Saturday, 30 March 2013

Northern Portugal / Spanish North Coast

What a change in the weather this last week or so...
Whilst we are still quite warm the sun has all but dissappeared and its been almost constant rain. Several days travelling along the Northern Spanish coastline have been spoiled a bit by the obvious rain but more really by restricted views and hilltop mist. A chat with the locals revealed it was their worst weather for 6 years...great.
A quick glance at the weather back home got us back on track though. Whilst we've never read so much (Nina's on her 19th book!) I would have liked to have used the bikes to discover more inland
Still the sun is out this morning in all its glory so hopefully its broken the pattern...

Estarreja area, south of Porto. Great place this with marshland/nature reserves and an opportunity to get the bikes out

Viana do Castello, near the Spanish border.
Views were amazing the morning after spending the night on top of the hill

Do one thing a day that scares you...or so it goes
This was a week's worth. At the top of the temple you got out through a crude sliding metal shutter then clung to the sides outside admiring the view...well I did

Last stop in Portugal was Villa Praia de Ancora

On to Spain and mile after mile of stunning coastline, this time under a shroud of mist, but we will do this route again in future years and stay longer

Ribadeo, top coast en route for Cudillero below

We didn't fancy any tapas here!

Like Whitby really on Good Friday, packed and we swear it smelled of Fish & Chips 

Monday, 18 March 2013

More West Coast

The coastline of West Portugal is simply stunning. There are miles and miles of unspoilt beautiful beaches with surf that is a Mecca for the pro surfers. Some guys just turn up at lunchtime and grab an hour or so then back to work presumably, what a life.
We can imagine that it can get quite busy here in season and we are told it is very hot in summer
This time of year is perfect for us as we can walk the pure sandy beaches in almost total isolation, paddle in the sea, and pretend we are just turned seventeen 

Surf was best described as giant soapsuds

We think this was a recently erected memorial to lost local fishermen back in Jan 1963

Next day we sat at this beach bar, drank Super Bock beer, and thanked Big G we were alive...

The storks are everywhere and are encouraged to build nests on local farmland but we know they prefer warm chimneys in town

After a half hour bone crunching bus ride one day from Camping Lisboa, we found ourselves in the middle of downtown Lisbon, on a rather dull day
We had high expectations of the city and perhaps we missed the highlights, but left feeling quite disappointed 

Trams everywhere, which was nice...

Now this really was the exception to the rule
A few thousand of these guys and you may just have a decent road network
To every country there is a downside, in this case the roads, other than the unused motorway toll roads which are immaculate, all other highways are either only navigable at 15 mph or are randomly potholed  and resemble a vibration test track.
You can drive along at a steady pace then have to swerve violently to prevent suspension damage from unmarked areas of rough road. Result is we are constantly overtaken, no real loss, by Portuguese drivers who care not for their cars anyway

Big ants we think...

Now then....Instead of slipping out to a lap dancing club, why not get them to come to you?
Look closely, I'm sure they are windows with blinds

Cabo Da Roca, west of Lisbon

No forestry commission here then..
If it blocks the road, just cut a pass!

Peniche, on a very windy day 

This place of worship is massive to say the least. It was the scene in 1917 of a month of apparitions and predictions to three young peasant children