Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Just a short journey today, we’re going to over night at a barragem; we’re really excited as we’ll be able to wash our clothes (it’s not allowed to put up clothes lines at aires).

As we were driving we saw this large white bird, with black wing tips (a stork) flying above us, it came to rest on a nest on the top of a telegraph pole. Then we noticed all the telegraph poles along the road had nests on top of them, most with two adult birds in.

Sat Nav (bitch) took us through Nisa; she directed us down a street (which looked fine at first) then it became one way, then it became an unpaved street that got narrower and narrower so that in the end we literally couldn’t fit down it; so we had to back all the way back up it (the wrong way). She’s evil, there was no reason at all for her to have chosen that route, it wouldn’t have been any shorter than the proper way; she just wanted to take us off the road for ½ mile only to put us back on the same road ½ mile further on!!!
The drive to the barragem got a bit hairy towards the end when we had to drive across the top of the dam (very narrow with a bend in the middle) but it was worth it; I thought the aire at Boiro was fabulous, this beats it hands down (and it’s free). It’s so pretty here, I think the trees are Mimosa (it’s probably what’s giving me hay fever); we parked under a tree so that the van wouldn’t get too hot.
Barragem de Povoa
There was already a camper van parked; actually it was a horse box which had been customised on the inside, with a lovely French range (wood burning stove), it belonged to an English couple (from Oxford) who fed us with wine and gave us tips on some of the best places to camp. They also told us about (and showed us) processional caterpillars, which apparently are very poisonous (they can cause your throat to swell up) and are therefore to be avoided. They gave us this huge pine cone which we have to heat up, so that it opens; inside are nuts, which you shell, and inside these are pine nuts – it’s obvious where they come from once someone tells you (for goodness sake the clue is in the name).

Our bikes were really filthy so we decided to clean them; we couldn’t believe it Brett’s back wheel is completely buckled (it’s unusable, he needs a new one); we have no idea how it’s happened, we haven’t reversed into anything. Poor old Brett is really upset (understandably) and me (trying to help) saying “don’t worry we’ll just have to buy you a new one” didn’t go down well – as Brett says we haven’t learnt how to ask for a back wheel for a bike especially one suitable for disc brakes! (and more to the point we haven’t yet seen a bike shop).
Tuesday 28th Feb: Still at Barragem de Povoe
We’ve decided to stay here another night. Just look at the view from our bedroom window at 7.30 this morning.

Today we did our ‘housework’; we hand washed our clothes and swept and dusted the van. Then we had a leisurely walk and came across this ‘shanty’ town. It was weird, a huge area (at least an acre) all sectioned off with bits of tarpaulin used as fences and roofs, many of these sections had caravans in them. But it was really quiet, as if there was no one there. It was in the grounds of this huge old mansion that was falling into disrepair; however all the plants in the garden had been pruned and tied back, all very strange. Brett thinks perhaps it’s accommodation for migrant workers, when they come to harvest the grapes or olives.
Across the road from our van is a field with cattle; we first noticed them as one of them is wearing a bell – I love that sound; I’m going to have cow bells on my goats. They are all bullocks and the older ones have horns and it suddenly occurred to me that when we came through Nisa yesterday we saw a bullring. How horrible, I thought (hoped) bull fighting had been made illegal; maybe they just tie hankies to their horns and the matadors have to collect them? Look at them they’re beautiful why would anyone want to torture them? Maybe I’m wrong, perhaps they are beef steers?

This is a really quiet area, but a couple of hundred yards up the road is this shack with music playing (day & night) which is a small bar; we went and had a beer this afternoon, 1.40 for 2 beers!
At dusk we walked down to the water to see a very strange sight; these fish were popping their heads out of the water (about 3” – 4” up in the air) and then swimming for a couple of yards before going back under the water. What was that all about?
Tomorrow we’re going to try to find a campsite near Fundao (there are no aires around there), so that we will be in the right area for our 10.00 a.m. appointment to view houses on Thursday. Hopefully we’ll be able to get on the internet.

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