Yes indeedy – we woke to light fog and that was it – the bus driver had made his mind up and foot down and south it was.
First town we came to was a walled town of Elvas – my heart skipped a beat when we actually starting driving up the cobbled streets (memories of being wedged in a street in a Spanish village with police in attendance being filmed by locals came flooding back). Luckily this time we avoided the wedged effect.
We kept off the main roads and headed south west through wine country – miles and miles of vineyards and hardly a vehicle on the roads. Stopped off on a little picnic area to cook some lunch – within a minute we were joined by a fleet of enormous Norwegian motor-homes. They must have been on an organised tour as they parked up, got out, spoke a few words, re-grouped then were off again. Our route down took us through Beja and Ourique and pretty much followed the Washington Irving route which is signposted all the way down.
Our aim was a little campsite in the mountains above the Algarve. We got to San Marco de Serra and followed Sat Nav. First up a smallish lane – ok, then turn right down a mud track – now not so sure, then turn right over a river! No not over a bridge, drive across the river i.e. 2 foot of water. So you wouldn’t would you? Oh my god Iain actually had a face that said “why not?” We sat on the side of the river for at least 10 minutes debating for pro’s and con’s of this idea. Iain obviously in explorer mode thought we should absolutely go for it. After hearing my scenario of needing rescuing by a tow truck and a very wet camper he agreed maybe we shouldn’t try it. For sure he would have tried it though – nutter.
So with no campsite our option now was head for the coast. After 2 miles back on proper roads I spotted a small printed sign for a campsite. Slam on brakes and reverse back up road and hey ho there is a site a few miles away. We follow signs for a mile and turn off main road – oh god not again its a dirt track, literally. We drive up the track for a mile and there is another sign, then mile after mile of dirt track (think Clocanog forest dirt tracks). At about 5 miles of this we both think its probably a wind up and not a site there, but carry on as we have come so far. Another mile or so and suddenly a campsite – hurray!!
And what a site, owned by another Dutch couple who have built the house and site in the last few years. We have a fabulous tiered pitch overlooking the site. There is a stunning pool, the owners serve drinks on the terrace for all the campers each evening. Toilets have seats (bonus), hot showers and even a washing machine so we can get some clean clothes. Downsides? Miles back to the main road and we need some fruit and veg. So plan is now stay for at least 2 days, if we still like it then its shops and stock up and back here.
On the weather front – sun has shone, its warm and clouds are few and far between. The Baxter suntans start here:)