Back to nature, muddy dogs included…

We spent 5 nights at Camping Turismo which is a 4* campsite and has some fabulous looking facilities on site, we met up with friends for the first two nights and had a fab time… while we were at this site we visited the local town of Praia da Luz as mentioned in the last blog update and then we also took a bike ride/walk into Lagos and down to the beach (Pete tells me we have visited here before about 13 years ago but to be honest I couldn’t remember the place at all!!)

 

I must admit I started to get restless at Turismo after our friends had left it wasn’t the same, sometimes I find these types of campsites exhausting after a few days as I feel them to be just too busy for my own liking, and I felt like I was crammed in like a sardine in a tin can… and with such a dog as Toffi with us I am on constant high alert and look out on sites like these and although the site has a swimming pool, juccuzi, bar and other top notch facilities we didn’t even use them and really only used the bathroom facilities so the other facilities were wasted on us… there are so many vans/people/dogs everywhere on this site and although the pitch sizes were adequate it feels like literally the next motorhome is just a few foot away plus we had only a couple of hrs sunlight on our pitch per day which was also unhelpful and started to get me down, dogs barked all night here too which then kept Pete awake…

We had a couple from Cornwall right next door to us who I swear must have written the script for Victor Meldrews “one foot in the grave” sitcom… what a miserable pair they were, I know this because I ear wigged into their conversations when i was sat outside… unintentionally of course… I won’t bother repeating their words but let’s just say they had not a good word to say between them, they only even bothered to speak to us on the morning we were leaving even though we had smiled and said good mornings etc so anyway I felt like we were paying a fair bit of money to be unhappy at €17 per night so it was time to move on and find some where a bit quieter for us that more suited our needs…

We had sussed a campsite called Solema in the ACSI book for just €11 a night and thought we would check it out if we didn’t like it then fine we would leave no problems, well we got here on the 9th Dec at midday it’s literally 15 minutes drive from where we were but seems world’s apart, bit of a tight twisting and very steeply inclined road entrance into the site so to be honest it was a little nerve racking pulling down into it but the receptionist was lovely and spoke great English and was really helpful told us it was fine to park up and go take a look around showed us on the map the best places to look and she did pre warn us it was a good old trek up and boy was she right, it took us a good 20 mins to walk up to the top of the steep site and then a further 15 minutes back down, I was a little disheartened when it seemed we couldn’t find somewhere suitable until we finally spotted a place that might suit us and so we made our way back to reception where we found out we’d been stopping a caravan from entering the site (oups) Pete moved the motorhome and let them through nothing like getting in the good books of other campers on site straight away!!! Well we finally booked in and made our way to our spot which was thankfully still available… the plot we chose was huge and we have no one surrounding us, I finally thought I had my peaceful, wind down and relax time, we had decided to stop here over the festive period as other campsites were going to be busy and crikey why not at this price we may even be saving on our budget… the receptionist has also said if they can do our bill cheaper at the end of our stay than the ACSI price then they will, it’s a much more relaxed atmosphere it may not be everyone’s taste, there is a bar and a restaurant but these are closed as out of season, there’s no pool, the toilet and shower blocks are cold, and shower temperature seems a bit hit and miss etc but I’d much rather not be in constant eye view of the last miserable neighbours and here I have some space to allow Toffi to relax also, and so far it is just so quiet…

We always keep a close eye on the weather systems and it would seem on the Sunday night the whole of Europe were in for a storm we were all on weather warnings and it didn’t miss us in the Algarve either it rained heavily and the wind was blowing and rocking us to sleep we were only caught in the bottom end of the storm but it seemed quite a storm here so I can only imagine what it was like further up into Europe, the  campsite we are on is not gravelled as we are in a woodland setting and although messy at rainy times we will tolerate this as it gives Toffi’s feet a rest, as it hurts her walking on constant gravel and she starts limping but as mentioned the downside to this is the mud when it rains there’s tonnes of it… Guess everything will need a clean when the good weather is back…

Well our perfect pitch turned into a clay-mud quagmire after torrential rain and we were starting to sink into it, and when Toffi needed walking she often came back with paws full of sticky soaking wet red clay which covered everywhere, so we decided to move the motorhome… Oh dear, what a mess we got into, the clay pitch churned up, the tyres were covered in clay we parked for the night on the entrance to the pitch to allow for dry out and repaired the pitch as best we could after our destruction of it… The next day Pete went to walk the dog and scoured the site in search of a dryer sturdier pitch which he found… right at the top of the campsite!!! The pitch consists of i think 3 pitches but there’s only one electric point so we’ve basically bagged the whole area… Before we could move though we then had to pack away and literally use the rubber mallet to knock the now solid clay from the tyres to allow us the traction to get up to the top of the steep site… The sky at night up here is amazing the stars shine brightly you can even see the milkyway we were lucky enough to have a clear sky for the gemini’d meteors and got to see some great shooting stars that night…

We foolishly thought that mosquito season had gone as we hadn’t seen any for weeks so threw the windows and doors wide open when we got here it wasn’t till the evening we’d realised what a mistake we had made… We killed 2 inside the motorhome on the first night and 4 on the 2nd night but it was too late Pete had been bitten a few times and I also suffered a few bites while Pete’s bites were uncomfortable as mozzies bites are, I again started reacting and swelling up who knew I would be allergic to the pesky things then to add insult to injury I’ve come down with a bad chest so it’s cough, cough, cough from me!!! We now have a plug-in mosquito killer!!

We haven’t done much since we got here apart from move pitches and walk to get groceries from the supermarket a mile up the road due mainly to me feeling poorly and under the weather, but we also got rained in for another couple of days on those days I thrashed Pete at Scrabble and he thrashed me at monopoly… we are here for a couple more weeks so have plenty of time to explore when I’m feeling a little better…

The doggyhut that Toffi so despises has become a useful part of helping with our every day chores we use it along with the bikes to get our groceries back to the van and we used it today to carry our 2 x 10 litre water containers on multiple trips to a water tap to fill the motorhome water tank up saved us having to move the motorhome once again plus the showers here in the showerblocks are a little hit and miss with the water temperatures so showers can be pretty cold at times so at least if the motorhome tanks full we can shower in here instead and have hot water showers at that!!

We got a little bit of a shock from my mifi (mobile internet) suppliers “Three” who I got in contact with a couple of weeks ago for general inquiries about my allowed allowance for roaming and data usage, their advisor told me to use all my data allowance of 20gb from my contract SIM before using PAYG data SIMS in future as according to them up until now I seem to be a light data user… I explained that it only seemed that way to them because I was also using PAYG data cards and other providers such as campsite internet throughout the last few months to ensure I didn’t go over my limit etc but no the providers advisor advised me that I would be fine to use all my contract data first and that to ensure I didn’t go over she will even put a usage cap on my account, so we did as advised and got a shock the next week when we logged into the account and it said we owed £43 for data usage used over the allowed 12gb fair use policy for roaming!!! So I had another couple of lovely chats with them, they have zero’d the bill as I was wrongly advised which had caused the bill in the first place!!! When roaming outside the UK even though my mifi contract is for 20gb I am only allowed to use 12gb and they cannot put a cap on it from their end for usage outside UK, similar applies to the PAYG Sims which have 12gb for approx £25-40 per card but you are only allowed to use 9gb when roaming outside of UK, if you ask me it’s all a bit of a con seems they can fall back on their sentences such as “fair usage” bit different to the sentence “roam and feel at home” at home I have unlimited data and they of course don’t want to roll over any of your previously unused contract data, I’ve had the mifi unit contract for 6 months which was unused for most of those months before we set off so 60 GB unused from then, they also allow you to purchase amounts of data knowing you are not allowed to use it on a feel at home roaming account I wonder where that’s fair!!!! It probably doesn’t help that Pete failed to place all his music on iPods etc before we came away,  which meant he would have been able access his music for free, without using data but now plays music streaming videos from YouTube of all places!!! so far tonight I’ve had to listen to 3 songs by Clash, 1 from Manic Street Preachers, a couple from John Lennon and a few others I cannot even name (and although Pete’s sister Karen so kindly purchased headphones for Pete to use while away knowing I’m not such a great music lover… somehow I am still sat here listening along too… when questioned he mumbled something to do with his batteries have run out… I shall purchase batteries soon!) I’m sure Pete thinks he’s still got normal land internet line with unlimited internet usage from Virgin Media!… I just hope three doesn’t cut me off in the next couple of months because of Pete’s music addiction… I am slightly worried they will, we only have a few data cards left the current one has lasted just 7 days… and to be fair I haven’t seen any for sale over here so far and to make matters worse this site only has limited internet access at the reception area otherwise we would be using campsite internet when we can, we need internet when on the move to find our next campsites etc as I often judge sites by reviews online, facilities and other stuff of which the books don’t show, so times could get interesting soon!! If I get cut off… Pete will be buying all the internet cards!!!!

By the time the wet weather retreated we had at least 3 loads of washing to be done as we hadn’t done any in the last campsite due to lack of sunshine on the pitch hence a lack of drying ability, so we stripped the bedding and took 2 loads down to the campsite washing machine which costs a whopping €5 per load just to wash! as we stripped the bedding though I noticed my pillows had some mold on them, I had said to Pete previously my bedding seemed/felt cold and damp to me sometimes, I guess the mold on the pillows is from where they hadn’t been moved away from the cold damp air seeping in from the garage doors and plus with the damp weather I really should have been on top of the moving of soft furniture away from the colder spots in the motorhome, it is always advisable however I failed (it’s no wonder I now have a bad chest!) Anyway we are trying something else out at present and we have moved the bed height up to above the garage door height to see if this makes a difference in temperature and this will hopefully also help with my bad chest fingers crossed but it now feels like we are really high up so its a bit like climbing a mountain to get into bed and climbing back down trying to find a foothold is pretty entertaining too… but it was pretty cosy last night  although have to watch out else you hit your head on the cupboards when you sit up on my side of the bed I nearly knocked myself out last night…  we still get a little condensation under the mattress due to the temperature difference from the garage, but the dry mat stuff we purchased does keep the mattress side dry but we still lift the mattress daily to air out any moisture that maybe trapped there.

Toffi was most upset today when she lost her tennis ball down the side of an embankment, she howled while I was trying to retrieve it without her and again when I failed to find the ball in the surrounding shrubbery, she was most upset and cried and whimpered for this favoured ball so much so that we had to put her on a long line and let her go search down the hillside, she was so chuffed with herself for finding and retrieving this ball the look of sheer joy on her little face, she would probably make a great search and rescue dog for lost tennis balls given the chance!!

Enough of my feeling sorry for myself whinging on, until next time take care and I almost forgot it’s nearly Christmas!!!

Donna x