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

Tram

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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