Thursday, 29 March 2012


Well that was a waste of two days hanging around for the gas station to open – he said “No” (he only did Portuguese bottles)!!! When we were told about the blue elephant place, by the people at the campsite, they said there was another place we could try, quite close to the campsite, but their directions were rather complicated (which was why we tried to find the blue elephant place). However as we really needed to get gas we decided to try to find this other place – a trip of 30 miles (in the wrong direction!!) – it took us quite a while to find (we nearly gave up) but ....................... hoorah, we got both our gas bottles refilled (we get excited about little things these days!!). It cost us 25€ and we now have gas for at least six weeks; if we’d had to buy Portuguese bottles we’d have had to pay a deposit (which we probably wouldn’t have got back), and we’d have had to buy the Portuguese adaptors, this would have probably cost us a minimum of 70, maybe as much as 100 - so that’s why we’re happy.

So having spent the morning driving away from Spain we decided to spend another night in the aire at Castro Marim (we haven’t seen the pigeons again). We decided to stop off at a beach we had been told was worth a visit at Manta Rota; we parked in a car park just outside the village, after lunch we got the bikes off the van and cycled up the hill to the village, it was a dead end! We turned around and headed off along a track towards the beach – and Brett got a puncture!!! So we decided to walk (and mend the puncture later).
It wasn’t a nice walk; it was through this marshland with lots of little tributaries leading to the sea; the foliage was very scrubby and prickly (cactus), and the water, which we had to paddle through to get to the sea, was smelly and foamy. I wanted to turn around, but Brett was following some tractor tracks that he thought would lead to a road, which would have given us an easier walk back. After ½ an hour he admitted defeat!! And we turned back; but of course by now the tide was coming in!!! So the water we had paddled through originally was now 2 foot deep (and getting deeper) and the rocks we had stepped across were now slippery – I wasn’t happy. However Brett enjoyed the walk because we came across an area by the tide line with hundreds of holes, each contained a small crab; if you stood still for long enough they popped out of their holes, looked around, then went back down, sometimes pulling lumps of seaweed down on top of themselves. We also found masses of samphire growing wild, but we didn’t have a bag with us which was a shame.
 Brett would like to point out that the walk was nowhere near as bad as I made it sound, and at no time were we in any trouble; he says I exaggerate and in fact the water we waded through was very warm and had lots of fish in it and it was worth it just to see the crabs! (Hmm, it doesn’t sound like the same walk does it?!!)

When we got to the aire Brett mended his puncture; WARNING: do not buy Wilkinson’s puncture repair kit – it doesn’t work; the instructions are rubbish and the glue doesn’t stick very well – after four attempts we’re now keeping our fingers crossed that his tyre doesn’t go down over night.

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