Leaving (not on a jet plane)

Well:
our bikes are packed,
we’re ready to go…

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.

At the beach

The beach at Malha√Ķ is exceptional and is one of the finest in the whole country.

The riverside Fort at Vila Nova de Milfontes

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.

Panoramic view from the end of the road: click through for large view
Outside the fort – never did find out what this was about…
The Archangel

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 ūüôā 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 √Čvora. 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!

Snail Spaces: Camping de la Maye (Caravan Site)

A peaceful caravan site on the edge of Rue, conveniently located opposite a Carrefour supermarket and a short stroll into town. Rue is another pretty town, though not in the same league as nearby Montreuil.

The site is ACSI approved and a member of the ACSI Camping Card discount scheme. Touring pitches are interspersed between static caravans and are on grass, which is not particularly level or smooth but are pleasantly screened by hedges.

The whole site has an air of gentle neglect, with the grass being quite lengthy and the hedges not in the least manicured. This is not necessarily a bad thing in my book… so long as the important facilities are in good shape.

Electricity is 6amp. We paid 30 Euros after discount for two nights with a dog plus a 3 Euro Tourist Tax.

The facilities block looks smart enough at an initial glance  but a broken skylight and damaged floor in the dishwashing area might be taken as hinting to a general lack of upkeep.

There are separate Male and Female facilities, with special provision for Disabled and Babies. External dishwashing facilities and a laundry room with one washer and one dryer. Both are sturdy high capacity machines. A wash is 5 Euros, with detergent supplied and a dry cycle costs 4 Euros. My washing took 36 minutes. The dryer gave more than the 30 minutes that we were told when we enquired. I think perhaps more like 45 minutes. Sufficient to dry a king size flannelette duvet cover with two pillowcases and some othe ritems. really dry. Snuff dry. My best ever camp site drying experience in fact, so perhaps not as expensive as it at first seemed to be.

Showers are push button delivery. The water was just about hot enough. The shower trays are sunken within the cubicle but there is no curtain to protect clothes and shoes from wetting, just a narrow screen which offers a shelf for toiletries. The floor became very wet and with nowhere to sit down, it was impossible to dress without getting trousers soggy,

The toilets are of a seatless type and somewhat off-putting to an English bottom. Toilet paper is not provided so be sure to take your own supplies. The toilets themselves were badly stained and not at all pleasant to those of  us used to squeaky clean club sites.

Dogs on lead on site but there is a green lane close by where we could exercise Nell off the lead. In town there is a green avenue by the Lycee where she could also have a good play.

Last Visited: September 2017 (unlikely to return)

 

Snail Spaces: Cité Europe

There is an area of car park outside Carrefour at Cit√© Europe that has the height bar removed. It is signed for motorhomes, which by convention are permitted to park overnight for sleeping purposes. The location is ideal for those coming or going on the shuttle at early or late hours.

The location is extremely popular, do not expect to be alone there.

The car park is very well lit and did not feel unsafe in any way. There was surprisingly little overnight noise though some loud hammering at 4:30 am was a little surprising and quite unwelcome.

The supermarket opens at 09:00 and we went over to get some supplies. Most of the small shops and eateries do not open until 10:00 but we found a takeaway with a few tables where we had a croissant and coffee for breakfast before engaging with our wallets.

Last Visit: September 2017

Snail Spaces: Huntly Castle Caravan Park

Huntly Castle Caravan Park is an affiliated site, split between tourers, tents and statics. Very neat and tidy and… quiet when school is in progress. Playtimes can be a little noisy.

Rabbit Central

The Rabbits are fearless

Pitches are arranged around rectangular grassed areas with bins and water available at hand. The facilities block sits between two touring areas.

There is direct access to riverside walking from the site and the Castle is just a short stroll away.

River Deveron

Huntly Castle

Also within strolling distance is the town and, in the other direction, Tesco. 

Last Visit: August 2017

Snail Spaces: Silverdyke

Silverdyke Caravan Park sits on the cliff top above Cellardyke, just outside Anstruther. It is within strolling distance of both the renowned Anstruther Fish Bar and Anster’s best-kept secret, The Cellar (1 * Michelin restaurant).

The park is family-owned, of recent construction and split between touring and static caravans.

Facilities block

Pitches are largely level but gravelled.

The facilities are of a very high standard, squeakily clean and tastefully done but all the effort put in is marred by the provision of pushbutton showers, which have a very short delivery of approximately ten seconds.

Silverdyke site

There is  a laundry room with one washer and one dryer, operated by tokens purchased from reception. Wash ¬£2.50 Dry (20 minutes) ¬£1.00

Site Wi-fi is free and quite adequate for basic browsing.

Last visit (of 3, so far) August 2017.

Snail Spaces: Sunnyhills Farm Shop

We had previously stayed at Sunnyhills and enjoyed both a good cooked breakfast and some shopping there. It seemed an ideal spot to return to.

December 2016

Sunnyhills is a farm shop and restaurant situated just off the A1 at Belford in Northumberland. They allow motorhomes to stop overnight in their car park. There is a grassed area suitable for dog play. 

On our first visit we had the place to ourselves. Not so this time, when we were one of six vans overnighting.

Sunnyhills Breakfast

No facilities other than parking. Toilets inside when shop open.

 

Last Visit: August 2017