side and opening a drain cover. Water was obtained the same way. Now as you know dear reader this behaviour is all a bit alien to me. I like to know that what I am doing is right and proper but thankfully we neither had to upload or download as we were only staying the one night!!

The town itself is quite pleasant with a nice castle and centre but I wouldn’t want to be stopping 3 or 4 weeks on here!!!

3712 - 8.2.2016 San lucar de Barrameda

Anyway, we walked to town in the afternoon and the evening but could see no further reason for staying. The circus had its final performance tonight and after the curtain call at 9.30 they proceeded to take the big top down – I was reminded of scenes from Dumbo, only due to the noise the `carnies` throwing the wooden seats and poles onto trucks!!!

9.2.2016 – After meeting George, and Bunty and Pip and Karen from way back at La Volta Aire we left the car park and headed for Seville over endless plains (presumably where the rain mainly stays!!) surrounded by hundreds of wind turbines.

It was a long drive but we made it to the Aire (after a quick look at the Port entrance, thanks Snooty) about 1.30. After lunch and a nap we walked into Seville and into the Parque de Maria Luisa where I had been told about the Plaza de Espana. Well thank you Denny (a scouser from San Lucer) who advised me accordingly about the place, what a treasure it is!!! It was built between 1914 and 1928 for an expo exhibition and celebrates areas of Spain in tile form.

3729 - 9.2.2016 Seville

3736 - 9.2.2016 Seville 3734 - 9.2.2016 Seville

After numerous photos we moved through the park and back to the Aire to sort the photos.

At the Aire this monster pulled in next to us

3717a - 9.2.2016 Seville

– a Dutch family I believe travelling for 7 years according to their website – http://www.1world4travel.com – Blocked out my internet signal!!!! It’s a German 6 wheeled truck – look at their site for more pictures. We haven’t made contact with them at this stage but we may tomorrow.

10.2.2016 – Happy birthday to my old Dad for today if he’d still been with us, a wonderful man who was very much loved! Also happy birthday to my broken tibia, 29 today!!! And still gives me gyp!!!

After speaking to a lovely English couple who were parked behind us in a Rapido 999 that we had seen parked on Torre del Mar (Sue and John I think??) we made off for the big city armed with fruit, camera and raincoats. Now this place is very special and well worth a visit. We were stunned by the huge beautiful buildings, the Cathedral, the Parasol and everything about the place! There is so much to see that we will be forced to return another day!!! I will put a load of photos on the blog and hopefully name the places on the pictures. The ones that aren’t named are not on my map but looked great in my eyes.

3721 - 9.2.2016 Seville 3722 - 9.2.2016 Seville
3731 - 9.2.2016 Seville 3745 - 10.2.2016 Seville

3753 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3760 - 10.2.2016 Seville

3765 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3770 - 10.2.2016 Seville

3771 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3773 - 10.2.2016 Seville

3777 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3778 - 10.2.2016 Seville

3779 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3780 - 10.2.2016 Seville

3784 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3786 - 10.2.2016 Seville 3787 - 10.2.2016 Seville

This is most definitely a place to which we will return!!!!

11.2.2016 – After another night broken with port noise and rain battering on the roof we up and downloaded and set sail for Portugal! Prior to leaving I got chatting to Roger. Roger is a retired Policeman from the Met who was on a quest similar to ours. Nice bloke, wish we could’ve spent a bit more time chatting to him but needs must and we set off to search out some auto gas!
We negotiated Seville and out along the coast heading for one of two overnight sites we had found on searchforsites.co.uk at Moguer and the other at San Jan del Puerto near Huelva. Moguer was a large sandy car park next to a scrap yard and the other was a huge industrial area – where some people get their ideas of a decent overnight spot from god only knows. We had lunch on Decathlon car park, re-routed snooty for an Aire at Castro Marim just over the border and set off.

45 minutes later finds us on the Aire, a smallish car park in a large village with a Castle and a fort that we will have a wander around tomorrow.

3792 - 12.2.2016 - Castro Marim from the fort

We set our watches back an hour to Portuguese time and realised that we still had time for coffee and cake before tea so a local hostelry was found and photos were taken of strange statues!

3790 - 11.2.2016 - Castro Marim

I had a wander round the Aire when we got back and made contact with a lovely couple in another Bessacarr, John and Marian and their working Cocker Spaniel Milly, a smashing little golden brown coloured hound, pretty much the same build as Poppy (Will and Hannah’s dogster). We sat and chatted for an hour as the moon came up and then it was back to the van for mushroom pasta!! Huzzah!!!!

12.2.2016 – Because the clocks in Portugal are an hour behind Spain we were up early this morning and off up the hill to the old fort.
3802 - 12.2.2016 - View from Castro Marim Castle

It’s actually closed to the public but we had a walk round it and took in some of the views over the Atlantic and a Japanese type selfie before we wandered across to the castle.

3793 - 12.2.2016 - Castro Marim selfie

1 Euro 10c to get in and then we had to pay on exit as the lady hadn’t opened her office doors. The Castle is used as a tourist attraction and for festivals. I managed to set the alarm off in the old church but no-one was around to notice but I did put myself in the stocks as a punishment.

3804a- 12.2.2016 - Marim Castle

We continued round the walls overlooking the estuary and the sea before wandering back to the Aire and getting off down the coast a bit to Vila Real de St Antonio where Snooty took us to a large Aire right on the edge of the river/dock which was filling up fast.

We had a walk into the town which was lovely, built on a Bastide pattern so not so easy for me to get lost!!!! There were no Castles or forts though, just the town and the marina so we will move on in the morning.

3809 - 12.2.2016 - Vila Real de St Antonio Marina

13.2.2016 – Bit of confusion in my mind today as I couldn’t make a decision to save my life. We drove along the coast road, which is in a state of disrepair and stopped for a quick walk round Altura, a large tourist/apartment type town with a lovely beach and very little else. We then bypassed Tavira where there was a commercial Aire (9.50/night) to a `sleepy spot` that Anne had found online. This transpired to be a large car park where overnighting was allowed but no services. I couldn’t decide what to do as there were vans parked on the roadside to the sea on a stretch of road that had been renovated with a great number of parking spaces. I drove along to Saint Luzia where I turned round in a crowded wild camp area just off a roundabout and drove back to the car park where I stopped and had a nap!!!
The gifts of sleep and food revived my flagging spirits and we strode off sea-bound over a board walk and floating pontoon bridge

3811a - 13.2.2016 - Pedres Del Rei bridge to Praia do Barril

to an area called Praia do Barril that used to house 80 tuna fishing families up until the 60’s and has now been renovated into a museum and various cafes. It was about 1 ½ kms from the road but well worth the walk. The beach was completely unspoilt and the wind was blowing the sand along at about 3” above the ground.

3817 - 13.2.2016 - Praia do Barril beach
3819 - 13.2.2016 - Praia do Barril beach

I couldn’t quite work out the story behind the anchors but I think it’s something to do with the celebration of the fisherman’s family life.
After a reviving coffee and cake in the café we walked back to the coast road and back to St. Luzia, another fishing village with a fishing fleet and Marina. We didn’t stop as the sun was out and we wanted to catch some rays on the way back as we were informed that the weather is going to deteriorate tomorrow.

14.2.2016 – Guess who forgot Valentine’s Day????? We both did until about 2.00 pm!! We fled the big car park and made off to a seaside town called Fuseta, just a few kms down the road where, lo and behold there was a Vide Grenier!!! (Car boot Spanish style) and I have to say that he Portuguese tat is on a level all of its own!!! We found a parking space and had a couple of hours, post coffee wandering the seafront where the sales were on, taking in the ambience of it all despite the squally showers that disturbed us!!

3822 - 13.2.2016 Saint Luzia

Yet again we bought nothing, well nothing that I can mention here and moved on to Olhao, another fishing village where we laid up for the night in a car park opposite a stork chimney!!!!! NO idea what it is but it’s obviously been restored.

3829 - 14.2.2016 - Olhao

Anyway, the wind is howling and we’re off to bed, hopefully for a half decent night’s sleep.

Gibraltar and Cadiz

1.2.2016 – Happy February everyone, only 48 weeks to Christmas apparently!!!

Today we are moving on again, heading for a free Aire at Castellar de la Frontera which has a nice Castle! We started by programming Snooty for the local Supermecardo on the other side of Ronda, whatta mistakea to makea!!!! We went round the outside of the town then found that the supermarket parking was underground and not suitable for Mohos so after a brief re program she took us right through the middle of Ronda over the Pente Neuvo Bridge – Anne was having kittens but I saw a member of the local Constabulary stood outside the Bull ring, just before the bridge and he didn’t wave me down so I thought let’s do this, so I did – I had to stop and wait at a narrow bit but we made it through O.K. That was 25 minutes of my life that Snooty owes me!!!

Anyway, she made up for it in a way because she took us down the A369, a spectacular route over the Mountains.
3600 - 1.2.2016 - Ronda to Gibraltar 3601 - 1.2.2016 - Ronda to Gibraltar

When we got to the Aire we did a bit of research and found that the Castle bit of the town was actually another 15 kms away – The old town of Castillo de Castellar (with a Castle) had been abandoned in 1971 with a view to relocating it in the valley and calling it Castellar de la Frontera. This didn’t go down well apparently and after the village had been abandoned a group of German hippies moved into the old village, much to the chagrin of the villagers who had decided to stay. The animosity still exists but the old village is 15 kms up a narrow, passing placed road in the mountains with nowhere to park a motorhome so we decided to have a fresh start and move on to La Linea Marina, (last stop before Gibraltar) via Lidl!!!!!

We found Lidl, closely followed by the rock then the Aire.

3605 - 1.2.2016 - Second glimpse of Gibraltar

So here we sit, about a mile from the runway listening to the planes take off. It’s secure though so we’re happy to toddle off into the foreign tomorrow.

3606 - 1.2.2016 -  Gibraltar Marina

2.2.2016 – The jets didn’t disturb us as I think they stopped flying about 10.00 pm but we still had a poor night’s sleep and slept late. John and Lorraine popped in to say goodbye before they jumped over the Med to visit Morocco. It was lovely to see them again and thanks to John for his bit of wire to fix my pipe problem (see Facebook if at all interested!!).

On the advice of J and L we discarded the bikes and walked across to the Spanish border point and after managing to get my passport in the face recognition system upside down we were allowed access to Gibraltar. First impressions were “Christ the drivers here are manic!!!” which of course they are, scooterist’s tear-arsing about, 4 x 4’s cutting everyone up, it was a relief to get to the Main Street.
Now, after coffee and a square containing Costa and innumerable “English fish and chip shops” we walked along what could be a main street in any English town. There was a surfeit of Jewellers and electrical shops but other than that we could have been in Lincoln or Stevenage. After a perusal of the clothes shops, (I got some shorts and two tee shirts from BHS, I’m sure you’re thrilled!!) we made our way to the cable car station where two returns were purchased.
3626 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar cable car 3632 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar rock

The view going up on the car was very special with Africa pepping out above the clouds across the water and Spain stretching out behind us.

3633 - 2.2.2016 -  Africa

The car deposited us at the Café/souvenir shop/tourist trap at the top where we had a coffee, looked at the view and saw our first Barbary Macaque apes scampering around the rooftops and on the walkways.
3627 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar rock apes

They are little buggers!!! They start by posing for photographs then steal anything that is hanging off your person. One woman lost her lunch that was in a plastic bag (despite warnings!!) and another woman was jumped on and nearly lost her back pack!!!

3636 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar rock apes

We kept an eye on them and walked the top of the Rock taking numerous photos.

3651 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar rock apes 3645 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar rock apes

3659 - 2.2.2016 -  Gibraltar rock apes

Other than the café it appears the top has been left to slowly rot. The old buildings are falling down and quite honestly it’s a health and safety nightmare but no-one seems to mind!!! After a while we were all monkeyed out so we back-tracked to the cable car and went downwards again.
We met a nice couple on the way down, David and Karen from http://www.thegreygappers.co.uk who were in a moho doing a year long trip in Spain. I feel sure that we will come across them again in our travels. There are several `attractions` at the top and if Anne was a bit better and I hadn’t `tweaked` my back this morning we would have walked down the hill (3kms) and taken in the botanic park etc but there are some other things to see if we venture across the border tomorrow and catch a bus!!!

3.2.2016 – We’ve decided to move on today, Gibraltar was O.K but it was manic, there seemed to be too much of everything, people, scooters, cars and they had the same mentality as back in the U.K when it came to paying for things – everything was extra!!! Want to see the botanic garden, get a ticket, want to see some caves, get a ticket, want to see some monkey crap, that’s free!!!! Anyway we upped and downed then made off along the coast road towards Cadiz intending to stay overnight at Vejer on a free Aire however at about 11.30 we were traversing the coastal strip north of Tarifa when I decided that coffee was required so the good lady said `turn left here` which I duly did and we came across several vans in a beachside car park obviously wild camping.

3669 - 3.2.2016 - Beach - Playa Val deva queros

After a word with one of the other Brits who had been here three days we decided to stay over and have a couple of cheap nights. The bay is used by surfer dudes and fishermen and motorhomers. The Guardia Civil had a cursory ride round but said nothing and left so we went for a walk followed by a nap then a walk again along the beach looking out over Africa again.

3676 - 3.2.2016 - Beach - Playa Val deva queros

The beach was nearly deserted but for a couple of fishermen and we walked for miles, a new vista round every headland.

4.2.2016 – The winds got up overnight and the van was rocking in the breeze so we decided that we’d stay where we are for today and ride out the storms. Anne cooked a chicken dinner so it was a bit like Sunday. We finished the day with a Pride and prejudice fest!!!

5.2.2016 – Today, after discussion between ourselves and snooty we made up our minds to move on Vejar to an allegedly free overnight parking place. So off we went in the wind past hundreds, if not thousands of wind turbines lines up across the flat coastal plains and found our way up to the hill town of Vejar.

After a brief visit to the tourist office where a very nice lady told us that we couldn’t overnight in the car park we had a walk round Vejar (pronounce VeeHarr).

This is a very nice Moorish town with Castle, Churches a-plenty and lovely views

3684 - 5.2.2016 Vejar view across the plain

plus a frog fountain and no, I have no idea why!!!!

3681 - 5.2.2016 Vejar frog fountain

After lunch we bumbled up to El Puerto de Santa Maria to an overnight Aire on a large car park next to the river and a Catamaran ride away from the Port of Cadiz where it is allegedly carnival week!!!!

We parked up and walked the 300 metres to the Cat terminal, 2.65 euros one way, cheaper than the bus and the train apparently! So that’s tomorrow sorted. For now though we wandered this Port town and found it to be very surprising with superb architecture both old and new, plus some religious storks nesting on the church roof!!!!!

3688 - 5.2.2016 El Puerto de Santa Maria Plaza Espania 3689 - 5.2.2016 El Puerto de Santa Maria Plaza Espania 3696 - 6.2.2016 El Puerto de Santa castle

3691 - 5.2.2016 El Puerto de Santa Maria Plaza Espania religious storks

6.2.2016 – Up and at `em this morning!!! Well, not exactly early but we walked across the bridge and caught the Catamaran at 1130. On the way we found the Castle that we missed yesterday in El Puerto de Santa Maria.

3697 - 6.2.2016 El Cat from Puerto de Santa to Cadiz

The Cat` deposited us at Cadiz port and we followed the crowds through to the main square. We sat in a café bar where an expensive coffee and Bocadillo Jambon (ham sandwich) were consumed. It was worth it actually because the atmosphere of the place was buzzing. There were all manner of people in various stages of dress and undress and `oh my god NOOO!!!` – as you will see from the below photos. This was as well as a variety of street venders selling anything from multi-coloured wigs to kazoos!!!

3703 - 6.2.2016  Cadiz Cathedral

We followed the crowds to the Market area where many different groups of singers (I am loathe to call them choirs) were singing comedic songs about local politics and religion (I understand). The most humourous and or professional wins a prize!!

3705 - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters

The crowds were very claustrophobic and we managed to get out of the other end of the town onto the prom that circles the Island.

3708 - 6.2.2016  Cadiz La Caleta Castle 3709 - 6.2.2016  Cadiz Playa La Caleta building

It was a very pleasant walk taking in strange buildings and Castles built on promontories plus botanic parks and gardens where we found some ducks.

3710 - 6.2.2016  Cadiz the duck whisperer strikes again

We ventured back into the centre to find coffee and cake but ended up on the steps of the Cathedral with an Apple and custard cake each as the shops were heaving!! Again, it was worth it just to watch the modes of dress go past.

3705m - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters 3705n - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters 3705p - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters 3705r - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters
3705s - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters 3705e - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters 3705j - 6.2.2016  Cadiz carnival characters

After half an hour we decided to call it a day and found our way back to our Catamaran and home to our little van and a much required cup of tea!!!
This Aire we are on is just a big car park and about 9.30 the floodlights get switched off, presumably to save the owners a bit of money, well at about that time a group of Spanish yoofs came across from the town with their bottles of beer and gathered on a concrete river promontory just across from our van where they proceeded to talk and yawp and get progressively louder in line with how much alcohol they consumed. Sadly it started to rain and drove them off but not until about 11.00 pm, hence neither of us slept very well.

7.2.2016 – It spitted and spotted with rain all night, stopping about 8.30 when we cracked the blinds!!! AS there were no services here or where we were wild camping we have to up and download so we’re heading for a recommended Aire/site at Sanlucar de Barrameda.
We made it to the site down some very dubious roads but it’s not bad. Alfonso, the owner, greeted us like old friends and we’ve done two loads of washing and dried it in his greenhouse, genius idea!!!! We’ve been told about 2 Aires, one in Sanlucar de Barrameda and one in Chipiano, a bit East of us so we may have a bimble down and visit as this is festival fortnight in Andalucía apparently!!

More at Malaga and beyond.

25.1.2016 – B and M have decided to do a free walking tour of Malaga this morning so we joined them for a late lunch. Seems they both enjoyed it and told us of the many wonders of Malaga that they had learned – the only thing I can remember is about a statue being thrown in the dock and then dragged out 60 years later and mounted on a plinth the wrong way, something about a man with a pick as well, sorry Baz, my attention span is not what it was!!!!

After lunch we dragged an exhausted B and M around the Marina and the beach where we saw several Parakeets threatening a couple of pigeons over water access

3482 - 25.1.2016 - Malaga with B and M

– It was a case of my gangs bigger than yours and the Pigeons flew off!!!!

The Marina is lovely with great big ships anchored close enough to photo and great views over the front.
3479 - 25.1.2016 - Malaga with B and M

After further coffee and cake with a crazy waiter

3479a - 25.1.2016 - Malaga with B and M

we wandered back to catch the bus – we were later informed that B and M went back to the hotel and were in bed asleep by 9.00 pm!!!!

26.1.2016 – We’ve had a nice lazy morning chatting to John and Lorraine, the couple from New Zealand who have stalked us southwards. Great to see them again!

This afternoon we wandered down to the bus stop to pick the happy couple up and bought them back to the van for a sit in the sun – it was wonderful sat there most of the afternoon sipping tea and eating scones in the sunshine (yes she made scones again HUZZAH!!).

3490 - 26.1.2016 - Scones with B and M
3489 - 25.1.2016 - Sunset over Malaga

As the sun went down we walked down to the beach for a drink in the only beach bar/café that was open and yet again were served by another crazy waiter – Baz seems to attract them!!!! I tried a coffee bonbon as recommended by Mr Parkin, it was lovely, sweet, sickly, sweet, did I mention how sweet it was, did I mention how high my blood sugar went after I had drunk it – I felt like the Meer Kat in the alan video!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0BfcdPKw8E

After they had caught the bus back I had to have a lie down!!!!!

27.1.2016 – B and M are exploring the other end of Malaga today so we caught the bus into El Rincon. Anne caught this photo of the old Castle (I think) backed up by the threatening clouds on the mountains

3491 - 27.1.2016 - El Rincon

– Fortunately they never appeared on the coast.

There was also this strange statue and no I have no idea what it’s about.
3492 - 27.1.2016 - El Rincon
We had a wander along the front, the market and through the tunnel to the other side of El Rincon where we lunched. There are three tunnels carved through a headland to give pedestrians and cyclists a flat run. There are several viewing platforms on the way that give great views of Malaga and the cement works!!!
3493 - 27.1.2016 - El Rincon cliff path 3493 - 27.1.2016 - Malaga from El Rincon cliff path

The ferry/boat/big ship came out of Malaga and I tried to be a bit arty-farty and failed miserably however I did find this boat on the foreshore.

3500 - 27.1.2016 - El Rincon West beach 3502 - 27.1.2016 - El Rincon West beach

Why would you!!??

After that we wandered back to El Rincon centre, did a bit of shopping then caught the bus back.
Anne is getting better every day but we are still a bit wary of going too far away from the van or transport back to her!!

28.1.2016 – Today B and M came out to us on the bus this morning. We picked them up from the bus stop and drove along the coast to Torre del Mar where we again parked in the wild camp area and wandered along the front into the town for lunch. After a very nice sandwich at La Julietta we simply wandered the town and the front chatting and laughing about nothing and everything. Anne took some photos and Baz did as Baz does and posed!!!!!
3507 - 28.1.2016 - Torre del Marre

We watched the fishing smacks coming in
3510 - 28.1.2016 - Torre del Marre

then returned to the Aire for a drink before walking the happy couple back to the bus.

29.1.2016 – Today is B and M’s last so we caught the bus in today and joined them for coffee in our favourite café in Constitution square. The ladies visited some shops and Baz and I people-watched, a very interesting activity in Spain.
After a quick look round le Cortes Ingles, Spain’s answer to Debenhams, we said our goodbyes and walked back to the bus.
It was a lovely evening but at bedtime, (in Anne’s case about 8.30 pm) the rain started and got progressively heavier until the thunder and lightning started about 10.00pm. It was a fantastic display and kept the majority of the Aire up until early morning.

30.1.2016 – Today we have decided to move on, get back in the saddle and get some miles under our belts. We’ve hardly turned a wheel in a fortnight, not that I’m complaining, but we didn’t want to start feeling too at home!!! So after goodbyes to our new friends Sally and Steve and old friends, John and Lorraine, we made off towards Ronda. We had heard good things about Ronda with Roman remains and aqueducts etc. that we thought it would be a shame not to seek it out.
The drive over was phenomenal!!

3530 - 30.1.2016 - Road from Malaga to Ronda

We went via Cartama and Alozaina and ended up on a mountain road overlooking ginormous gorges from panoramic points with statues on top of hills that I had to find out about on the interwebs when we got set up

3516 - 30.1.2016 - Road from Malaga to Ronda view point 3526 - 30.1.2016 - Road from Malaga to Ronda view point
– all very green and with some very surprising rock formations!

3519 - 30.1.2016 - Road from Malaga to Ronda view point

We are now ensconced on the Campsite El Sur just outside Ronda and it is getting cool. The statue is apparently a forest ranger??!!

31.1.2016 – After a cold night the sun came up slowly and warmed our aching old bones. After breakfast we cycled (freewheeled) down into Ronda where we were greeted by the town gate.
3532 - 31.1.2016 -  Ronda
Ronda is built on two pinnacles of rock sticking out of the ground, the old town was surrounded by a wall, fort-like and the new town grew behind it. After Coffee and cake we walked into the old town with its many places of religious worship!!!
3547 - 31.1.2016 -  Ronda

Then it was over the Pente Neuvo bridge that links to old town to the new town.
3553 - 31.1.2016 -  Ronda 3549 - 31.1.2016 -  Ronda

The walk took us along the town precipice

3554 - 31.1.2016 -  Ronda

to the Bull ring that is apparently quite famous………
3555 - 31.1.2016 -  Ronda

After a quick photo op (and I mean quick to avoid hundreds of Japanese tourist with the damned selfie stick!!!) we wandered into the new town for a late lunch. Ronda is indeed a lovely place and requires a more in depth visit than a day but we have to have something to come for don’t we!!?? The sun has been out all day and we had to walk the bikes back uphill to the site.

Malaga.

18.1.2016 – Up and away this morning – Snooty found her way to the Carrefour but she didn’t account for underground parking at 2.1 metres so we had to toddle round to Decathlon and get a spare collapsible chair as we only had 3 chairs!!!

So, we got the chair and meandered around the Airport perimeter several times until we found our way onto the arrivals/departures concourse and parked up. I had to go long ways in as the bays weren’t long enough for the van and Anne jumped out to find Chris and Jan.

A short time later I had a conversation with a parking controller who told me that I had to park in the car park – I advised her, in my best “Spaime” (that’s Spanish mime!!) that my van was too tall to get in the car park so after deliberation she waved me to the entrance to departures where I again sat and waited. Wasn’t long as it happened before Anne and our two visitors came skipping towards the van!!!! After greetings we headed off back towards El Rincon and after a brief visit to the Mercadona for provisions we hit the site for coffee!!!!

After lunch we walked down to the beach – Chris donned his swim shorts just in case he fancied a swim in the Med!!!!!! The trouble is that Christopher is a tad bat crap crazy and on sight of the water he made a bee-line and dived in the freezing cold Mediterranean!!!

3364 - 17.1.2016 - El Rincon Beach

Not to be outdone I stripped down to my shreddies and dived in after him!!! No I didn’t, I just stood round hoping that he didn’t have a heart attack and need rescuing!!!!!

Chris did manage about 5 minutes before he came out doing a fair impression of a Smurf!!!

Beer was required so we stopped at a beach bar, sorry the only beach bar and had a grande cerveza (large beer apparently) before wandering back to the van where I engaged the Cobb, jarred off the neighbours with a bit of smoke, who shut their windows and Anne spatchcocked the chicken!!! My esteemed barbequing brother in law was a bit dubious as to whether 8 charcoal lumps would cook a chicken and all the veg but he was pleasantly surprised at the outcome!!!

Chris had an oral lesson on the art of using the Thetford cassette toilet whilst sat on it, I certainly was not going to stand in the loo and teach him. After working that out Chris took a shower and managed to get himself stuck in the cubicle whilst trying to wash it down after use. Of course we were all very concerned about his well-being and didn’t laugh at all!

19.1.2016 – We all slept well and no-one had to use the loo in the night!!!! There was not even a fart to wake anyone up!!!!

After bacon sandwiches we unhitched the wagon from the EHU and pondered down the N340 back to Torre del Mar where we parked on the big beach side car park and walked into the town for coffee along the front.

3374 - 18.1.2016 - Torre Del Marre

3376 - 18.1.2016 - Torre Del Marre

After a look round a very nice centre we retired to the beach and yet again the crazy came out and dived into the med that in my opinion was colder than yesterday!!

3377 - 18.1.2016 - Torre Del Marre 3379 - 18.1.2016 - Torre Del Marre

Whatever floats ones boats I suppose!!!! We sunbathed for a while then as the clouds came across we drove back to the site where tea was prepared and Chris got stuck in the shower again, this time he couldn’t fathom why the `brown towel` that was on the floor kept sticking to him – the `brown towel` was in fact a piece of non-slip material that we use on the bathroom floor to stop the oil filled radiator we sometimes store in there from moving about! It had left a lovely indentation pattern on his knees!

20.1.2016 – Today finds us on a bus to Malaga. Chris prepared breakfast for us all and is now fully acquainted with the morning workings of the van.

The Alsa bus deposited us outside the Malaga eye (a London eye look-a-like) and we wandered up the main street and through the old town following a tourist route.
Malaga was just as we remembered it from our last visit 4 years ago, a lovely town with splendid old buildings. As we alighted it started to rain, then, as we chose a coffee shop for sustenance the heavens opened and there was a deluge.

3409 - 19.1.2016 - Malaga

Fortunately it was short-lived and after C and C the sun came out. The ladies found the shops and Chris and I wandered and people watched – Chris edged up on a French tour group and gathered some useful information about the constitutional square where we were stood. It was short-lived as she moved the group off from the loon with the brolly!!!

3386 - 19.1.2016 - Malaga (sneaking a listen to a tour group.

During coffee a greasy haired Spaniard produced a guitar and serenaded us with a terrible flamenco!!! I thought that if I gave him a Euro he’d bugger off but no, I had to take his guitar off him and try it myself – it was so far out of tune it was virtually unplayable (for me anyway!!)
3410 - 19.1.2016 - Malaga

Jan found a friend…. 3422 - 19.1.2016 - Malaga

We found a lovely garden with an umbrella tree…………………….

3434 - 19.1.2016 - Malaga

And Chris and Jan climbed the ramped path to a lookout point over the Port then we wandered back to the bus station. I had been wondering if the tangerine and orange trees on the sides of the roads and parks bore edible fruit –
3393 - 19.1.2016 - Malaga

well Chris found out by snaffling an orange then peeling it, un-attaching a slice, putting it in his mouth and then spitting it out forthwith as it was “thour”!!!!!
Back at the van we introduced our guests to pass the pigs which the girls won one each!!!

21.1.2016 – Road trip!!!!! Up and off to Antequera today high inland off the A45. A bull fighting town apparently with a great many churches spattered about the landscape.

3439 - 20.1.2016 - Antequera

The place appeared to be closed but we managed to climb up to the Castle for panoramas!!!

3453 - 20.1.2016 - Antequera

I’m sure that Anne didn’t intentionally frame this photo with the sign but…………..3449 - 20.1.2016 - Antequera

On the way back to the van we found one of those OAP keep fit stations – we had to have a go!!!!
3465 - 20.1.2016 - Antequera

22.1.2016 – We had a slow start this morning then a drive into El Rincon and a wander round the Chinese Supermarket. After that we walked into El Rincon itself, a nice little place with a long beach front. After lunch we proceeded in a Westerly direction back to the Airport where we dropped C and J off at terminal 3 and waved farewell until May!!! We’ve had a lovely time with them both.
After a steady drive back to the Aire we put a load of washing in and got out the chairs.

23.1.2016 – Baz and Mary landed last night and we are up and off this morning on the bus to see them in Malaga.
3472 - 21.1.2016 - Malaga with B and M

It was great to see them and after initial chats, hugs, coffee, hugs, etc. we walked into Malaga for a bite and tourist thing around the place.

3473 - 21.1.2016 - Malaga with B and M

We made the top of the lookout point near the castle this time for photos then back to the centre for more chat and coffee before we caught the bus back to the Aire. Great day!!!

24.1.2016 – We had planned to go back into Malaga today and do the ride and tour bus with Baz and Mary but unfortunately Anne didn’t feel too well this morning so we wimped out and spent the day resting and recuperating – obviously tomorrow will be better!!!!

Along the South Coast………

11.1.2016 – The wind rocked the van all night long, all night, all night long!!! (Sorry lapsed into Lionel Ritchie there for a second) and we were sipping tea at 4.30 am. Russ had had a similar problem and we met for coffee at Mario’s Bar on the marina later in the day and as the harbour master told us that the wind would be petering out during the evening we decided to stay for another day. As it was windy we stayed in and watched a DVD with Russ for the afternoon and chilled discussing the merits of Love actually and other films that have made us cry!!!!! All in all a good day!!

12.1.2016 – Well the harbour master told Russ that the wind would cease about 10.00 pm and he was only ½ an hour out, not that I would know as I was comatose by 10 to 10 apparently. We both slept really well and woke refreshed and able to take a photo of the Sunrise.

3341 - 11.1.2016 -   Almerimar Beach - Marina Sunrise

We’re moving on today to the outer regions of Nerjar to test out the camping and/or Aires. After a farewell and salute from Russ we made it to Carrefour for Gas, diesel and food before finding the coast road just past Adra. What a splendid road it was to!

3343 - 12.1.2016 - Lunch time view over Punta Negra

Lunch was taken overlooking the Med and then we pushed on until we found Castell de Ferro then we started looking for wild camps and camp sites. The sites were few and far between but we happened across two French vans parked on a car park next to the beach at Playa Carchuna so we pulled in and had a wander round the ghost village that looked out over 2 kms of blue flag beach.

3347 - 12.1.2016 - Playa Carchuna

I spoke with one of the Frenchie’s who told me that they had and were staying overnight so we (I) decided that we’d give it a go. (Anne had already decided we were stopping!!!).

I tried again for a Moon shot but………… 3353 - 12.1.2016 - Playa Carchuna Moon

13.1.2016 – Another Moho joined us on the car park last night but other than that we slept well –

3352 - 12.1.2016 - Playa Carchuna

and woke to a splendid Sunrise.

After an easy start we moved off to go and suss out some sites/spots to take Chris and Janice (Anne’s Brother and sister in law), who are coming out to see us for a short break. We stuck to the coast road and drove through Motril then onto Alumnecar through Nejar. We had a quick look at Nejar camping but it was about 2 km from the beach, up on a hill, away from most things and didn’t have a very welcoming aspect. The front at Nejar was littered with wild camping that looked like gypsy encampments. Alumnecar however was just as we remembered it from a Spanish holiday we had with Emily about 4 years ago. Small streets, lovely front, nice coffee and cake.

3356 - 13.1.2016 - Almunecar town

All very good once we had found a car park for the van. (I managed to get a pair of jeans – I’m down to a 36 waist!!! – not been a 36 since 1989!!).

Anyway, on to Torre Del Marr where we had 2 sites ear-marked. We parked on a huge beach-side car park with several other vans and after chatting to another couple Steve and Diane and their absolutely adorable Patterdale terrier we found that both sites were full to busting and little hope of any pitches coming free next week. So, on to plan B and we moved a little way along the strip tp Camperstop AMB, an Aire next to a motorhome dealer. 7 Euros a night for Wi-Fi (bit slow), Electric and services so not too shabby. We’ll stay overnight and have a ride in the morning to the other two sites on this side of Malaga that we’ve ear-marked.

14.1.2016 – We moved on today to Camping Valle Niza Playa, right on the coast 8 Kms from Benegarafe and about 30 Kms from Malaga, we’re still looking for a campsite for a couple of weeks. This one is a bit like Beirut but gets cheaper the longer you stay so it has potential.
Anne thought it would be a good idea to check out the Aire in El Rincon de la Victoria that had some good write ups on the Facebooks, so off we biked about 6 Kms into the town and then up a hill. At this point the Mem-sahib had another bout of severe stomach pain and keeled over. To cut a long story short we ended up in Malaga Hospital where blood tests proved inconclusive but pointed to more antacids.
Our thanks go out to the Hospital staff at El Rincon and Malaga, the local constabulary who sent out 2 scooters and a response vehicle and finally the lady that stopped with us, rang the ambulance and looked after our bikes, Maria and her wonderful golden retriever, Truth.
It was all very humbling for two non-Spanish speaking foreigners stuck on a strange road in a strange town to be ably assisted by the locals.

We finally made it back to the campsite at 0915 pm where bed beckoned, so after some more Gaviscon we headed for sleepy-land!!!!

15.1.2016 – So now we had to come up with a cunning plan to retrieve our bikes from Marias house at El Rincon. We decided to move off the campsite (as it wasn’t very nice really) and check out the Aire at El Rincon as originally planned, failing that we could always stop over on the Aire, get the bikes and move on again to the other side of Malaga and check out a couple of campsites down there.
So we set Snooty with the co-ordinates we had for the Aire and she tried to take me down small tracks so I ignored her, came to a roundabout and saw a Camper van sign and arrow which we managed to follow right to the Aire. On arrival we were greeted by Rodriguez the owner who took us round and advised us where the sun came from. We opted for pitch 11 and set up.

3357 - 16.1.2016 - Aire Victoria El Rincon

After a short time we decided that this was a much better place than any campsite we had seen and the bus stop was only 5 minutes away so we’re staying for a while!!!

I contacted Maria and we walked round to her apartment and picked up the bikes – she was pleased to see that Anne was much better and Truth was very glad to see us especially as we had dog treats!!!

Back at the site we ran into Mary and Mike who we had acquainted at Calpe. They, like us have meandered down the coast using Aires and sites.

After a while I also acquainted myself with other folk on the site, including Marian who had answered my comment on Motorhome and Campers U.K on the Facebooks. Chat was had with Marian and Roy and also Steve and Sally who were in a Bessie as well.

16.1.2016 – After a busy day we slept well and had a late morning, it is Saturday after all!!! We walked down a dusty path to the front and found a beachside track that goes all the way round to Malaga apparently! We wandered along it past beach bars and cafes, both open and deserted then into the beginnings of the town before turning for home.
3359 - 16.1.2016 - El Rincon Beach

It was a tadski warm and I realised that I’d made a mistake with walking trousers, luckily they are cut-offs and I drew strange looks from a passing dog walker as I de-trousered!!!

3360 - 16.1.2016 - El Rincon Beach getting hot

There were three Chinese supermarkets between the town and the Aire and, for some reason we had to visit all of them. I’m still not quite sure why as we didn’t buy anything. A further restful afternoon and evening was had with me conquering the rest of the washing!!!! Tomorrow we wash the grit and grime off the van, well I will anyway!!!

17.1.2016 – I now have a sparkling van having washed and polished her in full humorous view of most of the occupants of the Northern plots on the Aire. Steve even bought his chair and coffee to watch me!! Thankfully I neither fell off the ladder or wet myself…………………. With the hose!! Several people asked me what I charged for cleaning vans but one is enough I find!!!! That was about it for today, it has been a relaxing Sunday. This afternoon I took my ukulele across to Eric and Pat’s van as he has a mandolin and we spent the time conversing and putting the world to rights.
As Brother and Sister in Law are arriving on the morrow we had a spruce up and tidy inside the van and Anne did her Hi Ho silver … (The lone re-arranger?!?!?) (Come on that’s quite funny!!!) And I assisted by getting out of the way!!!!
So it’s an early night for us as shopping has to be done in the morning, laters!!!