18th March 2010 Evora to Barragem de Pego Altar

18 03 2010

Frankly, I am beginning to wonder if it is even worth going back to the old life of having a house, paying a mortgage, paying council tax, paying water rates, paying for gas and electricity and working for a living. It seems that life on the road, on the continent, can be enjoyed for a very small amount of money and it certainly beats the day to day humdrum of a ‘normal’ existence. Take our last few days for example:

Ovar Beach: cost nothing to stay
Praia de Mira: cost nothing to stay
Figueira de Foz: cost nothing to stay
Fatima: cost nothing to stay
Evora: cost nothing to stay

That’s five consecutive places where we have had to pay nothing to live in our motorhome apart from fuel and insurance (electricity courtesy of a solar panel and a spare leisure battery which charges when driving), and we have only stayed a maximum of three nights in each place, a hell of a lot less than others we have met, some who have stayed for months on end, the weather is nicer, the food and drink is cheaper and you have everything you need in your motorhome. Ok, there may come a time when people in motorhomes are not as welcome as they are now and there is some evidence of this happening already, particularly, if some if the stories we have heard are true, on the Algarve and Spanish Med. But, for the moment it seems that you can live for next to nothing for long periods of time if you have a motorhome and know the places to be. So it really makes me wonder if returning to the stesses of modern life is really worth it. Even when we return to the UK in late June our costs will rise considerably as we will more than likely have to pay to stay somewhere. I can’t see us staying long for some reason! (sorry Mom).

We got up today to a slightly cloudy outlook, the temperature was still very pleasant but the sun was not to be seen. Another walk around Evora was our first job and we managed to see a different side of the town (geographically speaking), walking past the Police station and some kind of military building, we saw the mounted Police out and about on some gorgeous looking horses, happily trotting along the road, holding up traffic and unsuprisingly no-one complained. A quick sort out back at the motorhome and we were on our way to our next destination, Barragem de Pego Altar, a large dam around about an hour and a half away.

We weren’t sure if we would be staying the night as it could have been deserted and in the middle of nowhere so the back up plan was a little town calked Alcacer where we had been told there was places to park. We set off and headed out of Evora toward Montemor before turning off the main road and taking the N370 toward Santiago do Escoural. The road was rough again and I did little over 30mph all the way along it which increased our travelling time considerably. After negotiating the tight cobbled roads of Santiago do Escoural nothing much improved and we must have done nigh on 35km on rough roads. Though the roads were not good the drive through the olive groves was very nice, lush green grasses, herds of cows and bulls and the occasional abandoned house made for nice views. There were a number of occasions that I wanted to pull over and photograph some of the buildings but the road was essentially a single carriageway though you could just about squeeze a lorry and a motorhome past each other, good job as we met a speeding lorry who was simply going too fast to slow down enough for a comfortable passing manouvre.

Once off the N370 we took the N253 to our destination and this was a much better road. We had hoped to find a supermarket en-route but on these small roads there was no chance. Before arriving at the Barragem we passed through the beautiful little town of Santa Susana which had lovely houses all along the road, all painted in blue and white, very pretty. Finally we saw the sign for the Barragem and we headed along another decent road toward the car park. Our concerns about being alone in a deserted place were soon put to rest as we turned the final corner and saw about 5 motorhomes parked up beside the large lake. That was the tip of the iceberg though, a little further on there was about 20 more from all over the place including The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Portugal and of course the UK. We found a spot looking over the lake and parked up next to another British motorhome (N38•25’14 W8•23’29). After a quick chat with the chap next door we had a wander up to the small cafe about 300 yards up the road and had some lunch, something that we can do now because this is still oficially an extended holiday, should we decide to do it full time we would be on a tighter budget so that would be a no no. I had steak and chips whilst Lorna went for the rabbit and chips and ended up with a full portioned rabbit on her plate, including the head which Jack enjoyed enormously. With drinks, of which we had a few, the bill was still just €25. Back at the motorhome we had a lazy afternoon with Lorna having a mid-afternoon sleep whilst I got my bike off the rack to go for a ride, first having to get the locks off which ended up with me ruining one of them and having to throw it away as the constant barrage of muck had stiffened it so much I needed pliers to loosen it off which wrecked the key. The remainder of the afternoon and early evening was spent with me chatting to neighbours whilst Lorna slept.

Such an amazing place to be it’s a shame we can’t spend longer here but to the Algarve we must go to meet one of Lornas friends who is flying over to spend a week in Armacao de Pera and to catch up with us. We are now seriously considering missing out the Costas of southern Spain to spend more time in Portugal, our favorite country so far.

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