Love of Lisboa

Saturday we strolled around locally to get our bearings and realised there was a Decathlon store nearby about 5 minutes walk away  (Decathlon is a big store that deal with sports and outdoor activities plus camping supplies etc) we needed toilet chemicals and our travel kettle had started to play up so we needed to replace that also and thought that the most likely place to get these would be there… but nope they don’t sell chemicals or travel kettles, but the assistant helpfully told me that a shop nearby called Leroy Merlin sell the chemicals that we need after a 25 minute trek we found the store its a DIY store we were able to buy the chemicals we needed there then we spotted the shopping centre where we were also able to buy a replacement kettle.

Sunday we spent most of the day doing the boring stuff such as thoroughly cleaning & tidying the inside of the motorhome and doing all the washing and drying of clothes, bedding and anything else I could think of at the campsites laundry which cost us €15 for just 2 loads but we sneakily managed an extra 2 loads on top the laundrette however is very conveniently placed near a bar/cafe so while waiting on the washing Pete and I ate and drank a few beers… in all fairness the washing and drying actually took hrs so we had to bide away the time with something and the beer was cheap but good at €1.50 a bottle so why not…

Monday we had a day out to see the city of Lisbon just being tourists and doing all the sight seeing stuff, we had to travel to the city centre and back by taxi’s due to the dog being with us and the bugbear of her not being allowed on (insert suitable swear word here) public transport such as the buses, trams and trains… the taxi’s cost us a total of €25 we took a guided walking tour of Lisbon with blue umbrella tours, which our friends Anne and David had mentioned and referred us too, it was a brilliant day and our guide was a very nice chap named Pedro who walked us and 6 other people around the streets of Lisbon for 2 & a half hrs… If you visit and are able it is well worth doing a walking tour to get to know the city and its history there is so much to see in this City.

The city is amazing a hustle bustle of maze like streets and tiled pathways amongst the buildings and squares each with amazing Statues relating to historic people of the Country and history of the city, the centre of the city was sadly pretty much destroyed in 1755 by an earthquake that reached an almost unheard of level 9 on the richter scale (a richter scale reading of 7 being a major earthquake… meaning level 9 is devastatingly major & vastly catastrophic), this was a huge earthquake with a devastating Tsunami to follow which went on to destroy a major part of the city, this earthquake and Tsunami killed an estimated 90,000 people in one hit, at the precise time of the earthquake many Catholics were in the church Igreja de São Domingos taking mass as it happened, this was ironically on 1st November “All Saints day” and at 9.30am meaning the Church was very full and busy with a full congregation, the earthquake caused the massive church’s roof to crumble and fall, the roof and tiles collapsed upon and killed all those within the building, many Catholics thought their city was cursed and many unsurprisingly questioned their faith after this disaster, what followed this were fires that lasted for 3 days throughout the city devastating the place even more, it took a year just to clear the debri and 20 years of reconstruction to rebuild the city following this disaster. The Church where the roof collapsed has since been rebuilt following several other disasters including another fire which happened in 1959 on restoration of this church it was decided to leave all the scars internally to this building on display so the damage from the earthquakes and the fire is still visible to this day and remain there as a humble reminder the damage is very evident upon the interior pillars if you get a chance it is a building well worthy of seeing although the outside really doesn’t do justice to it but do not be fooled by the exterior (see picture below) I found it amazingly fascinating inside and I am not a person who usually enters Churches, there was Mass being held at the time of our visit so out of respect for those no photographs were taken by us inside but feel free to look up the pictures on the magical internet…

We heard also of the Jewish relationship with the Portuguese and how at a time when the Jews were being persecuted the Portuguese gave asylum but that it turned out it was short lived at 8 months, and many were forced to leave, die or take a different religion which many faked and kept their real religion in secret, but to help hide themselves in amongst the population the Jews had to pretend not to be Jewish to help this Jewish sausages were made instead of being made of Pork ingredients they were made from Chicken and bread or Flour, Jews do not eat Pork but sausage it is a popular dish over here and is often seen hanging in Kitchens the fake sausage helped in this way and is still made now… there is a memorial stone as many persecuted Jews lost their lives here over the many yrs…

Pedro pictured below also talked to us about the Overthrow of the fascist dictatorship government in April of 1974 and how the government were overthrown by just a small band of 240 military men, the public were told to stay in their homes as they were warned it was not safe for them to be out on the street but the public were well aware this was scare mongering and went out onto the street to help with the revolution and also to celebrate (here’s the picture of prove that they didn’t stay home and were of course celebrating the forth coming return of democracy on this very street!) the over throw turned out not to be as violent as it could have been and all in all there were just 4 unfortunate deaths, not bad for a government being overthrown… it became known as the carnation revolution after a woman who owned a restaurant went onto the streets feeding the soldiers a meal and also giving each one a carnation the soldiers realised they had no place the hold their flowers while they ate so they each placed them into the barrels of their guns hence the name of the revolution… perhaps our PM May should take heed!!

DSCN0062

All the tour guides took an instant shine to Toffi as soon as she appeared and I must admit most of the time she was an absolute star, for a change she was calm and behaved impeccably… that is until any pigeons came too close and also when a tiny fluffy dog weighing in at no more than a few lbs took a dislike to her and wanted to pick a fight, we nick named this small dog “The Destroyer” but to be honest it’s name was more than likely Rambo or Butch or something along those lines (it’s always the small dogs who wanna pick a fight with a 24kg dog and in those cases Toffi doesn’t like to be the one to back down!)

The tour ended and we were about to go get ourselves some lunch when an Englishman approached us after hearing us talking, we chatted a while his name was Adrian and he was travelling alone and was fascinating, he’d got a great deal on a hotel in a part of the city he’d never visited before and found it to be great he told us of some old Roman walls and parts nearby and we shared our knowledge of tram info (apparently we were told number 12 tram takes you to Belem side of town) plus any other information we’d gathered from our freshly finished tour, we parted ways with a handshake and a wave wishing him safe travels…

We stopped or should I say got accosted for what turned out to be another expensive lunch for €60 on our way back through the city which is where Toffi started to get a little  grumpy trying to catch any pigeons that got too close and at one or two points during the meal almost taking the table and everything on it with her…

Tuesday can be chill a out day where we will sit and work out where we will go next we leave here Wednesday… so enough of my ramblings, cheerio for now & take care.

Donna x

 

GPS Coords

Lisboa Camping W38.72472 W9.2075

The 10 mile bridge to Lisbon

Well we had our 5 nights in Alentejo site which is surrounded by fields of cork oak trees, these are stripped and harvested of their cork bark every 9 yrs once they mature at 25 yrs and can live up to 300 yrs… bet they did a roaring trade in the seventies when cork and cork tiling everything was the rage… but I’m not sure how much longer this trade will be around as even wine bottles are sold with screw tops and many without cork stops these days which seems a shame!! as mentioned before the site was nicely kept, clean and tidy, the owners pleasant and friendly and really hard working at providing a pleasant site you could order pizza’s and other takeaway food, they provided loads of information regarding local towns and cities,  taxi numbers etc and there was a bus that left at 7am and came back early evening but in 5 days I only saw the bus once and as mentioned public transport and dogs is a minefield, but the sites placement was it’s downside… right next to the main road to Evora which everyone uses to avoid the toll roads, we were parked up literally 10 foot away from it a bit like being parked right next to the A38 with big noisy artic lorries and cars whizzing past all day until about midnight and to add to that there were big signs either side of the campsite making drivers aware they were in a high accident zone!!!  the weather was great for most of our time here becoming overcast on the day before we left but it seemed we were out in the sticks so other than walking the fields of oak trees anywhere else you would need other transport to get too,  but even riding the bikes anywhere here was impossible and seemed too dangerous, on one of our trips there were cows, calves and bulls in the field we would usually have walked through so had to detour and walk for a few hundred yards on this road trust me it’s not a road you want to be walking along,  Our five nights cost us €63 with €8 of that electric charge…

Now we usually would use an electric fan heater in the mornings to give a little heat but being mindful of being on a meter for the electric I thought I would be helpful and try the webasto diesel heating system in the motorhome and promptly blew the fuse to it we haven’t been using it much and really should be using it at least once every couple of weeks to ensure the fan and pump do not seize well to cut a long story short it took 2 hrs of searching to find the blown fuse (which was not situated in any of the 3 fuse boxes but under the drivers seat) and replace it webasto heating is now up and running again…

I’ve also been instructing Toffi that she needs to revisit her wearing a muzzle in public training I believe this to be going well I left her with all the info she needs as illustrated below…

We were undecided of where next to go whether we would venture to the bottom of Portugal or at least tour a little of Portugal we decided on the latter and headed towards the capital Lisbon, we estimated it to be roughly 150 miles away so while putting the coords into the satnav and with it set to no toll roads imagine my reaction to the journey of 6hrs 11 minutes I was like, what???? So reset the satnav to take toll roads and low and behold 2 hrs 11 minutes ok so off we set got our ticket on the toll road and had 70 miles of being on this road when the pay booth came upon us neither of us had thought about the fact that you are required to pre-register your payment card in Portugal for paying the toll roads on otherwise they become useless pieces of plastic,  so after much dilly dallying and many curse words and a couple of tantrums later I used cash to pay the toll (I pressed the button for assistance but the assistant was speaking in this Portuguese language so not really of any help to me!) the toll road total came to €30.30 compared with 4 extra hrs use of diesel i guess it seemed reasonable, we then came to another pay booth this time a manned booth which cost us another €9.20 little did we know at the time this was the toll road for the 10 mile bridge to Lisbon the Vasco da Gama at 17 kms (10 miles) long what a structure (kind of puts the Tamar bridge to shame) we saw fishermen digging for clams and shellfish on the mud flats under the bridge and then the size of the city ahead became apparent!

IMG_3330

We arrived yesterday at the campsite Lisboa and booked in, the site is massive and with apparently 1800 pitch/plot capacity with over 100 of these available to motorhomes the sites not cheap and you’re definitely paying city prices of €25 per night we have paid €19 per night with ACSI discount but you get this discount only if you stay a minimum of 5 nights the site is in the heart of city life and you can hear the hustle and bustle of a busy city, traffic noise and aeroplanes so if your after peace and quiet it’s probably not for you!

When we set up yesterday Pete had asked for a quiet pitch the male receptionist gave us a plot almost right next to the noisy road and proceeded to tell Pete if he didn’t like the pitch come back and we’ll swap you elsewhere, serious?!! we took a walk around the site  found ourselves a quieter pitch and went back to reception where upon Pete politely asked to change pitch by this time I had already told Pete I would be quite willing to go in and see the receptionist myself and  get us swapped so if there was a problem let me know, just to be clear on the last site I’d gone 2 whole days without cigarettes (no shops nearby) so I was well up for a nice little chat with anyone who crossed my path but Pete being Pete wouldn’t let me and calmly told me no, “it’s ok dear i’ll deal with it”, im sure I heard him mumble something about muzzle training under his breathe, so I just had to wait outside with the dog and see what the result was, I think Pete had probably told them not to upset me or push my buttons as I was feeling a little savage by then and they allowed us to swap pitches without a problem…

Once we get our act together we will venture out and see what the surroundings offer we will update more when we stop being lazy!!!

Until next time look after yourselves and have a great day

Donna x

GPS coords

Camping Alentejo N38°47’36”  W7°41’9″

Camping Lisboa N38.72472  W9.2075 or if you prefer  N38°43’47” W9°12’51”

 

 

 

 

Heading to Portugal

We spent 8 nights at Caceres campsite at €17pn on the ACSI but with a deal of 4 nights for price of 3 or 8 for the price of 6 so we took advantage of this for the 8 nights for 6 enjoying the warm weather and meeting some very lovely new friends Anne and David, we hope to meet up with them again later in our travels as we all seemed to just click as friends and it’s great to have some fun company and a good old chin wag, on one of our evenings together I helped Anne set up her own travel blog we were using the lousy slow campsite internet which made it a challenge but I think we managed it, so we will now follow each others travels and adventures!

 

While we were at Caceres we made sure we had stocked up with food, having done 2 trips to the Carrefour Hypermarket during the week so we should be good at least for food now for a couple of weeks, we also took a trip into the city and the old town for sightseeing duties! the Old Town is a nice part to visit with maze like cobbled & mostly deserted streets, there’s even a tuk-tuk and driver for hire to take you around if you don’t fancy walking it!  We quite enjoyed our time at this campsite it wasn’t the most scenic of places at the entrance being right across the road from an industrial estate and a big football stadium next to it, but the site has a good vibe about it and neither of the above can be seen or heard when you’re on the campsite, you can however hear the sheep with the bells hanging from collars around their necks in the field behind the site (the noise from those bells must drive the poor animals insane!) it’s also slightly different to other campsites that we’ve been to so far on this tour, as each pitch has its own wet room with your own hot water shower, wash basins and toilets in, which is a great touch…

It was also Toffi’s 6th birthday while we were here and she enjoyed eating a bit of steak from the neighbours and ourselves, she also got a couple of new frisbees for enjoying a bit of exercise with, it was also our 4th anniversary the day after with Pete making the huge effort of sharing his apples and bananas from the fruit bowl with me and telling me that our pet pot plant were my flowers for this yr… guess there’s always hope for next year! We had in all fairness enjoyed a meal in the restaurant on the campsite and also in the Old Town earlier in the week to celebrate.

Our next stop is at camping Alentejo near Evora Monte, Portugal at €12 pn with metered electric (we are allowed a certain usage i think it’s 8kw a day and then we get charged if we use more) good job its warm here and so far we’ve not really needed the electric heater, we set off early on Sunday at about 10am to reach the next campsite not really knowing how far or how long it would take us to get here, it turned out it was just over 100 miles and we arrived at midday (including the time difference of an hr) chose our pitch and got ourselves settled, the weather has been great so far 23 degrees at least, the campsite is tidy, well kept and clean, but there is a busy main road running right next to it so the road noise will have to be tolerated, we are booked in for 5 nights,  Pete did think and assured me when choosing this site that the nearest town was only half a KM away from this campsite but we soon realised that again we are out in the middle of nowhere and the nearest Town Evora is according to google maps at least 9 miles away along the busy main road that has no paths, (so that’s Pete in the dog house after reassuring me there would be places of interest and at least a shop to walk too!) lets hope I don’t get a dose of cabin fever again, although there is a Castle in a place called Evora Monte about 2.5 miles away that we shall attempt to walk to tomorrow (shown in the photo below that Pete took tonight from the campsite as the sun was going down) hopefully we can find a path away from the main road, again we have heard conflicting accounts as to whether or not we are allowed to take the dog on public transport if your dogs small enough to carry in a bag etc they are allowed on, but any bigger and you may not be allowed on grrr what a stupid rule…

 

We got chatting to an Irishman the day we turned up at Alentejo who was travelling through Europe for 6 months accompanied only by his dog Polly, he told us he left the wife at home with the kids and grandkids and this was his anniversary present, it turned out he’d been at our last campsite Caceres the same time as us also…

Tome cuidado e até logo

Donna

Buenos Dias

We stayed at Angosto campsite in Villanane for 4 nights the weather wasn’t up to us staying any longer as it rained heavily for at least 3 of those days and nights so we were a little apprehensive about being rained in and getting stuck in the mud on the grass pitch we were parked up on, although the site itself is nice the site staff are friendly and there is a busy bar and restaurant on site used by all the locals, there are heated shower rooms with plenty of piping hot water, we took a walk to the Castle of Villanane where we bumped into a couple of hunters packing up with their shotguns and hunting dogs, we took another hike when the weather permitted across the fields, there’s not much to do around the area without a car as it’s pretty remote the next nearest small village is at least 5 miles away and situated next to the production site of salt beds where the salt has been produced there for 6,500 yrs and commercially since Roman times, if visiting this site there is a new road into the campsite where you do not need to go over the small steeply humped narrow moon bridge that our sat nav advised us to go over, luckily we’d spotted this access road before trouble found us as we would have most definitely bottomed out and caused damaged to the motorhome on it…

IMG_3066

We then set off in search of warmer and drier climates, our next stop was a site on a mountainside called Monte Holiday park with a winding, bumpy and pretty uneven road leading into the place, just outside of the campsite was an abandoned building covered in graffiti so we both wondered what we had set ourselves up for this time, but to our surprise it wasn’t a bad site, and it was huge! it took us an hour just to walk around the perimeter of this site, the facilities were heated, clean and decent along with plenty of hot running water, we found ourselves again in a pretty remote place and miles from anywhere we managed a couple of small walks while at this site, the weather was dry but due to being up in the mountains the wind was pretty strong and had a real chill to it you could sit and watch the different weather streams rolling into the mountains from here and we had our 1st flutter of snow while here, we stayed here for 3 nights before moving on again our next stop was 250 miles away and took us through Madrid and boy is that something, driving through Madrid is like driving through spaghetti junction but with lots of foreign road signs,  I’m so glad of the sat nav,  we were looking out for supermarkets on our way but missed the couple we did see on the turn offs, we are getting desperately low on food supplies as we haven’t food shopped since we left Pete’s mum’s which must have been nearly 3 weeks ago by now…

Well it took us nearly 5 hrs to drive to Caceres which is where we are currently camped at campsite Caceres, it’s located on the outskirts of the city of Caceres the camp is beside the local football stadium (but gladly there hasn’t been any football games played since we have been here) this will be our sixth night here tonight, after our long drive we pitched up in the sunshine and broke open a bottle of Sangria and made some paella just to get into the swing of all things Spainish of course, the next day we explored the site and surroundings to get our bearings chilled out back at camp and soaked up a little more  warmth, we decided the next day to walk in search of the supermarkets after walking for miles we got to a Carrefour hypermarket I sent Pete in to get a few days food supply while Toffi and I sat outside waiting, never send a man in to do a food shop! Toffi and I sat outside in the freezing cold, shaded wind tunnel of an entrance to that supermarket for an hour and a half while Pete leisurely strolled the shopping aisles, in Pete’s defence I guess it was a big hypermarket so would have taken a little while to walk around and find stuff… but just imagine my surprise when Pete finally came out to find he’d purchased an odd flimsy looking flat toaster that he thought might have been some sort of griddle (it’s not a griddle, it’s just for toasting bread on one side at a time!) along with a new selfie stick and some indeed odd ingredient/meal choices, with the only fruit/vegetable purchase being a stick of broccoli & 4 apples but a €100 lighter in pocket!! We then had the pleasure of carrying all the shopping including that toaster thingy miles back to the motorhome… I guess we will do a proper shop  in few days time… Well after all that walking we were both starving and too tired to cook so ate in the campsite restaurant where we had a 3 course meal which included a shared mixed grill for a whopping €40 bang went the budget that day!

On the 5th day of our visit we decided to get the bikes out and go visit the old part of the city, after forcing the howling & protesting Toffi into her doggyhut we set off, its amazing how much faster you can get to places using the bikes instead of walking, what took us a good 45 minutes to walk to the supermarket before took just 15 minutes by cycle, all we can hope for is that Toffi will start enjoying the trips instead of being so stressed out by the transportation choice otherwise we have wasted £3,000 on the trailer and bikes, so far I am too scared to ride with her in her cart on the busy main dual carriageway roads so have had to plan our trips using cycle/dirt pathways as I’m scared she may try to jump out or tip the hut over into the road so Google earth has been a good option for my planning and finding of these routes…

We parked the bikes up in Caceres town centre and walked into old town.  The old town of Caceres is quite scenic and for once we actually felt like we were sightseeing and doing some tourist type things, we strolled through the cobbled maze like streets and took photos and just plain enjoyed the fine sunny weather, we then got side tracked by food yet again and ended up having a 3 course lunch with a beer at the square in the old town for €12 each before wandering off to find where we’d parked the bikes up ready for our ride back to the motorhome…

We’ve decided to spend 8 nights here then head towards Portugal where we will spend Christmas and the New year…

Enough of my ramblings for now and enjoy the pics of old town Caceres…

take care

Donna

Monte GPS N40•57’0″ W3•43’45”

Caceres N39•29’18” W6•24’45”

 

 

Watch out Espana, we are here!!

well we made it out of what seemed to be a gypsy camp called Solina unharmed but with a little more knowledge than when we arrived, we only stayed overnight and moved on the next morning, on arrival Pete was told that the shower and toilet block were shut all apart from the 1 disabled toilet but that the owners had opened a couple of chalets at the top of the camp for use, but they were for the whole campsite and there were quite a lot of long term people there (one of which used to bring a bottle of urine down regularly to the toilet to empty! proper classy campsite!) the campsite was run down, looked scruffy and dirty with chickens running freely which kept the dog entertained when they came near our pitch, we stayed overnight then we were ready for the off first thing…

We then travelled off and crossed over into Spain, we took the toll roads as we wanted an easy ride of it and we had about 150 miles to travel we ended up driving through the city of San Sebastian to get to the campsite we’d spotted in the ACSI book (a lot of campsites are closing now due to the winter season so selection is getting limited) we have other resources such as searchforsites and camperstop on top of the ACSI which show other overnight stops, campsites and aires but even the aires are closing off their supplies of water to prevent winter freeze/frost damage…

Well we managed to negotiate our way through the city and up a mountain hillside with hairpin bends to the campsite Igueldo, the campsite entrance looked promising with lovely flower beds etc but the campsite itself is not what I would have called my “cup of tea” but we weren’t to know that till we’d booked in although at reception the 1st receptionist we met had a face on her that looked like she had chewed a wasp not the warmest of receptions… maybe, just maybe she’d found herself in the wrong career, the 2nd receptionist was much nicer, the grass pitches the photos in the book had promised barely had a blade of grass between them but plenty of mud so glad it didn’t rain while we were there or the mud would have been a nightmare, the terraced site was massive with many terraces but only the top terrace was ever used as the incline to the others meant access for motorhomes and caravans was impossible hence the wear and tear of this over used and worn out terrace, the pitches were only just big enough to park us in with the trailer and so we had no real space for sitting out in besides that the pitch we were given was constantly shaded anyway, and again the showers although clean had cold to lukewarm water, but we did have a distance view of the mountains…

 

 

We took a walk heading in the other direction to the city and found a lovely quiet walk for the dog (except for the bit on the way back where Toffi and I got chased by an escaped dog) the views were amazing of the bay of Biscay and just for a change the waters looked relatively calm…

we found an abandoned building on our walk which Pete went off to explore and we only passed a jogger and a mountain biker on the whole walk we must have walked a good 10 miles that day, the next day we did think about going into San Sebastian but in Spain unless a dog is small enough to be carried on or put in a bag they are not allowed to use public transport which was a disappointment as the bus stopped right outside the campsite, but the 4-5 mile walk down and then the 4-5 mile climb back up the mountain seemed just too harsh after walking around the city for a few more possible miles so we decided to be lazy instead but I did manage some pics of the city as we drove through!!

thumbnail_img_2956.jpg

 

 

We stayed at the site in San Sebastian for 3 nights and bumped into the couple and their 2 children we met from the campsite Des Combes in Felletin.  We left the site early on Saturday morning and journeyed through the mountain tunnels which sometimes went on for miles, I was impressed that during some of the longer tunnels our sat nav still managed to keep signal so they must have boosters inside the tunnels, we arrived at a site 100km further into Spain as there was snow due in the Pyrenees areas on the Monday and we certainly didn’t want to get stuck there, we are now at a nice site called Angosto in Villanane the site itself is in a forest setting with a nice relaxed atmosphere and has brilliantly hot showers, we arrived and set up just before the rain set in so our timing couldn’t have been better, the site staff are lovely and friendly, we’ve taken a walk around the village and up to the Castle, as for our journey into the campsite it was a good job that we spotted a sign for the site on a nice easy road, otherwise the sat nav would have taken us through the village and over a mighty small looking humped bridge at the end of it which we would never have cleared and most definitely bottomed out on…

 

 

The weather isn’t great at present it’s cold and it’s been heavy rain showers since we got here, which isn’t a problem as we have heating etc in the motorhome, but the downside of all this rain is that we are parked on a grass pitch so we’ll wait and see if we ever manage to get off the pitch, now that could be a problem!!!

Till next time take care

Donna

campsite Igueldo, San Sabastian GPS N43•18’17” W2•2’44”

Angosto, Villanane                        GPS N42•50’8″ W3•3’42”