24/11/2014 Peniche Portugal.
I am writing this atop the somewhat windswept peninsular of Peniche, right by the lighthouse to be precise. Unfortunately, Peniche will be the subject of a later blog as this is about our journey from cabbage town to the coast. We have also started another new feature especially for motorhomers called Homie Help.
Our journey starts in Vila Velha de Rodao, which is a rather long name for a town short on quality. In fact as a tourist attraction it is short on everything apart from the smell of cabbages from the nearby chemical works. The Aire is pleasant enough on the banks of the River Tejo but I could think of more positive things to say about Liverpool’s back four than the rest of this place. We were here because we thought we might see a chocolate box selection of the best birds Portugal has to offer in the adjacent National Park. But, the taps were turned up to eleven and no raptor worth its salt was going to be up in this deluge. So, change of plan, source a launderette, get the washing done and head for the coast.
Stopped at the Aire to look for a laundry after a quick race around the town, were not impressed and moved on. Not a great entry but then like the previous town not a great place.
We had heard a lot about Tomar and approached with the anticipation of a slightly giddy schoolboy on a first date. Well the lovely Tomar didn’t turn up. The Aire was a car park for a travelling fair and the whole place was a bit unpleasant. We headed up to the Convent of Christ, an impressive drum, built by the original mafia, the Templar Knights. With the weather forecast to be not pleurting down we cut our cloth and bombed to Nasare.
Nasare 14/11 – 20/11 2014
Now we are talking. A motorhome friendly car park in the centre of town, 3 laundrettes within 100 yards, women in fancy dress, great restaurants, and the biggest god damn waves in the world – official. We liked this place so much we stayed here for six days. It has a very British seaside resort feel to it, sort of a cross between Exmouth and Weston-Super-Mare but without the amusement arcades. Firstly we potted about the town and chose a laundrette. We were under budget so we decided on a service wash. As we also eat smoked salmon we have come up for a term for our type of homing; Luxury camping is Glamping and so we are officially ‘Gloaming’, to be precise we are roaming in the gloaming.
The next jaunt was up the Funicular to the old town, which is a tad touristy, and then a brisk walk to the lighthouse to see the waves on the North Beach. The day we were there they were only about 7 Metres but on a good day they can get to 30 Metres high, and yes people come from around the world to surf them. Surfing these babies has your life hanging by a thread, ask Andrew Cotton, the current world record holder.
The women in the local dress, according to sources, are the wives of the fisherman, and the ones in black are the widows of the fisherman. Now, I am no Gwok Kok and have the fashion eye of a drunk Stoat but for me there is something not right with these outfits. Judge for yourself.
So, here are a couple of pics of the women in the local dress and a wave.
The next day we went for a good bike ride along the Prom, demolished an ice cream, and just chilled in the respite from the rain.
Homie Help: Portugal is famous for, and in no particular order; discovering the world, cheating diving footballers and sardines. I have discounted Nando’s and Nelly Furtado as I am not sure of their authenticity. Anyway, as you can see from the picture they like to pack their homies into a car park with only a gnat’s gonad between them. So if you want to stay here, be here by 14:00 or you will not get in. The picture is the state of play in Mid- November.
Nasare is also famous for Seafood restaurants and so we dipped our toes in and had one. The ingredients were fresh enough but it was all a bit bland, apart from the chicken we have been a bit underwhelmed with the food and prefer what Tracy knocks up in the Remoska.
Tourist Tip: When you sit down in a Portuguese restaurant they place all sorts of things in front of you; bread, butter, olives, sardine paste, cheese. Be careful as each of these has a cost and you will be charged the full price even if you have a bit. Just ignore it or swallow the odd olive stone if you are really desperate.
The rain was due to return and we were running low on resources so we hunkered down in a campsite for a couple of days and gobbled up all their bandwidth to download series 2 of Peaky Blinders in HD. No spoilers please.
Fantastic Monastry in the centre of town and a day trip from Nazare. This is well worth a visit to see how the monks lived, prayed and most importantly eat. They even diverted the river through the kitchen to deliver wild fish. Genius. The other thing of note within is the tombs of Pedro and Ines. This is an Iberian Romeo and Juliet, so of course has a messy ending. There is murder, revenge and hearts ripped out. On reflection it maybe more Midsomer than Shakespeare. The town is quite cutesy too and try the local cake delicacy, it’s a sort of egg custard cornetto, rather tasty.
Tourist Tip: Our Lost Planet guide book failed to tell us that Alcobaca has a massive food festival in the middle of November. So if you are travelling this way check out future dates and make a visit.
Some Pictures for you
Sao Martinho do Porto 20/11/2014
This is an uninspiring little place and the wild camping is on a roundabout at the end of town. The town does support an English supermarket with all those things you miss from home. And the reason for this, there seems to be a lot of elderly British folk who appear to be sitting in God’s waiting room and spending their time there in a Vinho Tinto haze waiting for those pearly gates to open. Like the Algarve but on a much cheaper budget. We didn’t stay the night but headed to:
Foz do Arelho 20/11 – 22/11/2014
This is the second Foz we have stayed in and what a stunner. Great Aire right on the beach. Even had a toilet with a seat, a first for us in Portugal. A string of beach bars where you can get reasonably priced meals and drinks. The lagoon is great for walks or cycling alongside. It is also ideal for a spot of kayaking and has sunsets to die for. All in all it’s a big thumbs up from us. Weather was a balmy 22 and we broke out the barbie. We really liked this place. Some photos for you and a goodbye for.
E & T