Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Wild flowers at Messines

Thanks to my chum Mick I've a renewed interest in the complicated chunk of retirement windfall better known as 'The Big Camera'. It was once my weapon of choice but was confined to the overhead locker  when its much smaller Canon (go anywhere) brother was purchased
So basically I never got round to finding out why some of my shots in the early travelling days turned out to be (IMHO) rather good. I now realise it was by pure chance and me of course having it set on 'Auto' mode all the time. So just like most folks only use ten per cent of the capability of a PC when pressing it in to action, thus I had a 'Samurai Sword' and only used it to peel the veg…..

Anyhow with seemingly little to shoot while ensconced in our habitual home at Camperstop Messines for a week or so prior to arrival of family…
I go out in search of pretty flowers…
Roughy Toughy Men look away…

Isn't Nature just a beautiful thing!

Man's only intrusion in to the wonderful area around the site

When we come to Portugal this is where we feel is 'Home'

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

North East Portugal

We now have some time to kill before family visit us at the end of April down on the Algarve
The weather looks increasingly unsettled but we decide to do a loop north eastwards up around the extremities of the Spanish border but staying on the Portuguese side

A memorable stay was had at the rear of 'O Moinho' restaurant overlooking the huge weir at Chaves
The thickest, cheapest and tastiest veal steak we'd ever had!

Several days are spent rambling around this beautiful area with seemingly endless bends and deserted hills. Unfortunately the weather wasn't kind to us and we steadily head southwards again in search of sunshine...

Some beautiful scenery to be enjoyed here close to the Spanish border

Terraced olive groves and many vineyards..

Almond in blossom

Surely taking wild camping a bit far...

At Barril do Alva we revisit another favourite haunt next to yet another restaurant for three nights.
The local Autocaravanas Association have provided a superb aire for visitors to the region and the bonus is the €7.00 all in Prato do Dia on offer each day..Why bother cooking yourself?

Safe then..

The infamous Processionary Caterpillar overwintering nests which are to be avoided at all costs

Can you guess what it is yet?

A couple of nights (in the rain) are spent at Barragem de Povoa in a lovely tranquil setting, me reading and Nina mainly feeding her new cross-stitching addiction

A few hours of sunshine sees us Fozz it to nearby Castelo de Vide and partake of some quite tasty Pizza from a tiny shop on the square

Next up is a small aire near Estremoz for a couple of nights of the same weather really.
We manage to get out one afternoon and visit nearby Vila Vi├žosa a really beautiful town famed for its Marble industry

Some hole in the ground eh?

For many miles around you see these huge marble mountains and the small industries that go with it

The Ducal Palace

A very tiny chapel

Wisteria in full bloom

Marble abounds here, as you would imagine.
The kerbstones and pavements are even made of the stuff, as was the whole of the supermarket shop flooring 

Alas there are some remarkable buildings here sadly neglected and as the town's populous declines with the shrinking marble trade you have to wonder what it will all look like in twenty years

If you want fast food at any number of local cafes then you are sure to be rewarded with a lot of change from a €5.00 note...