Week 40

Day 274 – Friday 7th December 2018

A lovely sunny day relaxing in the warm sunshine while Cfor explored the neighbourhood.

He seems fascinated with our French neighbours

Today he even said hello to some Germans

His travels done for the day he lounged under the table; it’s exhausting work being a cat.

Day 275 – Saturday 8th December 2018

Beautiful sunny day and another very lazy day.

At the French embassy next door they are gathered around a laptop watching the news and talking animatedly about the rioting in Paris. Funny how quickly Macron has gone from poster boy for the EU to Louis XVI.

Day 276 – Sunday 9th December 2018

Another beautiful day. Did my Couch to 5k this morning and ran for 25 minutes which is a week ahead of schedule. Although I managed 10 seconds of Usain Bolt at the end I was properly knackered. From now on I am going to stick rigidly to the schedule.

Julie’s son Darren arrived this morning for 4 days with his girlfriend Lucy.

We went for Sunday lunch at LazyJacks

and ended up at Ponta da Piedade; it’s a stunning bit of the coast.

Day 277 – Monday 10th December 2018

Beautiful sunny day. Lucy wanted to see the caves at Benagil so we set off before lunch.

… Darren wanted to stop at Kartódromo; we didn’t have to queue

It’s a big complex

We all had a blast around the track

It was great fun but I’m far too cautious a driver to be any good in a go-cart; I like to drive so I never have to put the brakes on.

Having said that I’m a lot faster than Julie!

On to the caves at Benagil.

The big cave with the collapsed roof is the Algar de Benagil

Of course everyone climbed over the safety barrier to get better shots of the beach below

me included

By the time we’d made it to the beach at Benagil the boats trips to the caves had stopped for the day 🙁

Lucy, Darren & Julie at Benagil beach

Day 278 – Tuesday 11th December 2018

An overcast day and at 18°C it felt quite cold.

To Praia da Luz for lunch where I was stung by a wasp, I never saw that on the menu!

After lunch we went for a spin around the coast and ended up in Lagos to see the Christmas lights.

Back at the van it was time to eat

where on earth is the Whiskers!

Day 279 – Wednesday 12th December 2018

An overcast start to the day. I did Day 1 of Week 6 of my Couch to 5k. The inside top of my left leg was complaining from the start and it didn’t get any better but I managed to finish the session. I think I pulled something getting out of that go-cart yesterday; going to give it 4 days to clear up.

After breakfast Lucy wanted to go back to Benagil for a boat trip round the caves.

a little boat but it had a surprisingly big engine on the back

There are dozens of caves on this part of the coast

Many of them have small sandy beaches

and holes in their roofs

Very difficult to do the Algar de Benagil justice from a boat bobbing about in the sea with a Samsung J5. I asked the captain if we could land to get better shots but he said he didn’t have a licence to land.

This is what the Algar looks like from the beach with a decent camera and probably a little Photoshop.  Full credit to someone else.

the coastline is full of stacks and arches

The sightseeing over the Captain said he was going to do his ‘James Bond’ and promptly opened up the throttle, heading for a stack or two and swerving around them at the last minute. He landed the boat by shooting it 30ft up the beach. Great fun but I really should have held on rather than trying to film it.

Day 280 – Thursday 13th December 2018

A wet and windy start to the day but the sun soon showed itself. It was great to just do nothing after the past few days.

we did manage a walk along the beach at Praia de Luz

even with the sun out it must be cold in there

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Week 39

Day 267 – Friday 30th November 2018

A beautiful sunny day. Did the last session of week 4 of my Couch to 5k. No problems, added 3 minutes to the final run with 10 seconds of Usain Bolt at the end.

After lunch we headed out to Portimão.

a mural in Portimão

Portimão is a big town, a port, and the one way system was a bit of a nightmare. We eventually found the front and had a stroll around the Rocha beach area which was very quiet.

Rocha beach

Day 268 – Saturday 1st December 2018

Beautiful sunny morning, Had a lazy day.

Christmas lights are up

Day 269 – Sunday 2nd December 2018

Another beautiful day, a very sneezy day and another lazy day

This is Frankie, a 26 year old Hymer in absolutely beautiful nick.

Day 270 – Monday 3rd December 2018

Week 5 of my Couch to 5k today but I didn’t know if I could do it because on top of sneezing all day yesterday I had a rough night’s sleep. My legs were dead after the first run but I managed to finish the session. Felt shattered afterwards though.

Fell asleep in the sun after lunch but managed to stir myself to go on the camp’s Nordic walk.

Everyone else had poles but I couldn’t join in the silliness.

Modroño fruit, sort of a Portuguese strawberry

Julie came along to petanque and she did okay.

She shoots….

She scores….

She does a little dance!

Day 271 – Tuesday 4th December 2018

Another beautiful day; did nothing but sit in the sun.

Day 272 – Wednesday 5th December 2018

Boiling day.

We walked along the coast to Burgau for lunch.

Only took us a couple of hours.

The Christmas decorations in Burgau

Every bar restaurant was closed!

This was open last week

This café attached a mini-market was the only eatery open. They did nice toasties and I enquired about some chips but the lady told me they only had a licence to grill food. In what kind of country do you need a licence to make chips?

Got the bus back to Luz; that was a palaver.

Day 273 – Thursday 6th December 2018

Yet another beautiful day.

Day 2 of week 5 of my Couch to 5k. I was supposed to do some 8 minute runs today but I know on Day 3 I have to do a 20 minute run so I thought fuck it just go for the 20 minute leg today. It wasn’t too bad although I couldn’t manage any Usain Bolt at the end.

Sat around in the sun all day until it was time for petanque…

Me, Juan Carlos & a German lady beat a good French team. When I say beat I mean stuffed 13 – 2 😀

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Week 38

Day 260 – Friday 23rd November 2018

A beautiful sunny morning and after lunch we went for a spin on Zippy. First stop Burgau for a stroll about the town.

It’s very quiet this time of year with most shops closed for the ‘winter’.

but you can still get a tasty toastie in town

Then on to Salema

Waiting for the fishermen to return, it’s a tough life being a cat in Salema,

We stopped off in Budens on the way home

All in all a beautiful day 🙂

Later Cfor went in the neighbours caravan, while there was a dog there!

Day 261 – Saturday 24th November 2018

Sunny morning, believe they have snow & floods at home!

Time for week 4 of my Couch to 5k. It was quite a step up this week but it was no real problem; added a minute to the final run.

Cfor was in and out of the van all day.

He’s getting super relaxed about the passing traffic and people…

… although he can’t understand why the sparrows don’t want to play with him.

Spent the afternoon planning the route back to Antibes. I want to take in as many 4 & 5 star sites along the Spanish coast so we can decide where to spend next winter.

Day 262 – Sunday 25th November 2018 

Bright start to the day but it soon turned dull and cold.

The rain arrived in the afternoon and I finished the plans for Spanish leg of our journey back to the French Riviera . Given Theresa May’s calamitous negotiations I’m planning for no deal Brexit so we’ll be safely parked up in Antibes for the 29th March while any dust settles.

It strikes me the only way Theresa May could be more unpopular is if she came out as a vegan!

Day 263 – Monday 26th November 2018

Sunny start to the day. Went for a walk along the coast from Luz to Burgau. A bit rocky but a pleasant walk nevertheless.

probably best not to go too close to the edge

It’s only an hour and a half stroll but in the sunshine it was thirsty work

Somewhere down there there is a pint of lager with my name on it

Day 264 – Tuesday 27th November 2018

Beautiful sunny day. Did my Couch to 5k first thing. Absolutely no problem and added a couple of minutes to the last run with a 20 second sprint at the end. Those After Eight mints are really working their magic!

We set off on Zippy west along the coast. First stop the fort at Sagres.

The fort separates the Sagres Promontory from the town.

Nowadays the promontory is a tourist attraction

It’s one big limestone pavement

The Crocuses here are out a few months before the UK’s

There are blow holes coming up from the caves below where you can hear the waves rush in and feel the draft as the air is forced upwards. Doesn’t sound too exciting but it made me smile.

They’ve built this elaborate little maze around one blow hole. It’s very nice and all paid for by the EU.

The Atlantic

The harbour at Sagres

Lunch in Sagres

my falafel burger and chips was fabulous 🙂

After lunch we set off for Cabo de São Vicente, the south westernmost point of Portugal and of mainland Europe.

Cabo de São Vicente viewed from Sagres fort

There was a surfing beach along the way.

This fabulous beast had Italian plates, I wouldn’t put money on it getting back there

the light house at Cabo de São Vicente

When we got home, back to the van, Cfor was waiting to get out, I opened the door and he barrelled down the steps; places to go, people to see!

Day 265 – Wednesday 28th November 2018

Life is so much better when the sun shines

After lunch we motored into Lagos

Lagos from the Meia Praia side

Day 266 – Thursday 29th November 2018

A cloudy and chilly day. Spent the day reading and watching Making a Murderer.

Cfor keeping an eye on next door’s Yorkie

Today’s petanque match was a bit of a disaster 🙁

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Week 37

Day 253 – Friday 16th November 2018 

Bright morning. Back’s a little stiff today, I think I overdid it at the Fit Park yesterday.

After lunch we went for an explore on Zippy and rounded off the day having an ice cream in Luz.

Photo of the Day – beginning to think if your ice cream isn’t chocolate then you’ve made a really bad decision

Day 254 – Saturday 17th November 2018

Overcast and breezy start to the day.

The wind made the sea at Luz a little too choppy for surfing…

Looked ideal for kite surfers though.

It started to rain in the afternoon then the wind and rain really got up. Good job I downloaded Narcos Mexico last night.

Day 255 – Sunday 18th November 2018

Weather was absolutely vile last night but an okay start to the day.

Sunday lunch at Sunita’s Castle

The rain started again in the afternoon and the weather forecast for tomorrow oscillates between sunshine and rain every hour!

Day 256 – Monday 19th November 2018

Bright start to the morning. Set off on Zippy for a tool around the hills a few miles inland from the coast.

It’s certainly different from the coast, far greener but like at the coast nearly everything is for sale.

The Albufeira da Barragem de Odiáxere reservoir

Later the rain started again washing out my Monday game of petanque 🙁

I bought some After Eight Mints in the Spar shop today and have set a nightly alarm on my phone 😀

The weather hasn’t been what we expected. Apparently it’s the worst November they had in donkey’s years. Thank God we have unlimited boxsets and a lifetime’s supply of Rosé

Day 257 – Tuesday 20th November 2018

Bright start to the morning but the showers soon arrived. Someone was telling me they are having much worse weather in southern Spain and Julie’s weather app says it is 5°c in the UK.

I always hated this time of year in the UK; get up in the dark, get out of work in the dark, a fuckin’ awful way to live so we shouldn’t complain too much about a few drops of rain.

Tried to give Julie a quick lesson on Zippy but when she sits on the seat neither of her legs can reach the ground.

Took up the offer of a free week so we’ll be here until 12th January.

Cfor is really enjoying getting outside

Have finished Narcos Mexico

Day 258 – Wednesday 21st November 2018

Woke up with stabbing pains in my left foot; what is that all about? Of course, today is Couch to 5k day. When I got out of bed various parts of my left leg were also complaining.

Outside it was a bright morning. Absolutely no problems running, even did an extra 30 seconds at the end and stopped by the Fit Park on my way back; must be the After Eight Mints!

Tried out the badminton.

It went thataway

When this couple turned up with their own rackets I thought we were in trouble but they we just as crap as us!

We’ve been here 4 weeks now and we are well settled in. It’s a completely different life to travelling around. Travelling you get to see new things everyday, 5 cathedrals in a week is not unusual. Here we live more like the ex-pats, relaxing, reading, watching TV, whiling away the days.

Julie has grounded Cfor 🙁

Day 259 – Thursday 22nd November 2018

An overcast day, a cold day. Still at least the rain held off for Petanque.

I didn’t play too badly, can’t say the same for the rest of my team.

Cfor managed to get out today, he loves exploring other people’s pitches!

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Week 36

Day 246 – Friday 9th November 2018

Woke up to beautiful sunshine and had a fabulously lazy morning under the awning.

After lunch we went for a poodle about on Zippy

We had a look at the waves on the beach at Salema

and at the windmill at Budens

Day 247 – Saturday 10th November 2018

Overcast start to the day and it was mixed all day. In the afternoon we went for an explore on Zippy.

We ended up in Barão de São João


Barão de São João is a typical little Portuguese village. The streets are narrow and some of the property is very run down. But it has a few bars, some cafes, a restaurant and a couple of shops. There are plenty of boarded up houses in town. There must be hundreds of villages like this dotted around the Algarve and I don’t imagine it’d cost more than £25k to buy and do up a nice little place in any of them; as long as you have good health that’s got to be better than spending your retirement in Wigan or Solihull.

Driving out of town we came across Manchester United’s midfield.

Left in a field without any carrots it’s no wonder Alexis and Pogba want to leave if this is how José treats them!

Day 248 – Sunday 11th November 2018

Bit of a mixed morning weatherwise. After the remembrance service (no Germans came) we motored in to Lagos for Sunday lunch.

LazyJacks at the Marina in Lagos

There are a lot of holiday apartments in and around Lagos marina and at this time of year they cost just €45 a night so there are a lot of Brits in town and at Lazy Jack’s for their €11 all you can eat Sunday Lunch

This wasn’t enough for Julie, she went back for seconds.

When Julie ‘Two Dinners’ had finished she said she felt like she might burst. Surprise surprise.

I had a Veg Curry which was on the Golden Years menu and it was dreadful.

Luckily there was an Ice Cream Sundae thrown in

Day 249 – Monday 12th November 2018

Beautiful morning.


After 3 days of no physical activity it was time for Week 3 of my Couch to 5k. Although it was a step up I survived and even went to yoga afterwards although I am not too sure yoga is for me. I will give it a few more weeks.

After lunch we motored to Vila do Bispo and Sagres

Vila Bispo, it’s claim to fame is it has a Lidls

Sagres has a good beach

There’s plenty of free motorhome parking right by the beach so there’s plenty of Crusties there

Back at the campsite I went for my Monday game of Petanque.

They had to get the tape measure out a few times as things got a little competitive

My team won 2-0 and I scored more than my fair share of points 😀

Day 250 – Tuesday 13th November 2018

Another beautiful day. Elsje put on a Thai yoga class today. Which Google tells me….

is a therapeutic style of massage combining soft tissue manipulation techniques, assisted yoga postures, breathing and meditation to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation.

Julie in a state of deep relaxation

Not too sure if we’ll be going again. Julie groaned so much I had to swap places with Elsje for a while and I ended up having to massage this French woman. I didn’t know where to put my hands.

In the Afternoon we went to Luz and watched the surfers.

Day 251 – Wednesday 14th November 2018

A beautiful day and off to Alvor on Zippy.

The beach at Alvor is big and clean

There’s a big aire right by the beach, €9.50 a night including electricity but no toilet or shower block. That’d be a real bargain in Summer but at this time of year they could get a campsite with toilets and showers for the same or even less.

Alvor itself is a little fishing town… with about 6 Irish pubs

Lunch and a stroll around the town.

I spotted a Ronaldo shirt lying in the gutter and I thought what a great picture it would make. I got my phone out as quick as possible…

… but some Portuguese woman stooped to pick it up and got her fat arse in the way completely ruining the image

Day 252 – Thursday 25th November 2018

Up early to do my Couch to 5k; it’s session 2 of week 3. I survived but I think the stretching at yoga is causing me pain when I run. So I’m going to give it a miss for a while.

They’ve been doing the indoor pool up for a couple of weeks now and today the noise was too much.

a building site

I went to reception and complained and they have given us a free week 😀

I discovered the camp has an Fit Park

Petanque didn’t go well today. Our opponents had better tactics and the skill to execute them. French twats.

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Week 35

Day 239 – Friday 2nd November 2018

Brightish morning, went for long walk to before resuming my Couch to 5k.

The actual session wasn’t too bad. My left leg didn’t feel the same as my right leg but I wasn’t in any pain. Going to have a 2 day rest before my next session.

After lunch we motored to the lovely seaside village of Salema.

The beach at Salema is fabulous – the far end

The beach by the village, lots of holiday homes here.

Stray cats soaking up the sun by the fishing boats

a proper car

Day 240 – Saturday 3rd November 2018

Beautiful morning. I went for an explore along the N125 to Budens then we motored into Lagos for lunch and a nose around.

No tourists here

This is probably why, Cabbage soup starter, yum yum.

Lagos marina

It was lovely walking about in the autumn sunshine, especially as the newspapers said the UK was bracing itself storm Oscar 😄

Day 241 – Sunday 4th November 2018

Lovely sunny start to the day but it soon clouded over and without the sunshine it is cold here. Really looking forward to Sunday lunch at Sunita’s Castle, it’s rated 4.8 on Google Maps.

Mixed Veg Madras, glad I didn’t order a Vindi!

Day 242 – Monday 5th November 2018

Mixed start to the day. Went for my Couch to 5K run. No problems, I think the two day rest between sessions is the way to go from now on.

I wonder why they’ve not invited the Germans

Later they had a yoga class at the campsite and Julie and I popped along. It was a bit tough and I struggled not to fart.

Our yoga instructor, Elsje. She told some Frog she didn’t speak much French then did the whole lesson in it!

Julie has much room for improvement, her Plank looks an awful lot like her Downward Dog!

After lunch we popped into Luz.

It’s November and there is still a queue for ice cream 😀

I’d seen this obelisk above the town and I decided today I’d get up there.

It looks a long way off but it only took 20 minutes to get there.

absolutely no idea why it’s here.

Back at the camp I had a game of petanque with my new bestie Colin against Juan Carlos & Marco.

It was close for a while…

but we eventually won 2-0

Day 243 – Tuesday 6th November 2018

Nice start to the day

A bit of excitement on camp in a France v Holland right of way issue.

There was archery on in the afternoon so I popped along for a go. It turned out I was pretty good… from 10m!

Robin Hood!

or maybe William Tell

Because I made it look easy Julie thought she’d have a go…

Everyone run for cover!

Day 244 – Wednesday 7th November 2018

Overcast start to the day and it didn’t brighten up until after lunch. When it’s cold here the WiFi speeds plumet. It’s the same in the evening, I get terrible speeds until 10:30pm, when the old codgers go to bed, then it’s like lightening.

I thought I’d have a crack at this afternoon’s Ping-Pong session.

Julie tried her best

It being Diwali I had curry for my dinner

East meets North West – Balti & Chips

Day 245 – Thursday 8th November 2018

Very overcast morning. Did my Couch to 5k without any problems and had a butcher’s at next week’s schedule and it’s going to be quite a step up.

After a few minutes rest it was time for Yoga!

Not an international farting contest but if it was I would probably win!

I beginning to think yoga is a form of torture.

Later Julie came along to petanque. It was stuffed with Frogs and they were quite good. Think I need a lot more practice before next Monday.

Spot the boule

It’s been a very busy week and I’m a little shattered. Think I will start my weekend tomorrow and do fuck all till Monday.


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Week 34

Day 232 – Friday 26th October 2018

Overcast morning and the forecast for today is heavy rain.

Cfor doesn’t look in the least concerned about the weather forecast

Julie at the AquaGym, far too happy-clappy for me

The sky cleared after lunch so I went exploring on Zippy

Went to the pretty little village of Burgau

Burgau is only a small place but it has 2 Indian restaurants. Always a sure sign a place in packed with Brits.

In the late afternoon the heavens did eventually open and it was all a little biblical for a while.

Normally after a downpour like that a campsite would have mud and puddles all over the place for days but half an hour after the this torrential  downpour there wasn’t a sign of it. These people really do know how to do a campsite.

Day 233 – Saturday 27th October 2018

Beautiful morning but very windy. After lunch I took Julie to Burgau.

the beach at Burgau

A bizarre mural in a bus stop in Burgau, what could the artist be saying about women and their underwear?

Watched a jazz band in the campsite’s bar

Day 234 – Sunday 28th October 2018

Very windy day. Had Sunday dinner at the Pig’s Head. The place was packed out with expats.

a Portuguese version of a vegetarian version of a Sunday roast

In the evening I went for a walk around the little village of Espiche. Like all Portuguese villages the centre is inincredibly tightly packed and a little run down

I think you’d be able to pick up a project for a couple of thou’ here.

If a property isn’t already done up it’s usually for sale

Day 235 – Monday 29th October 2018

Restarted my Couch to 5k this morning but the same muscle in my left leg was still painful. This time I didn’t try to run it off and I’ll give it another 4 days of rest and gentle exercise before trying again.

In the afternoon we went to Ponte da Piedade which is the headland south of Lagos (pronounced Lag shhh)

Beautiful scenery

This stretch of the coast is famous for its arches and caverns

There are rockfall warning signs all over the place. Keep a safe distance!

No cure for stupidity though

Think this little cove might be a contender for our New Year’s Day swim 😀

Day 236 – Tuesday 30th October 2018

It rained heavily during the night and the forecast for the rest of the day is for showers. It has to be said the weather on the Algarve has not been great, not what I hoped for but it’s been bad all over Europe with snow in Spain and floods in Italy.

After lunch we set off to find the Roman ruins of Luz.

There’s only about 10 square metres left, they built holiday villas over the rest and what is left is fenced off.

Great ice cream weather 😀

Day 237 – Wednesday 31st October 2018

Rained during the night and bucketed down most of the day.

Like being in Manchester!

Using the campsite’s wifi to download some boxsets; we watched Gordon, Gino & Fred’s Road Trip last night, which brought back memories of the roads on our trip to Italy and watched the Bake Off final today. Just like being at home 🙂 The next rainy day I am joining the gym.

Day 238 – Thursday 1st November 2018

Beautiful morning. We changed pitches to one that gets the morning sunlight.

After lunch we motored into Lagos for a nose about.

Blending in

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Week 33

Day 225 – Friday 19th October 2018

A beautiful sunny morning as we arrived back into Lisbon town centre.

First stop The Hard Rock Cafe to feed Julie’s addiction!

The walking tour turned out to be another heavy history lesson. I might stop going on these things. The short story; the whole of Lisbon was flattened by a massive earthquake in 1755. So there is no old town, everything bar the odd church was built after 1755

This church lost its roof in the 1755 earthquake and they’ve yet to get round to fixing it, how very Portuguese.

Lisboa train station, it’s built in the Neo-Manueline style. Never say this diary isn’t educational

Ginjinna, it’s a popular local cherry liquor

A well deserved pitstop on the walking tour.

The Santa Justa Lift. There’s a huge queue and it costs €5 to use the elevator to get to the top

Only an idiot would risk a ride in a Portuguese lift, you can use the walkway round the back for €1.50

Julie at the top of the Santa Justa Lift

Julie enjoyed Lisbon but I didn’t and I won’t be sorry to leave. Portugal has the air of the 3rd world country and I think I’ll enjoy the resorts rather than the towns. I can’t imagine what this place is like in the heat of summer.

Day 226 – Saturday 20th October 2018

Nice day. Made the 3 hour trip down to the Algarve. The campsite in Albufeira is okay; the pitches are big and the showers are good. There’s a pool too which is handy.

The bay at Albufeira

After all the travelling from Amsterdam we are going to stay here for a few days before making the 30 mile trip to the site near Luz where we are going to be spending November and December.

Day 227 – Sunday 21st October 2018

There was thunder, lightning and rain during the night so it was a wet start to the day.

I promised myself that when we were at the Algarve I would have a go at the Couch to 5k app and this morning I started, in the rain. I don’t want to become a running nut, I just want to not physically deteriorate too much from sitting around eating and drinking too much.

Anyway the session was easy enough and the app said I should reward myself with a banana and take tomorrow off!

Later we went into Albufeira old town centre. My God it’s awful; the kind of place people show off their beer bellies & tatts and that’s just the women!

It’s Happy Hour every hour! 🙁

This is what the Brits come for

I thought the Full Monty included fried bread

You’d struggle to get grapefruit, muesli or yoghurt in this town

To top it all off there was one of those dreadful Peruvian pipers in the main square.

Fuckin’ dreadful

Still, I suppose it could have been worse!

Day 228 – Monday 22nd October 2018

I didn’t take the day off and went for my second Couch to 5k session. I ached in a few places afterwards and I think I should have taken the advice and had a rest day.

After deciding the old town is not for me we went to see Albufeira marina. It was okay.

Albufeira marina

Even though it’s halfway through October it’s bloody hot here when the sun shines.

The surrounding hills are full of villas, copes for the rich and wrinkly 

It’s a little better than the old town but not quite Antibes

Day 229 – Tuesday 23rd October 2018

There are muscles in both of my legs which are really aching this morning so no Couch to 5k today. I am only supposed to do 3 sessions a week so I’ll probably have tomorrow off too. The app says I should be doing 3 x 30 minute runs a week by Christmas! Yeah sure.

Made a new friend today

Day 230 – Wednesday 24th October 2018

Beautiful morning

I made another new friend. It ate the whole sachet in about 15 seconds flat

We made the hour long trip to the Turiscampo campsite just north of Luz.

In many reviews this site has been called the best in Portugal and while that’s not a particularly high bar I have to say the site is fabulous. It has 5 star showers and toilets, an indoor and an outdoor pool, a jacuzzi and a gym plus a restaurant and a bar. The pitches are all gravel too so no mud. These people know what they are doing.

It was a baking hot day and we needed the aircon on. Which for the middle of October is fabulous 😀

After settling in we popped into Lagos for a nose around. It’s National Curry week and there’s a good curry house there so I think a vindi is order on Saturday.


Day 231 – Thursday 25th October 2018

I went for my 3rd run. The moment I started a muscle at the inside top of my leg began to ache. I should have stopped then and there but I thought I could run it off. I couldn’t. I think I’ll give it till Monday before I start week 2.

Later we popped into Luz. Praia de Luz is the town where little Madeleine McCann disappeared from.

Luz, it has 3 curry houses 😀

After all the traveling I am really looking forward to doing nothing other than soak up some sun, eat, drink, read, surf the internet and watch Netflix for the next 10 weeks.


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Week 32

Day 218 – Friday 12th October 2018

A very breezy morning as we set off from Santander to Gijon.

After about 30km of twisting and turning the motorway calmed down and so thankfully did the wind. As we neared Gijon I thought fuck it, why not make the most of the calm weather and head straight for Santiago de Compostela and get the mountains out of the way.

All went swimmingly for an hour or two and then the winds really did return.

High winds, high bridges and a Hymer 🙁

Nelly was being blown all over the place on the high bridges. I was gripping the steering wheel so tight I was losing the feeling in my fingers.

Julie helpfully commented on how high up we were!

After one particularly hairy moment crossing a wide estuary I thought this is absolutely fuckin’ ridiculous and reduced my speed down to 35 to 40mph. That did the trick. I was a rolling roadblock and it added an hour and a half to the journey but years to my life.

I have to say though, bad as the buffeting was, I felt much safer on the Spanish high bridges than I ever did on the Italian ones; the safety rails on the Spanish bridges actually looked like they’d stop you going over the edge. That wasn’t always the case on the E10.

We arrived in Santiago de Compostela to biblical rain. Great.

Treated ourselves to some campsite chips. I’ve never had paler or limper chips in my life.

Like they’d somehow been done in a dishwasher 1/5

Day 219 – Saturday 13th October 2018

Overcast and windy morning in Santiago de Compostela

The town is a place of catholic pilgrimage and people walk something called a Camino de Santiago, a way of St James.

There are many caminos but he most popular is the Camino Francés which is 485 miles long from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz.

People collect stamps on a little passport along the way and when they get to the end if they have enough stamps they can get a little certificate, a compostela

This plaza is the end of the camino

If they did the full Camino Francés I imagine they will have a new found respect for their feet

For reasons unexplained they don’t allow photos in the place where you get your compostela but Spanish security is no match for agent Julie

Nowadays you don’t have to walk the whole thing, 100km will do or you can cycle 200km and get a certificate.

Ridiculous that even though we’ve come all the way from Biarritz and I did have a word or two with God yesterday apparently I don’t qualify for a certificate!!!

Being a religious centre there are lots of tourists in town

We came across this guy making custom fridge magnets.

He had a couple of cheap digital cameras, a portable photo printer hidden in a bag probably in case of rain, a stamp to cut out the photos and a press to fix the photo and a plastic cover to the fridge magnet base. A business on a trolley.

I  couldn’t resist!

For the custom fridge magnets you could either be pilgrims or witches because…

they still believe in witches in Galicia

Galicia is also Celtic so naturally they have bagpipes.

What a unearthly fuckin’ racket

It doesn’t look like care in the community works in Spain either

Day 220 – Sunday 14th October 2018

After a very wet night a wet morning in Santiago de Compostela. We set of for a site near Caminha, just across the border in Portugal. No problems on the journey, the weather improved too. Settled into the site for a lazy day.

I was soon bored and yomped into Caminha

Caminha is on the Camino Portugal to Santiago de Compostela

passport control

No shortage of sand round here

Day 221 – Monday 15th October 2018

It was another wet morning as we set off for Porto. Apparently this is the tail end of storm Lesley.

It was very wet in Porto when we arrived

and the sea was a bit angry too.

Weather cleared in the evening and tomorrow is supposed to be good sightseeing weather 🙂

Day 222 – Tuesday 16th October 2018

Nice dry morning. I didn’t fancy taking Zippy into Porto so we opted for the bus and the ride into town was pretty insane.

We are staying just south of Porto in place called Vila Nova de Gaia and while the seafront is okay the old part of the town is very old and very run down.

Some of the streets are so narrow they only just fit a single decker bus, maybe 6” clearance either side and there aren’t any pavements or front gardens so the front doors open on to the road. If you stepped out of them without first checking a bus would certainly kill you because the buses do not go slowly. It’s absolutely unbelievable.

Oh and the streets are cobbled so everything shakes and rattles like buggery. For €1.90 the No.15 bus certainly is an experience.

Once off the bus we headed for the Ponte Luis I to take some pics of the Riberia which I read was the most instagramable part of Porto. Not that I use instagram.

Ribeira from the Ponte Luis I bridge

Next Julie had to make her pilgrimage to the Hard Rock Cafe

Even in the centre of Porto you see quite a few abandoned and derelict buildings.

The Portuguese do like a tile or two even on their fridges

At street level the Ribeira is full of restaurants.

They nearly all sell the local speciality, a Francesinha…

A Francesinha; a sausage and meat sandwich covered in melted cheese that’s had a warm tomato and beer soup poured over it. Sounds like something a student would invent after a particularly good night out.

We took a boat ride down the Douro river

Ribeira from the water

Right on the waterfront in most touristy part of Porto you’d think these buildings would be prime property

The last item on the day’s itinerary was a visit to a port house.

Taylor’s is one of the oldest and their tour is very informative but a little dry.

I skipped more than half of the tour and sat in the lovely garden for the tasting.

The Chip Dry was pretty awful but the LBV was very nice.

They had a gift shop there

Day 223 – Wednesday 17th October 2018

Nice dry start to the day and we set off for Nazare, halfway between Porto and Lisbon.

Like everything in Portugal the road toll system is a little confusing. I have been going through electronic tolls without a box. I’m told I can pay them online but the website has no record of my journeys.

Today I came to get off a toll road and it asked me for a ticket but I’d driven on the road without being offered a ticket. I rang the help button and the bloke told me I owed €48 for a 50km trip. Presumably I’d been charged the maximum because I had no ticket. I was vexed but what can you do, the barrier wasn’t going to be raised until I paid….. but as luck would have it the card machine was broken and wouldn’t read either of my cards. I wasn’t going to get my spare cards out and I told I hadn’t got €48 on me so what was he going to do? He had to let me through for nowt. Result 😀

Nazare is a pleasant enough tourist town with a very big beach.

Bizarrely it also has a dried fish museum on the beach

Day 224 – Thursday 18th October 2018

Pleasant enough morning. Made the trip down to Lisbon. After a quick lunch we took the bus into the centre; what is it with cobbled roads in Portugal?

Man on a horse

A different man on a different horse


Ronaldo’s hotel

A roller with a shedload of 7s in the number plate parked outside Ronaldo’s hotel. He’s got a week off this week too. Agent Julie has discovered Ronaldo likes white Rolls Royces but why the Luxembourg plates

Going on a free tour of the city tomorrow. We could probably spend a week looking around the city but the trip down from Amsterdam has been tiring and I want to hit the south coast and put my feet up till January.

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Week 31

Day 211 – Friday 5th October 2018

A cracking morning in Yvrac. Travelled to Moliets-Plage just north of Biarritz. It was so hot when we arrived at Camping Le Saint Martin we had to put the aircon on; fabulous 😀

After the journey from Amsterdam we are going to spend a few days here doing nothing

Day 212 – Saturday 6th October 2018

Overcast day.

Had a walk on the beach

Day 213 – Sunday 7th October 2018

It didn’t half rain last night and it’s still raining today. In a brief lull I went out for my constitutional

The thing about walking on the beach is when it rains there is absolutely nowhere to take cover.

Day 214 – Monday 8th October 2018

A dry morning and we made the short journey to Biarritz. A bit of a pulaver getting onto an aire but we were on by lunchtime and we motored into town for a nose about.

Biarritz is not a very touristy town, there aren’t a lot of fridge magnets on sale. It’s a bit reserved but has a beautiful beach and is very nice for a stroll around.

Being on the Atlantic coast it is a bit of a surfing hotspot though

Day 215 – Tuesday 9th October 2018

Lovely morning in Biarritz. We crossed the border into Spain heading for San Sebastian.

La Concha, the stunning beach at San Sebastian

The island in the middle of the bay, Isla de Santa Clara,

They’ve put a giant figure of Jesus on a hill overlooking the bay

It was quite a walk up the hill…

Estatua del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus, with a TV aerial screwed to the base and dipole stuck to the back

We booked a free walking tour. The guide spoke great English but when he started calling things by their Basque names he completely lost me.

Pintxoak, which our Basque guide told us were nothing like tapas. Really.

They are stupidly popular though, our guide told us the average time to eat one, with a small glass of beer or wine, is 8 minutes. They get a lot more done in 8 minutes in Amsterdam!

Yep, San Sebastian is quite touristy

I told you…

they are taking over

Day 216 – Wednesday 10th October 2018

Good weather as we set of for Bilbao. I’d deselected toll roads on Doris which was a bit of a mistake because she led us on a merry dance through the Spanish mountains. The number of 30 ton articulated trucks using the little mountain roads is amazing frightening.

We made it to the site by lunchtime and headed into town by bus for a look about. Some people from the site told us everyone heads to the Guggenheim museum.

The view from Nelly

Bilbao itself is pretty much your standard Spanish city, noisy and dusty. It was now baking hot so we headed to the Guggenheim to see what the fuss was about.

It’s clad in titanium

a spider

a pile of chromium balls by Anish Kapoor.

the imaginatively named Puppy by Jeff Koons,is this really art

They wanted €20 for us to get in the Guggenheim and they didn’t allow photography. Rather than look at a load of splodges on canvas I had a much better idea for spending €20…

Pintxoak & drink

Julie really enjoyed hers

I thought the sangria was lovely…

the Spanish omelette was pretty good too but it really needed some HP

Day 217 – Thursday 11th October 2018

A breezy morning but not as bad as last night when Julie was worried the van would be blown down a hill. We set off for Santander. No mountain roads today, all toll free motorways, they were twisty enough.

Decided to take a ferry into Santander

Santander’s Botin Centre from the bay

It has to be said Santander is not a tourist hotspot.

Banco Santander

and they don’t do a lot of fridge magnets

but they are big on eating tapas and drinking wine.

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