Sunday, June 6, 2010

Road Trip

'Pack some things' he said. So I did! Got a little concerned when I saw the tent going in the car along with the sleeping bags, but never mind - in the spirit of adventure I'm willing to try camping again.

We're off on a road trip up to Northern Portugal and beyond...well into Spain actually! We headed up to a town called Viana Do Castelo, a town where the bridge was built by Mr Eiffel (of the tower fame) and the most Gothic looking building I've ever seen sits on top of the hill.

Lunch was had in a back street place, now don't get the wrong idea here, I say back street but alas it was blooming expensive for Fish Rice. A quick trip around the town before we head to the coast for surf! Cloud coming in though as the inlet means it's hot hot hot, but cloud covers the sun. A surf had (I had a sleep on the beach behind the wind break) and we head for a seaside town called Villa Praia de Ancora. Hotel found we went exploring, a fantastic seaside town with lots of places to eat and drink. And guess what there was a Sardine Festival starting the very next day! Quite common in Portugal I hear, since only last week some town somewhere near here broke the World Record for amount of Sardines eaten in a day (oh my that's a lot of fish).
Smoking still allowed in some bars over here, and you guessed it, those bars are always busy. Woke up smelling of smoke but it was strangely nice being in a smokey bar again!

So, did we stay for the Sardine Festival?


Just a few miles north was Spain and the Gallicia region - a wonderful rugged coastline of inlets and rocks stretching for miles. Full of hotels just random on the cliff edges the area must be really popular in the Summer. We stopped briefly at Oia to take a look at their church and the harbour. They make fancy churches the Spanish!

Shortly after we hit Baiona, a Spanish Monte Carlo by all accounts. Hundreds of places to eat and drink, but hundreds of coach tours stopping at the fort for people to get off and spend spend spend. We took a tour of the fort, paid our 2 Euros (only people that did, but you know me I like to support the heritage).

We walked up to the fancy Pousada hotel called Parador de Baiona, right nice! After two beers (served in wine glasses) I went to ask the price of a double room.....234 Euros a night. I didn't turn it down right away, well it was a very nice place. But then we paid 12 Euros for 4 beers (served in wine glasses!) and we decided it was beyond our means.

Onwards we went, slightly fractious since we did not know where we were going and I needed to pee! Peter pulled another winner out the bag and we went to O Grove on the coast. Set on a salt lake O Grove is lovely. We explored as soon as we'd found a hotel, and soon learned that because of it's location at the end of the Peninsular O Grove is THE stop on the tour bus route, there were so many tour buses and so many Spanish people getting off them. All that tourism puts the prices up in O Grove. Tapas for dinner, along with these peppers - a local speciality where these mini peppers are flash grilled with salt and oil. Only one in every 12 peppers are hot, so you have to hope for a hot one!

The next day we headed home. Via Carrefour for shopping. Watching Peter choose chorizo and hams from a selection of too many was a sight to behold! We ended up with a fair few in our trolley, so I know what we'll be having for dinner from now on!

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