The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Day 16 Down the Iberian Peninsular- Cascais


Day 2 in Cascais (well outside)

It was nice weather when we got up, we got our Camper moved to a better spot, lots of people get on the move early, therefore we had a choice of vacated plots. We moved to easy walking distance to the toilets and showers, also the camper toilet disposal was just across the road. Perfect.

The campsite is one of a chain that we have quite standard, with well maintained ablutions and all have internet, some better than others, this one had a WiFi room, so you had to go to the restaurant area, no problem, you can have a beer while going about your online business.

We got ourselves ready for the off, we were going to have a look at one of the premier surfing sites in Portugal. The area of the campsite is set in a pine forest, but direct outside you come to a board walk that takes you through protected dune land shaft, you are not allowed to stray from the straight and narrow, but why bother the rare plants and grasses are right before your eyes, you exit on to a view of Cap Rae, we were informed the most westerly point in Mainland Europe. I believe I heard Linda sucking her teeth in dismay.




We popped into a couple of the rather upmarket hotels and restaurants, the guy at our reception had warned us that the prices were as the sea, well salted and he was right

We decided to catch the bus into Cascais, I believe this was one of our better decisions of this holiday. We alighted at the bus station right in the centre of Cascais, it is not a nice bus station, but then I know of none that are, unlike train stations which can be of monumental architectural beauty.

Across the road we went first to the small harbour, I can small something fishy a mile away. Then across the road passing the museum a very nice building in a very nice square. Down the street passing an Irish Pub, they are like dogs poo, bleeding everywhere, I once even found a one on Don Det Island in the middle of the Mekong in Laos.

We saw a nice restaurant come wine bar called The Tasting Rooms. Looked good so in we went.

It was quite busy, but we were directed to a nice seat beside the open window (this also served as a counter where you could sit and watch the world go by). We selected first our wine, we hadn’t had a lot of Rosé this holiday, so requested one (except what we had brought with us), the sommelier brought us one, we tasted and said it wasn’t to our taste (too insipid), the next hit the spot!


We now ordered our food, there is a board at the window, but also a good menu with two pages of Tapas. We had been very good and on the whole not had many chips this holiday (I am cutting down on my carbs), but we ordered a basket, also squid cakes, deep-fried sprats,  cod cakes and finally baby squid cooked whole (including heads and eyes) in a spicy paprika and tomato sauce. It was all delicious. If you ever go to Cascais, this is a place not to miss.

Leaving we went across the road to a Birkenstock shoe shop, Linda had noticed this from afar, but though she looked she didn’t purchase. We then walked through the small streets until we saw a nice ice-cream shop, it was actually a chocolate and Port wine purveyor, but near to the door the lady had an ice-cream counter. The nice lady said we could sit on the elegant sofa at the far end of the shop, which we did. The inside was very Nobel, with polished mahogany showcases and counters displaying only the best of the Ports and Chocolates, Linda even got a free tasting, I declined, I am not a chocolate type of person.

We then slowly made our way back to the bus station, caught the number 415, this dropped us off directly outside the campsite.

A light “Abendbrot”, then we popped across to the WiFi Centre, to do our business, then it was time for bed.

Days 14 to 15 down the Iberian Peninsular - Peniche to Cascais


Day 15 Mira to Peniche to Casscais (Guincho)

Setting off after saying our goodbyes to Claudia, we headed off across country following in our tyre tracks of yesterday before tuning off onto the road that leads to Leiria, as we came down a steep incline we notice a very, very large ecclesiastical building, we turned off the main road and into the town, this place is called Batalha and is the largest cloisters in Portugal.
It was built after the Portuguese under King Joao I beat the Spanish Army at the battle of Aljubarrota, he had promised to build a Monastery and in 1388 he kept his promise and built the Mosteiro Santa Maria de Victória (not all in one go but started it). It is a magnificent early Gothic building and the main entrance door is worthy of a few photographs (we did). It is also a World UNESCO site.

We arrived and found a parking place, across the road was a large market in full flow, never being ones to pass up a market we visited the stalls, some with live animals and some with ironmongery and kitchen utensils, we bought a pair of salad tongs and a bottle opener. We popped into the covered market to peruse the fish.

 We then hopped in to the camper and headed off in the direction of Nazaré for lunch, this is a nice seaside town with all the nep you would expect, but Linda wanted her ice and a fish skewer. We walked along the front and looked at the menu’s we found a one that looked nice so popped in and sat down, Linda selected her seafood skewer and I my fish stew.




Both a good portion and delicious. Next it was around the corner to get Linda her ice-cream two large scoops, then to the camper and along the road to Peniche. 

Arriving in Peniche early afternoon we soon found the campsite, this time not from the ADAC book but from the internet, this was not a campsite but a camper RV park, these we know from the states. It cost €10,- a night including a very good WiFi connection, showers and toilets are extra showers €1,- for 6 minutes and 50 cents for and as long as you want, very clean. The Camper park is concreted and even, plenty of power sockets and a communal BBQ station with three positions and a washing up point. It is shut and barred at 22:30 and you cannot get your vehicle in or out. There is a small postern gate with a key code to get you in if you are out on the town.

We had an early night and an early start, we wanted to go down to the fishing harbour, well if you come to the largest sardine processing harbour in Europe then you have to go to the harbour ans see the boats unloading, we did see the boats unloading but not sardines but Bastard Mackrel, tonnes and tonnes of them, container after container coming off the boats and being whisked away into the cool houses and processing plants.



I do love a fishing harbour, I did spend a summer as a deckie learner, working the herring fleets out of North Shields, it earned me a few bob to add to my paltry Apprentices pay. That finished we went to Intermarche first for breakfast and then on the road to Sintra. The reason being was that I had found a Sunlight (our Van) dealer. I hoped that they could fix the Sat dish drive, we arrived at midday, of course shut and barred, it was 15:00 before we were able to get in and explain the problem. The nice Lady, Carla got a technician, I said just have a look at it and see if it is repairable, alas another misunderstanding he stripped it down working on it for 3 hours and concluded it needed a new motor, we concluded that it would be better if he put it together and they would see if they could get a new motor from the Sat dealer. They will phone me and tell me the results tomorrow. I did buy some replacement toilet tablets and special toilet paper and a door catch, pity they had everything except a Sat Dish drive motor.

It then was a mad dash to Cascais and then a terrible drive around the town to find the none existing campsite, that was because it was quite a way outside at a place called Guincho, we found it at last just before it shut up shop. We then had great difficulty finding a pitch we did at last and we were not at all fussed about cooking, so we went to the restaurant and had steak, chips and egg, followed by a rice pudding washed down with a Vino Verde. Then back to the camper, tomorrow is a make and mend day, we are staying put before heading into Lisbon for 3 days.

Day 13 Down the Iberian Peninsular-Coimbrao


Days 11-12 Coimbrao

Leaving Mira, we headed down the coast on the coast road, having taken motorways out of the Sat-Nav, everything went chickety-boo until I saw the sign for a lighthouse, alas I passed it, but the next sign was for Figueira da Foz, I in my wisdom or otherwise decided to take it, my rational being, if the last on was down to the lighthouse then this one would take us close or at least you could see it, in both cases wrong, the road took us down to the Port installations, but I thought we might at least reach the fishing harbour, again wrong it took us through port buildings in various states of repair, I decided to retrace our footsteps (well that’s what I would have done if I had been on foot). I stopped at a wider part of the road looked behind in my rear-view camera and saw flashing blue lights, it was the bobbies, oh bother what had I done now? Out got two impeccable dressed Portuguese Policemen, you could have cut yourself on the creases in their shirts, I wound down the window and they must have seen the German Number Plate, asked if we spoke Eengleesh, yes I replied, we then had a hand and foot discussion in what the Policeman thought was English. We got across that we were looking for the Fishing Harbour, was there even a Fishing Harbour in the vicinity? Bit more questioning and one of the Lads was going to phone to a colleague to ask. Linda then pointed to a place near the sea on the map, it was a campsite just along the coast. Aha, said the Portuguese Policeman in Portuguese, and said turn around and follow (all in sign language), they stopped the traffic and we turned, let them go ahead and boy did they go lickity split, every now and again stopping to let us catch up, we went across the large bridge and along the saline’s (Fig,da Foz is famous for its Salt) and about 2km down the road the kind Portuguese Policemen flashed their lights pulled aside to let us pass and with a very friendly wave good bye (well it wasn’t two fingers) went about their daily business. We travelled a little way on and came to a campsite, it was even one of the company we had been using, but not the one we were aiming for, so waiting a while to let the Police get well out of the way (we didn’t want to think that we were ungrateful), we once again retraced our tyreprints (far better word than footprints).

Alas I had stopped the Sat-Nav while following the Fuzz so we were then taken via the motorway, but  it did mean we made up for lost time (what is lost time on holiday?), we arrived at our turn off and headed via pleasant country roads to our destination in Coimbrao (the a has a squiggle on top but I don’t have a one and am too lazy to use the number pad).

We arrived at the campsite, this was down a small back lane  and set in a wonderful mature tree orchard, it even had a swimming pool, Linda went in to the reception and got us all booked in for two nights, out came Claudia, unhooked the chain across the drive (no electronic barriers here) and walked in front to exactly position us, there are no demarcation lines of bushes here, you get put where Claudia thinks is best.
That's us under the tree on the right
Unfortunately our power cable was too short, no problem off went Claudia and got an extension, plugged in, we asked about a place to eat and she directed us about 200mtrs to a small café.

It was very hot but we had at first considered sitting under the shade of the umbrellas, but once inside asked about wine and something to eat, the proprietor pointed to wine on tap, Vino Verde! He then went into the kitchen and out came his wife the cook, the menu had only 10 items (in pictures for us tourists) Linda wanted a toasted egg, cheese and ham sandwich and I the clams, just then she looked up at the TV screen and saw that the Royal Wedding was being televised, she then said let us stay inside and watch (since when had she become a Royalist?). our large glass of Vino Verde arrived closely followed by our food. Very enjoyable and after the Wedding at least there was football orientated News about Ronaldo being voted and presented with footballer of the year once again.
Linda giving a simplified Royal wave


Wine almost gone, time for a refill
We ambled back to the site and had a well earned snooze.

We suppered on cheese, salad and hams various and turned in for another early night, tomorrow being my big day I would be 70.

Fátima and my Birthday 20th May 2018

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First  up and no breakfast for me (Tummy being playing up a bit), we walked down to the church square passing the local goat herd on the way.
Honest they are there


What you two looking at, never seen a goat at a window

It was in the square that Claudia had informed us that the butcher came, but only for 1 hour between 11 & 12:00 well he didn’t turn up this Sunday. We did buy some Tomatoes from the only stall holder. 
The village Square

Never mind we popped into the little corner shop, a right Aladins cave and bought some supplies. Then across the road to join the other neer do wells that were not in church, they were participating in wine and beer we had coffee and a savoury  puff pastry.

We then headed back to the Campsite and got the camper ready for the road and headed off on a pilgrimage to Fatima.

First a bit of history about Fátima and even why the Town is called Fátima.

Fátima is a name of Arabic origin, being the name of Mohamed’s daughter. During  the Moorish wars a Knight Gonçalo Hermigues, captured a Moorish Princess called Fátima, he took her to his home in a small village in the Serra de Aire hills, in the recently created Kingdom of Portugal. There the Princess fell in love with her captive and converting to Christianity she was baptized and given a Christian name, Oureana. But the town was called Fátima in her honour. This is the Christian version, the Muslims have a different slant, they say she was forced to marry and convert to save her life, the real truth we shall never know.

In the early 1900 the town of Fátima was nothing to write home about, even if they could read and write, it was a peasant town living mainly from hand to mouth on sheep herding and a bit of rough arable farming. One day 3 peasant children while out abiding their flocks (heard it before?). The three youngsters saw an apparition, a lady all in white, surrounded in an aura of bright light, the catholic church believes this was a vision of the Virgin Mary. More happenings or appearances took part the last before a horde of on lookers in 1913.

This small town has become one of the most visited Pilgrimage sites in the world with many thousands visiting it. So, we decided to add to that number.

It was a warm day, very warm, we took the byways and went along at a leisurely pace, arriving at about 13:00. The place was packed, though not as packed as the week prior which had been quite breath taken. We visited the new Church, the site of the Apparition Chapel and the pompous Basilica. All very grand and worth seeing.



Some walked, some biked, some even came on their hands and knees














The two shepherd Girls tombs

 After our viewing we sat in the sun Linda ate an ice and I a hamburger and chips but no bun. We then headed out of town, stopping at a supermarket on the way to get meat for a planned BBQ , it is still in the planning and the meat in the fridge.

Day 12 Down the Iberian Peninsular-Aveiro

Day 12

After showering, breakfasting we set off for the 100km journey to Aveiro, this city had been recommended by our friend Martin.

 So it was Down the Iberian Peninsular to Mira near Aveiro.

We decided to take the highways and byways but not the motorways today, the road out from the campsite goes first through the narrow streets of the town and then it hits a motorway but you don’t pay for the first 20km or so, I of course took the wrong turning and had to pay €1,30 toll, but we soon left the motorway and then travelled through the Portuguese towns and villages, which is much more interesting than just motoring along at 100km an hour. The weather was very nice, Linda even had to put the A/C on.

We came to the Aveiro signs and thought that was where we were heading but our lass took us a merry dance, we passed a campsite, but it didn’t look very nice, so we journeyed on, we came to junction and wondering which road to take, a car pulled up and asked where we were heading, I said campsite, the lady in German said Mira, grade aus, wonderful cheery helpful people the Portuguese.

We saw the high sand dunes in the distance and knew we had reached either the sea or the Sahara. The first camp site was not ours but the second one was, as usual very helpful and directed us to the pitches.

We got our Camper levelled up and decided to go and suss out the site restaurant, a nice chap was serving, he spoke impeccable English, Linda only wanted an omelette, but I fancied some of the local dishes, I was informed that the Bacalhau dish on the menu was very local, the Grandfather of the cook had made it and named it many years ago and it had become a favourite local dish. Ok that’s the one for me. But first we ordered the soup of the day (vegetable, soup of the day is always vegetable), very nice thick and as the Germans would say Sämig. Next followed Linda’s Omelette with chips (so much for the low carbs) and my dish, it was a wonderful sort of Panackelty dish, but with cod instead of the leftover meat from the Sunday joint. It was Bacalhau, covered with tomatoes, potatoes, onions and olives. The cod was a tadge salty but very edible, the whole dish was really good. BUT it was an enormous portion, when the cook came (change of shift) I sked him who ever could eat such a portion, he said my grandfather, he invented it.    






We then walked along a small lagoon, with Austin and Morris mini coopers along with mini-mokes zooming passed us, they were holding a International-Mini-Meet in Mora the coming weekend, and mini’s of all shape, shade and colour were in town for the event. They were in the most set up in the Municipal Campsite that had been reserved for the event.





We walked along into the small fishing village, here they do sein netting the colourful boats take the sein purse out to sea and then the tractors with their windlasses start to retrieve, this was of course in years gone by done with muscle and ox power, but we stood a good hour watching the fishermen going about their tasks.

The seagulls always know when there is a free meal to be had
A mixed bag

The bulging Purse
Unsorted

Sorted


We walk the 1 km back to the campsite set about eating our standard evening meal of crackers, Ryvita, cheese, sausages and dried ham, followed by a fresh fruit salad, talk about healthy living.

I then went down to the Wi-Fi room, down loaded photographs and wrote up our visits and checked up on my e-mails and down loaded some photo’s read a bit about the football and some thieving barstool trying to pinch our manager. The sun had set by the time I got back and the sky was dark and all the stars were twinkling bright and the evening star Venus even brighter.

Aveiro

We were up early and as we were traveling to one of the most visited and touristy places in Portugal, we decided to go in by the camper  (,she deserves a day out as well), we got into Aveiro, I noticed a few campers parked under the fly-over, so I hung a quick left and followed the signs, it took us to a free parking lot right beside one of the canals, you don’t get better than that.
We crossed the canal via a very interesting bridge and next to no time we were in the centre of town. Aveiro’s claim to fame is it called the Venice of Portugal, it doesn’t have Gondoliers because the boats are motor driven, but the patter is the same, one even had a banjo/guitar player to Fado along to.















Get your skates on John Dory

Give us a Tune Fish
Two jolly good Loupe de Mare and a couple of cod Roes

We visited the smashing fish market and watched the stall holder getting things setup for the day, Linda didn’t think much of the man gutting the eels, they were still wriggling.








We then went to the main canal along which are some very nice buildings.
The best hotel in town

The Blur Restaurant complete with Japanese tourists

The Grand Canal

Tourist Office
The water front

Almost Headless Nick?
We then decided to partake in a coffee and a bite to eat Linda a cheese and ham toastie and I an excellent roll stuffed with ham and chorizo. Next was into a souvenir shop to pick up some bits and Bobs (well if they are not going fleece tourists they are going to starve).

We then made our way back to the Camper via a very nice church, unfortunately closed (well so much for saving lost souls).

We had decided to go down the river to the coastal town of Costa Nova, this must be the most famous and photographed fishing town in Portugal, because of the striped (ex) fishermens houses.


Out on the sandbanks the cockle fishermen were just doing the last of their cockling (I suppose there is such a word) and returning to the shore before they met an untimely finish in the rising tide to put paid to their cockling for ever.
We had a chat with three fisher lads, they had the grill going and were BBQing their lunch, of sardines and split bream. They invited us to share it with them, once again I can only say how generous, helpful and friendly the Portuguese are.


We crossed the road and perused the menu outside of a restaurant, of course you are invited in, not in an overbearing manner, but in a nice joking way.  I selected cockles as a starter and eel stew, Linda had grilled baby calamaries with vegetables and potatoes. Linda’s portion was manageable, mine I think had been cooked for the grandfather of the chap yesterday, there was no way I was going to be able to finish all of that.




But I tried, I ate all the eel pieces but only half of the potatoes and broth.









We walked along the front to the place we had parked our camper (again free parking), they know how to treat us Campervaniers here in Portugal. We took the byroads back to Mira stopping off at a Lidl to get some bread and some other stuff (milk, cheese, meat pâté and fruit) then loaded up we headed back to our campsite and done a wash and got ready for supper.

Tomorrow a bit further down the coast.