Clearly we have been doing way too much travelling to allow me to do any documenting or reflecting. This rather makes a nonsense of all of the time that I spend taking photographs and thinking about the text that will go with them.
I think it unlikely that I shall ever catch up and it’s ridiculous that I wish to be ordered and methodical by going back and starting at the beginning and so…
…I am going to start updating this blog from our most recent adventures and work my way backwards as far as I can find the energy for.
I have some challenges and primary among these right now is that I am trying to organise my Lightroom files. In doing so, I seem to have broken and lost a few things. There is a project afoot to learn video and I have some kind of idea that if I shoot video with commentary I can upload that here with little fuss and no need to find time in which to edit photos, rummage in my memory banks, and write text. I have no idea whether or not that approach will work but once Lockdown is over and we go off again I am hoping that my b=video skills will have reached an appropriate level. we shall see how it goes.
We returned from Brittany on Saturday, the most recent of three trips made so far this year (we wanted to fit in as much adventure as possible before the inevitable further lockdown happened). It’s high time that I got busy and wrote up that trip, New post coming later, I hope. As in “later today” rather than a nebulous “later in time”. If it gets too large perhaps “later” will become “tomorrow” or possibly “Saturday” but I am going to get stuck in just as soon as I have had a coffee break, I promise.
Mr Snail has been experimenting with Polar Steps in his own attempt to document our travels. I hope to include links to his efforts in each post.
Counter reset as we embark on a new trip. Day one, to Louroux de Bouble. A longer than usual leg for us on this first day, with a shopping trip in Montlucon along the way to fetch goodies from Grand Frais.
In honesty, a shorter trip would have been better. Dusty came in last night for a change (it was raining) and spent most of the night on our bed, frequently waking us up for attention.
He is of course now complaining that he has been kept in for /weeks/.
Noisy little beggar.
We are making good time on a familiar route, with low volume traffic. I am thankful that it is not too taxing for a tired driver.
Another half an hour to Montlucon then perhaps a further forty minutes to tonight’s CCP Aire. Should be parked up by afternoon coffee time if all continues well.
This is a test of post by mail
Perhaps it will serve us better than the failing IG: IFTTT posting method.
I had been eagerly anticipating a few days in Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site and apparently the Portuguese town with second best quality of life, it also offers some good restaurants. Jolly good.
We planned to take three nights at the Orbitur site there and then extend our stay if we liked it.
In the event, it was all a bit of a disaster. The site is situated close to the outer edge of the ring road. There was nowhere to walk the dog. Mr Snail has injured his back so walking into town for dinner or sight-seeing was off the agenda and getting the bikes out, completely impossible.
It was all a bit of a shock to the system after the peace and quiet at Markádia. The traffic noise was horrible and the air quality not at all good. Nell had to be walked around a derelict building site (again).
We stayed one night and saw nothing of Évora at all.
It wasn’t all bad. When walking Nell we stumbled across a good pet shop, where we were able to purchase Nell a new bed ( her old one being now in a very disreputable state of repair and quite disgustingly malodorous.) She also acquired a bag of three balls to play with.
This morning the weather was atrocious and water was running all over the site. The showers were cold. We just got ourselves off site asap and off to stock up at Pingo Doce, knowing that our next stop was to be miles away from anywhere.
So, we made it back into Spain! We find ourselves the sole guests on what must have once been a very elegant campsite indeed. However, it has been closed for some time. Now reopened but showing all the signs of neglect in the interim.
The man who runs the place has little English but was welcoming and helpful and he lost no time in turning the hot water on for us. Good man. Intriguingly, he handed us our very own toilet roll… Also, very unexpectedly, the restaurant is open daily from 08:00. Who are they serving???
The scenery is awesome, with some wonderful geology and Griffon Vultures flying over the ridge that looks over the campsite.
That ridge does however block signals. We have no WiFi, but some phone signal – hence the emailed post with no images.
Catch up later.
We will probably stay here two nights at least. I have plenty of food on board.
We shall be leaving Vila Nova de Milfontes tomorrow. We have had a good stay at the Orbitur campsite here. It is perhaps not the optimal place to stay for a lengthy period but the weather has been fantastic until now and we have enjoyed cycling out to the shops when necessary (around 16 Km round trip). The walking is of course very good and we walked all the way into town and back one day.
The beach at Malhaõ is exceptional and is one of the finest in the whole country.
It has been fun to explore the town a little and we have been much taken with the area along the rivermouth. It is very beautiful.
Shopping has been hit and miss between the holiday period and our lack of local knowledge. We still haven’t managed to visit the market hall but we did cycle out to the monthly market at Brunheiras, which was tremendous fun – if a little disappointing on the food side of things, though we did manage to come home with bread, cheese and meat for a simple supper.
Overall, we have enjoyed ourselves a great deal and the peace and tranquility of the site here is so much better than the encampment down at the beach car park. We counted at least 40 vans at New Year. Quite ridiculous and hardly what you can call “wilding”. Observing individuals going to the toilet in the bushes is not a lot of fun either. Some disgraceful behaviour going on down there. Much better up here, with 70 acres almost entirely to ourselves since the permanent pitch people went home after their holidays (not that there were all that many of them anyway).
One disappointment has been the restaurant on the campsite. It was not as good as we recalled from our previous visit – except on a weekend, when the food is much better than mid-week. We suspect a different cook on duty. We gave the matter some thought and realised that when we were here previously it had been Saturday and Sunday when we ate at the restaurant so that might support our theory.
The great thing about the restaurant here is that the dish of the day is traditional Portuguese food. It tends to be simple (it’s cheap! Bread, Main Course, Dessert and drinks for 9 Euros) but is always interesting (for us, at least.) The days after New Year were pretty poor and we think that we may have been eating leftovers from the New Year’s Eve party. We had decided not to bother again but risked it on the Sunday, when we were served a very good Bacalhau Com Natas – better even than our introduction to that dish here last winter. This Sunday we were served Spare Ribs with Migas, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Migas is a staple made from breadcrumbs and is far nicer than it sounds.
So, a bit hit and miss but worth taking a punt, especially at the weekend. The staff are extremely friendly. They have some English and try hard to explain the dishes but sometimes need a bit of help 🙂 We do this by guessing and seeing if we reach common ground. Meals can still be a little surprising but that’s the fun of it, I think.
The weather having turned cooler, duller and breezier, with showers predicted for today and tomorrow, we packed the bikes away yesterday. This morning we put our tables and chairs away before they get wet and tomorrow we are setting off inland for a remote site by a reservoir. We don’t know how long we shall stay, which will make shopping en route tomorrow something of a conundrum. As I write this I am also constructing meal plans and a shopping list based on a “worst case” scenario.
Our following stop is to be at the World Heritage Site of Évora. I am much looking forward to that.
Now that Image Uploads are working again I hope to do some more writing up of our recent travels. It looks very much like the expected weather might support that aim!