Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th December
To date, the Internet speeds and phone reception in this part of Portugal have been woeful. Apple asked us to find somewhere with high internet speeds and good telephone reception so that they could assist us with unlocking my iPad. With the 10 hour time difference to Australia, it also caused some issues and has only given us a short time frame in the morning to speak to a technician in Australia.
On one occasion they forgot about the time difference and phoned us around 02:30 AM.
Our campsite for two nights: Parque Da Gale, Vale de Parra
This campsite was excellent and has an extremely high rating awarded by guests staying here. Internet speeds were excellent so we set about reloading some of our travel APPs onto Rob’s iPad (just in case we couldn’t get mine going again) Rob’s has only a quarter of the RAM that mine has so we were limited with what we could download. We contacted Apple and booked in a call for 8.30am next morning.
At this campsite there is a games and TV room and a small billiards table so after a long walk, we hit the table and played a couple of games. My driver negotiated all the bends and successfully parked all his balls in the pockets whereas the navigator tried to find alternate routes and was not as successful. It didn’t help that the cue attached to the rest was broken so many shots were played left handed or stretched across the table with legs dangling in the air – not a pretty sight. We had fun though.
Call came through from Apple at 8.30am sharp and Benjamin (based in Perth) was extremely helpful. He went in through iCloud and was able to find our original iCloud password used to set up the iPad many years ago (very different to what we thought). Next we had to reset the password and then wait another 24 hours for acceptance.
The campsite also has a heated pool but no one was in swimming. Even though it was a fabulous sunny day, the temperature in the middle of the day was still a cool 18 degrees.
Only a short couple of kms away was the beautiful beach (Albuferia) with really interesting rock formations. The rocks were in the middle of the beach where the beautiful deep blue ocean had gouged away the bottom leaving a stem with a top – bit like a mushroom.
Played more billiards, read books and just relaxed for the rest of the day.
Email arrived next morning with steps provided to reset my iPad. Watched my best friend become more agitated with each keyboard stroke – Apple products !!! – won’t say the words he used. Finally after an hour or so – success.
Got to thank Apple though as they were really great to deal with and so helpful – shame about the products – being locked out of your device having used it for a year or more does not make sense.
Wednesday 6th December
The navigator had a spring in her step today – had so missed the iPad. It is really amazing to think of the hours one spends per day on these devices. What ever did we do before computers?
Another picture perfect day today. We are heading into Orange Country now and everywhere there are acres and acres of orange trees. On the side of the road, stalls are set up with sacks of oranges for sale for €5 for three sacks – think somewhere from 3 – 5 kgs per sack – if only I had my juicer. My driver would not volunteer to squeeze these for me, so bought just a few from Lidl instead – what a shame.
Our camp site for tonight: Area St. luzia, Santa Luzia
What a find – a small fishing village on the river. Couldn’t wait to explore this one so no sooner than the engine was turned off, we headed off. Just across the road, the tide was fully in and a multitude of fishing boats bounced around in the current.
There was a beautiful boardwalk along the river front with restaurants and outdoor eating areas in the sun. At the end several fishermen’s huts and beyond that some truly beautiful Spanish/Portugese apartment blocks. The town only has a few streets and we happily walked through all of these taking photos of the townhouses with their fronts featuring a full wall of mosaic tiles. Some were really gory but some really spectacular.
Next morning we again headed up the boardwalk and took more photos – this time the river was almost dry at low tide and the fishing boats now sitting on mud flats – what a difference a full tide makes. Saw a timber rowing boat being hand made on the side of the road – a real craftsman and a large fishing boat high and dry and leaning into the jetty for support.
Thursday 7th December
Decided to do “a sea change to tree change” today so headed inland to the mountains. Quite a big difference to the coast where now the soil and the landscape is so dry.
Our camp for tonight: Almada D’Ouro Club, Alcaria
We climbed high into the mountains and found our next campsite sitting on the peak with views over the mountains and valleys, Spain on one side and Portugal on the other. A beautiful river meandering through the valleys in front of us and small villages dotted throughout the valleys – so easy to see as they are white against the green backdrop.
This is a Hunting Club that provides space for around 20 motorhomes – all with spectacular views. Inside the clubhouse, there are pictures of hunted wild pigs and ducks and a bust of the head of a wild pig – very scary looking.
The bar opens at 5pm and you can have any drink you can see on the shelf for just over €1. Had a couple of wines (not the best we have tried) though the port was great and shared the sunset and conversation with two German couples – one with the same surname as my mother – but don’t think we are related.
The Driver had a ton of fun practising his German until one of the young German guys starting speaking in Swabish (a type of high German dialect) and so we decided to retire to Ziggy as it was also getting too cold outside.
That is the end of Portugal for us – we have really enjoyed our stay – it is a lovely country, with beautiful friendly helpful people.