Saturday, 28 February 2015


The road from Mertola to Pomarão is a rallying delight with potholes and 12km of 'dodgy road'. No wonder we have only just discovered this place on the full version Campercontact App I acquired last week.The last few kms or so are quality tarmac and a steep descent takes you down to the Guadiana river to meet the border with Spain

The big attraction here, and I think best kept secret, is the place is a Vanner's delight..

Its on the site of a former mining port where the ore from Mina de São Domingos was carried down the Guadiana and exported some 50 years ago now

The village has I'm told 25 permanent residents, two restaurant/cafes and lots of space to lose yourself for a week which is what we did

We soon became afternoon regulars at the cafe overlooking the river with WiFi and decided to hole up here for the duration, having found 'services' not listed on the App

We became Chums with Lynne & Russell who where also blown away by the tranquility of the place and we enjoyed their company immensely both at the cafe and in our respective vans for Soirees of 'heavy wine tasting'

We arrived with an empty fridge originally so spent a day at Castro Verde on a very nice and cheap campsite doing the whole washing for an amazing €2.50 a pop.
Having found our 'spot' taken on our return we relocated further down the river and chilled for a full week (when has that ever happened) and we waxed and thoroughly cleaned the van to while away the hours in between our new social engagements
I have to mention Ean at this stage. An older guy from the Isle of Man who's setting the pace with his dog Mawdy. I promised not to publish pictures of his van but its suffice to say its a 'jaw dropper' arrangement dating back to military use and is as long as an articulated lorry with the  addition of a  trailer.
The four of us took real pleasure in his daily company and he was a delight to meet

The mining rail track of some 14km went long ago as did some of the bridges so this direction was out of bounds for the bikes so off we went trekking 

Copper ore

Portuguese dogs in between constant barking bouts 

The huge dam at the border

The cafe is just down on the left. We left several hours later…..

Another day for a crazy long ride, this time to Sanlucar over in Spain

All was well with some heavy going up and down and following what were firstly levelish rail cuttings, then hardcore single trails which had us grunting just to reach the intended destination

The route back saw us following an irrigation canal that feeds farmland down on the Algarve

No expense spared here with stainless steel balustrades 
Over 40km today but felt like much more...