Note: My iPad crashed on 30th November so all my notes for the next few days are no longer accessible so will try to remember as best as I can information about these days. Apple have not been able to rectify the problem as yet and the poor internet reception has not helped them. Unfortunately all our blog information, travel apps, maps and notes are on this IPad.
Rob’s Ipad is ok but all the important information was on mine
Tuesday 28th November
Woke up to rain this morning so decided to travel a longer distance today and head for Portugal.
Again no border patrols and the only indication that we had crossed the border was when our phone beeped and told us so.
The countryside is much more picturesque now as we begin to head closer to the coastline.
The villages and towns are so beautiful here as every house is white with either red or predominately terra cotta tiled roofs. With the backdrop of the green countryside, it is amazing. Only differences between the houses are the colours around the window and door frames which are mostly different shades of blue. Would love to have an exclusive franchise for white paint and terra cotta tiles here.
Our camp for tonight: Markt, Estremoz
We arrived around midday and parked in a large car park in the middle of Estremoz. It was still drizzling so put on our wet weather gear and headed up the hill to the old town above. This was totally enclosed by massive fortified walls which were built in 1299. Many of the old stone houses within the walls were restored and are now occupied by locals.
Businesses also of course were there to take advantage of the tourist trade. In the middle of this old town was a square walled castle which has been restored and now houses a fantastic hotel included as one of Europe’s historic hotels.
Sadly more information re this has been lost in my iPad now.
Whilst in a local pharmacy the local pharmacist, who spoke perfect English and was so helpful, recommended a restaurant serving traditional Portugese food, so headed in that direction. It was closed then but reopening at 7pm. Went back to Ziggy and had a couple of pre dinner drinks and then headed back to town – it was still raining. Ordered something similar to a seafood paella which was massive and washed that down with a great local white wine (recommended by our waiter). We had such a great time with the locals here even though no one spoke English. The waiter was excellent and really looked after us. At the end of the night he plonked two half bottles of alcohol in front of us and said we should taste these. One was like a vodka moonshine and was so strong, the other a milder red grape liqueur that was beautiful. He insisted we drink these and/or take them home – we left the moonshine but happily downed the red liqueur. Happily headed home on unsteady legs (in the rain) and spent the next couple of hours plucking up the courage to climb the 2 steps to the mezzanine floor to sleep (I hope).
Wednesday 29th November
Woke up to fog – not only outside but my head was a little foggy as well. The driver was fine but the navigator needed a lot of water. Had such a super first night in Portugal but paid the price today.
A hearty breakfast and a couple of headache tablets for me – and we were on our way.
The fog lifted and what followed was a picture perfect day with sun and blue skies.
The town of Comporta was our planned destination. Really pretty town with the camp site on the edge of town and the police station on the other corner. Were looking forward to exploring the town but not long after, we discovered our auto gas supplies were really low. Decided to move on and find a servo with auto gas as we were concerned about running out overnight.
Our camp for tonight: Parque de Grandola, Grandola
It was getting late now and didn’t have a lot of choice of places to camp after filling up with gas.
Grandola had nothing to offer apart from a place to stay for the night. Didn’t take any photos here. Large car park with Motorhome facilities and shared the spot with a few other Motorhomes and many trucks who use the same place for overnight sleeping. Very quiet spot and a peaceful sleep considering the above.
Thursday 30th November – Saturday 2nd December
Travelled along some scenic routes now along the Portugese west coast. Beautiful countryside with the occasional glimpse of sparking blue ocean. We were heading for the Algarve region of south western Portugal.
Again many beautiful villages along the way with those magnificent white houses and terra cotta roofs – just never get sick of seeing them – just so beautiful.
Our camp for three nights: Figueira Caravan Park, Figueira
Tucked away in the extreme south western corner of Portugal is the little town of Figuera. We decided to stay in a caravan park tonight as we needed to catch up on laundry.
Headed through some really narrow streets with some not so desirable looking homes and buildings for a short while. Wanted to get straight out of there but just around the corner the camp site came into view. Still not sure if we wanted to stay here but after a great welcome by the manager and a cheer from a group of Brits, we felt right at home. We scored a fantastic spot overlooking a garden – someone had just left here – we were so lucky.
The Brits thought we were one of theirs because of our GB number plates but were just as happy when they discovered we were Aussies (convicts).
Had three wonderful relaxing days here. The sun and blue skies greeted us every day. The Brits were in shorts and bikinis and soaking up and worshipping the sun on sun lounges all day. We were still in long sleeves and trousers. Temperatures during the day were around 20 degrees but nights are in very low single digits.
Gave Ziggy a wash and debug, did the clothes washing and spent a few hours walking daily to the really picturesque beach about 1.5 kms away. Really small beach about the size of Froggys Beach at Tweed Heads and waves and stunning blue waters with rocky mountain outcrops framing the beach.
Made quite a lot of Brit friends here – most were permanent travellers with no plans to return home any time soon. Have received many varied opinions on Brexit and the EU.
Sunday 3rd December – great morning to be an Aussie
It is great to wake up on a Sunday morning to the news that Australia has cleaned up England in the first Ashes cricket test and that Australia beat England in the Rugby League World Cup final – especially when you are surrounded by Brits and pretend you don’t know the results and then ask them if they know the results – I have never known of so many Brits who suddenly don’t follow cricket???.
Reluctantly left this morning but knew there was so much more to see in the Algarve area. Know for sure, that we will see lots more Brits and many other people from northern countries trying to escape the cold.
Didn’t travel far today – only around 50kms but again a picture perfect day.
Our camp for tonight: Camperplaats Alvor, Alvor
Passed through Lagos which is huge. Saw hundreds of Motorhomes parked in the caravan park and knew we would have a challenge from now on finding places to stay. Only a few kms away was our next destination Alvor.
This is definitely a really touristy destination. We rounded the corner and saw Motorhomes parked everywhere.
The campsite itself is right on the oceanfront and is nothing special. There are so many Motorhomes in here – more than we have seen anywhere. The campsite itself does not have a blade of grass to be seen anywhere and the soil is rich red. A real problem if it rains as obviously turns into mud – no rain in sight today so hope it stays that way – when no rain it is a dust bowl.
We walked along the boardwalk to the oceanfront – just like home with miles and miles of beautiful blue ocean and beach – though not quite as white as ours at home. From there we headed to the fishing village on the oceanfront where there were numerous restaurants – all packed with tourists eating, drinking and soaking up the sunshine (nearly all Brits). Next up the hill to the centre of town. The narrow cobble stoned streets had restaurants on both sides for at least one to two kms.
Some were closed until 21st December but most were still open. Continued walking for an hour or so into the centre of this town until we came across a bar and restaurant offering a pint of really good beer for €0.90 (AUD1.30). Just had to have one of these and sat and people watched for some time. A group of Brits arrived and soon took over the bar so decided it was time to head back.