Our fortnight-and-a-bit in the UK has been hectic but full of fun, food & frolics!
It was great to see family & friends again and whilst our Christmas (in November) dinner was fabulous the absolute highlight of our trip was meeting the totally gorgeous Edie Dot Woodhead and the extremely handsome Cameron Henderson Bridgestock – the two newest members of our family.
We’ve had baths, had the awning fixed, new tyres fitted and the van passed the MOT flying colours.
We were VERY COLD most of the time but have enjoyed ourselves thoroughly nevertheless.
So with teeth fixed, thermal curtains up and bulging bellies we once again headed south – this time to Portsmouth for the 24 hour ferry crossing to Santander, Spain. Being the luxury-loving-high-rollers that we are, we booked an overnight stay on the way to Portsmouth. The room was clean, spacious and warm with excellent facilities and a really comfy bed – what more can you ask from a “Days Inn” at Watford Gap Services? (Look out for John’s review coming soon on Trip Advisor!)
Taking the 24 hour ferry cut out around a week of travelling for us and we arrived at Santander just as the sun was going down. When we eventually got out of Santander, a half-hour drive took us up to Cabarceno and the aire at the wildlife park. The elephants were tucked up for the night but there were at least a dozen other motorhomes spending the night there too.
Monday morning was again bright and frosty – we even had ice in our waste water tank. Unusually for us we took the motorway and were soon pounding through the mountains (again) on to our next stop at Evoramonte near Estremoz. I had caught a glimpse of the Parque de Campismo Camping Alentejo when we were travelling home in October and the availability of an electric hook-up swung the day yet again – it was either that or a large car-park in Evora. Set on the edge of a traditional farm and just off a main road, the site was peaceful and tranquil and had a really great atmosphere – highly recommended.
Tuesday morning once again brought blue skies as we drove through miles of vineyards, olive and cork-oak plantations with the occasional eucalyptus thrown in for good measure. I think it must be the trees that make Portugal smell so good – I wish I could bottle the aroma – it’s fabulous! Classy as ever, we enjoyed lunch and a brew-up in the Lidl car park at Beja before heading on to our final destination of Cabanas de Tavira and we arrived a whole day early!
We’re planning to stay here over winter and since we’ve arrived we have been setting up our camp – strapping down the awning (lest it sets sail again) and anything else that could take off in high winds! Our utility tent with storage (i.e. a toilet tent with Tesco growhouse) is up, in use and decorated with fairy lights as is the tree next to our van. The bikes have been cleaned and oiled and the satellite dish is anchored down but not connected yet. Campsite rumour has it that Astra 2 is being turned off on December 14th – if anyone knows what this means, please let me know!
As we’re staying put for a while, we’ve been able to do some van maintenance and running repairs – fixing back on all those bits that have dropped off somewhere along the way! Some of our neighbours have their Christmas decorations up already and they are mighty fine. We have 2 trees, one string of tinsel and 3 wesleybobbs – I think we may have to go shopping!
John is very much enjoying the tubs of “mucky fat” (dripping) and ginger sponge in our little taste of home that we’ve brought away with us but we’re saving the stollen bites and crackers until Christmas Day.
We’ll be updating the blog again before Christmas, hopefully with full decoration gloriousness!