Tuesday 10 April 2018 - Day 37
It’s been a wet and windy day and the temperature’s struggled to get into double figures. We woke to find the stormy gusts and heavy rain had returned, so we had a rethink on our plan. We’d seen plenty of cliffs and wild seas, so it was time for something different. Instead, we took advantage of the poor weather to put some miles in, heading further north. The roads were, as always, dreadful. Combined with HGVs overtaking us in torrential rain on blind bends, I was glad to make it to our current stop in one piece. Hence the title of this blog - Piso Em Mau Estado - meaning ‘the road’s in a bad state’. In other words, it’s cheaper and easier to put up a sign saying the roads are shit, than just crack on and fix them! You’ll probably be guessing that we’re still not taken with Portugal.
I had in mind a night stop but we would have reached it before lunchtime, which made no sense. So we stopped at Lidl to top up on food and eat lunch in their large car park. Back on the road, the Sat Nag clearly was also having a crap day, taking us off piste down a number of very dodgy bomb-cratered roads. Having said that, we passed through some nice, countryside villages, many with really lovely potagers (mixed veg, fruit and flower gardens) and surrounded by grape vines - this is a much nice part of the country. The next aire looked promising but was overgrown and covered in graffiti - no thanks. So we moved on to our current stop, which is a bit quirky but actually we really like it. We’re in the village of A Dos Cunhados (meaning the Two Brothers-in-Law) on our own in a large car park which doubles as an aire. It overlooks a large cemetery built into four terraces - as I look at now in the dark I’m sure some of the gravestones are lit up! I wonder if you need to pay more to be buried on the highest terrace!?
On arrival Cathy prepared dinner - delicious veggie fajitas. She was suffering with a painful back after a day sat in the van, so a couple of G&Ts and some painkillers seemed to do the trick! I wandered into town to have a quick look around and buy a bottle of wine. It’s relatively small although the road through is quite busy. I found a few cafes, plus the local market which included a butcher, greengrocer and a laundrette; we plan to use the latter tomorrow. Thankfully I also found a local shop for the vino.
Well fed and watered, I’ve been watching some locals being put through the hell known as ‘military fitness’. They’ve been at it for a couple of hours, through torrential rain and darkness - so respect to them. One lad is wearing a large heavy bergen and carrying a heavy wooden pole in lieu of a rifle as he yomps along, clearly training for selection - good luck fella! It’s still blowing a hooley, still chilly and the showers continue. Tomorrow we plan to visit a Buddha Garden just up the road, for some peace and solitude. I hope it’s a bit warmer and drier…
|All on our lonesome|
|At least the neighbours are quiet!|
|Unlike this church bell - at least it's only on the hour|