Memorable moments

Looking back on our 5 month adventure, I thought it might be nice to list some of the most memorable moment we had during those 5 months. Visiting so many places, seeing so many things, what were the things that really stood out afterwards? Well, probably too many to mention but I thought I’d try anyway… So here goes, in no particular order.

In Sagres, we had a knock on Rex’s door. That doesn’t happen very often so it was a bit of a surprise. Turns out it was a Jehova’s witness! I never even used to get these when we were still in the house! Of course, any knock on the door sets Luna off so the Jehova’s witness did not stay long as Luna was not particularly welcoming…

One of the funniest memories of the trip has to be in Oñati. Stuart had popped out and I had stayed in Rex. Next thing, my phone starts ringing… Turns out it’s Stuart, saying he’s locked in a toilet. My ‘problem-solving’ brain kicks in and I say calmly; “Don’t worry, I’m coming out to help you now”. He had gone to use the public loo at the little Aire. It was one of those self-cleaning units so there was the added excitement of wondering if it was about to start cleaning itself with Stuart inside… Stuart tells me he’s pressed all the right buttons inside to unlock the door but it won’t open… So I decided to try from the outside, and…. hey presto, it opens…. Turns out it’s a sliding door, rather than a ‘push/pull’ and it had been unlocked all along. Now there may have been another toilet incident resulting in one of us being splashed with blue chemicals leading much hilarity, but that’s a story for another day…

One of the earliest memorable moments was when we first reached Spain and made our way to Cadaques across a very windy, somewhat scary, mountain road with steep drops. As we finally arrived in the town, we just had to treat ourselves to Tapas and some wine in Cadaques to congratulate ourselves on making it. By now we had also realised that we didn’t have enough fuel in Rex to get back across that mountain and the only petrol station was in the part of the town where motorhomes were not allowed… So we had to ignore ‘no motorhome allowed’ sign to get to the petrol station, brave traffic and low trees to get our fuel to be able to get out again.

One of the most impressive days for us was when we got to the Montanejos Hotsprings. These are not the hottest springs you can find but they are very beautiful. It was relatively quiet when we were there and had an amazing time swimming through the gorge, filming and taking photos.

Probably another one was our day in Trevelez where we had a tour of Nevadensis Jamones. We have never seen so many hams in one place!! It was amazing! We learnt a lot about the curing process as well. A lovely town and a great experience for us.

Talking of food, one of the funny things abroad can be food-shopping. The shops are a bit different and the produce can be different too. Sometimes you may not notice quite how different as you don’t know enough of the language… As we found out when we went to buy some eggs… Simple enough you might think… Well yes, except I hadn’t realised that ‘cocio’ meant ‘cooked’ and I had actually picked up a box of hard-boiled eggs… And I thought I’d been lucky none of them broke when the box tumbled from the fridge in Rex… (after playing world-championship level Tetris to try to get all the groceries to fit in the fridge… joys of motorhome life!). One thing we could never find in Spain was Halloumi cheese. We thought we may have found a suitable substitute in a kind of cheese that had an image of ‘grilled cheese’ on its packaging. Bingo! Turns out this Provolone cheese is very tasty when cooked but also very soft, drippy and messy… Cue an industrial clean of the oven… Of course there are also all the memories of amazingly good food. What stands out the most here were the simple yet beautiful BBQ fish restaurants in the Algarve. We had the most amazing dinners in Fuzeta and Vila Real de Santo Antonio. No menu, just select your fish and it comes served with salad and potatoes. Simply beautiful! And last but not least in the food and friends category has to be our visit with Alix and Phillipe in Cépie, where we enjoyed the most amazing family Sunday lunch!

One of the best things of the trip were the people we met along the way. We’ll never forget meeting Sarah and Andy when we parked up in Peratallada. It was a kind of meeting of minds and we quickly put together a tapas lunch from whatever food we had in our vans. This then became a bit of a tradition whenever we met. And with Susie and Jason too, who we first met briefly in Roses before catching up in Sitges for a day of partying! The memories of that day are perhaps a bit vague but we know it was a brilliant day!

Our paddle boarding trips are always memorable! There is just something about going out on big open water on a little board that makes you feel small and is quite humbling. In Castellon de la Plana it was simply a beautiful day and we had great fun! In Alvor, the sea was much more challenging but it had to be done as the coastline was so stunning!

Of course there are too many memories to mention, but here are some more brief ones of simple pleasures and impressive sights that have burnt images in our memory.

  • A beer in the sun over the bay in Sagres
  • El Torcal Rockformatins
  • Guadix Troglodytes or cave dwellings
  • El Rocio and everything about it!
  • The Monastery up in the mountain, in clouds so low you could hardly see a thing. And the thunderstorm that night, bouncing around the mountains.
  • The big storm in Blanes!
  • The smell of roast chicken in Lloret de Mar.
  • Barcelona in the pouring rain, walking over 20 miles to try to see the city in a day!
  • Valencia, Cordoba and the Mezquita, Granada and the Alhambra!
  • the many, many sculptures and statues of Spain.
  • The parades of Spain and Carnaval in Loule
  • Slacklining in Sagres
  • Family time in southern Spain.
  • New Years eve with grapes.
  • Benidorm with the Dutchies.
  • The medieval festival in Castellon

Now for some stats from our 5 month tour. We did quite a lot of walking! We estimate that we walked approximately 1095 km or 680 miles! We walked around natural parks, up and down mountains, through valleys and along the coast and it was all beautiful!

Of course we drove even more… About 5378 miles from England, through France, Spain and Portugal.

We stayed in 56 places in Spain, 13 places in Portugal and 21 places in France. We travelled all over and you can see exactly where we went on our travel map.

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