Sunday, 16 March 2014

Banos de Montemayor, Spain - Day IV

My home for the weekend ..

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Banos de Montemayor, Spain, Day III

Today has been a waiting day, as nothing was is due to happen until Friday when the replacement water pump arrives. So a good opportunity for a lie in and getting things in order in the van. It turns out the spot I have been parked at outside the garage was in the shade all day so no solar power to speak of to put some charge into my battery - thankfully they are very happy to let me hook up to the mains to power up and keep things working, also charging the battery for the evening when everything is locked up.

Also an opportunity to head out again and do a bit of exploring in the hills around the village. So after a good rest, and freshening up, I was feeling good and ready to go..

Friday, 14 March 2014

At the workshop in Spain day II - fault diagnosis

I woke up at first light here in Banos de Montemayor, and it was also a little chilly, but not too bad. I was soon up and making coffee and expecting the garage to open pretty soon. By 9am everyone had arrived and they were already getting started with things. It wasn't long until we wheeled the van into the workshop and the two mechanics were continuing to strip down the engine bay to remove the water pump.

Quite a big job as you can see.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Caceres to Banos de Montemayor, Spain

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts” -Yvon Chouinard

It was quite a chilly morning in the hills after the heat of the day before. It always seems to get colder just before the dawn. I opted to switch on my Mikuni diesel heater. I don't use it often as its quite hard on the battery although its very effective, but its perfect when I am actually on a trip, driving every day to keep the battery topped up fully. After 10 minutes or so, the van was pleasantly warm inside and I was feeling like getting up.

 After a cup of coffee sitting on the rocks, I got things organised and set my GPS for todays chosen destination of Palencia, a place I've stayed before just within the town, and with some facilities and allocated parking for campers. The ideal place for a last night before the final drive to the ferry. I got on the road and soon I was bouncing along the dusty gravel leaving clouds of it behind me like horses in some spaghetti western..

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Beja Portugal to Caceres Spain

Today I awoke to the sounds of a town coming to life around me, and I sheltered in the park beneath tall trees. It was a little cold, but not too cold at all. Soon I was making coffee and listening to the local radio station; a friend to all on the road. It amazes me how I am getting to know all the latest pop songs, and listening to the music being played and enjoying it – you can get used to anything, the emotions and sentiments are human and universal.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Lagos to Beja | Algarve 4WD off road

And so, I find myself unexpectedly back on the road again. Long story. My personal circumstances have changed and I'm heading back to old GB. It makes me reflect on the forces in life that will drive a man to cross continents, sail over the oceans or climb mountains.

How often in my life I have done this for love, many people do it for money or security, fewer still do it purely for the adventure; pushing out further from their comfort and familiar life purely for new experiences and the freshness of a live brought to fullness by change.

I feel a sense of strength that  I've gone further for adventure alone, even if aspects of it didn't go to plan, then, nothing does.. but I return for another reason..

I'm camped in a sizeable wooded picnic area on the edge of a largish town called Beja. The weather is mild but it's dark now. It's a lively feeling in this town - biggest place I've been around in months and its quite an uplifting feeling to be surrounded by this energy.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Journey along the West Coast of Portugal, Part III

The next morning it was a lovely clear day again, and I awoke to this view from my bed..

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Journey along the west coast of Portugal - Part II

I headed off back along the four km or so of rough road back to the main coastal route. The plan now was just to make my way on down the coast, stopping at a few places that looked interesting along the way, before finding somewhere to spend the second night. The next place I pulled in at was a good lunch stop, just south of a place called Sines. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Journey along the west coast of Portugal - Part I | I have the van again!

"Here's the keys to your Ferrari," said the Portuguese woman at the hire car place, as she brushed shoulders affectionately with me. And so it was, I would drive up to collect the Hiace in a little red VW Up 1.0. The next morning I set off by 10am to make the six hour journey to the garage where my house on wheels was being repaired.

Its a long way, but the weather was warm and the day peaceful; I watched the scenery pass by through the window as I cruised along the way you do when the journeys end is a long way distant. The plains of the Alentejo where carpeted with beautiful white and yellow flowers as far as the eye could see, with occasional dots of red, and the little farms came into view, then receded behind me.