Back on the road…

Packing up and cleaning ground sheets in the awning. Thankfully the sun shone all day so everything dried out quickly

Packed to the gunnels, all we own in the world in one car!!

Molly checking out the car for the journey!!

Last morning in Iznate and clouds over our beloved Maroma

Daisy Duke the campsite cat that we feed waiting for breakfast….we were told that morning from another English camper that she had discovered his dog Vinny’s food bowl. Vinny is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Rhodesian Ridgeback cross who doesn’t like cats but nothing freaks Daisy out. She is such a cool cat :)

Ready to leave, hubby estimated we would be away by 8am, I estimated not before 10am. We finally left at just gone 11am!!

Not happy!!

I had to hold Molly’s paw for much of the journey

Stop off overnight just outside Seville. A quiet site meant we could just pull up and not have to ‘unhitch’ to save us time the following morning. It didn’t!!

Confined to barracks overnight meant having to ‘gawp’ from inside…

Molly has a good look too.

The caravan gets a bit ‘cluttered’ when we are actually traveling!!

We awoke to light rain which quickly turned torrential. By the time we had packed up the heavens were in full fury. We also woke to a flat tyre on the caravan. Luckily we are a twin axle so we made the decision to keep going on it until the weather improved enough to change it. We then had to get out of the site which; because of a bad layout, meant having to reverse out. Hubby did a sterling job despite not being able to see anything in the side mirrors (reversing in a caravan is no easy task) Helped by me on one corner and a very kind fellow Englishman on the other he slowly managed to inch back out to the entrance and turn around. By this time I was soaked to the skin and shivering but a change of clothes and blast of the car heater and we were on our way – time now 11.30am!!

We limped along stopping to pump the tyre up every hour until it was obvious we were losing the battle. So hubby had to change the tyre in the rain :(

My hero!!

Oscar slept oblivious to the drama unfolding around him

Molly was a little more concerned about Daddy’s tyre changing abilities…..

Arrived at last….

The old fellow stretching his legs after the journey

And Molly checking out her surroundings

We caught a glimpse of the ‘super moon’ last night (probably what was responsible for yesterday’s freaky weather!) before we fell exhausted into bed.

The sun is shining this morning which bodes well for getting the awning up and the car unpacked. Hubby has his work cut out leveling the caravan as at the moment we are very definitely rolling on one side! Ok when you have had a beer or two but a bit perturbing otherwise.

But we are here, and it is good to be back. Looking forward to a long, hot summer and a relaxed pace of life for the next 6 months :)

Long overdue update…

Wow, a whole month has passed since I last did a post and life has been very busy.

Radio interviews, ultra-marathon training, yoga, a trip back to the UK, running my first retreat and now the last few days packing up to leave Spain for the heady plains of Portugal once again.

It is hard to believe that 6 months is up already and that we will be back on the road tomorrow heading up for Seville and an overnight stop before traveling into Portugal on Saturday.

But, we are ready to move on and get a change of scenery and a different pace over the summer. More time to spend on the online portion of my business together with more time for yoga and shifting up a gear with my ultra-marathon training.

I have to say that this time around has been the smoothest in terms of packing everything away which must been we are getting used to it – or maybe it means that I threw a lot more of our ‘stuff’ away in the time that we have been here!

Even the cats seem less phased by the idea that we are moving on again and are contentedly snoozing or sitting in the car trying it out for the off tomorrow – lol.

So, as we complete our third 6 month stint since leaving the UK I am happy to announce that this lifestyle is still as appealing as it was when we first got here. I love the fact that everything that we own can be fitted into the back of a car (albeit a rather large Ford Galaxy!) and that we are masters of our own destinies in terms of where we go and for how long. Life rocks!! :)

I’ll take some photo’s on route and promise to post again once we arrive.

 

After the sun comes the rain…

It had to happen but after over two months of hot sunny weather it was still a shock to be woken by the sound of rain pounding on the roof of the caravan.

I lay in bed this morning warm and cosy listening to the drumming drone of the sudden change in weather glad that we had already moved bags away from the edge of the awning last night.  The clay ground here is like concrete and so it will be a struggle for the water to drain away today but hopefully our ‘moat’ will do its job and keep the worst of the surface water out of the tent.

The ground desperately needs some rain, the meadows that were lush and green when we arrived are parched and stripped bare from the cows grazing over the summer. Sebio has been supplementing them on hay over the last month and has now moved them to the top field again so we have lost our inquisitive neighbours. :(

Molly is cuddled up on the bed not wanting to venture out in the cooler wet weather and Oscar is curled up on a deckchair in the awning – a half way house as he is not quite ready to be a ‘bed’ cat again yet.

We are in for wet weather for the next two days and then the sun returns for the weekend and next week, but it is a sign that the seasons are shifting and our summer in Portugal is drawing to a close. We have about 8 weeks left here before we head back into Spain and it will be a busy 8 weeks as we have the bulk of our sightseeing and trips out still to come!!

It will be a struggle to drag ourselves away from our little oasis here in Portugal as we have had such a relaxing and laid back summer, but new adventures await and its time to get out and explore a little……… :)

 

Feliz aniversário

On Wednesday we celebrated hubbie’s birthday. Birthday’s are national holidays in our household and so we downed tools and spent the day sightseeing and relaxing.

First up was a fortifying breaksfast for hubby to set him up right for his big day ahead and then I loaded up some food and off we set for the nearby village of Reguengos de Monsaraz.

Set on the side of Europe’s largest lake we had been told it was one of the most beautiful areas in Portugal.

So, off we set curious as to what we would find. About 50 minutes later we arrived at the Lake – yes very big but not a patch on the Lake District and Scottish Lochs. Still we parked up and walked down to the shore and sat and had our food I had packed.

After recharging our batteries we made our way up to Monsaraz perched up on one of the hills overlooking the Lake. It is a tiny little medieval town and was just delightful and had quite a fairytale feel to it. We wandered through the little streets feeling as though we had stepped back in time. The Knights Templar fortified Monsaraz back in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The locals call Monsaraz  ‘Ninho das Aquia’ – Eagles Nest and of all the little villages we have visited so far it is by far the loveliest and well kept. There are several little craft shops and a handful of restaurants and bars so we have agreed to come back and sample them another day.

The only downside to Monsaraz can be found when you walk into the old castle at the far end of the village. Hubby climbed the iron stairs to the top of the castle walls whilst I wandered around at ground level. I had an uneasy feeling about this end of town that I couldn’t put my finger on until I came around a corner and found myself in a small bull ring. Apparently they bull fight here when they can afford a bull and use it as a football pitch the rest of the time. Not being a huge fan of bull fighting!! – really can’t get my head around such a cruel activity I left hubby to explore up top and had a little wander around the nearest craft shop purchasing some raw honey that caught my eye.

Reunited with hubby we stopped for refreshment – me a coffee(driving) and him a very welcome cold beer. It was getting very hot by this stage and so we retired to the car and headed home.

Back on site for lunch and a lazy afternoon sat in the shade of a tree sampling some different beers we whiled away the hours and then Sebio joined us in the evening for some more drinks before we called it a day and took our weary bones to bed.

Monsaraz up on the hill behind the Lake

Looking down on the Lake from Monsaraz

Walking through the city gates

Beautiful flowers that smelt of vanilla

I love these old doorways

The bull ring :(

Coffee and beer break

Back on site chilling with a beer!

Birthday cake – I managed to get some fruit on it!!!

Happy days :) :)

A book???…

Since I started writing this blog about our ‘adventures’ in Bessie the caravan I have had many people asking me if I am going to make this into a book!!??

I do enjoy writing but the thought of putting together a book is a little daunting…..or is it?? See that’s the trouble with me, throw me a challenge and I’m all over it like a hot rash.

So, lets just say I am pondering on the idea and mulling it over a little. I wouldn’t do it until we have our first year under our belt and I would have to make it a bit more interesting than just the posts on here but what do you think???

I’d love some feedback and comments – preferably on here and not facebook (because that helps my ratings and then more people get to see this!!)

I have also just started another blog (I know) called 365 Raw. If you have been reading this blog from the start then a/thank you so much for sticking with it and b/you will know that this blog started its life as a place to document my journey with raw food. That journey has now stepped up a notch and you can find out all about what is going on if you go across there.

In other news, well life has now calmed down a bit since my return from the UK. The cats and Oscar in particular; who had got himself in quite a tissy over my absence (lots of meowing and keeping hubby up at night pining for me) has recovered his composure and is now happy again. Baby John seems to be doing well and is getting stronger by the day (I’ll get some more pictures soon). Days are hot and sticky but you can’t beat the sunshine so you won’t see me complaining.

Life is sweet…..and I’m a happy bunny. :)

 

Portugal…

We are now in Portugal, arriving here on Friday. What was to have been a two day journey took a day in the end when we decided on a change of route which took less miles but meant we did it all in one day. The journey was easy going on near empty roads and the cats did great and because Portugal is actually on UK time and not an hour ahead like Spain, we gained an hour coming over the border.

We found the campsite with no problems and the dutch owner – Siebo and his Portuguese wife Catrina could not have been more helpful since we arrived. It is a small site set in farm land surrounded by cork trees and wild meadow flowers. The only down side is that there is a busy road running along the side. We are far enough away from the road that it won’t cause a problem for the cats but it is a little noisy; can’t have everything obviously.

One of the reasons the road is so busy is that it runs parallel to a toll road and at 6 euros for less than 20 miles no-one uses it! Portugal are going through a deep recession and are likely to be the third country from the five PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) to need a bail out from the economic disaster. The government proposed an austerity package back in March which was rejected by the Lisbon parliament and led to the resignation of the Prime Minister. The new government is not due to be elected until June so interesting times here for sure.

As well as expensive toll roads, fuel costs here are very high. In Spain we were paying 1.30 euros for a litre of diesel; here it is between 1.32 and 1.43 euros for a litre of diesel with petrol being a whopping 1.69 euros (more than the UK!) I was bracing myself for food costs to be a lot more but have been pleasantly surprised that they are slightly less than Spain.

Driving here is a terrifying experience. The accident rate is 4x higher than in the UK; the road that runs outside the campsite is about 35 miles in length and last year there were an eye watering 738 deaths on that stretch alone! Needless to say hubby and I are being very careful every time we venture out and getting out of the way of the more fool hardy manoevours that go on!

On the plus side, the Portuguese seem a very friendly bunch of people; less in your face than the Spanish. Actually they are nothing like the Spanish which surprised me as I thought they would be quite similar. They are fairer skinned, speak with a twang that is almost Eastern European and other than being raving lunatics behind the wheel seem to go about their business in a quiet and unobtrusive way. I think the next 6 months are going to be fun!!

Bessie’s new pitch

Molly keeping an eye on the bunnie’s on the first night!

Oscar approves of his new surroundings

Some of the local ‘insect life’ this little fella looks like he has stepped straight of the set of Pixar’s ‘Bugs life’ and at about 3 inches in length he’s not so little either!!

And the ants are monsters too!!!

Campsite is all cork trees and wild flowers – really pretty and tranquil

Last night on the beach…

We’re off tomorrow so went down to Conil last night for a final walk along the beach. I have fallen in love with this stretch of beach that reminds me a lot of the Atlantic coastline in Cornwall. All big white expanses of sand and crashing breakers.

We won’t be near the beach in Portugal as we are staying up on the plains out the way. That’s the thing with having to work as well; you need some peace and quiet to get on with it and summer on the Algave, whilst being extremely lovely I’m sure won’t give us much time to get our heads down and work.

So, last night and my morning run today will be the last of the beach for a while so I was sure to take lots of photo’s to remind me and no doubt we will be back in this area again another time.