Well now, this blog needs a little bit of life. With that being said here goes my first real article, that will resume my first couple of weeks traveling, i will start as a diary format and let’s see how it evolves during the trip.
After all the rush in preparation and with all the delaying, finally on the 16th of February 2017 my journey supposedly around Europe begins, Europe is actually a bit bigger then it seems on the map.
I started in my hometown Pinhal Novo – Portugal with my father at dawn, the kilometer counter on my van marked 209201, the destiny was Alto da Foia, highest point of Algarve and finish to the 2nd stage of the “Volta ao Algarve- Cycling Race” competition that i would follow till the last stage, after this stage we went strait to Sagres to spend the night, Sagres is the point further South from Europe where the 3rd stage of the competition would be held on the next day. A great individual time trial, after witch we headed to Albufeira to stay at a relatives apartment and take a warm bath.
On the following day, and taking advantage of the base where we have slept, the morning was spent giving some touches and dealing with some problemas and needs of life on the campervan, a extra shelf to give some support to the kitchen área was created and also in a corner a small board was set up to place seasonings and other kitchen needs, i also took that time to do some electrical touches, and hang some hooks, witch i soon realized are a van lifer’s best friends. Later we went to Tavira to assist the 4th stage, an epic sprint finish by the way. Then we went to São Bras de Alportel where we slept for that night.
No Sunday we went to the last stage at the Alto do Malhão – Salir, we get to do a little bit of rally on the alternative roads to get to the top, but the LT was up to the challenge slow but strong. The stage ended in another epic climb by the Portuguese Cyclist Amaro Antunes.
We then got back to Albufeira to another sleep and the last warm bath till this day.
With the “Volta ao Algarve” finished it was time to send my father home by train stock up the van and really start my trip, the train was a bit late so i ended up staying in the Faro Beach, loved the place, a good beach, a good look at the river, lots of bathrooms and public showers, really good for campervans.
On the next day i stayed by Olhão, taking advantage of the last days of internet, and taking care of some stuff before leaving Portugal, Olhão is a bit confusing but has some good places to leave your campervan and spend a couple of nights, inclusively a place on the main street where i ended up staying with a couple dozens of campers.
February 22nd is the date that marks my last night in Portugal and the Manta Rota Beach was the one i choose, for the proximity to the border and for also being taken by campervans. I finally took the time to resume my training on a 5K run that showed me how much weight i really have gained in the last couple of years.
On the following day, the weather was really grey and a strange rain of brown dust that fell all over the south the night before, left my van really dirty. I took the day to finally pass to Spain, and do a couple of extra kms first to Huelva to fill up my tank, have lunch and wash my van, i was supposed to go to Sevilla, i already knew it and its a confusing big city, i ended up going to Jerez de la Frontera, witch i didn’t find a nice place to sleep, i decide to do some more Kms and when i started to get sleepy i was in Puerto de Santa Maria, my goal was Cadiz but i ended up staying right there in a parking lot behind a Burger King for a quiet night. In the morning i left for Cadiz and after some kms around Cadiz without finding a place to park i arrived at the Playa de Cortadura, it has a free park only for campervans, almost full but the LT is small and i found a place, ended up spending the day there, go for one mor 5K run by the beach and go out a bit on the night and as it was near Carnaval i tried to ask the locals if Carnaval was a big thing there and if they like it as much as me.
Apparently they do like the Carnaval in Cadiz, there is a big parade on Sunday, and on Saturday night people from everywhere come to the center of the city with their costumes and just drink and have fun all night long
On Sunday after lunch i left to Algeciras, to sleep, and prepare the visit to Gibraltar the next day.
Gibraltar is quite a small country, you can see most of it in one day on foot, but it’s worth visiting it, its a taste of England in the middle of Spain, and with a view to Morocco and the North of Africa.
This have been my first weeks of van life, hope you have enjoyed the pictures end my diary/blog post .