Ola … Portugal…finally


 

We arrived in Spain in early February with a very loose plan to purchase a motorhome and travel around Europe for a while. We had only covered around 2,500 k’s and scratched the surface. So we simply had to get on with it and make a beeline for Portugal. For various reasons…….OK having Grigio shipped to Barcelona, pushed us further North earlier than anticipated and naturally, that meant cooler weather. Therefore it made sense to make a quick dash down the centre of  Spain and pick up the journey on the Algarve, Southern Portugal and slowly head North as the temperatures climbed.

IMG_1353So we packed up and headed South across the Pesaguero mountains towards Castilla Y Leon. The picture above is beside the highest peak at around 2,600 metres….I t A slow descent and the low plains were full of wild flowers and kilometres of Daffodils. So my good deed for the day was to pull over and pick a bunch of them for Amanda….OK I didn’t actually pick them, but I pulled over in the middle of nowhere on a very tight schedule and suggested Amanda might like to cut some to brighten up Pinot. They lasted for the entire week and looked LUVLY ! You can just see her below with scissors in hand and the result sitting on our dashboard.

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Wild Daffodils galore

First stop on this little dash was Salamanca and after the magnificent views we’d had in the Picos, well let’s just say not very good. But we ended up having a great nights entertainment in spite of the setting.

A seriously bloody BIG rig pulled up next to us within seconds of our pitch choice, so there we are plugging in and setting up, with a mega mobile home/condo/mansion on wheels beside us. Within moments the guy came over for a little chat…….oh and he was FRENCH and after my little run in with the previous Frog in Penis cola….I know, it’s so childish writing it this way but it makes me laugh…Sad!

  1. Anyway he proceeded to tell me in fairly good English, well much better than my schoolboy French to be honest that his previous motorhome was identical to mine. Ok so now we’ve determined mine is OLD but at that point we are still quite pally to each other. Anyway we each went about our business and retired to our own pads ( some bigger, brighter, shinier and newer than others. We spent a lovely day in Salamanca and thoroughly enjoyed the place. It’s a pretty old joint, actually that’s a slight understatement with its origins dating back over a thousand years plus.

    Farewell Pico’s

We arrived back to our humble van…yes it’s now just a van and as we arrive the couple from the mansion on wheels arrive on their scooter and show us a full shoulder of iberian Jamon they have just bought, like the ones we have been buying slivers of at very expensive prices lol, and they’ve got a whole bloody leg of it complete with special knife and wooden rack to rest it on whilst carving.

Lots to explore

He seemed a nice chap, very loud and robust and seemed to have a healthy sense of humour, so when he invited us into their CHATEAU for drinks and nibbles, how could we decline, so with motorhome envy we agreed and turned up at the appointed time with a bottle of our best red. We told them we’d be in France for about a month in May and would welcome any advice on where we’d be best spending our time. By the way they are Max and Anna. So max pulls out a map of France and a bottle of Sparkling wine…..saying “do you like Champagne” we of course replied yes and Anna interrupted saying it was only Spanish Cava. We sensed a little tension rising lol. So Max takes control of the map suggesting a few areas we may be interested in and Anna interjects on numerous occasions offering her better suggestions….I just wanted a glass of bloody Champagne/Cava? sparkling as we’d already sat there for 20 minutes. I don’t have great patience I know that before any of you say anything. So Amanda and I are being treated to a great title show and Max then threw his hands in the air and said he wouldn’t have anything more to do with it and turned the map to Anna. She asked him to just open the beverage and he grumpily said NO along with a couple of little swear words and gesticulating wildly…..I am just having too much fun at this point and Amanda can barely control her bladder. Sorry this is going on but it was so bloody funny, in fact I had to stop typing then just to wipe my eyes just thinking about it again.OK, so Max eventually opens the booze and pours us each a glass….THANKYOU I think to myself and we  just get the glass to our pursed lips when Max has a sip, turns around and exclaims its CRAP…his words and throws it out the window, grabs ours and does the same. You had to be there but I thought I was in a scene from Fawlty Towers and he was the French version of Basil. We then enjoyed a lovely bottle of Beaujolais and then he opened my bottle of red…OK I admit I was a wee bit nervous, but woohoo, he loved it. ps His motorhome was a bloody cracker and they turned out to be the best hosts, and we’ve been invited to Brittany for the weekend in late May. What a night. Amanda will kill me for wasting all this time telling you about this one chance meeting….oh well!

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Coffee time looking through to Plaza Mayor


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Resting after another wonderful day


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Another mode of transport for some doing the Camino Way and pooch along for the ride too

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Beautiful Salamanca


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University grounds

Next “transit stop”….don’t know why I put that in inverted comas really….sorry, anyway we landed in Caseres for a night or two and stopped in a site with its very own bathroom attached to our pitch (very civilised) own toilet, shower and washbasin. We do have all those on board but it was a very nice novelty to take 3 steps and you have a wet room. WE caught a bus into town next morning and enjoyed most of the day wandering around the old town and visiting a couple of nice museums, and again it has history from before the Muslim invasion , so in terms of Brisvegas history, it’s got lots. The new town was well cared for and is one of the few places to offer free tapas with each drink, so of course we indulged and think we had bulls tails at some point. And very nice it was too. To be fair we didn’t spend much time there as we had agreed to push through to Portugal. Next morning we set a course for Seville as a final stop in Spain and stay a night to two in this beautiful City, but somehow Portugal beckoned and we just kept on driving. We’d already spent a very memorable time on a previous trip in Seville and whilst it’s a stunning place, decided we’d miss it this time and rely on our wonderful memories of 4 years ago.

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Gorgeous old town, would have loved to explore the new town more

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Old town  Caceres


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Cistern underneath Museum

Have not quite crossed the border.

 

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4 comments

  1. Hi Amanda and Allen
    I have just caught up on your travel tales and am very envious. Fantastic photos and what amazing experiences you are having. James and I are flying to London in 2 weeks to visit Anna so very excited about that. Looking forward to more travel tales from you and watch out for my travel blog coming to your inbox soon. Debbie

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  2. Wonderful travel blog Amanda & Allen – I couldn’t bare to look at any of this stuff for literally ‘years’ after losing my Sam, as we back packed around Europe for three months ( using Eurail plus LOTS walking) back in the 80’s. Memories were painful – but now, I can look at yours and feel the joy. Time does heal. What a sight those wild daffodils – you are definitely there at the best time. ( gardener here!) Looking forward to more blogs – & glad the crazy Frenchman was all bluff – they do have a reputation. My maternal great grandfather was French – he disappeared here in Aus, back in the 1800’s , leaving a wife & 3 young children. I’m doing family history & trying to find out where he went ?!

    Debs 😘 xo

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    • Thanks Deb
      We are having the best time !
      Yes, must have been so hard for you x glad it gives you pleasure now.
      Allen’s great Grandad did the same ! He deserted his wife and three children too and came to Australia a gold prospecter and died in Sydney. We could be worth millions ha ha
      Take care 🌻🌺

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