We took our time going the short distance across the base of the Estrela mountains as we wanted to see a bit of Portugal, so we stopped at a little campsite next to a river and a Y shaped bridge called Pont das Tres Entradas. The campsite is run by a Dutch family that speak perfect English, sell very cheap beer and have basic but clean facilities, but over here campsites are a bit like Easyjet, you add on everything at the till so it’s never quite as cheap as you first think it is! 2 people for 2 nights in a motorhome plus hook-up ended up being about £30 but it did mean we cleaned ourselves and the van from top to toe…..I even straightened my hair!
Our next hosts, Rich and Lisa, had agreed to meet us at the local football stadium in Lagares da Beira, as it wasn’t far from the end of their track and this meant they could guide us down to their land as apparently it gets a bit narrow. This track was extremely bumpy and Daisy ground and scrapped her way down the hill following their 4x4 until they stopped and said that up ahead was where it gets difficult! Once again Paul drove it superbly and with 3 people guiding him and trying to haul huge rocks out of the way we made it with only minor plastic scuffs. The boys had already earmarked the trouble spots for the route out and as Rich had a power chisel hammer in his arsenal those rocks weren’t going to stand a chance.
Lisa and Rich have a beautiful Quinta that has staggered terraces of flat land amid huge boulders and boundary walls and a river running along the bottom. Sadly, their land and much of central Portugal was burnt in the massive fires of 2017 so there aren’t many live big trees about but the dead trees are giving life to new saplings and seeing the woods and land recover will be amazing.
They had already built a huge enclosure for their chickens, knocked up a poly tunnel for seedlings, started an allotment level and built an outdoor kitchen for their caravan but with a deadline approaching for the dead trees to be cleared, a ruin they wanted to rebuild as a house and a list of other essential improvements needing doing it, it was no rest for the wicked.
Again, I will not bore this blog with 2 weeks of land clearing, IBC moving, Pastel de nata munching, plumbing, trench digging, carnival dancing, pipe burying, sundowners, warming fires, weeding, chicken catching and delicious meals. We learnt loads from Lisa and Rich from animal butchery and bench building to propagation and cooking, we ate some fabulous food; including cockerel offal for breakfast, laughed often, cuddled their gorgeous dog Leia and 2 cute cats, created twig piles everywhere, fought bramble balls and pulled up many, many Broom roots. It was a really fun and full on couple of weeks and it was with a heavy heart that our final sunset on the land and ‘Paulo’ visit came around. A sad farewell to Rich, Lisa, Leia, Bobby, Rosie plus Droopy cock, Ninja, Brown pants and all the other chickens and then we were off towards the mountains.
The next place was in a tiny hillside town called Cerdeira and there Nico and Patricia had a small place that needed help with land clearance. Their land was in a lovely little nook half way down a hill but sadly the road in was narrow and steep with no turning space for the return trip, so after much umming and ahhing we decided not to risk it. We spent the night in a lovely little park up in Barril de Alva, where they had all the normal waste facilities and you could pay 3.5 euros for electric hook up, which we did as the solar was playing up once again!
We really enjoyed being on the road again and as we had a week in hand before we had to be anywhere we decided to go off on an adventure. Without following a map or plan we headed off to explore and soon found glorious views, waterfalls, abandoned villages, haunted caves and scarily narrow unmade roads. The plan, as it was, started to come unstuck when we realised the solar issue was not fixing itself and we’d need to seek professional help. We found an English speaking guy that was located nearby at Monsanto and as this was on the must see list we headed that way.
Monsanto is an historical village on top of a hill with castle ruins, narrow cobbled streets and houses seeming built into the rocks and bolders, it was a lovely place to chill out for awhile whilst we tested and chatted to Leo from Sparkpoint Solar. It ended up being a loose connector from the panel, probably caused by all the bumpy roads, so a relatively quick fix once Leo clambered onto the roof and soon we were back up to our normal charging levels and free to go off grid again. A few more nights spent up and around the Estrela mountains and natural reserves seeing clear skies, magical sunsets & sunrises and all too quickly our free time week had disappeared.
Our time in Portugal was soon to be nearing its end and the home ferry from Dieppe was booked but on route we had agreed to stop off for a week or so at our first hosts place, plus we really wanted to see if they had got onto Portugal TV!
Popular posts from this blog
Yet another short monthly update, it's now 5 months (22 weeks) since being back in the UK so here is what's happened since last the last blog. We splashed out and got some new crockery and new saucepans, frying pan etc as we were fed up using the ones we had since getting Daisy which actually came with her! Daisy got a few more bits of work done for the MOT, including front brake pipes & hoses, caliper and the previously mentioned power steering issue was just a pipe which saved us a lot of money. Anyway she passed her MOT first time, with only a couple of advisories which will be sorted soon, so that's a relief and now means her MOT is a July date which suits us better as we will be in the UK around that time each year. So with the MOT done and the leak fixed, we took off up to the Peak District for an overnight stay at a pub campsite, just to get out of the city for a bit and also I had a couple of DIY jobs needing doing which required hook up. First up was a small
By paultrademark -
Can't believe we have been away exactly 6 months already, seems to me as if it has flown in! 😯 I just wanted to post this interactive map that I have been using to plot our route so far, it has a point for every place we have had overnight stay or a flight transfer. It's only when I look back over it, then does the time feel slower and I realise it was a long time ago that we swam in the beaches of Goa! Here is a link to some of the stats - Click here View Full Size Travel Map So what is the plan for the next couple of months and beyond? Well after our 8 weeks in Indonesia, we fly to Ho Chi Minh City and travel up Vietnam, then probably over into Laos and then into Cambodia. Then money permitting, we may go back into Thailand and do the northern part, although we did originally plan to be away a year, it's looking more likely it will be 10 months or so. x
By Sadie -
So the first day has been at Vasco de Gama. We only picked this place because it was so close to the airport and when you land at 1am all you want is a nice bed for a couple of nights. The hotel is really nice, we have a double bed each, a balcony, plus a toilet/wet room complete with built in viewing window. We slept most of the day and then went for a wander into town in the afternoon. The roads are chaos and everyone was staring at the 2 crazy westerners walking along side the cows, goats, dogs and locals.... There are no tourists in this town and everyone wants to shake your hand and say 'Hi'. Sadly town at that time is mostly industrial car workshops, closed pharmacies, closed bars and hardly any people but on the way back to the hotel we found a dingy little bar with 2 beer fridges and some locals having a curry and pints. 2 kingfishers later and after they started closing all the shutters and doors with us inside, we thought it best to go back to the hotel.