The Algarve was addictive, there’s no denying that one. We found many glorious beaches which ticked every box for us – stunning beauty, hot sands, amazing sea…
But it was almost time to move on.
We’d found a stunning riverside spot at Boca do Rio and actually managed to go off-road and park right next to the water.
Here come the Panoramic photos again!
Unfortunately, the GNR (Police!) arrived first thing in the morning and were instructing all the motorhomes to leave. Thankfully I spotted them from a distance, enabling us to make a sharp exit as we’d have been fined for parking down by the water.
GPS co-ordinates: 37.067291, -8.810712
Later that morning we learnt that the GNR were clearing the area for a fete on Easter Sunday!
During our last day in the Algarve, we had arranged to meet up with a regular blog reader, Errol. We’re meeting some delightful people on our travels, and Errol was no exception. After a good old natter with Errol at a cafe next to the beach, we headed back to the van to give him the guided tour!
Errol was impressed with the van and we really enjoyed chatting to him. We then had a guided tour of his motorhome and I may have to pinch one or two clever ideas from it! Thank you for taking the time to come and see us, Errol, we’d love to keep in touch and drop in on you on our next visit.
Until then, goodbye Algarve and hello again to…
Barragem de Santa Clara!
Well, we were heading North and thought a night here with all the lovely people we’d met previously would be a great starting point for our upward travels.
One night turned into two nights. The sun was hot in the daytime and the place is delightful.
We chose a different spot to park up this time. Instead of a water view, we had what I can only describe as being like the view from an aeroplane down the dry side of the Barragem! Almost impossible to capture the magnificence on camera… almost…
A stunning view from our window!
Each morning, I’ve been wild swimming either in the sea or in a lake. Swimming in Barragem de Santa Clara was a fantastic experience, something I will greatly miss when we move on.
After the two nights, we said our goodbyes to the lovely people here, promising we will return soon.
So off we went, up north to Barraem do Roxo…
This Barragem was very different to Santa Clara. The water levels were very low, but I still managed to have a swim in the morning!
When we arrived, I went for a long walk to the water to fill our 10L water container, only to notice as I returned to the van, we were parked right next to a tap!
The sunshine and atmosphere of this place was glorious.
The parking spot was level and I just managed to pick up satellite for the broadband. We were just on the edge of our current satellite zone, but after ten minutes of aligning the dish, I just managed to get enough signal to get online.
Home is definitely where you park it!
GPS co-ordinates: 37.936613, -8.080994
We decided to head over to the West coast of Portugal for our next venture. Route planned, we set off on our 155 mile road trip.
En route, we spotted a “Chinese shop” – judging by the sign, if we stop here we can do some “Oriental Sopping” – So we did.
We stopped off and I bought a watering can… always useful for filling up the water tank from a well or lake.
We found a car park for a picnic area that looked good to us, where we stopped and bedded down for the night. We thought we could hear the sea somewhere near by. All will be revealed in the morning…
We woke up to this view!
I think it’s safe to say, the sea was indeed near by!
A charming spot for the night. Waking up to a view like this really isn’t a bad life!
GPS co-ordinates: 39.476037, -9.191302
I found a tap to top the water up as we left…
And I met a donkey…
Our friend Mandy, who we met in a previous Blog post, told us she’d found some thermal springs in Spain, right on the Portuguese border. This was 243 miles from our current location – so off we set to Spain!
We stopped on the way at a supermarket to buy some lunch…
The weather soon turned chilly and damp…
Our last view of Portugal as we crossed over into Spain.
Goodbye, Portugal. You’ve been amazing. I will be back – VERY, VERY SOON!
We continued into Spain, and headed to the thermal springs.
Balneario de Lobios – we’d found the thermal springs and we’d found Mandy!
By the time we arrived and had eaten, it was gone 9pm. But that didn’t stop us… we were soon sitting in the hot water… in the torrential rain! A crazy and awesome experience!
After sitting in this amazing water for a good couple of hours, we all proceeded back to the van to drink some port until the early hours.
Next morning… back in the water!
It’s a hard life…
The water is steaming hot – very hot at one end. Naturally heated by the earth. A picturesque river flows alongside the spring. The river is chilly but it’s great fun getting out of the hot water and jumping into the cold river!
GPS Co-ordinates: 41.86222, -8.10653
This is Jack. Jack is Mandy’s little friend who she found abandoned in Ireland many years ago. They’ve been together ever since and he takes Mandy for plenty of walks.
Mandy popped in to borrow some internet and have a chat!
More on Grounding
In my previous post, I talked a bit about grounding. Since then, I’ve continued my research on the subject and have decided to do a short experiment which involves being grounded at night. Human beings are no longer grounded – by wearing shoes in the daytime and sleeping in raised beds at night, there is no longer a connection to the earth.
If inflammation is the Holy Grail of medicine, then is grounding the Holy Grail of inflammation? The short answer is yes. Sleeping grounded has been proven to relieve and even cure many ailments (inflammation, joint pain, advanced rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and many, many more) – not to mention provide a great night sleep.
To sleep grounded is known to be hugely beneficial but this doesn’t mean you have to sleep in your back garden or in a tent! By placing conductors in your bed and connecting them to the earth, this grounds you.
Cue my next experiment…
Using aluminium tape, I created a grid in our bed.
I then connected the grid to a long cable, which terminated in the earth outside.
Finally, I turned the sheet over to make the bed more comfortable!
We’ve slept for a few nights grounded now and we have both slept much better. This suggests we should buy a conductive bed sheet when we get home…
Walking in Spain
Whilst in Balneario de Lobios, we’ve been on some lovely countryside walks…
Off we go to see the waterfall and riviers with Mandy and Jack…
We passed by the remains of a Roman Villa. We think this would have been the support system for the under-heated floor. The hot springs would have run under here!
Mountains and lots of streams…
The water looked so inviting!
We carried on up to find the waterfall…
The photos just don’t do it justice. It was incredible.
Jack…. Don’t jump!
I rather like it here!
We stayed for a while and admired our beautiful surroundings…
And then we came back down again!
We said hello to some sort of lizard… thing…
Found a little derelict building…
We didn’t hurry back…
We spotted more derelict buildings…
Beautiful, hot parts of the river with hot springs running into it…
And when we returned, Jack – an actual dog – used our well travelled dog bowl and made the sign absolutely terrifying….. or not.
We’ve covered a fair few miles and Beyond so far hasn’t missed a beat. In fact, since we left home we’ve done 2,850 Miles. And counting.
I noticed as we arrived at Balneario de Lobios, the battery voltage was dropping significantly and when we arrived, the battery bank was barely at full charge. The problem turned out to be my fault though – the Hydrogen cell had run low on water (because I forgot to check it!) and was drawing huge power off the alternator. A top up of water and all is good again.
Planned upgrades to the van
The design, layout and self sufficiency of the van so far has been almost spot on.
When we return home, I will be fitting additional windows in the van lounge area to help cool the living area down a bit and let a some more light in. I’ve also devised a plan of how to collect rain water from the roof and route it to the water tank… These van upgrades will deserve dedicated blog posts, I’m sure!
We also now have sunflowers in the windscreen!
Off to France…
Where next? Not sure exactly yet, but it will still be in zone 9 of our satellite, which is where we are at the moment. Our aim is to reach the North East border of zone 9 in a day, then go from there to France (zone 16) the following day.
We’re planning a week in Brittany as this part of France really does look interesting.
I am loving this lifestyle. When we get home, I intend to get myself a dog and return to Europe as soon as I can. Kirsty has other plans and a career she wants to pursue. One thing is for certain, I will be going back to south Portugal!
Until next time…
Gracias por leer!