A Travellerspoint blog

Monday 25th January- Wednesday 27th January

Evora and surrounding area

Monday 25th January

Today we headed out of Lisbon across one of the long bridges over the estuary, then out down the coast. Came across a small bay below Costa da Caprica, just huts and surf shacks, it was nice little spot.

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Then decided to head away from the coast and back into the country and to a town called Evora. The deeper into the country we went the landscape became more a mix of wild west meets olive groves. There were huge fenced fields and ranch entrances with grazing herds of cattle, also fields of olive and cork trees. It was a lovely drive in the sun through the countryside.

In Evora we headed straight for the tourist office, to get some information on the town and any walks around the surrounding area. They weren’t very helpful and said there were no walks. Although before we left, we did find a leaflet or two on area’s to walk. I don’t think the Portuguese are big on walking!
We decided to head out and follow a roman aqueduct that runs out of the town and into the hills. We had a small leaflet and a map, marking some car parks along the way. Each one we drove to though, turned out they weren’t really car parks. Just a small space for one car to pull up and get out for a walk, must be the huge demand for walks. So we ditched the aqueduct idea and decided to head just out of Evora to an ancient stone circle, on a hill. We drove up a very holey dirt track for a good few miles, before coming out right next to the stone circle on the hill.

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It was a lovely area and on some of the stones you could still see ancient carvings. We were going to park up there for the night, but as it was very windy and we were on top of a hill exposed, we instead decided against it and head back down to Evora.

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Tuesday 26th January

Went to look around Evora’s Chapel Of Bones (Capela dos Ossos). A very strange place indeed and as the name suggests the chapel is built from bones. The ghoulish interior was just skulls and bones, but worth a look.

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Then after we headed for some internet and found the area we were at before we came to Evora, just below it was a coastal natural park. So we headed back to the coast! As it was late in the day, we planned to stop on the way at a lake we had seen on the map. We ended up taking some lovely small roads to see the countryside. It was now getting dusk and we found ourselves on a long small road in the middle of nowhere, not exactly sure how far the lake was. Despite this we found a spot to park up over looking the fields and cattle with their bells.

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Again parked up with another new garden outside. The shutter goes down and the screen goes up, and we could be anywhere. No view of outside, just inside and our now home. A van containing all we really require. As were in a small place we have started little routines of daily tasks, seems to be always something to do. Also we have found our link to the English language, as a lot of the time we manage to pick up Radio 4, on 198LW. The signal is not always good, but we have become addicted. Apart from the fact every time we settle down and turn it on it’s always the same time as the Archers! Can’t say I’m a fan of the programme.

Wednesday 27th January[i]

Found the lake below Alvito, and after a cycle around chose a place to stay. As there were still strong winds a few options weren’t right. So we settled on a spot on a little bit of land that came into the lake. By Lorna’s directing me up the dirt track weaving through the trees, we stopped with the lake on both sides and settled down for the night.

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Posted by marklorna 17:21 Comments (0)

Friday 22nd January - Sunday 24th January

The charming city of Lisbon

Friday 22nd January

Headed into the town of Sintra just outside of Lisbon, famous for being a Royal retreat. After a struggle to find parking, we had a wonder around the charming old town. There was a natural history museum and as it was free we decided to take a look. The collection of fossils and bones were good, but all the descriptions weren’t in English. So although we could follow the display, we didn’t really know a lot of what we were looking at! As we came to the end, a very friendly and informative member of staff came over. He then proceeded to walk us back through, explaining with great interest some of the pieces. We ended up having a nice little private tour.
Then off to Lisbon and some motorhoming parking, Tom knew about, in the Belem area of the city. We found a spot, with about 10 other motorhomes parked up on the side of estuary. It was evening, so we took a little walk around the area we were, we would head into the main part of the city tomorrow.

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Saturday 23rd January

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Headed off towards Lisbon centre, but first we needed to buy a day pass for the tram. We discovered though, after a fair bit of walking and some failed attempts, that you can only buy the day pass when you get into the centre! So for now we hopped on a tram and paid the fair.

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With our day passes now purchased we wondered off around the Baix area of the city. This part is made up of wide boulevards, all very pretty and grand. Then a look around a Sixties and Seventies design exhibition. Before we jumped on one of the small old trams that Lisbon is famous for. We took a ride on the famous tram route No28, which weaves it’s way around the old quarter. It goes down very narrow streets and up the hills Lisbon is built on, a great way of seeing Lisbon.

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Lisbon and actually Portugal on a whole seem to like their tiled buildings. As you walk around Lisbon, the buildings although in one way a little run down they are beautifully tiled. It just seems to add to the amazing character, this city seems to have. I could wonder around the city for ages, just taking it all in.

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As earlier we had spotted an Indian restaurant, something not seen too often, in the evening we indulged in a curry. This was our first since leaving Birmingham, where we had got a tad addicted to them. The food was lovely and gave us the taste of what we had been missing! We then caught a tram back to where the motorhome was.

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Sunday 24th January[i]

Headed out on the bikes for a cycle ride along the estuary that runs around Lisbon. As we had decided to go to the Oceanarium further along. The bike ride ended up being a lot further than we thought. Some parts of the harbour had cycle and walking routes, while other parts were just on and off pavements around the docks.
The Oceanarium was big and very interesting to wonder around. It had a huge under water tank containing the usual sharks, stingrays etc, as well as some very strange large fish. Our favourite though were the huge sleeping Sea Otters, lying floating on the water.

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On the way back we stopped for a nice lunch overlooking the boats in the harbour. Then headed around a really good photo exhibition, by a photographer called Korda. He is the man responsible for taking the famous photo of Che Guevara, the image that is used again and again. A lot of the photos were taken following Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution, so interesting to view.

Posted by marklorna 17:14 Comments (0)

Tuesday 19th January - Thursday 21st

Back to the sea and bit of sun

Tuesday 19th January

Woke up to a lovely sunny day, as Lorna went for a run I moved the motorhome down by a restaurant on the beach. We then decided to have a short drive along the coastal roads to find some smaller beaches where we could park for the day and night. We found a nice little one, took a walk along the beach to one of the little beach bars and had a drink.

Beach near San Pedro de Moel

Beach near San Pedro de Moel


Wednesday 20th January

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Spent a lazy morning drying clothes and walking on the beach in the warm weather. Then headed further down the coast slowly getting nearer Lisbon. We stopped in a place called Baleal. It was a small town with two sets of beach’s and a lot of surfers. I was going to get my wetsuit on and get in with my body board, but decided just to watch them instead.

Thursday 21st January
[i]
Drove further down the coast to Praia de Santa Cruz and parked up overlooking the sea. Spent the rest of the day not doing much at all. Had a wonder into the village mind for internet access, to read up on Lisbon. Found a bar with wifi and settles down for a drink. They didn’t have any white wine though, so we ended up having a glass full of something else that made my head spin a little when we left the café!

Posted by marklorna 17:08 Comments (0)

Friday 15th January to Monday 18th January

Waiting for Post

Friday 15th January

Back to the post office! This time a parcel, but only the one for Lorna, still no Tom. Due to Portugal’s postal service not working weekends, they said the other one wouldn’t be here till Monday or Tuesday. We would now have to wait a whole weekend, as it was still Friday morning. We didn’t want to stop any longer in Guarda, so decided to head back into the national parks and maybe the roads and the ski station would be open.

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The roads were open and off we headed to Manteigas and into some lovely mountains. We were driving along a small road across a glacier valley, with huge boulders. Parked up the mountain at 1500m overlooking the glacier valley, the views were great apart from the rain!

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Later on that night after some food and wine, we ran out of water. We had seen a spring on the edge of the road somewhere near. So decided to head off into the wet night with some water bottles, to find it. Walking down the road in the dark we realised we were pretty alone up here, as hardly any cars had passed by all night. After a while we hadn’t found the spring, so decided to head back. Near the motorhome, I took some steps and on the first couple I got a fright. In the dark some dogs started barking, right next to me. I couldn’t see the size of them, so quickly made my way back to the motorhome in another direction.

Saturday 16th January

In the light of the day we went in search of water. There were some taps in the picnic area, although non were working, but there were no dogs in sight. We decided to head further up towards the ski station. The further we went up though the foggier it became. As the weather was raining as well, we decided to head back down the hill and try again tomorrow. We found some parking outside of Mantiegas near the dry ski slope.

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Sunday 17th January

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The weather was a little better today so we headed back up towards the ski station. As we climbed higher, the views got better over the valleys and mountains. At 1900m up it started getting foggy again but we continued a little more to the ski station. The ski station was very small and although the fog kept lifting every so often it was not worth paying to ski. Besides not many runs were open, instead we watched the crowds sledging over any bit they could. Lorna decided we should build a snowman, a tall one called Bert! Just as we finished four Portuguese came over and asked to have their photo’s taken with him, we had created a star. So we decided to leave him be, our job done and head back to the motorhome.

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We parked up for the night again just outside of Mantiegas but near their thermal spa.

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Monday 18th January

In the morning we went straight to check the internet. Tom had now arrived in Guarda, so off we went. This was now my 5th day in the post office, as I walked in, the woman behind the counter gave me a smile and put her hand up declaring my parcel was here. She didn’t speak any English and I didn’t really speak Portuguese but she seemed happy for me that my parcel had finally arrived. Or was she just grateful I wouldn’t be coming back in? With Tom now back to guide us, cheers Paul, we headed off. As the weather was still raining we decided to cut our losses with the skiing and head away from the hills.

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After a two and half-hour drive we arrived at dusk in San Pedro De Moel on the coast. We found a car park near the lighthouse, on cliffs overlooking the sea. The best thing was there was no rain and walking outside you could feel it was warmer, no jacket even required. Later that night though, it was fairly rocky from the wind. Also we seemed to have chosen a car park where they like to practise handbrake turns!

Posted by marklorna 16:55 Comments (0)

Thursday 14th January

Up early and very tired, we decided to leave the shopping car park and hopefully this town. As we drove away to the post office, we saw what had made the big crashing noise in the night. A huge sign above one of the shops had been ripped off by the wind and was in pieces on the floor! Driving further into the town, there were road signs pretty much flattened from the wind as well as branches scattered everywhere. Back at the post office I again said my piece in Portuguese, and after a look around the shelves, was again told no! This time I passed them the tracking numbers and established one of the parcels had gone to the original destination of Colvilha and the other was still in Lisbon. The woman went off to use the phone, hopefully to find out about the parcel still in Lisbon. I decided well at least we would get out of this town and head back to Colvilha where the other parcel also would no doubt arrive tomorrow. After a while the woman came back and I established that she had arranged the parcel from Colvilha to be sent here tomorrow! The other parcel still in Lisbon, well she didn’t know when that would come or where. I tried to explain that it was ok I would drive to Colvilha, if only to get out this town, to pick up the parcel there. But as she spoke no English and as I couldn’t say this in Portuguese, all I kept getting repeated back was “tomorrow parcel here”. I walked out the post office very deflated, the weather was still windy, cold and very wet. We would be staying in this town for yet another night. I didn’t even bother going to find out about the ski station, as no doubt it would be open but the roads closed and the weather was no good for skiing anyway. So back off to the car park for more waiting. It seemed such a great idea, get the parcels sent to a town in the National Park and we could wait while skiing or walking round the mountains! The plan was not working out, next time we got anything sent, it would be by the sea somewhere warm.

On my way back to the motorhome I decided to stop in a shop selling gas bottles, to ask whether we could get our empty French gas bottle refilled. Only problem was, I soon discovered after walking in and finding out he didn’t speak English, was my phrasebook didn’t cover this question! I tried some visual clues as well as probably saying English words in a strange accent, I was getting nowhere. The shopkeeper then called his daughter and explained to me in Portuguese she spoke English, then after saying a few words passed her on to me. Well she also didn’t understand me so again we got nowhere. He must of felt sorry for me and the situation as next he got two oranges out of his bag and gave them to me, I managed to establish there were from his own tree as well. I thanked him and we said our goodbyes. Back at the car park as we were tired it was on with heating and back to bed to try and get some sleep that we missed in last nights wind.

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Posted by marklorna 09:01 Comments (0)

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