A weekend with the windy West Coast waves
Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
147Trip End Ongoing
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After nearly two weeks of hard labouring (ahem) we were packed and ready to leave for a weekend jaunt to the allegedly very lovely, rugged and windswept West Coast of Portugal. Except Brian wouldn't start as she had a flat battery, which was odd because it had only ten days since we had driven in. It has been wet and cold at times and the locals thought the terrible climate might have flattened it. It didn't really add up to us, after all it's just like an English summer here at the moment! However, credence was given to their theory when we noticed that the gas alarm battery was also flat. Very strange, we'd had no problems before in much worse weather - she stood for two weeks at close to freezing in France. I started wondering if maybe the alternator was packing in. However, after being jump started and left idling for 45 minutes we had no further issues the rest of the weekend. So I designed another theory. On the basis that the battery, the gas alarm, and all three gas lighters (all full of gas) had all mysteriously stopped working, it was abundantly clear that we had parked Brian on a haunted spot. Of course.
We finally landed Friday evening at Praia Amada, near the small town of Carrapateira; a beachside location with lots of really cool campers that were all at least 20 years old and all the occupiers were very surfer chilled or hippy relaxed. Brian appeared pristine and new in comparison and we need a traveller overhaul on our wardrobe!
We saw a cowherder on our walk back to the van, looking after thirty or so cows. They all had bells that tonked and nice long horns, which was good to see. We learnt in France that cows have horns. There are some that have been bred to not have them but mostly they get burned off when calves. Keeping cows in close proximity, i.e. cow sheds, means they hurt each other with them. However, cows naturally have lots of space and the horns are part of establishing cow heirarchy and they rarely hurt another cow with them. The cows produce more milk when they have horns.
On the way back to Loule we spotted another LDV, the same model, reg and colour as ours! We waved frantically at each other. The young, Belgian hitchhikers we'd picked up didn't understand what the fuss was about until they got out of the van and saw what they'd been travelling in - never seen a Brian or similar before. In fact, we've done about 2000 miles since leaving the UK and that was the second LDV we'd seen. The first was a cool school bus yellow camper conversion we passed in France and we waved and honked hysterically at each other then as well!
A last recommendation from Graham saw us pick our way down a very long track that was riddled with pot holes and ravines. At the end of the track was a nature reserve next to the sea. A black shouldered kite kept us company along with numerous redshanks. Just as we were heading back to the van we saw a lady picking flowers. We smiled, used one of our few words of Portuguese to say good afternoon and then we had a sign and gesticulating conversation exclaiming over the smell and beauty of the flowers. I think they were white bluebells.
We'll be heading off to a small holding without internet access in a couple of days (Wed 27th Jan) so next update won't be for a while.