Sunday 12th April
The bells in Fatima went off at 7am and sounded like they were inside the van. Don’t they know that Lucy will not get up before 9am no matter how large the bells are or how urgently we need to get a move on! We headed towards the coast, and on the way stopped off at the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria, It’s a world heritage site so we thought it might be interesting and there was a free aire with water and waste. The aire itself was rather uninspiring, good enough to park in but not somewhere I would want to stay the night and since we are so spoilt with alternatives we just had a quick look around the monastry.
The monastery s a milestone in Portuguese history and holds the Royal Pantheon.The monastery was built in the 14th century and took nearly 200 years to complete. It includes many building styles due in no small part to the large number of architects responsible for the construction.
It is a huge building and one of the most visited in Portugal as you can see by the huge crowds!
We stopped for the night in Praia de Viera on the bank of the Rio Lis. Just a car park near to the beach with four motorhomes although there was enough space for 50. The weather has been a bit rubbish, lots of wind and rain and forecast to continue for a couple more days so we kept on heading north.
We arrived in Costa de Lavos for lunch and to check out the wind. There is a lot of reconstruction work of the sea defences taking place here and since we couldn’t see any good reason to stay we moved on arriving in Praia da Vagueira mid afternoon.
Again, this is another car park to the north of a busy little town. Still lots of sea defence work taking place but there was enough to look at to make it interesting. Of course the beaches are big and clean and empty of people but that could have been the strong winds. When we arrived there were two other motorhomes but about 6pm they went leaving us all to ourselves. Not a problem at all, it was very quiet and peaceful except for the waves crashing on the beach.
Lucy saw this and thought of Mick Monk and wondered if he was up to turning it into a mini Unimog clone.
Next stop Aveiru, a large town with lots of canals.
Traditional fishing boats take the tourists out for a quick spin around the harbour.
This could almost be Venice.
All the pavements are decorated with black and white stones, even the back streets.
And many of the walls are decorated in lovely tiles. The aire is located right under a motorway underpass which we thought might be a bit noisy (we’ve since found out it wasn’t too bad) so we moved on to Foradoura. When I looked at the sat nav I thought, these roads look just like Praia da Vagueira and the set up was exactly the same.
We do have a seat with a view, for beach bums only. The aire here is much busier and on Sunday morning I had my own little coffee morning inspection. We had 51 units, one caravan and 50 motorhomes. One from the UK, one from Germany, 2 from France and 47 from Portugal. We think they may have been part of a club since they all seemed to know each other and spent hours chatting away.
The town itself was much more lively than Praia da Vagueira and prettier too – Lucy liked this stone fish, we can’t get it in Frankie so lets leave it behind.
The van on the left turned up late Saturday night and squeezed into this gap leaving himself room so he could get in and out, the German couple in the VW were in town having a meal and I didn’t get to see them when they got back, bet they weren’t too happy.
We were aiming at Porto and decided to stay a second night here so that we could leave Sunday morning, settle in, and then have time to visit Porto on Monday.