Saturday 18th April
The weather overnight was atrocious and I did get up in the middle of the night to check that the river wasn’t rising.
This was the view out of the window just before we went to bed. You can see the rain drops on the windscreen.
The plan was to go to Valenca, there were no services, 10 spaces but no reviews in our guide. If we didn’t like it the plan was to nip over the border into Tui and spend the night there where the aire had all the services and a 7 out of 10 and an 8 out of 10.
The first aire was on a very sloping car park, right next to the road and not really suitable for us discerning motorhomers, we have a Frankia you know! We had a quick look round the town but most of the shops were closed. There were lots of little shopping centres but very few businesses still running. There was a very large fort at the top of the hill but it was still raining so we moved on into Spain, over the bridge and spotted a large supermarket where we needed some much needed essentials, beer, wine, sangria, the usual suspects really.
This is where the difference between Portugal and Spain really showed itself. Obviously there is the language, no more obrigado and bom dias, of course, but the shelves were stacked high with produce. There were hundreds of shoppers. We found spring onions, not quite the same as our skinny things but a very rare sight in Portugal. The Portuguese are very keen on fish but we never saw a fish counter stacked so high and looking so good as this one in Spain. The roads are ten times better as well.
We all know that there isn’t a lot of money in Spain but they appear to be very wealthy when compared against the Portuguese.
Having said that, we loved Portugal and looking at the map we can see that there is far more to explore, we will be back again and again. The Algarve is well known to us Brits mainly for the winter sun but the rest of Portugal is green and lush and there were many roads we drove down that reminded us of home.
After hitting the supermarket we found the aire and what a disappointment it was. It was no better than a lay by on a busy road with space to park three motorhomes, all on a slope. We couldn’t see any sign of services so made a hasty exit.
And here we are in Arcade just to the south of Pontevedra. We are in an aire which can take 6 motorhomes looking over an inlet with mountains in the distance. There is a harbour and beach to our right and all the services we need. The weather is still a bit wet and when we went for our stroll we found all the shops shut, it was 2.30pm on a Saturday, silly us. This looks like a great place to be when the weather is kinder but we will probably move on in the morning.
Next morning and we’re off again, until I got chatting to the French lady in the van next door.She didn’t speak a word of English but I understood bits of it, I’m really getting good at pretending I know what they are saying. The were on the “Rota da Camelia” and knowing how much my mum loves flowers we decided to visit the nearest place.
Only 5 miles from where we were staying we found the car park and here is one of those vine structures that I told you about last time, but possibly a better photo.
This is an Camellia, on of the best we saw.
And this was the castle at Castillo de Soutomaior. Very pretty half medieval and half 19th century grand designs rebuild. It was a proper defensive castle where the Lords could extract the last penny from the poor peasants but has been modernised.
And this is what happens to a Camellia tree out of season. Most of the petals are on the floor so we missed the best of the Camellias so we had to put up with boring old azaleas.
Pretty, if you like that type of thing – mum!
The castle was a quick detour off our planned route to an aire at Sanxenxo. The blurb says space for 45 units but it would be a squeeze at 20. Grassy pitches on the top of a low cliff with direct beach access. We’ve got all the services plus free washing machine for €6 per night plus €2 for electric if we needed it.
Here’s my very own Ursula Andress running across the beach to me. Franke is lurking behind the trees and stayed there for two days chilling out waiting for his cleaning cloths to be washed and aired.
Another beach, another town. We’ve moved on up the coast another 20 miles to an aire at Boiro. Big flat sandy beach until the tide came in and only four of us there. We’ve not parked in the official place, there is a cafe behind us which os only open at weekends so we’re in their car park but the police have been round a dozen times and all is fine.
About 9pm a few cars turned up and then the boom boom music started but by 9.15pm when the thunder and lightning started they all went home and left us alone. Sometimes bad weather is a good thing.
And sometimes it is not. I managed to get Lucy up at 7.30am this morning for a big day at Santiago de Compostella. It was an hour drive away and since the parking was €3.50 for the day and €12 for the night we had decided to just spend the day visiting and then move off but it rained, and rained…..
From the aire it was a quick bus ride into town and with our map we took a tour of the city barely looking up as we dodged puddles, beggars and pilgrims.
Lots and lots of churches, some open, some signed so we could see what they were called.
The alter in the big churchy cathedral in the middle – can you tell I was losing interest by now. Lucy was trying to keep me entertained with little snippets that she learnt at junior school.
This is where St James bones are kept, miraculously found by a hermit 800 years after he died!
I did like the streets and the covered arcades.
We’d had enough by lunchtime. I wasn’t allowed to eat my packed lunch in the cathedral (it was raining outside) so we made our way back to Frankie and then moved on. We’re in a parking place in Camota, again on the coast but getting further north everyday. I hesitate to call this place an aire. There are services and apparently 4 parking places although we couldn’t find any of them. We are parked on a roundabout which sounds far worse than it is.
To the left we have a large nature reserve and to the right we have Bar Machon, a very busy bar at the weekends but this is Wednesday and he was really pleased to see us, especially when Lucy saw the Licor 43 bottle and ordered herself a few large ones. When I say, “ordered herself” I mean she told me what to ask for because she still doesn’t speak any foreign. Whilst ordering I asked if it was OK to park overnight on the roundabout “autocaravannas aparcamiento hasta noche OK?’ got a good nod of the head so we’ve settled in seeing as we are completely level and too pissed to move! Also got his wifi code so can update the blog.