We’re in Clover

2018 7

(The neighbours)

We stayed in Mafra again last night but this time at the aire beside the Palace. We didn’t notice it on the way in but here it is and here we are. As we hadn’t had electricity for two days and the drive from Mafra suburb to the Palace wasn’t enough to charge the battery we were running dangerously low on power.

2018 6

(Beautiful sky over Mafra)

When I got back from visiting the palace I uploaded photos with only 20% battery and by the time I sent the blog post to WordPress I had only 6%. There are some electrical connections at this aire but they were all in use. We talked to the couple next to us from Italy (getting away from the snow there…) who said they were leaving today so if we could just hobble through overnight then we could use theirs and we’d be in clover.

2018 2 1

(Window at the Palace)

Ten minutes later the battery alarm light went off… that never happened before. Unplug everything. There was only the wifi router so I unplugged it, soon we would have no wifi…. how would we know what the weather was like…? We made plans for the move in the morning but there were very few aires within 50km of Lisbon with electricity. Time for a walk.

2018 1 1

(I love the windows at the Palace)

And that’s when we noticed the empty space. All the camper van spaces had been taken except one which we took when we arrived and when I got back from the Palace they were still occupied. But now a few hours later there was one… and it was beside an electricity connection!

2018 15

(The view of Mafra from the King’s balcony at the Palace)

We looked at each other and then ran back to the van (who am I kidding, we walked back to the van) and even faster than the night of the flooding river we had moved to the spot with the electricity. We have electricity! The electricity is free! We plugged in the wifi and the laptops and went for our walk. The rain stopped.

We really are in clover, Mairead.

Watercolour Clouds

2018 2

(Look at that amazing fluffy cloud!)

We stayed a second night by the sea and now we’re at a different aire with electricity. The rain stopped, long enough for me to take some pictures, well of course it did. Every now and then it comes back with a heavy downpour and it stops again… the circle of rain. This morning is very bright with lots of blue sky visible between the fluffy clouds. There are also some dark blue clouds and one black cloud. It’s 14℃ outside. Nice.

2018 3


We’re all alone at the electricity place and it’s very peaceful, just the odd bird tweeting. We can see for miles across what looks like marches. I think I read somewhere that being able to see for miles to the horizon is very calming. I do feel very calm. There’s a kind of harbour too with strange-looking boats. They remind me of gondolas in Venice. I get the impression this land may have been reclaimed from the sea.

2018 4

(Clouds last night at sunset… doesn’t it look like paint in water?)

Did I mention we haven’t found a laundry yet? Fortunately we have been able to stay up wind of people we encounter… so all good. Some of the supermarkets do have a laundry set up with huge washing and drying machines in the car park but so far none at the ones we’ve visited. Our parking app mentioned one about an hour south from here, Denis promises me we’re going there tomorrow.

2018 5

(The colourful boats)

Normally by this point we would have stayed at a campsite with a washing machine because aside from the need to have clean clothes I generally want a break from the constant moving. (Denis loves driving and never wants a break.) But this time I’m really enjoying the short stops. I also like the fact that we are making much more use of the aires and so we are seeing far more little towns in Portugal. You can be lucky and unlucky with the aires, when you’re lucky it’s beautiful. But even when you’re unlucky it’s still free and you can leave straight away or the following morning. Unlucky in relation to aires only means you are not surrounded by beauty.

There’s a lot of beauty in Portugal, Mairead.