We have arrived in Portugal!
(1 Km to Portugal)
Since last we spoke we’ve been travelling long days and sleeping short nights in car parks! There’s been rain and sun and a tiny bit of snow. We’ve had lovely experiences. In France walking at night by the river Vendee in a small town called Fontenay-le-Comte. In Spain we met a lovely barman in the town of Borio in the north west who gave us free food and talked about the great time he had at the Cliffs of Moher and how bad the Irish drivers were! Borio reminded us of Greystones and of the camper vans parked at the harbour, that inspired us to go on an adventure.
(Some snow in Brittany)
Once we crossed the border into Portugal we decided we would take things a little easier. We would travel only two hours a day instead of eight… We would stay in campsites. We would take it easy and go slowly. It was not to be…
(Very good price!)
On Thursday we set off from our car park home in Borio as soon as first light and plotted a course for a small campsite in the north of Portugal. It was in the middle of nowhere, birds sang, trees grew, somewhere close by water babbled. We paid the fees for one night and I was looking forward to my first hot shower since the boat. There was one small problem – the wi-fi was less than ideal and Denis needed to get some work done. No problem, he had researched the possibility of our own mobile wi-fi system so we left the lovely birds and the idea of a hot shower and drove off the short distance to the nearest small town.
(There are very few pictures of this first day…)
Things got weird after that… To set the scene, we no longer had internet access which meant we were back to basics. Ask directions – we had two words of Portuguese, hello and thank you… Read a map – we didn’t have a map but we did have sat nav so not completely without hope. The the first sign of weirdness: we could not find parking in the small town. Really! There was nothing wide enough to take Ruby without blocking the street. Sure, no problem at all, we’ll go on to a bigger town. Now, at this point without a map we didn’t know the geography of this new land. But we soon found out by experience that it was mountainous. To navigate the mountain the Portuguese road builders had built winding roads. I am grateful to them, of course I am… but I would love it they had made their roads a little wider, actually, twice as wide would be best.
(My favourite roads are WIDE roads)
Each time we met a HUGE truck I would need to rock and hum gently (Ruby’s steering wheel is on the right hand side, the Portuguese drive on the right hand side, meaning I, as the passenger, am closest to the HUGE trucks…) By the time we arrived at the bigger town I was rocking frenetically and humming loudly but like an oasis in the desert there appeared a supermarket with loads of parking. (We know it’s a supermarket because it’s the French chain Intermarche) I take a moment to unclench and Denis takes a moment to enjoy the silence before getting quite excited to see a sign for The Phone Shop – the place his research indicated would provide a sim to give us mobile wi-fi. Ok this was going to be fine, I’m fine. So in we go. It’s not as big as it looks on the outside but big enough for our needs – we spot the shop.
The shop is closed….
To be continued, this post is getting too long, I’ll finish the story tomorrow, Mairead