European Escapades

Always Trees and Always When You’re Tired




Moving down the coast from ‘Lagoa de Melides’ we decide to split the journey between here and Sagres the eastern most tip of Portugal. I only hope that the place has no affinity to the cat’s piss of a fizzy pop beverage of the same name that the Portuguese try to pass off as a lager. But more to come on the beer dessert we have here in this area of the world, as I do have one small sparkle of sunlight to share. Only a small glint of sanity but it was my only recourse and was a far cry from anything remotely available in Spain. But back to our story and our journey from a happy camping experience to utter hell. We leave ‘Lagoa de Melides’ on a hot day and around noon and head off to our first of two available campsites via the back roads along the coast. We pull into the first site only to be confused as it seems our Sat-Nav has taken us to a construction site as opposed to our chosen campsite. As I start checking the directions Frances spots the camping site sign and points it out to me, it seems we are actually in the right place, but you would not have believed it. The reception seems open and as we turn into the site another campervan is pulling off and out onto the main road. You can never tell with these sites and we decide to check it out as we thought that we may get a discount.

The reception seemed nice and I ask about the building works that are going on and it seems that they are renovating the swimming pool and surrounding area. So we obviously know that the swimming pool is out, but it seems the other facilities are closed as well and there is no WiFi on site. I almost fall over with disbelief as the receptionist suggests that the site is great value at €17, I politely disagree and walk back to the van tired and annoyed and we head off for the next port of call around fifteen kilometres down the road. This one is in the ASIC book and we know we can get it at €15 and the best thing is no dogs allowed. One of the things we have found on our travels is that the French always seem to have those annoying yappy dogs and the Spanish always seem to have two dogs, both way too large for the campervan they are in. You can never tell what kind of animal the Dutch are going to have and we haven’t seen enough of other nationalities to make a generalisation. But what we do know is that Missy Moo has enough to deal with, encountering the feral cats that roam the camp sites and the dogs are sometimes just one factor too many to deal with. Missy doesn’t go far from the campervan and is usually found hiding in the bushes surrounding our pitch looking out onto the world. .But I have had two occasions where I have had to stand between the van and some unleashed dog as Missy Moo does a runner into the van from what is meant to be our little pitch, with the ignorant owners unable to control their mutt and wondering what all the fuss is about. I was so concerned about one dog, I suggested in anger that if the owner didn’t leash it, I would be happy to do so, but it would probably be a very short leash from the end of a nice high tree branch. A word of advice to any ignorant dog owners, try looking out for Caesar Milan and ‘The Dog Whisperer’ series on TV to see how a dog should be trained and behave, it would give everyone else a more pleasant time when dealing with your currently invasive hobby, Oh and pick your dog’s crap up and dispose of it in a responsible manner, I don’t want it on the end of my shoe thank you.
It’s hot and as we near the next campsite, Missy Moo is obviously feeling the heat as she starts to complain about the stuffy van and the constant shaking and rocking experienced on these pot holed roads in Portugal. So I am finally glad when we pull into the site. It looks perfect, the pool is open and a couple is playing tennis on one of the few onsite courts. I can see the large tree drive heading towards the shaded pitches and think that we have made the right move as I enter reception. Stopping dead I stare at the large signs along the reception area which rather than say no dogs, actually says no animals. This must be the first time we have come across such a sign and I wonder how the British couple we saw with a budgie would cope with this one. Clarifying with the receptionist that this ban would include cats, I trudge unhappily back to our sun baked campervan to tell Frances the bad news. Out of campsites and tired we have to review our options as the next site which is another twenty kilometres down the road and another forty five minutes away on these roads. Heading back towards the main road I spot a small sign for a campsite that does not seem to be in our guide books and we make the decision to try it out as it’s so close. Getting lost once and having to turn around, we finally find the entrance and pull in grateful to find a reasonable looking site greeting us. The price is €17, but at least there are no building works and by now we are too hot and tired to argue and just want a pitch. We are directed away from the apartment area and onto the rear of the site where it seems the camping area is. We took the campervan down and are suddenly surrounded by trees and look at the deserted site wondering where to park. Everywhere we look there are trees and as we drive past the toilets on our right hand side we still cannot see any suitable spots to park. Coming to the end of the first roadway it turns and heads down and we suspect around to the other side of the campsite nearer the pool area. It looks steep but there seems nothing for us at the top of the campsite so I head down. The first turn off is clogged with trees and low hanging branches and so we cannot turn there and so we proceed down to the bottom and follow the gritted track around the periphery of the site. Unfortunately the road rather than continue back up into the apartment complex, turns back on itself and we find the access getting narrower and narrower. Now the trees are crowding in on us and the side of the van is being subjected to an assault of branches as we progress forward with no way to turn around. At the next toilet block we find ourselves stranded as I look at the barrier of trees in front of us and note the guy from reception calling at us. It seems we should not have come down here and looking at the choice of pitches so far he is almost correct. In my mind we should not have entered the campsite at all, as it was obviously not designed for campervans.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Travel Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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