Sunday, 26 February 2012

23rd Feb LORDELO – SAO PEDRO DO SUL (90 miles)

WE SACKED THE SAT NAV; after yesterdays unpaved roads episode and decided to navigate our route for ourselves; this was fine on paper, we knew exactly where we wanted to go, but for some reason the Portuguese don’t mark their junctions with road numbers, just local (small) place names that aren’t even mentioned on the map – so we had to reinstate her (but I did turn off her voice!). We chose a road that was marked with a green line to one side (this indicates a picturesque route) of course Mrs Sat Nav chose a different route, but we ignored her.  Well it was certainly picturesque and very,  very scary.

I thought the journey we took on the 18th (Cangas de Onis – A Portenova) was bad but the roads in Spain are fabulous compared to Portuguese roads. In Spain all roads are clearly marked and junctions are logical, mountain roads have steel barriers all along the edges and are well kept. In comparison Portuguese roads are full of potholes (even quite main roads), the sides of the roads are crumbling away, road signage is dreadful and on top of this the Portuguese drive like maniacs – they just pull out in front of you regardless of whose right of way it is, stop any where – even parking on roundabouts and don’t get me started on their road positioning!!

Anyway to get back to our picturesque journey; it was up and over several mountains and the roads were VERY windy and most of the time we were on the outside edge (with no barrier),  our average speed was 22mph. We both agreed we did not want to live in Northern Portugal – but it was absolutely beautiful; terraces of olives and grapevines, and eucalyptus forests and deep,  deep gorges with rivers at the bottom. It’s getting warmer and warmer the further we drive south, today we saw lots of butterflies, a heron, a goose and a duck (these were all flying close to the van, not at the same time).
Our shower is a bit of a pain, the drain is towards the back and unless the van is level or sloping backwards water doesn’t drain away (and you can’t drive with a shower tray full of water), so Brett (he had the last shower) is on his hands and knees scooping the water out with a mug; apart from that it’s quite impressive, it gets very warm, the power isn’t too bad and there’s plenty of water to wash and rinse hair and bathe.
We’re eating well (in case you’re worried!) tonight we have ½ kilo of fresh Camarao (king prawns) cooked in garlic butter with pao de centeio longo (bread) and this came to a grand total of 4.74 (£3.95 real money).

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