We left Seville and had the brilliant idea of surprising some friends of ours. Pete and Nina have been “full timing” throughout Europe for the last few years, their comprehensive and informative blog can be found here. Pete and Nina on tour.
We had been following their blog and had exchanged a few emails – they were in Portugal, so it seemed like a plan. We hot footed it to Camperstop Messines which is located in the Eucalyptus groves about half an hour inland from the Algarve coast. On arrival it would appear that our stealthy approach had been our undoing, we’d missed them by a cpl of days! Oh well, we were in Portugal for a month, so we emailed them and told them we would catch up with them some other time.
Bless em, they emailed us back and told us they were on there way back (and we should prepare our livers!!)
We’ve not seen Pete & Nina socially for far too many years and there was a lot of catching up to be done (Deb had 2 decades of pent up “banter” to let loose on Pete)
Anyway some pics…..
Now I’m probably in for a rollocking for posting this rather uncomplimentary pic of Deb, but there is a tale to tell. Debs a bit of a soft touch when it comes to strays and I’m constantly telling her not to attract them to the van, my theory being that it will be even harder to leave them, once “befriended”.
She’d spotted a cat at Messines and (after being told not to) had snook out with a pack of ham. This pic is the “oi” moment.
The cat had the last laugh, having eaten all our ham it went back to the van next door (its owners van) for a kip.
Messines is the perfect “chill out” place, the owner Andre, told us that his ethos was to provide a “wild camping” experience, but with servicing facilities. The camperstop is surrounded by walks (some arranged by Andre) and he even provides a shopping service for 50 cents (to cover his fuel costs!)
Here’s some pics of the countryside around Messines
The Hudsons arrived and Pete appeared with 2 x 1 gallon containers, these contained “Sherry” and
Creosote “Brandy”. To be fair the Sherry was pretty good and I like a drop of Brandy, but OMG this was a bit too “industrial” for me.
The site owner Andre had booked us into the weekly meal at a local restaurant and we set off walking. Obviously if you pass a bar on such a nice day then it would be rude not to partake, even if the bar is half a doz plastic chairs at the side of the road (we looked like traffic surveyors, but we had beer and it was sunny)
Once we got to the restaurant the meal was pretty impressive, a starter, then the main course, which was a hot stone provided to cook your own steak at the table, chips and salad, a sweet and nice coffee – all for just over a tenner (including wine of course)!!
We had a few days chilling out at Messines then decided to go on Andre’s organised walk (me and Deb had missed the previous week’s walk due to an overlaying incident)
We decided to have another bash at the local cuisine, this time we walked to a restaurant to have the local speciality Porco Preto (Black pig). Petes been to Portugal loads of times and is on the face of it (compared to me) pretty conversant in all things Portuguese (I’m at the hello, and thank you stage). With the food and wine ordered, I have to say I was pretty impressed with my old mate – however things were not all they seemed, and when Pete asked for more bread with the starter (and 2 fried eggs appeared) we did fear for our black pig!
Time to leave Messines, we decided to have a cpl of days together on the coast, then go our separate ways. Pete and Nina took us to one of their favourite spots, the gorgeous Odecaixe (pronounced Oh – de – zesh) a “wild camping” spot at the top of cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.
The weather was a “bit grim” when we arrived, but the next day was clear blue skies and fantastic views of the coast.
We went for a clifftop walk, which had its windy moments, but the views more than made up for it.
The next morning we had our “farewell coffee” and the Hudsons were off on a new adventure.
We had a great time, Pete and Nina were brilliant fun, really helpful and our detox only took 2 days. Pete’s blog was a must read for us whilst we were waiting for our turn to hit the road, and meeting up has rekindled an old friendship (not forgetting introducing us to Industrial strength Sherry, Natas, Tostas, and Pate de Sardinha)
After Pete and Nina left, we decided to have another night at Odecaixe before working our way through their provided list of “must see’s on the Algarve”
We left Odecaixe and headed to Sagres and an encounter with potentially the worlds tightest motor-homer. Unlike the UK, some of the supermarkets on the continent have service points for motorhomes, where for a cpl of Euros you can dump your loo and waste water, and fill up with fresh water, enough for a few days “wild camping” (also frowned upon in much of the UK). Anyway at the Intermarche supermarket in Sagres, there is a service point, on one side of the “borne” is waste water and loo dump/rinse, the other side fresh water. (its a good idea to keep them apart).
The €2 fee is to turn on the fresh water – dumping/rinsing is actually free here.
Anyway we paid our €2 fee (the only fee paid that week to camp for 5 days) and proceeded to fill up. we were then approached by a guy from the van parked next to us. In his Franglais he explained that there was no need to pay as “its gratuit this side of the borne”.
When I told him about a thousand toilet cassettes (including mine) had been pushed over the rinse tap (it was clearly marked “non drinking”) he said – “yes but its free” Deb joined in with the Le Toilet (in perfect French) but he just walked off shrugging his shoulders at our extravagance – hope the listeria doesn’t ruin his holiday and he spends his €2 saving wisely!!
Sagres is the most Westerly point in mainland Europe and we parked in the fort carpark which was ideal for walking the cliffs and visiting the town.
We love it here, it reminds us so much of Cornwall – only there’s more sun, the cost of living is cheaper and the local council don’t give you a parking ticket for parking slightly over the line.
One thing we always comment on is the ingenuity of people, when it comes to getting away from life in the suburbs. We’ve seen transits containing simply a mattress (with a family of four inside), converted fire engines, delivery trucks, just about anything capable of kipping inside. We think they’re great.
I have to say that the Dutch are the masters when it comes to radical conversions (the Brits are a poor 4th behind the Dutch, Germans and French)
This was our favourite this week – impressive balcony eh!!
We’re still in Portugal making our way along the Algarve and in a cpl of weeks will pass back into Spain – we’ll be back, Portugal is great. (even if the “bread” yolks are a bit runny)
Take care Mick & Debs