Monday, 6 June 2011

Portugal and Potatas

Hola! so, much has happened since our last post, and since this is My post, it shall have to be a good one.  I am currently sat on the end of the bed, with my back up against the back door on cushions, in Portugal, just north west of Lisbon, 10am ish. We have washing hung up all over on ropes between the trees, and I have just semi-successfully made porridge not in the pan, but in a bowl (wasnt that good really). The fridge is buzzing away and laura's tea is getting cold (got my eyes on it!).

So we left Salamanca in a wake of traffic violations and loop-de-loops.  The signing is always pretty bad, like a trail of breadcrumbs that abrubtly ends, just after you think youve found your signs out of the town.  Very like Jack Nicholson at the end of the Shining where his son tricks him into a hedge maze in sub zero weather and erases his foot steps so he cant find his way out and dies.

Salamanca was v pretty and had some very nice parts, but we were not that taken with it for whatever reason really. Had a great square and some impressive university buildings though.  That evening we found a lovely campsite that is my favourite so far, right on a river that you could swim in, and with bbq pits and things.  We had a great cooked up dinner, and here afterwards is a picture of me playing Sweet Home Alabama on a ukulele (who knew it was 3 chords?).  You WISH you could hear it!  Laura wasnt paying much attention to it though, dont know why...

Next morning we drove 20 miles or so and the clutch pedal seemed to go pretty flat and soft.  WE pulled into a layby and a quick crawl underneath showed brake fluid squirting out :( The van has a hydraulic clutch, which is good, but it shares its fluid with the brake system and soon enough we wouldnt be able to change gear anymore (or brake? not sure).  It was the slave cylinder at the back that looked to be split, and we got a new safer place to stop where laura ran off to ask for a mechanics, and i had another look.  It only gone and turned out that we had broke down about 100 metres away from a 'vintage parts' ordering place, and with the very kind of help of Tiego and his friends, we had the part ordered (on his business account because he wanted to save us the VAT! what a nice man) and a new job for me the next day on his forecourt when it would arrive.  Van went into his storage lockup, and we went on our way up the hill till the morning.

Anyway, we ended up tent camping 5km up in the surrounding hills that night, and had a grand time of it.  Id spoke to dad for some internet details on swapping the part, and we got a  taxi back down to where the van was and got stuck in.  Here's some pictures of the job and after 3/4 hours of heaving and sighing it went well and we were moving again. hurrah!

my messiest job yet, and i was dead happy to have got it working again.

The next day we treated ourselves to a beach day near Peniche, a popular surfing place and baked away nicely, heading back up the trail to the van for a brew and snack.  I think then we stayed in Ericia, but to be honest i cant remember where we were last night either.  We wanted to catch a west coast sunset, which we did, but it plumeted into a thick cloud layer and dissapeared before it hit the water! Here's a pic of it when it was best though.

Plus, laura wouldnt let me look directly into he setting sun, saying my eyes would set on fire, so i was only looking at the bits around where the sun was.  Still think i would have been alright though...

Sintra was fantastic too, where i had some cherry liquor in a chocolate cup.  Going into Lisbon today-bye!


  1. A new post! What an adventure you're having. Postcards as well please!xxx

  2. So pleased you're putting Xmas prezzie 2008 to good use, bruv. Perhaps Laura (and me, to be truthful) might fall under your musical spell more easily if you were to choose a different song... Just a thought :-) Biggup love from Big Sis et al xxxx

  3. Sounds like you crazy cats are having an awesome time.

    You should post on FB when you have blogged so my old brain doesnt have to do too much work remembering to look back

  4. Great to see you guys having so much the RAIN ... suck it all in... it's the juice of life...

    You are learning John... really good to see you on the floor under the van all greased up... :-)

    ...and then being told off for looking at the sun...

    Following you via email now as I look at that every day... I've nicked some of the photos off your flicker from camping... so SUE me bro... n behave yourself Dadio... All our Love from Sunny Manchester