Saturday, 29 August 2015

2'000 miles and too many beers ago...!

Yup, i'm also surprised, mainly that nothings exploded or fallen off, but we have indeed covered nearly 2'000 miles since leaving Longfield 11 days ago. Awesome stuffs, Tim is still running superbly, despite the mega temperatures these past few days since we've hit the south coast... Seeing over 40 degrees during the day! And i am running almost as well... Almost!

Just chillin'

We are currently at camping La Torrecilla, in the Sierra de Grazalema national park. Since last time i updated this we were in North Portugal, we've covered some distance these last few days! Ended up staying in Lamego for an extra day, after being invited to a music festival and then a birthday party, how could i refuse?! A brilliant night was had, far too much beer was drank and i even got to eat some traditional Portuguese food... Still not sold on the clams though! Big thankyou (if your reading this) to everyone that was there, for your hospitality and for making me feel properly welcome. I will most definitely be back to Lamego. Met some cool people at the campsite in Lamego as well, Jean and his family and there impressively prepped Nissan Patrol, Lola and her family travelling down from France, as well as others... If any of you are reading this, was great to meet you, and please get in touch!
One very cool campsite dog!

 Celebrations in Lamego! 

The morning after the party, predictably i awoke with a rather sore head! Also quickly learnt that getting up at 9 after getting to bed at gone 5 that same morning was less than a brilliant idea... Alas, i sucked it up,  loaded Tim up and we headed South! After staying an extra night than planned (most definitely not a complaint!) we had some distance to cover. Tanks brimmed, we set the Sat Nav for Elvas, the famous walled city, right on the Portuguese/Spanish border. However, we never actually made it to Elvas, rather stopped at the town of Porto Maior, just north of Elvas. Had come here because of the campsite, it had been a long day and me and Tim needed somewhere to stay. After driving through the town, and with most of the roads being closed, it was clear something was going on, had no idea what though. With the Spanish and Portuguese seemingly taking any excuse to close a town and have a party... We weren't overly surprised!

 Which way to Elvas?

 Stopping for lunch.

View from the office!

Arriving at the campsite itself was first a bit of a challenge, with all the roads being closed due to the festival, we had to drive across disused farm tracks to get there... Okay, maybe we could of used normal roads, but that would of taken longer... And off road is more fun! Tim is hardly subtle at the best of times, but turning up at sunset covered in dirt with a dust cloud following is always going to attract attention! Fortunately it's nearly always positive! Despite the campsite being officially 'full' due to the festival they managed to squeeze us on. Wahoo!

I then found out that the commotion we had stumbled on in town was the 'Festas do povo'. My plan of an early night was quickly disappearing... The owner of the campsite offered me a very cheap ticket and i was sold. He insisted we went, and it was a heck of a fluke, The 'Festas do povo' is the largest town held festival in the whole of Portugal, next time it occurs it will be on the UNESCO world heritage list, and it only occurs every 4 years... I really couldn't say no, And as the pictures below will illustrate, i'm really glad i didn't! Truly amazing sights, with every street decorated with hand made, mostly paper, decorations, live music being performed in every square, a truly electric atmosphere, and very friendly hospitable people to top it all off... A shame that we could only spend one night, as it runs all week!
My ticket in!

 Martini bus anyone?

 Amazing to see, hard to photograph!

The next morning we awoke, and today we pointed ourselves in the direction of the Algarve, and what would turn out to be our last full day in Portugal. The drive there was enjoyable, with a mixture of fast moving roads, slower twisty stuffs and even some lacking tarmac as well. Oh, and we stopped off at the Portimao circuit for a look round and some photos! However, when we arrived at the Algarve, we were left wanting... People had warned us that it was one place to miss out, due to the over touristic nature of the place and just how much it had been built up. Unfortunately i can't help but agree. Admittedly we only saw a very small section, arriving in Alvor, and then onto Portimao before Ferragudo, but it was far too busy for us. We stopped at the beach in Alvor, and whilst it was a lovely beach, walking along hearing more Dutch and English voices than Portugese really took the edge off its charm! We struck camp at Camping Ferragudo, it wasn't awful, but we won't be rushing back.
 Warm enough?!!

 Portimao circuit was very cool!

 Life's a beach!

Parked... Ish!

How most evenings are spent!

And we have arrived at today! Wanting to get out of the Algarve, i realised that we were only 155 miles from Seville, a city that was on my 'must visit' list! We headed that way and by 1 this afternoon we were back in Spain and in the city. I spent most of the time walking around with my mouth open... I did fall a little bit in love with Seville i admit, and hopefully with the photos below, just a little bit of that will translate. Another place i definitely want to go back to and spend a few days... I was there only a few hours,.. Although i did still manage to get talked into paying a few euros for having my palm read on the steps of a Cathedral... Still not sure how that happened!

 Mmmmm, ice tea!

 Seville, amazing city...

 One of a few cathedrals!


After Seville, we have again headed South, with the plan to visit Gibraltar tomorrow and see the Monkeys, we are at the aforementioned camping La Torrecilla. A vast improvement on our campsite last night, they've even got a pool! Something that i made use of as soon as i had the tent up... First time i've been in one since we got over here... Need to make that a more regular occurrence i think!

On the road again, mountains in the distance...

So that is pretty much it, tomorrow morning we'll make the relatively short trip (Less than 100 miles! What a novelty!) to Gibraltar, see some monkeys and the probably follow the east coast up and out after exploring the very small British territory!

More again soon, Peace, Joe!

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