Portugal: Day 1 Part 2

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(Light at the end of the tunnel?)

Ok so to continue from yesterday….. We find a campsite in a forest full of birdsong but the wi-fi isn’t great, we pay for the night and set off in search of mobile wi-fi. We drive on little roads. I’m a little (=a lot) nervous. We find the perfect Phone Shop…..the shop is closed…

There’s a very helpful hours-of-business sign that says it’s closed on Thursdays. Yep, today is Thursday… I feel the rocking start again. But that’s when we discover something beautiful… the Portuguese people are very friendly and very helpful. The lady in the shop next door stops what she’s doing to tell us something… which we can’t understand. But eventually we do understand – there’s another shop in the town. We decide to regroup and have a coffee before walking to the town to look for the other shop. The lady in the coffee shop teaches us the Portuguese for two medium white coffees – in case you ever need to know, it sounds like Duos Maya Let, again very friendly and very helpful. We set off with renewed hope….

IMG_6537(As I said in an earlier post… there are no photos from this time – above from the beautiful northern coast of Spain)

Until… we accidentally turn right instead of left leaving the supermarket car park. Fifty minutes later, after even narrower roads. my humming now joined by little squeals, we arrive back at the supermarket. This was a very low point for me and the exact moment when we decide to find a way back to the nice wide motorway and forget entirely about returning to the beautiful bird filled glade….

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(Nice motorway)

The atmosphere lifts a little and it seems this day will be fine….. and on route to the motorway there’s another town, it seems bigger, there’s an entry for it in our camper van parking book… Denis has an idea! We’ll try again – we will go to the camper van car park and walk or take a bus to the nearest Phone Shop. Excellent idea….. Not really.

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(Fond memories of the nice barman and the free food in Borio)

One hour later, after roads much steeper, much narrower, with slippy cobblestones we give up the search for the camper van car park and go back to the motorway plan. You will find it hard to believe (well, I did) but we try again at the next bigger town! And can you believe it, the exact same cobble stoned streets (much steeper than Patrick’s Hill in Cork city) await us there?

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By now it’s getting dark, I am meditating (or is it a catatonic trance?) but Denis loves a challenge so he persists and finally finds a camper van car park. We park up, close the windows and go for a walk. I have an idea that walking will get rid of my newly acquired nervous tic. Soon we spot a sign for McDonalds and we are again filled with possibility. All McDonalds have wi-fi… we’ll be able to get online and work something out. The sign says it’s just one minute away, great. So we walk in the direction of the arrow….

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(Ashleigh’s adorable dog, Max – animals help you stay calm, don’t they?)

We never do find McDonalds, we pass a big hospital and ten minutes later another sign saying McDonalds is still one minute away…. Then we spot what might be another supermarket. (We don’t know if it is or not because we don’t know what the supermarkets are called in Portugal and we don’t have internet to google – maybe computers are bad for us?) But it is a supermarket and YES there is a Phone Shop! I am overjoyed because I had begun humming again. The shop is open and the assistant is very friendly, very helpful. But… she does not have the mobile wi-fi sim thingy…

We leave smiling at the nice lady but feeling a little crestfallen. The McDonalds sign is lit up now but we would not be fooled by it’s promise of wi-fi only one minute away and we walked back past the hospital. There was food, light and heat awaiting us in Ruby. We’d be just fine.

Then Denis had another idea.

To be continued… again, Mairead.

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