Tuesday, 25 August 2015

One week ago...

This time one week ago i had just boarded a ferry from Portsmouth headed to Santander, struggling to believe just how quickly that time has gone! Me and Tim are now in Portugal, Lamego to be precise. Today's 'office' is much nicer than the last, instead of me writing this from inside Tim, hiding from the wind and rain, cosey to say the least! I'm outside, bathed in the slowly setting Portugese sun, with a fresh beer, can i work like this all the time please?

Who'd want to be me eh?

We left Camping San Francisco (yes really), in Muros, and headed inland. It was still raining, and that continued to be a theme as the day went on. One of few places I had listed to see was Santiago De Compostella, i had read many things about Galicias capital. Famed for being the culmination of the 'Camino de Santiago' pilgrimage route, and is also the alleged burial site of the Apostle St. James. Ooooh, look at me with my historical facts!

When arriving in the city, if anything it is a slight dissapointment, however do not be deterred. With nearly all of the old town (the interesting bit) being pedestrianized, roads only have access to the much less interesting modern section. Park up, and head for the old town, it's much more interesting!
The old town, can only be described as beautiful. Many will say that it's one of, if not the most beautiful city in all of Spain. As i'm still early into this trip, and not actually planning on visiting too many cities, i sha'll reserve judgement. I will however say it is by far one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities that i have ever visited. It is a superb collection of narrow, twisted lanes, lined with cobbled paths, with hidden nooks and crannies, open courtyards and ancient churches.

 Parked underground, drying off!

It rained more than a little!

Unfortunately, during my visit, the rain was relentless, and with the rain came the cold, it really was not a good day to be visiting one of Spain's most beautifully historic cities. The rain and overcast conditions made it rather hard to photograph also, so apologies in advance for that. In person though, the rain did little to dull the cities charm, in someways perhaps even adding to it, water rolling down over the cobbles, rain dripping off of gargoyles noses. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking, but truly they do not do the place justice.

 Every street lined with cobbles, the architecture simply stunning.

 Despite the rain, the atmosphere couldn't of felt more alive!

Lunch, not very Spanish i know, great chow though.

After some lunch we continued to head south, stopping in a town called Maceira. We stayed at Camping de Maceira, a nice small campsite, and if it wasn't for the weather would of been really nice. Later on that evening i sought refuge in the restaurant/bar, and in my broken spanglish spent the evening there. After a few too many 'Estrella Galicias' and a plate full of some fried fish (i'm still not too sure which) i headed back to the tent. After walking up the wrong road several times, i found it!

Mystery dish!
Wahooo, tent was found!

The next morning i was awoken to even more rain, by far the worse that i'd seen. Brilliant, i prepared myself for another day of rain, wipers on and missing much of the scenery. Several hours later however, the rain stopped, and the sun slowly began to appear! Wahooo! I was genuinely excited by feeling the heat of the sun on my back!

 Must be sunny, the Ray-Bans are on!

The road to Portugal!

Yesterday, was the journey into Portugal, exciting times, as many overlander will testament, travelling into a new country is always an exciting time. As well as now officially earning the right of displaying said countries sticker on there vehicle! Now just to find one....
The drive into Portugal was fairly unexciting, however, an hour or so in. The roads became truly dramatic, turn after turn through mountains, through hill based vineyards, over narrow bridges, up steep cobbled streets... It was a lovely time to be driving. However, as lovely as the roads are, getting anywhere quickly is almost impossible! Eventually, and almost accidentally, i arrived at Lamego, driving through the town i was already struck by its quaintness, driving along the streets in the city it seemed very historical, very pretty. I was intrigued, so upon arriving at Camping Lamego, i arranged to stay two nights.

 Portugese Vineyards, photos do not do these justice.

 Lamego, by night.

Tim found a friend!

And that brings us up to today. Lamego, as i discovered, is truly a city worth visiting, seemingly unknown too most, it passes under the radar, and almost under mine. Standing in the centre of the old city you can help but notice the staircase leading up to the 'Santuria de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios'. Hopefully the photos below will show just how impressive they are. There are over 620 steps from the center up to the sanctuary, and of course, i wouldn't be doing things properly if i didn't walk up all of them!
 Lamego, centre.

 Centre, again.
 And the steps begin...

After over an hour of walking up the ornate stone steps, admiring the wall tilings and exploring caves off to each side, i arrived at the top. And the view was more than worth the effort. Inside the sanctuary was truly stunning, although photographs were not allowed. I thought it was too impressive to not share, so below, is one of the photos that i didn't take...

After exploring the city, i headed to the campsite and i'm not ashamed to say spent a few hours chilling in the sun... Weather was beautiful and it would of been rude to not make the most of it! This afternoon, i did some work on Tim, trying to trace down the source of a knock on his front suspension. Tracked down to be a failing droop stop, it will have to continue failing as i don't carry spares...
Maintenance and spanner checks, all is mainly good.

And that is all, it has taken me far too long to write this post, mainly because Alex the campsites bartender has kept on feeding me beers. So yeah, if your reading this Alex, im blaming you! 

Tomorrow, we will most probably leave Lamego, and continue on our journey south. Perhaps back into France, perhaps back into Spain. One thing is for sure though, i will sure be returning to Lamego. Awesome place.
Lamego, i'll be back.
Peace, Joe.

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