Where's Frankie?

Only when I walk

Friday 13th February

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We were aiming for a large town called Tavira, there is a site there with launderette and hopefully a pharmacy to try and get my foot sorted out. Here we are on site with electric and water on our pitch and from this angle it does look rather nice but one of the Dutch descriptions summed up the site very nicely – rustic. Lets just say it was starting to show it’s age but at €9.90 per night and an exchange rate of something like €1.38 to the pound who’s complaining? I even managed to get my barbecue out and have a burn up.

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On the Tuesday we had a limp into town and found a pharmacy with queues almost out the door even though there were four staff serving. In the pharmacies you need to take a number from the machine by the door and take your turn. Luckily our lady spoke excellent English and despite my help managed to prescribe some strong painkillers.

The photo above is the main river in Tavira, the Rio Gilao which flooded 25 years ago taking out one of the bridges. The first bridge you can see is the temporary bridge constructed by the army and had an expected life span of just 6 months.

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Behind Tavira Castle is a camera obscure located inside an old water tower. There is a hole in the roof with an angled mirror and light is reflected down onto a large white dish. We were given an entertaining guided tour of the town – did you know that Tavira has over 30 churches but only one priest? Only one of the churches is still in use.

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The buildings were nice, maybe a little aged but interesting all the same.

We never did get to do our washing at the campsite, the washing machines were as rustic as the rest of the site so after topping all the tanks up and emptying all the tanks that needed emptying we set forth for Faro and a lovely aire in the middle of the town taking 100 units for free.

Stella played her usual game of finding the smallest narrowest roads to get to the aire but it did give us a lovely scenic route. When we arrived at the aire we find it is nothing more than a car park (with coaches who certainly didn’t use Stella to find their way in) and we are immediately ushered up one line and then carefully parked by an official looking beggar who wants €4 to look after our van. Muggins paid him off before realising he had been scammed. We didn’t see him again but next morning we found out why, he had parked us, with a couple of others on blue lines which are reserved for the school busses!

We took another limp around Faro and found the local ironmongers. Whilst at the last site I had problems getting my screw on tap adaptor onto the tap and a Dutch guy seeing my predicament lent me one of his. My adaptor is plastic and kept getting cross threaded so I bought a 3/4” brass adaptor plus a 1” adaptor. Hopefully that is all the adaptors I will ever need (I did take a photo of them but something went wrong with my camera, but more of that later). 

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This is the top half of one of the town gates with three pairs of storks nesting, what a racket they make.

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They will nest anywhere out of the reach of predators building huge nests, I think they may come back year after year to the same nest.

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Igreja do Carmo, one of the churches to visit in Faro. It doesn’t look too much from outside.

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Inside is more interesting, very ornate gilded carvings everywhere you look but the not very well kept secret is through the door to the right and round the back

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The Capela dos Ossos, a small 4m x 6m Ossuary belonging to 18th Century Carmelite Church Nossa Senhora do Carno. It was inaugurated in 1816 and contains 1245 skulls of monks and local townsfolk.

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I made a very conscious effort not to touch anything, it was a bit creepy.

I’d like to say our camping arrangements were top notch but they weren’t. Cars were still being driven around the car park at 3am, not idiots burning rubber but people just out for the evening socialising and when you can’t sleep because your foot is killing you it makes for an unpleasant experience – there is always that worry about rotten herberts just outside the door.

One night at Faro and we move onto a site at Quarteria which is where i got into a little muddle. A couple came knocking at Faro looking for a site to fill up with water so I gave them GPS co-ordinates for an aire, €3 per night plus something for water and electric. We said that we would see them there but we were going to visit Lidls first and just before we got to Lidls there was this enormous aire on the left, with loads of spaces, we must have passed 30 vans coming towards us and you have to wave at every one of them of course.

We got our essentials, no alcohol, the pharmacist had warned me off the evil liquids, and I went to put in the co-ordinates of the aire that we were going to. Stella said something like turn left in 100 yards and you have reached your destination. That couldn’t be the aire I wanted, my aire was on the beach, the Welsh couple had told me three weeks ago and it was in my map book. I put those coordinates in and Stella took us to a fantastic sea front aire, Frankies wheels just kissing the golden sand, the sun rising to the left and setting to the right, it was perfect but as I said before, my camera was playing up and all those lovely sea views have gone. We aim on going back in a couple of days.

We sat on the beach by ourselves with the windbreak around us, the weather has improved and it is getting warmer but I had another sleepless night due to the pain in my foot and we resolved to get up early and step things up a bit. After getting up at 10am we cycled into Quarteria, lovely sea front, lots of hotels with shops behind and found the pharmacy. He said that we should go to the Medical Centre at Loule and they would sort me out so that is were we went. Only 10 miles away – I can drive and cycle, it’s just the bending of my toe that is the problem so shopping is a pain.


Here’s part of my form, the receptionist wanted an address but when I said Autocaravannas she has put me down as a migrant! If you need medical help then the pharmacy is the first point of contact and they can prescribe far more drugs over the counter than the British pharmacists can. The second port of call is a medical centre, it costs €15.45 to see a doctor who can make out a prescription, our Doctor couldn’t speak a word of english (just like being at home really) but through an interpreter we got it all sorted. I’ve got a months worth of drugs and after just one dose the pain has almost completely gone! You need a passport and EHICS card to see the Doctor and your EHICS card when you pick up your prescription.

As we were driving into Loule we saw a large car park full of motorhomes so we’ve mixed in with them and aren’t we just the luckiest people in Portugal – Loule has it’s Festival of Love tomorrow starting at 9am and going on till 2.30am the next day! Sounds like far too much loving for me!


Here’s a photo for my old man. As kids we used to go all over the place with the IPA visiting and staying with Belgian and German police families. This was on the side of a building in the old part of Loule. We never managed to get to Portugal with the IPA, I think they were considered to be on the same level as Spain and since Spain didn’t give us any points in the Eurovision Song Contest one year it meant the whole Iberian peninsular was out of bounds.


Who you gonna call? I thought that this might have been part of tomorrows carnival but it looked like it was in active service.

4 thoughts on “Only when I walk

  1. Ann Mclaren

    So pleased you made the camera obscura in Tivria. Eric spent an age talking to the owner who came from Enfield and has a Spanish wife and just one son, when we were there they gave us tea and biscuits before we joined the official camera tour!
    Hope your foot soon gets completely better. We both wish we could do the long journey round to Portugal again but it is too many miles past too many ladies on white chairs for us seniors!
    Have plenty more great adventures as you travel. Love To you both Ann and Eric from the lovely Orange Blossom Coast.

    1. Mark Post author

      Haven’t seen any ladies on white chairs for ages now, must go back to the French border. I was promised lots of girls on roundabouts in Portugal but so far nada.

  2. Denzil

    Hi you 2,

    Just opened this blog, missed it first time round. All this news making me restless. What a shame you didn’t get to visit the IPA house, you might have seen a photo of me playing conkers with the mayor.
    Explorer is now about to face a new challenge, a Bailey Cordoba, twin axle job. Got any tips?
    My boating days are reaching a conclusion so I needed a bit more room for my new caravanning career.

    Keep well, keep happy and keep sending “Where’s Frankie”. I circulate them to Brenda from the pet shop, and Teena ” the fish”. They both send their best wishes


    1. Mark Post author

      Top tip for the Explorer – sell it and get a motorhome!! You’ll find the twin axle much easier to tow – I always described it as like towing a brick, you know it isn’t going to wobble about like a single axle does.
      Shame about your boat, I know how much you love boats. Do you remember when you took me out into Harwich harbour and the motor stopped working? For some reason you had decided that we didn’t need the oars so left them behind. There were some very large boats very close to us.

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