day 106 to 112 Nazare to Cascais, Portugal

 

Fire on Christmas Day

Fire on Christmas Day

 

Christmas day AFTER the dip with cheeky beers

Christmas day AFTER the dip with cheeky beers

 

Christmas day DURING

Christmas day DURING

 

Christmas day BEFORE

Christmas day BEFORE

 

Christmas day on the beach

Christmas day on the beach

 

Christmas Eve Lunch

Christmas Eve Lunch

day 110, 111, 112 – Cascais, Portugal

23rd , 24th , 25th December 2011.  We spent four nights on the campsite the weather was awesome and we had a fab time partying with Ju, Jay, Jacqui and Marc, playing controversial games like ‘know your partner’ and ‘pass the pigs’ and making fire with the pine cones in our newly acquired burners.  We had lunch on Christmas Eve at a fab local restaurant and on Christmas day we skyped with the family then had a dip in the Atlantic followed by a barbeque.  All in all a great way to spend a Christmas and I’ll let the photos do the talking (writing).  [Camping Card ASCI, 8th Edition 2011, p.716, #1877, Cascais/Guincho, P-2750-053, Costa de Lisboa, N38, 43’18”, W9, 27’59”] 

Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca

day 109 – Cabo da Roca to Cascais, Portugal

22nd December 2011.  In the morning the view from the Cabo was spectacular and we took some Christmas photos with our Santa hats on to mark the occasion of being at the most westerly point to the amusement of another bus load of young Japanese tourists.  We also bumped into a Dutch couple who arrived in their motorhome who we had met at Nazare. 

Europes most westerly point

Europes most westerly point

We explained how we had missed Sintra by accident and that we would head back there and then on to the campsite we had agreed to all meet up at for Christmas.  They knew the campsite and explained that it was only about 6 kilometres away around the coast while Sintra was 18 kilometres away over a mountain range.  At that moment Tina and I had the same thought it was time to chill we had done so much culture so we decided to head straight to the campsite and arrive a day earlier than planned. 

The campsite was only a short distance away just outside Cascais but it was clean, sheltered and sunny with a Wi-Fi room, bar and laundrette and the ASCI camping card was accepted so it ticked all our boxes. 

We set up proper camp for the first time on the trip.  Our day tent got its first airing so it took a while to put up but it was worth it especially as it morphed into a fabulous Santa Party Grotto for our planned Christmas celebrations with Ju, Jay, Jacqui and Marc. [Camping Card ASCI, 8th Edition 2011, p.716, #1877, Cascais/Guincho, P-2750-053, Costa de Lisboa, N38, 43’18”, W9, 27’59”] 

Cabo Carvoeiro view from Christina

Cabo Carvoeiro view from Christina

day 108 - Cabo Carvoeiro to Ericeira to Mafra to Cabo da Roca, Portugal

21st December 2011.  We woke up to the most amazing view and took a walk right to the end of the peninsula with Loli.  Our parking spot had by now become a hive of activity with, swimmers, surfers and snorkelers’ parking up and heading down into the clear blue Atlantic. 

Christina, Chris & Loli at the Cabo Carvoeiro

Christina, Chris & Loli at the Cabo Carvoeiro

 

Cabo Carvoeiro

Cabo Carvoeiro

We moved off the peninsular direction Sintra and planned to drive along the coast via Ericeira.  The drive along the coast was again beautiful and we came across a fab parking spot with a great view over Praia de S. Lourenco and parked up for lunch.  After lunch we went down on the beach with Loli to get a better view of the surfers.  The sand on the beach was the most unusual, colourful and biggest grained sand I have come across and I wanted to take a sample back to Christina but Tina reminded me of my minimalistic ideals so I didn’t. 

The Hunting Room

The Hunting Room

Next stop was Mafra and the royal convent or PALACIO E CONVENTO DE MAFRA which we had heard was one of the biggest palaces ever constructed.  The build started in 1717 and it became the biggest employer of the region at one point emplying over 50,000 people in one year and it was all funded by Brazilian gold.  With over 1200 rooms, more than 4,700 doors and windows and 29 courtyards and a bascilica in the middle we are talking big.  We didn’t get there until 4.00 pm and it closed at 5.30 pm so we weren’t sure if we would make all 1200 rooms however the ticket office assured us that we would have plenty of time.  They were right because only a few rooms were open but they were impressive, such as the gallery which was over 200 metres long, the hunting room and the most impressive of all the library housing over 40,000 books. 

The Library with 40,000 books

The Library with 40,000 books

We then set off direction Sintra and a parking place which was recommended on the tinterweb.  It was a strange drive because we seemed to drive way past Sintra and we ended up at the Cabo da Roca which although is in the Sintra area is 18 kilometres away!  However there were lots of Japanese tourists milling around the still open Tourist office because the peninsular is in fact the most westerly point of Europe and you can even get a certificate just for being there if you are happy to part with €10.  It was dark when we arrived so we couldn’t see the extent of the view but all over the carpark were no motorhome and overnight camping signs.  As there was a security guard in the tourist office I thought it wise to ask if we could stay overnight and they were very helpful and said as long as we stayed on their carpark and not the private carpark we would be OK.  [Cabo da Roca, N38.781581, W9.496661] 

Obidos

Obidos

day 107 – Nazare to Sao Martinho do Porto to Obidos to Cabo Carvoeiro, Portugal

20th December 2011. Ok so I was nursing a very very slight hangover but we decided to head south following the awesome Portuguese Atlantic coast.  We were heading for Sao Martinho do Porto which Charles and Barbara had recommended and the drive there was dotted with old windmills which Tina tried to convince me were old gun turrets!  Sao Martinho do Porto is in a perfect horseshoe bay and is a natural harbour it has a lovely beach and it was a perfect spot for us to stop for a picnic on the beach for lunch.  

Obidos & Me

Obidos & Me

We continued to drive south but started heading inland to reach our destination of Obidos which had also been recommended and was a not to be missed old medieval walled town.  There also happened to be an Aire there which was convenient.  We arrived about 3.30 pm parked up next to Jacqui and Marc on the Aire and headed straight into the walled town of Obidos with very high expectations.  Now I don’t want to put anyone off Obidos but at Christmas time it was just one big Santa’s Grotto with shops selling tourist tack at extortionate prices.  There was a Santa around every corner and fake snow cannons spewing snow out.  

Obidos walls and pathway

Obidos walls and pathway

Despite all that the town its self has been maintained in its original medieval form and the walls which you can walk around are basically completely intact.  However we had walked the walls and the town within about 90 minutes and we both decided it really wasn’t worth staying on the Aire and that we should push on south. 

Obidos an overview

Obidos an overview

A parking place had been recommended in Peniche which was only a few kilometres away so we headed off following the co-ordinates on the sat nav and eventually arrived after driving along some very narrow roads and dirt track right on the Cabo Carvoeiro peninsular.  It was getting dark and we wondered where we had ended up but there was a French Motorhome already parked up and we have learnt that the French are by far the best at finding the best free camping spots so we parked up for a fabulous night under the crystal clear sky.  [Cabo Carvoeiro peninsular an awesome spot with an awesome view N39.372231, W9.376526] 

Tina and I with Nazare bay behind us

Tina and I with Nazare bay behind us

day 106 – Nazare, Portugal

19th December 2011.  We had arrived in the evening and it had been a bit chilly so we weren’t immediately over impressed with Nazare however in the morning with the sun out we walked along the fabulous deserted beach and it was heaven.  We had dressed for cool weather so we were well warm but the weather made our Christmas photo of Loli, Tina and I on the beach with our Santa hats on even more impressive.  We walked along the beach to the harbour and marina and found a fab café on the marina out of the wind for our cheeky coffee and the sun was really scorching.  It was so hot that we needed to return to Christina to change into cooler clothes and grab lunch. 

Amazing Overhang

Amazing overhang

Jay and Ju turned up in the afternoon and we all walked along the beach in the other direction to take the vernacular up the cliffs to the village at the top.  Unfortunately they would only allow dogs on if they were in a cage so jay and I decided to walk the dogs up the hill while the girls took the easy way up.  The views from the top were spectacular if you don’t mind heights and breathtaking away if you do.  It was amazing to see how roads, homes and walkways had been built on the over hanging rocks.  It looked like they could all fall into the sea way below at any moment. 

The sun setting over the bay

The sun setting over the bay

We walked up to the light house and then it got a bit chilly when the sun went down so we all walked back down together.  It was Tina’s birthday eve and Jacqui and marc turned up to help us ‘einfeiern’ which means you party the night before past midnight and into the birthday.  We started with a Chinese meal at a restaurant we had spotted that looked very reasonable and then ended up in our favourite bar we post dinner drinks.  Some of us overdid the post dinner drinks but it was a fab evening and the owner treated Tina to a birthday Margarita and we staggered back to our respective Motorhomes or at least that is my recollection of the evening.  [Car park, Av. Do Municipio, Nazare N39.597021, W9.069930]

 

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