Week 49

Day 337 – Friday 8th February 2019

Yet another beautiful day in Andalusia. Off on Zippy to Nerja.

For some reason I’d got it in my head that Nerja was a beautiful old historic medieval town; not so. It’s a pleasant enough place and it’s full of cafes, bars and restaurants for the visitors but it’s not too obvious to me what the town’s attractions are.

A quick gander at TripAdvisor and I’m told the No.1 thing to do in Nerja was to visit the Cueva de Nerja; sorry I’m all caved out.

No.2 was looking at a river.

No.3 was the Balcon de Europa. Nice views but….

No.4 was Burriana Beach which, in this view taken from the Balcon de Europa, is somewhere over there

No.5 was some beach miles and miles away famous for scuba diving and No.6 was a church,

No.6 Church of El Salvador

We settled for some lunch in a cafe opposite the church in the town square and then had a potter about the shops.

Came across this, the Fountain of Europe. Commissioned to celebrate Spain joining the EEC in 1986 it is made up from stones from the other member states including England!

The fountain used to be on the Balcon de Europa but they moved it in 2015 and haven’t yet been arsed plumbing it in. How very Spanish. Come the end of March I might email the town’s Mayor and ask for our stone back!

If you’re ever in Spain and wonder why your internet keeps dropping out….

Day 338 – Saturday 9th February 2019

Another lovely day. Packed up and set off to Granada, about an hour and a half way.

Granada is up by the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The site in Granada itself doesn’t get great reviews but for me it’s ideal; easy access, gravel pitches, electricity, clean toilets, good showers & WiFi for €1 a day. I can live without everything else.

Cfor liked the site too…

until till he met all the campsite cats, now he’s not so sure

Day 339 – Sunday 10th February 2019

Overcast morning and quite cold. I shadowed Cfor round the site for an hour or so while he explored the nearby pitches then we went into Granada on the bus for a nose about.

We found a cafe that looked popular with the locals

Eventually we made our way up the hill to the Alhambra. I’] have to say I am not a big fan of UNESCO world heritage sites; usually I find them expensive and a little dull.

there was a nice park on the way up the hill

Some good views of the city as you climb the hill

After walking all the way to the Alhambra, it was a hike, we found all the tickets for the day had sold out.

What a pity

the Sierra Nevadas in the distance

Day 340 – Monday 11th February 2019

The sun is back!!!!! An early lunch then into town for a wander about.

We walked through the old part of town up a hill to the Mirador San Nicolas to take some photos of the Alhambra.

I like a nice simple flowchart

At the Mirador we took some photos…

The sun was sat right over the Alhambra so getting a decent shot on a phone camera was impossible

On the way back down the hill I did get an almost half decent shot of part of it

Back down in the old town I decided we couldn’t come to Granada for 4 days and not have a butchers at the Alhambra so we set off up that bloody hill again.

The weather was great, nice and cool in the shade and boiling in the sun. I really don’t how they cope down here in summer.

We needed an emergency ice cream

At the top we went to buy tickets but the ticket office was cordoned off.

There were about 10 people in the ticket office. The guard pointed to the end of a queue across the road so we went and stood in it.

the queue to get into the ticket office

After about 10 minutes in which no one had either entered or left the ticket office. I went and asked the guard how long it’d be before the queue started to move. This was met with a shrug of the shoulders. I went and stood back in the queue.

Then just before 2pm they announced all the tickets for the Alhambra for the day had been sold but you could still buy tickets for the bit nobody really wanted to see, the Generalife.

Later when I checked the official website the general admission tickets were sold out for weeks in advance.

Faced with a queue to get in the ticket office, a queue inside the ticket office and then a queue to actually enter the bit no one really wanted to see we gave up.

Once you had your tickets you still had to queue up to get in

As we were leaving I told the guard all the queuing to get in was an absolute shambles. She spoke good English and told me this was Spain not London!

Granada

Day 341 – Tuesday 12th February 2019

Quite a lot of cloud about; I believe the technical description of today’s weather was sunny intervals.

We hoped on a bus into Granada for a stroll around. Definitely not going anywhere near the Alhambra today.

Pomegranates used to be known as the ‘apples of Granada’ and they are all over the city

Pomegranate fountain

Pomegranate bollard

in the shops

We had a stroll around the old town

Julie copped

we ended the day in a café having one of the local pastries, a pionono, delicious!

Day 342 – Wednesday 13th February 2019

A bright morning in Granada but a frosty one! Up and away back to the coast.

Motril was only an hour south of Granada but it took us just as long to get parked up on the site.

For some reason whoever designed this campsite thought it’d be a good idea to define every corner with a concrete post or tree making it very difficult to get all 8m of Nelly to her allotted bay.

Never mind we made it in the end after providing some much needed entertainment to other campers.

Cfor absolutely loves it here.

Day 343 – Thursday 14th February 2019

Beautiful sunny day, had a zip around the seafront on Zippy other than that nice a restful day.

We are not having much joy finding sites to spend next winter at. In over a month in Spain we have only really found one campsite we’d go back to. Most have tight pitches and a lot, like this one, have access issues. Also I’ve not been bowled over by Spanish sanitation either. I’m not expecting things to improve as we get to the real Costas.

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Week 48

Day 330 – Friday 1st February 2019

Woke up to a howling wind and heavy rain but it’d cleared up by lunchtime and we took a ride on Zippy into Marbella.

Marbs

The old town part of Marbella is quite small but pretty enough.

Marbella Old Town

The seafront is anything but small and the promenade is lined with restaurants and cafes and Africans selling luxury goods at remarkably discounted prices.

Marbella seafront

The boats in the marina are pretty modest

The Marbella of TOWIE fame is down the A7 in Puerto Banús.

I imagine this is how everyone from Essex dresses but obviously in XXXXL size

With it’s expensive and fashionable shops it’s looks like it’s trying to be Cannes. Definitely a market for a Millets though.

The marina at Puerto Banús

Day 331 – Saturday 2nd February 2019

Sunny but cold in the wind. Bit of a lazy day.

A walk on the local beach was as energetic as the day got

Day 332 – Sunday 3rd February 2019

A gloriously sunny day. A Sunday lie-in then off on Zippy to have a look around the town of Ojén in the hills behind Marbella.

Ojén

Ojén

Back to Marbella old town for lunch

A lot less wind today and the front was pretty packed. This place must be crazy in summer.

Julie bought a Louis Vuitton scarf at a real bargain price from one of the African gentlemen on the front.

Day 333 – Monday 4th February 2019

Lovely day. Did bits and bobs and the day disappeared.

After a little apprehension and a dust up with another cat Cfor quite likes exploring the site, watching the pigeons and eating grass

Day 334 – Tuesday 5th February 2019

Another beautiful day and after a walk to the beach and lunch we set off for an afternoon’s stroll around Puerto Banús & Marbella.

Always amazes me how little these gin palaces get used

None of the staff in the Louis Vuitton shop noticed Julie’s scalf wasn’t quite kosher.

I don’t know why Louis Vuitton don’t move their sales operation down to the prom at Marbs; these guys shift tons more stuff than they do in that stuffy shop.

We’ve enjoyed our time in Marbella but I have to say the standard of driving in the town is truly appalling and I think I’m  pretty lucky not to have had a scrape of some sort.

Day 335 – Wednesday 6th February 2019

Yet another beautiful day in Andalusia. We packed up and set off for Camping Valle Niza 50 miles along the coast between Malaga & Torre del Mar.

The site is okay.  Mind you when the weather is this good even Redhill would look quite nice.

Cfor settled in in a matter of minutes

I get the impression most of the people here have been here for months getting slowly frazzled during the day and sozzled during the afternoon and evening. The guy opposite was on the vino at 4pm and another bloke had to be helped back to his van at 6:30pm.

I went for an explore on Zippy. Not much open this time of the year round here.

Day 336 – Thursday 7th February 2019

Beautiful day. The German at the back of us is complaining about Cfor going on his pitch; he is allergic to cats. What a coincidence, I am allergic to twats. There are at least 4 other cats wandering around the site why pick on Cfor!

After lunch we headed into Torres del Mar. Not really a lot to see.

They have a huge promenade, probably paid for by the EU, but not a lot else.

Eric Cantona had his yacht in the bay

Tomorrow we are off to Nerja on Zippy

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Week 47

Day 323 – Friday 25th January 2019

Another sunny day in Andalusia. Today we’re moving on to Tarifa, the southernmost point on mainland Spain.

It was only a short trip to Camping Torre de la Pena.

The lady at reception told me to go and see if there was a suitable pitch for the van. There was but I knew Julie wasn’t going to enjoy getting to it; the site is on the side of a hill and the access is steep & narrow with a couple of hairpin bends.

A couple of Julie panic attacks later we were nicely parked up

It has to be said Cfor has adapted wonderfully to the traveling life. He hardly complains when we are driving along and when we arrive somewhere he jumps down the steps and has a nose around for a while before exploring further afield. And he absolutely loves going out a night.

Cfor spots the dog next door

The perfect end to the day, a sunset to go with a bottle of cold beer

Day 324 – Saturday 26th January 2019

An overcast start to the day with a sea mist thrown in. It had cleared up by lunchtime and we motored into Tarifa to have a look around and book an excursion to Tangiers.

Not too much in town; just the old town walls and a castle.

Tarifa from the old town’s walls

The castle at Tarifa

In Tarifa Castle

Trying to crouch down a few inches I’m actually in some agony here

Day 325 – Sunday 27th January 2019

Up early and into Tarifa to catch the ferry to Tangier. It was an overcast and breezy day. The ferry was supposed to leave at 9am and the journey was supposed to take only 35 minutes but we hadn’t even set sail by 09:35. That was all down to the sheer amount of luggage all the Moroccans had brought.

Every last bloody piece had to be scanned

When we finally arrived in Tangier we were met by Rashid a man who spoke excellent English but who wasn’t a great advert for Moroccan dentistry.

The tour started with a minibus trip to the lighthouse where the Atlantic ocean met the Mediterranean sea.

A photo op

Next stop was the obligatory camel ride; €2 for 2 minutes.

Gizz a kiss

Then we stopped off at the caves of Hercules.

The more caves I see the less impressed I am.

I was impressed however with the argument Rashid had with a security guard over one of the party being asked for €1 to use a toilet. It sounded like Rashid might just self-combust and he gave the young guard a fearful bollocking.

Next we were dropped off in Tangier itself and Rashid led us through a souk and some backstreets to a restaurant for lunch.

A souk. In Spain we were warned told to keep our money in our front pockets because of pickpockets. So just like Barcelona then.

Everything is a bit basic in the backstreets of Tangier

Some of the backstreets we walked through were decidedly dodgy and I certainly wouldn’t have walked down them alone but Rashid seemed to know everyone in Tangier.

While walking around I bought a tee shirt for €10. I didn’t really have time to bargain and later in the day when I tried to brush off a tee shirt seller away by saying I already had one he said I could have another for just €5!

At lunch I was surprised to find the waiters knew what a vegetarian was. that’s one up on Spain, Portugal & France.

The food was okay but nothing spectacular

the house band added to the atmosphere, for a couple of Euros.

After lunch we were shown round the old parts of the town and we were led into various shops and even a museum. I got the impression Rashid had arrangements with these shops.

ChipAdvisor; these were top chips from a little café that was very popular with the locals. They cost me half a Euro 5/5

Ray Charly – the only place to eat in Tangier

I’ve been in two minds about whether to spend a few weeks next winter in Morocco but after just 8 hours I’ve had enough of the place. I’m looking to relax, I just don’t need the stress that comes with a 3rd world country.

Day 326 – Monday 28th January 2019

A beautiful morning. Had a lazy day.

After yesterday a walk on the beach was more than enough excitement for the day

Day 327 – Tuesday 29th January 2019

An overcast and very windy day. Up early and packed, heading for Gibraltar.

Cfor has been very happy here

Doris kept insisting the campsite at San Roque was 140km away when Google has it at about 40km. Eventually we decided to ignore Doris and headed for Algeciras then on to San Roque. It was about 40km.

Camping La Casita is a bit scruffy and quite a few euros over priced but it has decent wifi by the reception so I can download some TV.

Off into Gibraltar after lunch.

I was last here 35 years ago and it’s changed a bit and not for the better.

The traffic is terrible. There are an enormous number of scooters on the streets and they wiz about the crowded narrow streets as if they were all Italians.

We had a walk down Main Street, I wasn’t impressed. I googled best fish chips Gibraltar. It came up with Roy’s Fish & Chips, just at the end of Main Street.

ChipAdvisor; oh dear. Some were hot, some were cold, some were over cooked, some were nearly raw but all were greasy. 0/5

Later we tried to get to see the apes but the road up the rock is restricted these days and tourists can’t drive up there now. It’s a nature reserve nowadays and  you have to either take a tour or a taxi or walk and they charge you £5 for that privilege. It was cold and it’d been a long day so we headed back to camp.

Day 328 – Wednesday 30th January 2019

A wet start to the day and Julie’s and my weather apps disagreed about the forecast. Waterproofs on and back into Gib.

Getting a scooter to the start of the nature reserve at Moorish Castle was a bit of a challenge. These steep little roads were made for horses and mules not little motorbikes and cars.

Warning, monkeys bite!

There are about 240 Barbary macaques on Gibraltar

The security guard by the feeding station showed Julie how to get an ape to climb on her shoulder.

The trouble is once an ape is on your shoulder other apes think there must be food involved so they climb on too.

The victor of the ensuing fight took a fancy to Julie’s hat.

The runway with La Linea in the background

One of these flags is coming down in a few weeks and the locals are expecting some fun and games.

Day 329 Thursday 31st January 2019

The day started eventfully as the campsite cat came to visit Cfor in our van at about 8am. Cue lots of unholy screeching. It was a wet morning and we set off for Marbella.

It didn’t take too long to reach Camping La Bungavilla and I set off on Zippy to explore Marbella itself.

It was blowing a bloody gale down at the front.

After a hectic week I am looking to relax for a few days

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Week 46

Day 316 – Friday 18th January 2019

A cold start to the day in Seville. Once we’d packed up and Cfor had had a run about we set off for El Rocío.

One last roll in the lovely Andalusian dirt

The campsite at El Rocío is great; the toilet block is good and you can watch Netflix on the free wifi.

El Rocío is a strange town. There is no tarmac in the town the roads are all sand & dust and people ride horses and drive buggies about.

The bars will even serve you food & drink while you sit on your horse

They have a huge festival here every year, the Festival of the Virgin, and the town is mobbed as hermandades, brotherhoods, from all over Spain descend on the town on horseback and in costume for 3 days of religion and partying. They reckon around a million people attend the festival every year.

Santuario de Nuestra Senora del Rocio where the statue of the Virgin of El Rocío is kept

At festival time the Virgin of El Rocío is paraded through the crowded streets of the town. I think they do something very similar with the town virgin in Cardiff.

The nearly 100 hermandades all have their own hostels, topped with a bell, to stay in. These are empty most of the year so the town feels a little abandoned.

Day 317 – Saturday 19th January 2019

It rained a little during the night and it’s overcast this morning. The campsite roads being compacted dirt have a half inch of sludge on them.

a street in El Rocío after 10 minutes rain

A lazy day.

Day 318 – Sunday 20th January 2019

It hammered down last night and it’s overcast this morning. Packed up and set off for the campsite at El Puerto de Santa María near Cádiz.

On arrival, a few seconds after I stepped out of the van to weigh up the pitch, a German who I’d played petange with back in Luz stepped up to greet me. Small world.

By the time we arrived at the site it was a beautiful day.

Before I’d finished getting the table and chairs out a Swiss woman who recognised Cfor from Luz said hello. Later in reception a British woman I’d met on the site in Seville asked me about Cfor.

He’s getting an international fan club

Day 319 – Monday 21st January 2019

A beautiful morning. Here in Cádiz we are further west than Land’s End and because Spain is on Central European Standard Time it doesn’t get light till gone 8am. Even Madrid is further west than London so why they are not on GMT is a mystery.

 

To Cádiz on the ferry.

San Juan de Dios square

The town of Cádiz is not that large at all. We had a wander around the historic part, visited the Roman amphitheatre.

Cádiz Cathedral is a bargain at only €6 in!

Cathedrals seem to be big business in Spain. I gave Cádiz Cathedral a miss and would like to say I spent the money I saved on some top tapas but the bars and cafes in Cadiz don’t really cater for tourists, there are no menus in English. Everything is in Spanish on chalkboards which makes it next to impossible to translate. I had to settle for a couple of pastries which I shared with some pigeons.

It was hot today. The BBC weather app said it was 14°C but it felt like a summer’s day in the sun and I was bitten by a bloody mosquito. When I Googled mosquito season it said the little bastards are active when the temp is consistently 10°C or above.

Day 320 – Tuesday 22nd January 2019

A beautiful morning.

Cfor isn’t spending too long outside at this campsite, too many barky dogs!

They sell these baby aubergines stuffed with red pepper at the local market. Delicious.

Had another lazy day.

Day 321 – Wednesday 23rd January 2019

Beautiful if windy morning in El Puerto de Santa María. packed up and off about an hour further east along the coast checking out a campsite for next winter.

Pinar San Jose is a great campsite; the toilet block is good, there’s plenty of hot water & the site has fairly fast free wifi

I had a blast on Zippy to suss out the area. Apart from some good beaches there isn’t a tremendous amount to do round here.

Playa Zahora with the Faro de Trafalgar in the distance

The only town near here is a port called Barbate.

What a load of anchors

The campsite is fairly empty and after being largely confined to the van for the past few days Cfor took the opportunity to go out in the dark and explore the site. God knows what he gets up to.

Day 322 – Thursday 24th January 2019

Lovely morning and we headed to the Faro de Trafalgar.

Pity it’s not open to the public.

The beach at Faro de Trafalgar

With the great campsite and the peaceful beaches we are definitely going to put this place on the list of places to stay next winter.

Tomorrow we head to a campsite near the most southern point in Spain.

As always a big thank you to Julie for all her pictures.

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Week 45

Day 309 – Friday 11th January 2019

Another sunny day, a little chilly in the breeze but beautiful nonetheless.  As it’s our last full day in Portugal after lunch we went on a ride in the countryside on Zippy.

Almond blossom

Ended up at a lovely deserted beach, Praia de Figueira

Back at the camp I said bye to Juan Carlos & Marco the lads who organise all the activities

Day 310 – Saturday 12th January 2019

Another sunny day, up early and off to Spain.

Ready to roll

In theory the route to Isla Cristina in Spain is fairly easy; just motor along the N125 for a couple of hours.  Doris however sent us on a detour into the Algarve hills.

The historic town of Silves. Very pretty but well out of our way

Getting back on route along the IC1 a question leapt into my mind… How bad does a Portuguese road have to be before they resurface it? The answer, if the IC1 is anything to go by, is very fuckin’ bad indeed.

They grow a lot of oranges in Portugal; they sell them dirt cheap at the side of the road.

there’s no excuse for getting scurvy in Portugal

As soon as we crossed the border into Spain the polytunnels appeared, miles and miles of them.

Camping Playa Taray gets a fair write up on most review sights but it’s not a patch on the site at Luz. I fear we’ve been spoilt rotten for the last 10 weeks.

The consolation is there is a very large beach here

We’ve had a few worries about Cfor; what will he think when he looks out the door and the little world he has become used to over the past 10 weeks has all changed?

At first he was a little wary but he ventured out soon enough and it wasn’t long before the little swine was off about the site.

Cfor investigates.

At Luz we were so far from the road we let him out at night. He loved it. Here however we are less than 50m from 2 main roads so he’s under curfew. He will not be happy.

Day 311 – Sunday 13th January 2019

 A sunny morning if a little cold in the shade.

We are here by Isla Cristina because I want to find places where we can spend part of next winter. This winter we had nearly 3 months in Luz and I’d like a little more variety next winter.

Isla Cristina is the first of many places we’re looking at. Why Isla Cristina? Because if sounded good and the campsite got good reviews, ‘under new ownership and improving!’

Well the campsite still has a lot of improving to do. The toilet block is okay but the pitches are just dirt.

Any rain and this place would instantly be a quagmire for days

There are also a lot of permanent caravan placements here so half the site has the air of a refugee camp.

As for the free wifi, it’s useless. Can’t even load up the Guardian on it let alone watch a program on Netflix. It’d be far better for them to get a fibre connection, some good aerials and charge a couple of euros a day for a decent connection.

Having said all that there are a dozen or so smart German vans and caravans clearly dug-in for the winter.

The town of Isla Cristina isn’t any great shakes either. It’s an ordinary provincial working town and like a lot of working towns in Southern Europe it has suffered hard times.

Plaza San Francisco, Isla Cristina

The tourist development along this part of the coast is 7km away at a purpose built place called Islantilla. It’s a bit quiet at this time of year but it has a smart shopping area with plenty of restaurants and a great sandy beach.

The beach at Islantilla

We won’t be spending any of next winter in Isla Cristina.

Day 312 – Monday 14th January 2019

Another sunny day but it was properly cold riding Zippy early this morning. After we had packed up we drove to Camping Villsom in Seville. The campsite is alright, toilets and showers are a little dated but clean. Cracking wifi speeds though.

After a quick lunch we hopped on the bus into town and were dropped off by the impressive Plaza de España.

Plaza de España. It’s big and ornate. Too big for a phone camera to do it proper justice

Spanish tourist tat, fridge magnets, key rings, fans, little spanish guitars, parasols; everything you don’t need.

Hola Sevilla

Seville’s number 2 tourist attraction done we set off to find Seville’s Hardrock Café so Julie could add a tee shirt to her collection.

Only another 202 to go!

One sight I wanted to see was the Setas de Sevilla, the Mushrooms of Seville. Supposedly the largest wooden structure in the world.

Bizarre

For €3 you can have a walk around the top of them.

See the sights of the city

and peer into people’s apartments

Day 313 – Tuesday 15th January 2019

An overcast start to the day. Into Seville for lunch. I’d Googled vegetarian tapas and had come up with a place called Alameda Rock that was highly recommended. Alameda is not a tourist area and was a bit of a yomp from the town centre. It turned out to be closed as they were moving premises. Apparently it was on their Facebook page but in Spanish. Brilliant.

Starving and to avoid a mutiny from Julie we sat down at a café in Plaza Alameda and had some top nosh.

Julie plumped for the Pork in Sherry sauce

I went for the more pig friendly Patatas Bravas & Espinacas con Garbanzos

After lunch I started to sneeze which was probably due to the chilli in the Patatas Bravas sauce; it didn’t stop until about 10pm.

Day 314 – Wednesday 16th January 2019

Thin cloud cover this morning so it was a little chilly. I wrapped up warm so I didn’t start sneezing again and we took the bus into Seville for a nose about.

Behind the cathedral we stumbled across the Santa Cruz district which is the old part of town. Full of narrow alleyways nowadays it’s mainly boutique hotels and tapas bars.

Santa Cruz

Seville Bullring. A few people might argue that meat isn’t murder but I don’t think anyone could dispute that bullfighting is animal torture for public entertainment. How the EU can bang on about animal rights and still allow bullfighting is beyond me.

After lunch we tried some Churros y Chocolate

Not for me but Julie had no problem finishing them off even though she gave up sweet things for New Year!

Saville has the world’s 3rd biggest cathedral and at €9 to get in and even more if you want to get on the roof it might be the most profitable. I’m not religious and as I only ever take a couple of snaps I decided not today.

besides nothing could compare to the church roof at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on a windy day

Back at the campsite Cfor made the most of the late sunshine

Day 315 – Thursday 17th January 2019

Yet another overcast morning. Richard Ayoade said this place was the frying pan of Europe but I’m not so sure. A lazy morning before getting the bus into town for lunch.

The Bodega Santa Cruz looked the busiest tapas bar in town so I presumed it was the best

Lunch

Fried aubergines with honey, tortilla, patatas bravas, pig cheeks in sauce, calamari, a couple of cold beers & a glass of wine. Tasty stuff and when you consider it cost less than the price of admission to the cathedral a complete bargain.

Tomorrow we move on to El Rocio, cowboy town.

 

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Week 44

Day 302 – Friday 4th January 2019

A sunny but slightly chilly day. Didn’t do a lot apart from going for spin in the countryside on Zippy then played petanque.

a des res Portugueses style. They can’t want more a €50 for it surely.

 Day 303 – Saturday 5th January 2019

Beautiful sunny day. This time next week we are setting off on a 9 week journey to Antibes traveling along the Spanish Mediterranean coast so in preparation I am going to have a whole week of complete rest & relaxation.

Watched the United v Reading match down at the Bull in Luz

We played petanque in the afternoon. Julie has got other people joining in her little celebration dance now.

Day 304 – Sunday 6th January 2019

Very sunny day. It was 22°C in the shade at lunch time and blisteringly hot in the sun.

I got fried having lunch in Lagos.

African Stew, some sweet potato and black beans in a vaguely currylike sauce with a chopped up date on top. I really don’t know why I bother ordering anything other than omelette & chips in Portugal.

Down at Decathlon I treated myself to some new boules

Day 305 – Monday 7th January 2019

Beautiful sunny day.

Cfor is loving the sun

After lunch I had a practice with my new boules. It paid off later when our side won both their matches 😀

Day 306 – Tuesday 8th January 2019

A Sunny day. We had a trip to the British Supermarket in Portimao. It has a mixture of Waitrose & Iceland stuff. I stocked up on No Bull burgers. Everything else you can buy in Portuguese shops.

vapour trails at sunset

Day 307 – Wednesday 9th January 2019

Beautiful day, can’t remember the last time I saw a cloud. After lunch had a ride out on Zippy.

Ponta de Piedale

Praia Dona Ana

Belgian hippies

 Day 308 – Thursday 10th January 2019

What a pulavour with Cfor this morning. He wanted to go out at 0515. Then there was a hoo-ha outside the van with cats fighting. We got him inside and almost as soon as he’d eaten his breakfast he was sick on the sofa! Little twat.

he’s learnt to open the Roman blinds!

well, he does like the sun on his face

Had a spin in the countryside on Zippy in the afternoon then petanque.

Everytime I go riding round the Algarve countryside I keep seeing old Renault 4s. They stopped making them 25 years ago

The shooter on my side was very good. He put the jack over a 6ft wall and 30m into a car park!

Tomorrow we pack up and get ready for our 9 week journey along the Spanish coast. After sitting on our arses in Portugal for 12 weeks I expect it’ll be quite a shock to the system but we are both looking forward to some new sights and sounds.

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Week 43

Day 295 – Friday 28th December 2018

A beautiful sunny day.

The sunshine never stops in Portugal!

While I sorted out next year’s insurance Julie sunbathed. Think I need to adjust the white balance

Once Julie had had enough of sunbathing we took a ride on Zippy to Mexilhoeira

and Alvor

Day 296 – Saturday 29th December 2018

Another beautiful sunny day

Off to Tiffany’s riding centre for a riding lesson and trail ride.

Giddy up a ding dong

the return of the caption competition

My horse wa called Zucchini and Julie’s Zoofila.

After we’d been schooled in the basics I asked what we should do it the horse bolts, I was told the horse wouldn’t bolt but if it did I should grab the neck band and pull. That advice came in handy as my horse was spooked when it saw a feral pig. We came across not one but two feral pigs on out trail. The instructor told us horses don’t like pigs but if we had come across a wildbore the horses would have gone nuts.

Riding the range

Julie needed just a little help getting off her mount

When I got off my horse my legs and knees started complaining like hell.

It was such a beautiful afternoon I went for an explore on Zippy.  It really is a pleasure to ride a scooter down here, apart from the dogs that feel a need to chase any passing motorbike!

Burgau

I did well at petanque, I have given up trying to learn to shoot for the time being and my pointing game is back on top form. My side won both matches to night 😀

Day 297 – Sunday 30th December 2018

A beautiful if slightly windy day. Had a good lie in then after lunch set about washing the van.

There’s only one place to start cleaning a motorhome and that’s up on the roof.

Day 298 – Monday 31st December 2018

Sunny but windy day again. Spent most of the day on the computer sorting stuff out.

Even though my pointing was great today my side were soundly beaten at petanque today. Two new French guys showed up. The one on the other team could really shoot. The one playing on my side thought he could shoot but couldn’t 🙁

Day 299 – Tuesday 1st January 2019

New Year’s Day, Praia do Luz

Day 300 – Wednesday 2nd January 2019

A lovely sunny day, didn’t do much other than ride into Lagos for a wander about.

Day 301 – Thursday 3rd January 2019

The day started sunny but it soon clouded over. It feels cold here without the sun but at 16°C it’s a whole 10°C warmer than back in Reigate so can’t really complain.

We only have a week left here then it’s back to the Spanish costas for 9 weeks. I am really looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing some new places. We have loved Luz and the weather down here but it’s time to move on.

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Week 42

Day 288 – Friday 21st December 2018

A beautiful day, very little wind so it was really warm in the sunshine.

The Bermuna buttercups are out here

It’s Christmas in a few days so it was time to make my curry for Christmas Day; I always think a curry tastes better after it has mouldered in the fridge for a few days.

Spent the rest of the day lazing about in the sun…

Just before sunset an air balloon passed by

it landed on some scrubland near the campsite

Cfor has become a bit of a night owl, he’s decided he quite likes exploring the camp at night in the dark which obviously worries the shit out of Julie. Yours truly has to go and search for him.

Day 289 – Saturday 22nd December 2018

Another sunny day and after lunch we went for a walk to the top of Black Rock

Luz from Black Rock

On the way down there was the “My foot’s gone Tom! My foot’s gone! My foot’s gone! I need help Tom!” incident 😀

Later I went to the Rainbow Bar to watch United play Cardiff. I know Cardiff are crap but with José gone United looked a completely different to team to the one that capitulated so meekly to Liverpool last week.

Day 290 – Sunday 23rd December 2018

Sunny but a little windy today. Had a very lazy day.

Lunch in Luz

Day 291 – Monday 24th December 2018

As well as becoming a bit of a night owl Cfor has decided he’s also an early bird too and he now scratches at the door early in the morning wanting to get out before it’s even light outside. Luckily Julie is in charge of room service during the night.

Cfor thinks if he hides in the bushes for long enough the sparrows will forget he is there

Just after lunch today the little swine disappeared so I had to scoured our part of the camp. After half an hour of searching there was still absolutely no sign of him.

After much head scratching we found him in one of the van’s storage lockers.

Day 292 – Tuesday 25th December 2018

Christmas Day

Day 293 – Wednesday 26th December 2018

A cold day!!! After lunch I had a nap then a walk into Luz and watched United play Huddersfield. After the years and years of Moyes, van Gaal & José it is such a relief to watch a United side play the United way. Sterner tests than Cardiff & Huddersfield are to come but at least we are now heading in the right direction.

Day 294 – Thursday 27th December 2018

Another cold day!! Well it’s 16°C here and only 5°C in Reigate so it’s all relative. I must have finally become a southern softie!

This afternoon I played absolutely shite at petanque. Going to have to rethink my technique; if you can call it that 🙁

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Week 41

Day 281 – Friday 14th December 2018

According to my weather app it was 3°C and raining in Reigate today…

… 18°C and sunny here.

Didn’t do too much today, was looking at how to get down to the heel of Italy without having to suffer too many crappy Italian campsites. It’s not easy. Even when you find a good campsite working out what the access is like is a bit of a nightmare. 

Just after lunchtime Cfor pushed his luck with the French dog across the way too far and got chased home; never seen him move so fast.

much safer on the dashboard

Day 282 – Saturday 15th December 2018

An overcast day. Went for a long walk this morning and a spin on Zippy this afternoon.

Day 283 – Sunday 16th December 2018

Bloody raining this morning which is a bit of a bummer as the forecast last night was sun for today. I believe they have storm Deidre back at home and it is freezing so shouldn’t really complain too much.

Spent the morning watching Netflix while the weather cleared up then went for lunch at Sunita’s Castle.

Sunita’s Castle

Later I went to the Rainbow Bar in Espiche to watch Manchester United play Liverpool. It was depressing. Liverpool were far too sharp for United. Our defence looks absolutely petrified of making mistakes. Whatever happened to clattering a winger in the first 2 minutes then booting the ball into Row Z for the rest of the game. Our attack wasn’t much better.

The owner of the Rainbow Bar used to be a footballer and he knows José.

The Special Sacked One has even been here

Day 284 – Monday 17th December 2018

A cloudless sky this morning and it was time to do Day 2 of Week 6 of Couch to 5k. My legs were okay but I can’t say I enjoyed the session and from now on all the sessions are 25 minutes or longer runs. Think it is time to get a playlist sorted.

I was paired with Julie at petanque this afternoon. We didn’t do too bad but I really am going to have to learn to shoot.

New floodlights at the petanque ground

 Day 285 – Tuesday 18th December 2018

Overcast start to the day then at 10am the sun suddenly came out and it was the most beautiful day ever….

José was finally sacked 😀

Went to the Christmas drinks reception. Free food & booze.

I made a right pig of myself with the veg samosas, I kept saying to myself just two more, just two more…

Free booze & Brits is never a pretty combination so it was a good job the freebies ended at 6pm cause I think some people on our table were only minutes away from an arm wrestling competition.

Day 286 – Wednesday 19th December 2018

Mixed day, Julie wanted to go Christmas shopping, my favourite pastime.

 Day 287 – Thursday 20th December 2018

Lovely morning. Time to do Day 3 of Week 6 of Couch to 5k. I was supposed to run for 25 minutes but I did the full 5k…

… it took me 31 mins 50 seconds; not bad for an old cunt git

 

 

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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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