We decided to travel along the Algarve coast back towards the Spanish border, call back at Messines for the Easter break, then cross back into Spain for the steady trek North.
Our first stop was Lagos, a pretty marina town with an equally impressive beach. It was a warm sunny day, so we had a walk down to the beach. One thing we don’t seem good at though is passing the bars on the way back though and when theres a live blues band just setting up, it would be rude not to call in.
We did notice that there is a pretty substantial expat community around here, not very “authentic Portugal”, but not as “in your face” as the Brit resorts over the border.
The camperstop was “buzzed”that afternoon by some local joyriders, but they didn’t burn too much rubber!
We moved along to Alvor and a camperstop right on the beach, which was a short walk into the small town. Debs has learnt her lesson with the cat feeding but has found a new hobby.
Praia Du Rocha next and a camperstop next to the marina, really sunny weather, but the wind was a bit cold. Called at a cafe for that good old fashioned Portuguese dish, fish, chips and lager!! Decent views though.
Our next stop was Silves (20 mins inland) Debs checked us onto the camperstop
Debs – “Three nights please”
Camperstop reception woman “we are doing an offer, its buy three get one free”
Debs – “four nights please”
Silves is a pretty nice small town with an “old town” with a moorish castle at the top of a hill and an abundance of cafes. Time for Silves offer number two, Debs picked up a leaflet at reception for a local restaurant “bring this leaflet for a special price”.
So we had…………..
Starter (Bread, Olives, Pate)
Piri Piri Chicken, salad, rice, fries
Litre of red wine
Glass of port
Total bill (for both of us including VAT)?
Silves has a large population of storks, and there are nesting platforms built for them on streetlights, buildings, telegraph poles etc. I got a few pics, but missed the best one as a stork flew close over our heads with a frog dangling from its beak.
We have discovered that wine prices in Portugal don’t seem to effect the quality too much so we thought were push the boundaries – and at 65c (50p) a litre, maybe we found the limit. To be honest it wasn’t as bad as we thought.
Next stop for us was Albefuira for a few days, staying at a camperstop on the outskirts of town. The old town of Albefiura is pretty decent with the usual collection of bars/restaurants. Eating out here is really cheap (not Silves cheap though!!) and there’s plenty of choice. The camperstop was “functional” and handy for town, but really packed in. (no snoring Debs) The plus side to this of course is that you tend to interact with your fellow “vanners” more and we met some really nice people here.
Easter weekend was here and we decided to get away from the crowds a bit and head back to Messines. Andre, the camperstop owner was pleased to see us and was taking orders for the restaurant lunch – yes please!
Well Messines was our first and last stop in Portugal and we headed over the border to Spain – we’ve really enjoyed Portugal. Fantastic scenery, good company, and really friendly people (and storks!!)
Mind you, they also sell this stuff………………… on second thoughts stay away!
Oh, and would you buy a house from Mario?
Our first night back in Spain was on the top of a mountain, we’d seen a parking spot on our app that was in the hills above Malaga – it didn’t say in the description that oxygen was required though! The road up was pretty tortuous and it was one of those “once committed, no turning back” roads, with the odd passing place, but no chance of turning round.
I was feeling quite pleased with myself when I got to the top (in fact almost bragging about my obvious driving skill) until I noticed the full sized coach pulling up and dropping 50 school kids off at the observatory.
We carried on the next day to Almerimar, back on the coast, and the wind was blowing a hoolie. The wind surfers and Kite surfers were having a pretty decent time.
A cpl of hours further up the coast we found a “wild camping” spot at a place called Aguilas. We were parked right on the beach, with fantastic views of the med. We had 3 days here, with the beach pretty much to ourselves. Looking out of the van window and seeing the sunrise over the sea and sunset over the mountains was pretty special.
Ok I admit it, our next stop was another week in Benidorm. Yes we had Tapas by the bucketload, yes we had too much to drink 1 night, yes we had a hangover the next day. Moving on……
Next stop Peniscola, and the best toilet sign of the tour.
Our final stop in Spain was in the town of Blanes, just round the bay from Lloret De Mar, the camperstop was just a carpark in town, but it was free and the seafront was pretty nice.
As I write this we have just parked up in France at a favourite spot of ours in a village called Latour Bas Elne. We’re going to have a few days here visiting friends and then its goodbye Mediterranean, hello English Channel!