The Beautiful South

We left you last time with a few images of the stunning aire at Monsaraz. I’d like to add one more, taken during the evening after I’d already posted to the blog. The town walls were all lit up and it put me very much in mind of our visit to Carcassonne last year, but without the French prices…

We spent a lovely romantic evening sitting on the town wall, legs dangling over the huge drop, glass of wine in hand and watching the stars. Clichéd it may sound but we even saw a shooting star – sadly my wish didn’t come true as Vince didn’t turn into a Ferrari. But that’s ok, we love him just the way he is.

Yesterday morning we bit the bullet and pulled away for what we hope will be the last of the long runs until we make the dash for the ferry home in a few weeks. And what a long run it turned out to be. We said before that rural Portugal is very er… rural but this was ridiculous. Narrow winding roads which in itself is fine, but the road surface seemed to be laid on corrugated iron. Everything in Vince was a-shakin’ and a-rattlin’ including me losing three fillings and suffering from blurred vision. I swear that when we opened the fridge all our milk had turned to butter! The only thing to do was slow down which made the journey even longer.

As we progressed the landscape became hillier and hillier with the olive trees giving way to more sheep farming and greener fields before the gentle descent to the coast.

A sunny 21° in Castro Marim

We stayed last night in Castro Marim. We’d thought it was on the coast but we found that this part of Portugal has a wide strip of marshy nature reserve beyond the built up area so we settled for the night in an aire by a football stadium. Castro Marim doesn’t have a lot going for it to be honest, it has two castles; one of which we were chased out of for not paying (the sign was so tiny we missed it, honest guv’). It does have a supermarket so we stocked up and left fairly sharpish this morning to escape the miserable Yorkshire couple from the van next door.

A short run in the sunshine this morning had us crossing back into Spain (clocks forward again, sigh…) to a lovely campsite in Isla Cristina. The town is named after Queen Cristina of Spain as a recognition of her help and financial support for the population during a cholera outbreak in 1833. Maybe Her Maj could learn a thing or two from Cristina given her recent less than wise investment decisions…

Beach malarkey in Isla Cristina

The campsite is very busy, even at this time of year and it’s easy to see why. Shady pitches, immaculate facilities, twenty minutes walk to the town and five minutes walk to a long sandy beach. We took our books and a couple of beers to the beach this afternoon and just relaxed. It was almost like being on holiday! I even fired up the BBQ when we got back and we enjoyed a thoroughly pleasant evening with Herbie & Diane from the van next door. They are in a similar position to us having sold their house to look for somewhere else to live – but they’ve been travelling around for a year while they make their minds up. Sounds like a good plan to me!

We’re going to park up here for a few days to take advantage of the electricity, the free wifi and the sunshine so try to behave for a day or two and we’ll speak to you soon 🙂

It’s like stepping onto the set of The Lion King
Wild cactus at the beach

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