A Travellerspoint blog

Tuesday 9th February - Wednesday 10th February

Tarifa and onwards to the Africa

Tuesday 9th February[/i]

Woke up again to sunshine and also cows with bells on! They were being led across the car park inbetween motorhomes and the sea.

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From the coast we could see Morocco, also after a walk along the beach we also saw a few battered washed up boats, maybe too from Morocco. Spent the day just relaxing overlooking the sea.

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Wednesday 10th February[i]

After a wonder around Tarifa’s old town, a nice small port with narrow allies. We had a bit more research on net, in the local library and decided we would head for the Spanish port of Ceuta in Morocco. It seemed less hassle than Tangier as well as tax-free food and fuel. We were now ready to head for Algeciras and to find the small motorhome ferry ticket office and find out how much and when it crossed.

We found the office on the next junction along from the port by a Carrefour and Lidl supermarket. There were lots of Motorhomes parked about, especially in Lidl. We discovered it was €100 cheaper to make the crossing to Tangier. So we bought some open return tickets to Tangier for €120 and were told the ferry was in the morning. We had to be at the car park opposite at 7.30am, where Carlos (the owner) would take us and any other’s crossing down to the port. I think the ferries were more freight ferries and he probably buys a load of tickets.

The trip was now on, so off we headed round the supermarkets to stock up on items we thought would be difficult to get in Morocco, like drink and cheese, two staples! At this point a heavy wind and rainstorm was in full flow and we hoped it would be calmer for our ferry tomorrow morning. As a few motorhomes were already parked up opposite the shop, we decided to just park there for the night and save moving in the morning. An hour or so later though, while I was getting some last minute items from one of the shops, I noticed a load of motorhomes going off following each other. When I got back Lorna said a car had pulled up and they had all followed it. We assumed it was people going on a ferry crossing tonight, as the unhappy woman in the office had told us ours was tomorrow morning. So we headed for bed to try and get a little sleep in the storm.

Posted by marklorna 18:01 Comments (0)

Saturday 6th February- Monday 8th February

The Beautiful Sevilla

Saturday 6th February

Headed onto the bridge over the estuary and the border, with the aim of going to Seville and finding a motorhome shop in the process. No sooner had we got onto the bridge we stopped in Traffic. Then spent a good hour, slowly inching across the bridge stuck between Portugal and Spain. When we got to the Spanish side we saw what the problem was, the Spanish Police had created a roadblock and were searching cars. They consisted of a few police vans and some heavily armed Spanish police. We had them ask if we were carrying anyone extra and then they had a quick look in Hymer, before we were allowed through and on with our journey. We then went straight down the motorway to Seville. We had heard Seville was not a safe place to park your motorhome up in, so we would probably have to find our first campsite. Before we did though, we went to check out some motorhome parking Tom had told us about. We found a car park with a parking attendant saying it was €5 for the day, the parking attendant didn’t look too official mind. So we decided against parking up and instead would find a campsite. First we headed to a motorhome shop on the other side of the city, to try and sort out our inverter problem. When we found it they spoke no English, so it was hard to explain our problem. The option there was to buy a new battery at €120 and see if that worked, which would be an expensive way of fault finding! So we decided we would search for another shop. It was then to the task of locating a campsite, we headed to a town south of Seville called Dos Hermanos. But the campground we found was closed and we hadn’t seen any others on the net. Also the tourist office wasn’t answering the phones, so we couldn’t find where any more were. Outside the campsite an older French couple also pulled up to find it closed and didn’t know where else to go. After consulting Tom we found two other campsites, one around the corner and another north but closer to the city. I shared this information with the thankful French couple and we set off first to the campground around the corner. They were open but it was €20 a night, so we decided if we were spending the money we may as well go find the campsite closer to the city. So off we headed following Tom’s directions. Tom led us around and above the city then off down a small road running by the main road. Tom said the campsite was just up here, but all we saw were allotments then the road came to a dead end and a big gate. The gate was an emergency gate for the runway, and although Tom stated we were at the campsite, we knew there was not a campsite here! Just an airport and two airport police vans heading down the runway towards the gate. Probably didn’t help us having two huge kayaks on the roof, they probably thought we looked a bit suspicious! We decided to turn around quickly and go back to the other campsite. It turned out, as we were turning and driving off, the police seemed more interested in some plane spotters with cameras. Arriving back at the campsite the receptionist told us they were the only open campsite in Seville! When we parked up, the French couple that we had informed of the campsite came by to say thank you.

Sunday 7th February

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Headed off on the Bus to Seville centre. As soon as we had come into the centre, the bus was heading up a road lined with grand old Spanish stately homes. Seville centre was very pleasing on the eye. The wide boulevards and big decorated houses or the narrow streets of the old Jewish quarter with their tapas bars and squares of orange trees. They are the sorts of streets you could spend all day wondering around. I also got accosted by a woman shoving rosemary into my hand and then blessing me, before asking for money. We had some lunch in a lovely little tapas bar before taking a walk around the park.

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Later on we decided to head back to the campsite to utilise there wifi in the bar/reception to investigate and plan the Moroccan tour. After a couple of hours on the internet, trying to find campsites or information about campsites, we had found a few and a book that we should have bought about Motorhoming in Morocco! But it was now too late to order it on net! The French couple that we had also bumped into in Seville a couple of times, came in and he explained in French that they were going to Morocco. They had a list of campsites we could photocopy, which was very helpful and just what we needed. So we learnt a few more places to go from them, before heading back to the motorhome.

Monday 8th February[i]

Left the campsite and headed South, Defiantly want to come back and explore more of Seville for longer next time. On the way out we found another motorhome shop and servicing we had been told about, by the lad I got chatting to at reception at the campsite. At the garage, one of the staff that could speak English checked our Inverter and battery. He explained that we had been putting too much through the inverter and also the inverter was too powerful for the battery! Oooppss, the reason we had bought a 2000watt one so it had been able to power certain items, like the hairdryer. This though had been power hungry and drained our battery! He said a second battery wouldn’t really do the trick and we would be better with a smaller inverter and not using the hairdryer. Also stopping one night every couple of weeks in a campsite to charge the battery off the mains. So we decided on buying a smaller inverter for €70 to charge the laptop and phones, while Lorna resolved herself to the fact that hairdryer use would be a lot fewer and far between. We then got stung for a further €70 labour for him testing and telling us the problem, and that was at a discount. It was expensive, but at least we now knew what the problems had been.

We then set off further south and kept on going till we reached somewhere near Tarifa, just before Algeciras. After a few attempts at finding somewhere to park up, by nightfall we found an old car park that was due for development that motorhomes were parked up at, so we pulled up there.

Posted by marklorna 17:55 Comments (0)

Tuesday 2nd January - Friday 5th January

The Algarve

Tuesday 2nd February

Itchy feet, it was time to move on. The spot was idyllic and the people here were great. We could of stayed for a week, the problem was we hadn’t stocked up before coming. Also we needed to empty all the tanks and fill the water. Although we could of stocked up and come back, we didn’t. We really needed to be getting on to Faro, to pick up new Insurance documents and start getting closer to Morocco. We said our goodbyes, exchanged some books, emails and telephone numbers, as we really wanted to meet up with both couple’s again. We then sadly drove away from the beach, away from the beautiful calm bay and headed again very slowly up the track until we looked around and the bay could no longer be seen. In a way I didn’t want to leave, but we have a lot to see! I will defiantly come back here again though. Also on our way to Faro we were on the lookout for a motorhome shop, as our inverter had started playing up! It now wouldn’t power and charge a lot, like the laptop or Lorna’s hair straighteners. I thought maybe it needed a second battery to be fitted to it to help with power. As we drove past Lagos and more into the Algarve, with it’s new homes and apartments, the beach we were at seemed even more idyllic. The fact that there were no houses looking onto it, just hills, was perfect.

Back to reality and after doing some tank emptying, refilling and a supermarket stop, we ended up parking up in Quarteira. It was at the end of the town along the beach. A few packs of motorhomes were parked up, in any scrubland that hadn’t yet been built on. We were now gathered in an upmarket encampment, with brand new motorhomes and satellite dishes, a different environment that we had just come from and one I would have to admit was less appealing. At one point trying to find a spot a bit away from the crowd we met a French woman alone in her van apart from her cat. A conversation was had but she couldn’t speak English and we couldn’t speak French, but yet again we sort of understood one another. In the end we had to go join the crowd on the beach. As getting the motorhome down to the other patch would not have been the best idea.

Wednesday 3rd February

Today headed into Faro and after a wonder around trying to find the correct post office, collected our documents. Waiting for post in the sun by the sea, turned out a much better idea. After a walk round Faro we left feeling a little let down by the town, can’t put my finger on why mind. We then headed into the village of Fuzeta and found a spot to park up, watching people kite surfing. Along this part of the coast they have a long stretch of sand banks just off the coast where pink flamingos are often spotted, we didn’t see any. After speaking to a Dutch couple who lived here, we found out that this area was to be a market in the morning and we would probably get told to leave or wake up surrounded by a market! not able to leave till after it finished. We decided to head to some parking just further on down the coast. We carried on towards Tavira and turned off the main road to find a small road running along the front of the coast. It was a little natural harbour with the sand banks opposite.

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All along the road were parking spots and there were a lot of shiny campers all parked along. Around the Algarve we were starting to experience the retired motorhome generation who flock down here in the winter. All coming south to keep warm, which is what were doing really. It was just strange getting used to lots and lots of motorhomes rather than a few.

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Thursday 4th February

Headed around Tavira, which was a much more quaint little town than Faro. We spent a while in the Library using the free wifi and electric socket to charge the laptop, while we left our clothes at the Laundrette. We had managed to find a lesser-spotted self-service laundrette, as all we’d seen had been dry cleaners. We parked up on the car park of the local indoor market, it was full of shiny motorhomes. In fact every car park or patch of land around the town was full of motorhomes, it was very strange and rather too much. Later we tried to find a place for the night by the harbour but the car parks were again full of motorhomes, even though the car parking seemed to be in front of restaurants, the restaurants were empty! So we headed back to the original spot, were there were spaces.

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Friday 5th January

Headed around the indoor market in the morning, to take a look and to pick up some veg.

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After we headed further east to Villa Real De Santo Antonio, the Portuguese town right on the sea and the border with Spain. We managed to find a station that filled up our French bottle and also just north of the town another town that had motorhome services. So tanks were emptied and refilled, very much a part of our new routine!
We headed back to Villa Real and found a spot to park up, on the side of a track that lead up the one side of the Estuary and had a huge long beach the other side. As the sun was out we had a walk along the beach collecting shells, with the idea of making jewellery. The beach was littered with shells of all sizes and shapes. Probably partly due to people dragging their baskets through the water, then tipping the contents of it onto the beach to sort through, for what they were intending to sell or cook. Back at the motorhome on the other side of the Estuary was Spain, our destination for tomorrow.

Posted by marklorna 17:45 Comments (0)

Sunday 31st January - Monday 1st February

The Beach

Sunday 31st January

Decided today to head away from the west coast of Portugal and down to the south coast and the beginning of the Algarve. We set Tom for the co-ordinates of some parking from our book, which the photo showed to be right on the beach in a small bay. Tom took us to a small lovely looking bay, with some newer motorhomes parked around. The co-ordinates were correct, but in the book the picture was of a different bay. We decided to get the bikes off and have a cycle along the coast to see what else we could find. After a rough bike ride up a track, we certainly couldn’t take the motorhome on let alone anything else, we came to the top of a hill. Down below was a lovely little bay with some hippy looking vans parked up on some rough ground, not a car park, right on the bay edge. It was the bay from the picture and it looked an ideal park up in the sunshine. We headed down and chatted to an English couple that told us to take another track with the van, so we cycled back up that way.

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The track was long and winding through the hills, no homes in sight and after the first turning you could no longer see the bay and the sea. At one point we started hearing what we thought sounded like wind chimes, until we turned the corner to find a flock of goats and sheep wondering over the hill and road with bells on. It was a lovely tranquil sight. After a very long cycle ride back the motorhome, we hurriedly got the bikes back on and headed for the Beach. The track back down to the beach with the motorhome was very slow going, with all the bumps.

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Eventually we arrived and parked up in a spot right on the edge overlooking the lovely calm bay, it was picturesque. There were a few converted vans and older motorhomes some with dogs and some with children. It had a very relaxed vibe, with nothing but hills behind and sea in front. The sun was still out, so the wetsuits came out and into the water we went. Had a lovely little snorkel around the rocks, seeing some fish and a big starfish. That evening we decided to build a BBQ, to cook and then have a fire on. The evening was still good and over the last few nights the moon had been very bright. No sooner had we started a fire, the people they did come. Well a couple, the first was a guy from South Africa who was very intense with lots of idea’s for a book he said he was writing! Thankfully he headed back off after a bit. The others though were a lovely young couple Max and Lilly from Sweden.

Monday 1st February

Woke up to an amazing view of a calm bay draped in sunshine. The day was spent relaxing and chatting with our new neighbours Max and Lilly. Also we decided we would take the kayaks out on their maiden voyage. We paddled around the bay, getting used to the steering and making sure we stayed upright. As yet we hadn’t bought any buoyancy aids, so they would sink if we turned over in them! Also that day we met a lovely English couple, Karl and Diana. They lived in their van through south Spain and Portugal making a living making jewellery and frames from shells and him playing Flamenco guitar. Very inspiring and showing it could be done. The day seemed a long lovely sunny day, set in an idyllic setting.

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I find watching the sea so mesmerising, it calls you in and like watching a fire it’s constantly moving. At night it was warm enough, just, to stand out and listen to the ocean and watch the stars. Was a perfect day and perfect spot.

Posted by marklorna 17:32 Comments (1)

Thursday 28th January - Saturday 30th January

The Surfing South West coast of Portugal

Thursday 28th January

Drove back to the coast and a place called Porto Covo. With the aim of parking up on a car park overlooking the sea, this was from our book. When we got there though they had put height barriers up! We ended up following a German motorhome with a kayak on top, a bit down the road, as we thought he might know of another place to park. He turned off and stopped on the maroon coloured cliffs directly overlooking a lovely coloured sea. We pulled behind him and had a chat, and exchanged places to park up around Portugal. He was only stopping here now for a brew mind, as he was going to Lisbon to pick up a friend. We said our farewells and we continued down the coast to Almograve. Which was a nice parking area overlooking a lovely bay, the sun was still up and the water looked inviting. So as Lorna had a snooze on the beach I got into my wet suit, got my body board and got in the sea.

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Friday 29th January

Waking up to a sunny day overlooking the sea, is a great pleasure. We ventured further south down the coast and ended up in a place called Amoreira. It was nice and warm in the motorhome, but windy outside. The coast is known as a windy coast good for surfing etc. So we stayed in overlooking the sea and opening our recently purchased small pack of strong cheddar cheese, we found in the supermarket, mmmmm. In Europe they don’t seem to do strong cheddar, just soft cheeses, so was a real treat. Later we parked a little further back from the beach in an alcove, off the road, other motorhomes were parked up at.

Saturday 30th January[i]

Headed round to the next bay to empty the tanks, our motorhome book told us there were services and there wasn’t. Ended up chatting to an older Belgium couple, although neither one of us could speak the other ones language. We still managed to converse and they told us a lot about Morocco and where to go. Which was great as in the last few days we had started to research about Morocco, due to us wanting to be there in February. After speaking with them, we had a rough route we could start looking into more. Also they helpfully gave us a card of a place we had read about, which do cheap ferry tickets for motorhomes. We said our thank you’d and goodbyes and set back off.

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We carried on down the coast to Carrapteira and a surfers bay, I think called Bordeira. Relaxed there, overlooking the beach and all the surfers. It was a nice bay with just a few surf shacks. We carried on down the coastal track and came across a lagoon just behind the sea, with a huge sandy bank and a lone little beach bar. It was far to get round to it and it wasn’t open, so we headed back to the surfers bay to spend the night parked with a few other surfer vans. Our German motorhomer with his Kayak and recently picked up friend, also arrived here for the night. As the afternoon was coming to an end I went back in the water for a swim with the body board and later some guitar on the beach

Posted by marklorna 17:27 Comments (0)

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