Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas in the sun once more.


We left Figuera da Foz heading for Coimbra in the east and visiting the Castle at Montemor enroute. If you have had a look at the Travel page on our website
Ham in potato cover.
( this will be old hat but if not a visit will clear that up. After the Castle we had lunch in one of the Cafes in the village where we came across this delicacy, Presunto ham in a potato covering, just looking at them made you want to buy one.

Our arrival at Coimbra was somewhat delayed by a serious accident and then a diversion through the City which proved quite interesting especially the exchange of comments twixt driver and navigator but between us and our GPS the campsite eventually hoved into sight and found we had it all to ourselves the first night. The campsite is owned by the Municipality but run by a private company so the facilities are somewhat better than the norm, including Gym, Restaurant, Swimming pool and much to Kit's delight a Supermarket barely five minutes away by foot. Coimbra has one of the oldest University's in Europe and is situated on a hill above the centre of the City a steep climb up hill but we found it worth the effort, either hills are getting steeper or I'm getting older? On our way back downhill we found a very good Restaurant for lunch, three courses, a drink and a coffee for about €7.00 each and the food was excellent.
Back at the campsite we found a young man with a 30yr old Chevrolet campervan which he was 'doing' up as he was travelling, every so often he takes up employment to make some money then sets off again, if my memory serves me correctly he taught Skiing in the winter or was it Diving in the summer, oh the frailties of memory once you are over 25.

Leaving Coimbra we headed south to Evora,
a European Cultural Heritage centre, it has a wonderful old wall which surrounds the town, the remains of a Roman Temple on a hill in the Town with columns and their capitals still in place, and Ossiary where a chapel is built out of human bones done when the Cemetry got too full, that's kind of creepy but interesting, brought to mind the old saying 'As you are now so once was I, as I am now so will you be' mayhap not word perfect but in the ballpark. The campsite in Evora like many others we have seen in Portugal has put in more Cabins so it makes less space for Tourers like us but it does seem to be a trend.

Local Liquer on sale.
We next headed for Beja and a campsite we had been told was
 closed about four years ago but rumour had it that in fact it still existed and much to our delight it is in fact still on the go. Beja is famous for it's small sweet cakes that apparently started with the Nuns in a convent making them to raise money, the trouble is you can really pig out on them.

Beja Campsite

We found a a new Cafe for us, the one we used to visit has gone, the chap who has it is a Musician, plays Guitar plus a number of other instruments and spoke good english enough to help me with my fractured Portuguese and the Coffe and cakes were excellent just as a bonus. Once again we noticed a lack of Tourers as the campsite was very quiet but we cannot make our mind up if it austerity or some other reason that things are so quiet, this is another towwhere we feel completely comfortable. After a week on site we decided to travel a whole 28kms to Serpa to spend a few days there it has part of it's town wall left plus the remains of an overhead water viaduct. At one time all the homes inside the wall had a well for water so I guess the place must sit on some sort of underground aquifier. Kit took the chance to use the very modern washing machine and drier on the site something you soon learn to do as some sites do not have such facilities so we need to find a self service laundry when there is not one on a campsite.
We left Serpa to return to Beja as there was to be an International market held in the town centre, unfortunately it turned out there were only a couple of dozen stalls many of them selling the same produce, still it was interesting.

Manor house in Castro Verdre

Another short 48kms saw us at Castro Verdre to the southwest of Beja, this campsite is only 3yrs old and has all the modern facilities and it looks like the village itself has had a lot of TLC plus new house building. It was great to see such a small place put a lot of effort into Christmas decorations and we spent a couple of evenings strolling the streets after dark just to see them. We stumbled on a small Museum which displays hundreds of Roman oil lamps which it is believed were offerings to the various Gods of the time, almost 2,000yr old and some were in absolute pristine condition, in fact it was hard to tell the difference between some of the originals on display and the replicas. Apparently thousands of these oil lamps were discovered in a nearby location and it is thought that there must have been some sort of religious site near where they were discovered.
Castro Verdre was our last meandering campsite before we headed for Lagos to meet up with friends for the Festive season which would soon be upon us. Once again we found Lagos had a decided lack of Christmas decoration unlike some of the smaller towns and villages we passed through, guess the Municipal Council still has not enough money to cover such events.
Hopefully we will get a chance to see some of the friends we made over the 4yrs we rented a house at Espiche and we will soon be joined by some others who will leave the UK after Christmas to travel down to spend a few months in the area.

We wish everybody a very Happy Christmas and a Guid New Year, may you all prosper and keep good health.

Jack n Kit

No comments:

Post a Comment