After Fatima we headed out to the coast for a last look at the Atlantic. We drove straight across to San Pedro de Muel then followed the coast north. Mile after mile of pine forest and sand dunes. There were a few beach resorts but they looked fairly new (well about 40 years old) and not a soul around. Now that could have been due to the pouring rain? As always we didn’t let it deter us and sampled a coffee in a 1960’s beach bar, then moved onto the carpark and cooked lunch in the van, to the amusement of the few workmen trying to shift the tons on sand blown onto the roads. Our campsite was at Coimbrao, just inland from the coast. Just for a change it wasn’t Dutch owned – this time it was German! A lovely big field site which was actually the owners back garden. In a little village that time seems to have forgotten but still manages to support 3 or 4 cafes and two small supermarkets.
Yesterday we bit the bullet and made a proper move towards home. The sun was back out and it was fairly warm so we decided to head for the hills. From the coast we passed through Coimbra and drove past one of the oldest universities in Europe. From there the roads were very quiet as headed into the Serra Da Estrela – the highest mountain range in Portugal. A very different Portugal than we had seen so far, the houses looked almost Swiss to us and there seemed to be more locals around in the villages. We stopped for lunch in buffet bar – €5 for as much food as you could probably ever want. It was a bit of a “spot the tourists” job – everyone muffled up in coats and hats, in we come in shorts and t.shirts, these people need to get over to Wales and see what cold weather is – 15 degrees is not in any way chilly.
We arrived last night in the tiny village of Nabainhos, and a lovely campsite called Quinta De Cegonas. In case anyone is wondering – yes its Dutch owned:) We are on a terrace overlooking the village and the valley. We went into the village Melo for a look around, half the houses are derelict and the other half fairly recently renovated. Lots and lots of what we call proper Portuguese ladies about (tiny women, all in black with woolly shawls and gappy smiles) and a real friendly feel with every person in the streets we saw speaking and saying hello. For the mountains it is much warmer than we anticipated but very windy too.
Tomorrow morning we head for the border and over to Spain – time to search out a Mercadona and stock up the van with essentials such as olives, sardine paste and red wine to take home.