Part Nueve

Sunday 26th May

We left Ferragudo and headed for the Border

There is a large bridge over the River Guadiana which is the border between Portugal and Spain.

Just over the border is a town called Ayamonte with a beautiful marina in the middle. We found an Airs site right by the marina. Perfect position.

Narrow streets and a square in the town with cafes all around. This place has a very friendly atmosphere, would like to come back.

Monday 27th May

We go for a run around the harbour

and chill out over looking the Marina.

About 4pm we decide to drive to Seville about 1.5 hours drive. I had found a site near the old town, but when we got there it was closed ready for redevelopment. Helen thinks she saw a sign for a Motorhome park as we were driving in. We find this place not far away .

It is a basic site at the back of a car storage area near the port. It is only 15 mins walk to the centre of town so we decide to stay. As soon as we get out of Molly the heat hits us. It is about 38 degrees C . Much hotter than were we had been on the coast. We get out the awning to give us some shade.

It starts to cool down so we head in to town to see the sites.

We walk through a park full of oranges. Anyone need a one for their Marmalade ?

Find this amazing building called Plaza de Espana .

Has a very cooling fountain which is needed.

We go in search of a place called Casa Matias in the middle of the old town. Rick Stein had been there and it looked good. But when we arrived the place was empty he said come back tomorrow . We head along the narrow streets and find one of the oldest tapas bars in Seville called Casa Morales. The place is packed and we have to wait some time before a table becomes available.

Try some local sherry and a few tapas. Very nice.

We catch a catch a taxi home . Turns out to be the only Maserati Taxi in Spain . There is a video on YouTube about Taxirati .

Tuesday 28th May

It has been a very hot night in Molly. The heat of Seville is tough. Poor Bruce is experiencing heat for the first time. He is finding shade under Molly. We want to stay another day but the heat is oppressive.

I consult search for sites and find another place to stay slightly out of town at Puerto Gelves. A marina that has a motorhome site as well. It is heaven compared to the car pound by the port .

We park over looking the river and put out the awning to give some much needed shade. This lady comes walking by with her dog Nelly Mandela . Bruce says hello and we invite her under the shade to have a glass of wine. Dianne Harper is 88 years old and lives on a sailing boat. She is an amazing women . She regaled us with stories of her and her sadly departed husband sailing around Europe and Africa.

We jump on a bus and head back in to Seville. Tonight Casa Matius is buzzing and we spend sometime soaking up the flamenco music in this very raucous and fun bar.

Wednesday 29th May

The heat of Seville is to much and Córdoba looks similar so we decide to head for the town of Cadiz which should be cooler on the coast.

The drive between Seville and Cadiz was great. Lots of rolling fields of Sunflowers and also olive trees.

We find a campsite across the bay from Cadiz with our discount Acsi card called Playa Las Dunas. You can catch a ferry to Cadiz just down the road and we are next to the beach. There are lots of tree also for shade which is now becoming important.

We park up under a tree and decide to cook some steak and chicken outside.

Thursday 30th May

We get up early and go for a 4 mile run along the sea front with Bruce.

It is surprising who you meet along the way.

We go for a swim on the beach with Bruce after run. Bruce is becoming a real water dog.

The wind has increased today to over 40 mph . Went for a walk on the beach. We were not so much windswept more like sand blasted.

We were planning to visit Cadiz on the ferry but not possible due to conditions. After some investigation we caught a train from the other side of town and head in to Cadiz.

Cadiz has lots of character. It is not grand like Seville , more like an overgrown fishing village. A maze of little streets, lots of cafes and small restaurants. A lot of small squares as you move through different neighbourhoods.

Found a bar called Casa Manteca started by a Bull Fighter . Great atmosphere.

Head back to station and catch last train home after a long day. Where to next ? Hopefully somewhere with less wind.

Part Oito

Tuesday 21 May

Slept in car park by the beach In Comporta

Lovely location . Very unspoilt here. Went for a run through the rice fields behind the beach (was not aware they had paddy fields in Portugal) . There are Storks here , they seem to like wading in the rice fields.

Nice flat place to run.Helen hates hills.

Went for a swim on the beach after the run.

Had a relaxing day.

Helen got her haircut she is very pleased. She showed the lady a picture of Jamie Lee Curtis and bingo.

Went to a bar in Comporta in the evening and played some backgammon and had a cannery tapas of Tuna with a piri piri /horseradish mayonnaise.

Wednesday 22nd May

We had been Reccomended by Lilly Martins to go horse riding on the beach at Comporta.

Helen’s Horse is called Eco , apparently it is owned by Madonna the singer who has two horses at this stable.

Very special place to ride a horse.

A great way to remember comporta.

Thursday 23rd May

Our Horse riding Guide gave us a recommendation of a fishing village heading towards the Algarve called Zambujeira do Mar .

On our way there we went a short distance inland and found rolling country side and fields of hay.

Close to our destination we stoped at a beautiful rugged beach A Place called Longueira Almograve. I found it on search for sites. We parked up and were looking out over the beach when a man on the beach shook his finger at us and waved us away. Not the welcome we had been expecting. We got out of Molly and were about to walk down to the beach only to find a no dog sign. Does not seem we are welcome here so we move on . A shame as it was a visually striking place.

Arrived at Zambujeira do Mar. A beautiful place with a great beach.

Found a very nice campsite on the outskirts of the town were we were welcome.

It is getting warmer , time for the Panama Hat to make an appearance.

Friday 24th May

We are now about 50 miles from Celia and Nigel our friends and neighbours in the UK. They have a villa near Ferragudo. They are there for a month while there house is being renovated in the UK and they very kindly invited us to stay for a few days.

We arrive around midday and they take us to lunch at a very nice place nearby with its own vineyard and micro brewery. Was not expecting to drink pale ale in the Algarve.

They have a beautiful villa and a very nice pool . Bruce has wasted no time and is now swimming at every opportunity.

In the evening we end up at a local bar drinking a spirit called Medrnho.

Rosa poured this powerful drink with magical powers.

The memory is rather vague of the rest of the evening or getting home.

Saturday 25th May

Celia and Nigel are very good hosts, they are showing round the best places in the area.

We go to the harbour of a place called Alvor. There are some fish restaurants cooking fish on the barbecue.

We order some sardines and ask Renata to take a photo. She obliges

And then takes a selfie. (Have given her details of the blog )

Sunday 26th May

After two days at Villa Marta we have to say good bye to Celia and Nigel. They have been so good to us. We will miss them.

Living in a villa with a bedroom and large ensuite is a big change from Molly where we live cheek by jowl.

One last coffee and pastel de nata (or glass of wine for Helen) and we are off.

Good Bye Portugal Hello Spain

Part Sete

Friday 17th May

We left Porto and headed for Aveiro . The scenery has improved from the urban sprawl between Braga and Porto. Lovely towns and villages. The outside of the houses have ceramic tiles on them . Some of them are stunning.

We passed this church in a small town called Ovar-Válega.

In this area we start to see some Stork nests. This one is on a gantry over the road.

We stop in a place for lunch by the beach. I did not realise the the town of Aveiro is the Venice of Portugal until later in the trip. Will have to visit another time.

As usual Bruce is making friends.

It is quite windy . After a surf and turf lunch at Praia da Costa Nova Aveiro we head for Coimbra. This town used to be the capital of Portugal . It has one of the oldest university’s and is on a river. It is the Oxford of Portugal as described by my friend Nuno.

We manage to park by the river in an area for Motorhomes. It is a perfect position just across the river from the old town. We walk into town via the Botanical Gardens.

Being a university town the main square is very colourful

Just love this place. It has a magic about it.

Saturday 18th May

Slept overnight in Coimbra. As it is Saturday there are lots of people around by the river . Lots of Sports going on.

Never seen water polo played with canoes before.

We leave Coimbra (definitely coming back here) and head for a medieval town called Obidos

We wander round and have a talk with the locals.

Beautifully preserved town but very touristy . Felt a bit like Disney land.

Consulted TripAdvisor and found a great place for lunch.

We are now not far from Lisbon and carry on our journey .

We decide to stop just over the bridge from Lisbon in a seaside resort called Costa Da Caparica. Need a bit of a rest after a lot of driving.

Sunday 19th May

Go for a run along the coast line . Nice and flat.

We meet some dog owners on the beach . After a restful day we set of for Lisbon in late afternoon. We head for a place by the port that we can park for the night near the old town.

Follow a tram on the way in.

Unfortunately the place we wanted to park no longer allows motorhomes. we drove around but eventually gave up and headed for a campsite on the outskirts of Lisbon.

The place is 9km from the centre and need to get a bus in . No dogs allowed on bus so leave Bruce in Motorhome while we head in to the city.

It is a beautiful city with lots of little alley ways and restaurants.

Stunning landmarks

And buzzing nightlife

Monday 20th May

We leave the campsite and head for Setubal Reccomended by our friend Nuno .

The fountain outside the campsite in Lisbon had an unusual statue.

We drive into Setubal and through the other side in search of a place to park. We find a campsite but not really near anywhere or a beach so head on . We find a great beach but sign saying no motorhomes.

We park at the side of the road and climb down to the beach and have a paddle.

We decide to head on for a place called Comporta which is close to Setubal as the crow flies but a long way by road. We find a Motorhome park there near the town. We are told we can also park by the beach, so we head there.

I think we have found Paradise.

Part Seis

Tuesday 14th May

We were woken up by an Alarm . The fridge had stopped working. We are in a car park not connected to Electricity and the fridge should be working on gas. Tried the usual things. Turned fridge on and off checked gas ect no joy. Weather has got better going to be 30 degrees today. Still to early to ring Swift service in England so went for a 3 mile run along the beach, it is going to be a nice day weather wise anyway.

Got back from run and rang Swift . The lady could not help but promised to ring back after seeking technical help. It was now getting hot and we lost all food in freezer.

I then remembered it was possible to shut down the electrical system . I found this under one of the seats .

I pulled out the fuse for the fridge and waited for a few minutes. I put the fuse back in powered up the system and turned on the fridge. Helen was outside listening to the outside grill of the fridge.

To our amazement it fired up. What a lovely sound to hear the small roar of the gas burner.

Panic over we went down to the beach for a well earned swim with Bruce . Helen was beaming knowing the white wine would be chilled for later in the day.

Spent sometime at the beach which is next to the place where we are staying.

Nigel, Joanne their son Jack and Barney the dog (mad as Bruce) are in the Motorhome next to us . They saved our bacon or actually they put our white wine , beer and milk in there fridge while ours was recovering. They are two and half months in to a years break touring Europe.

The laundry bag was full so decided to visit the local laundry. 3 euros for a wash and 2 euros for the dryer.

After a long and at times stressful day we decided to find a bar to play some backgammon and have some food.

Bruce said hello to the two very nice people on the next table. Alvaro and Alejandra from Uruguay. They are on a month trip around Spain. We told them about our blog and they looked it up on their phone . They were able to do google translate and read it in Spanish. They are now following the blog.

Wednesday 15th May

After two very nice days in Baiona it is time to say goodbye Spain hello Portugal. We pack up and head for the border . We cross in to Portugal at a town called Valença and decide to turn left and head for the mountains and some waterfalls our Portuguese friend Nuno has told us about.

We stoped for lunch in a small town on the way called Arcos de Valdevez . There was no menu just what was cooking which turned out to be a very nice stew with rice and a litre of red wine for 10 euros . Only managed half the wine.

We met this lovely lady on the next table . We do not know her name as she spoke no English . We did try google translate but the only time she stopped speaking was when we gave her the phone to speak into.

As we climb into the mountains the scenery is amazing.

We park at the side of the road at a place called Cascata da Portela do Homen in Parque National Penada-Geres

Helen loves it here

Even Bruce jumps in .

After the waterfalls we search for a campsite and find out there is one fairly near called campo de Geres . What we were unaware of is we had to drive over a mountain to get to it and the road was narrow and sheer drops.

By time we got to the campsite Helen was traumatised. It took a good hour before she calmed down.

Thursday 16th May

My good friend Mike Hodges emailed me this morning and asked if i could give him a better idea where we have been travelling . So here is a map of the journey so far.

We decided no more mountain roads for a while would be a sensible option. We headed for Braga. We could not find anywhere to park so carried on to Porto.

The road from Braga to Porto is just urban sprawl and quite awful. Not what we were expecting . We decide to stop on the coast just the other side of Porto and get the bus into Porto. We stop in a place called Vila Nova de Gaia.

We parked up and walked to the bus stop to travel into Porto . Unfortunately the Bus did not allow dogs , so we went to a supermarket bought a cooked chicken and went back to Molly glad to finish a poor day.

Friday 17th May

We got up and decided to go for a run. Feeling in better spirits today after a fairly low day yesterday.

Helen met a nice guy while running , as you do .

We decided Molly needed a good clean . Pulled all the carpets out and seat cushions , had. A good sweep out and brushed. The carpets and cushions.

Much better .

Part Cinco

Friday 10th May

Helen woke up this morning with swollen finger . She had injured it a few days ago and thought the swelling would reduce, as it has not, we decided to find a medical clinic. We headed out of Potes and drove through the Picos Mountains towards the coast.

As we passed though a village called Rio Deva we saw a clinic on the side of the road.

We went in and explained the problem . They said they did not have any tools to remove Helens ring but would try to reduce the swelling. They then said someone was coming in with a tool to remove ring. We think it was a builder / electrician working down the road . Helen was slightly nervous (due to lack of wine)

We are not totally sure of his medical credentials but he did remove the ring without loss of limbs.

With pressure relieved we headed for our next destination Cudillero .

We found the campsite and parked in our spot.

We walked down to the village and harbour.

A beautiful place . We wondered around the harbour restaurants and picked one with Langostinos ala Plancha .

Saturday 11th May

I bought a WiFi booster on Amazon for the trip . I could not get it to work so decided to send back to Amazon . Printed out return slip at campsite and headed for the local post office . When we got there a sign was on the door back in 15 Minutes. So decided to head for the nearest cafe.

We joined the Senoritas for coffee, and caught up on the local gossip.

Posted the parcel and headed for next destination . A town called Ribadeo.

We parked by the port and walked into town . Another great place with narrow streets and lots of character. Menu Del Dia at lunchtime is becoming a habit . For somewhere between 8 and 15 euros you get 3 courses , half a bottle of wine and coffee. A true bargain to be found in most restaurants and eateries almost everywhere we have visited. The choices are small which means you eat something new everyday and a bottle of wine . What is not to like .

YUM YUM mmm !!

We decided to carry on to Santiago De Compostela as we were now quite close. We found a campsite about 2.5 km out of town. We decided to catch the bus in, but unfortunately they do not allow dogs so Shank’s Pony was the order of the day.

We have been following the Camino for St Jean pol pied de port in the french Pyrenees and it felt good to eventually arrive in Santiago De Compostela. As we walked along the Camino into town there were many pilgrims and lots of singing and music being played . It was very atmospheric.

We wandered through the streets and finally reached the main square in front of the cathedral .

Sunday 12th May

After completing the Camino it is normal to walk another 60 km to the final end of the Camino by the sea. The place is called the end of the world . I suspect before Columbus found America most people thought it was.

Having found the perfect spot for the night we headed for the bar. On a balcony over looking the sea we met Geraldine & Mathew from Jullianstown in Ireland.

We spent a lovely time together watching the sun set.

Monday 13th May

Leaving this truly magical place was difficult but Portugal beckons . We drove on towards the border through a large town called Vigo and finally stopped for the night in a place called Baiona about 25km from the border. After consulting search for sites we found a free place to park overlooking the sea. Just perfect .

Part Cuatro

Monday 6th May

Bruce learnt to swim today

And he met his Spanish Double “Lucas”

After a bit of Chilling

and a few games of Backgammon we left this special place and headed down the road to an old small town on the Camino called Estella. we had heard it was a place to visit.

We parked at a Airs Motorhome site about 2 miles out of town. Should have been 4 euros a night, but the barrier was up so it was free.

We headed into town and walked downhill along the Camino trail to Estelle. The Camino is well sign posted and in places there is a brass shell in the pavement

The old town is magical but very much a part of the town and felt real.

In France Bruce was allowed in every Bar or Restaurant we went to. In Spain it seems Dogs are not allowed in any Bars or Restaurants. This meant we could only eat at a Bar with an outside table. Eventually we found a place with outside tables and a nice menu.

The wine was exceptional and Cod Stew and Chorizo in Cider went down very well. we headed home to molly after a perfect day.

Tuesday 7th May

This area is a wine growing region and so we decided to visit some vineyards very close to where we were parked. The first one was about 400 yards away and had a free wine fountain for visitors. although it was around 10am this did not deter Helen.

With Molly’s wine cellar suitably stocked we headed for our next destination along the Camino trail , Burgos. This meant driving through Rioja. More vines than you can shake a stick at.

And the odd Bull

Up to now we have stayed in some nice campsites this unfortunately came to an end in Burgos . This is a stopping point for people heading from south of Spain to Santander or Bilbao for the ferry. It was packed and it was raining and the site was grim. Not the best mix for enjoyment.

We locked ourselves in Molly and cooked a nice dinner and pretended to be somewhere else.

Steak and Pasta with Pesto

Wednesday 8th May

Got up early and out of Burgos. would have liked to see old town but it was pouring with Rain.

We decided to leave the Camino and head for the Picos Mountains. we found a campsite in a place called Potes.

This meant heading over some mountains. I like heights and even my stomach was churning on some of the bends and sheer drops on either side.

There were also some obstacles in the road to overcome.

I thought he was going to charge at Molly

We finally arrived in Potes. We were not expecting such a great town in the middle of the picos. A very nice surprise after Burgos.

Wandered round the town had some lunch.

Even the Priest was out for a drink.

Headed for the campsite and were pleasantly surprised what a lovely place it is. Probably the best yet.

After we settled in i was soundly beaten at Backgammon.

After a long day we retired to the bar to watch Ajax v Tottenham. If only our good friend Phil Mastris could have seen it . Well done Spurs.

Thursday 9th May

Two weeks on the road today. Walked into town for a lunch to celebrate this milestone event. A 13 euro 3 course menu del dia including a bottle of wine.

And would you believe it they let Bruce in as well.

Part Tres (Well Done Molly)

After two great days at our Surfing Paradise (Moliets-Et-May) We decided to head in to the Pyrenees Mountains . On the way we drove through Biarritz . It had a beautiful coastline but was busy. Bought a rotisserie chicken and found a place to park on the sea front.

We decided to get back on the road and headed for St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees. This town is one of the start points for the Camino Pilgrims walk to Santiago-de-Compostela. It is a journey of 791km. A trip i have read about and would love to do. There is a great film called The Way about walking the Camino and it starts in this town.

We found a beautiful camp site within the towns Ancient Wall and a stones throw from the centre.

We crossed a bridge and walked into town

An amazing place .

The starting point in this town for the Camino.

The Basque Symbol is everywhere

This is the entrance to the pilgrims office where you sign up for the trip and get your pilgrims passport which needs to be stamped at churches and refuges along the way.

A map of the journey.

Had a very tasty Rustic Basque Meal and then home to bed.

Went for a run in the morning , stunning to run in this scenery

After a refreshing shower and some porridge we set off over the Mountain pass into Spain. I was unsure how Molly would cope with the hair pin bends and steep inclines and descents. I need not have worried she coped admirably.

Stopped at a lay by which was also a stop for the pilgrims walking the Camino. It seems if you are looking for a partner you put a piece of underwear in the box . It works like Magic !! .

We were looking for the border between France and Spain but saw nothing not even a sign. We came down the other side onto Spain and headed for Pamplona. We drove through the town but could not find anywhere to park so headed on along in the general direction of Santiago de Compostela. We soon started rising again and found an amazing view from the top.

Bruce found some interesting Plants.

I was getting tired after driving up 2 mountains and consulted search for sites .

As luck would have it there was a site on a lake about 15 minutes away. Turned out to be perfect.

Settled in and Helen cooked a great dish to end a perfect day. A sort of chilli with goats cheese.

2 mountain passes in one day WELL DONE MOLLY.