Thursday 18th February
About 7pm, weather driving down was really bad when we got to Birmingham. Heavy snow couldn't see the lies on the road at times, speed down to 30 mph in places. Got to Euro tunnel around 1am, recognised our number plate so didn't need the booking reference number. Gave us some options of crossing times & we took the one at 3.27am. Got to Calais & drove to the large Auchan at Boulougne & got a few hours sleep. There was another British motor home parked there.
Friday 19th February
Filled up with fuel 79.28litres €82.61 mileage 9698 trip 699.0
Drove down to Oissel just south of Rouen, small aire looked new. Had a peaceful night, morning was very frosty weather was quite chilly.
GPS N49º20'16” E01º05'31”
Saturday 20th February
Moved to Montbazon, first aire was close to houses & quite small. Had a walk to the tourist information & spoke to the girl, told us there was another aire about 3 kms at Veigne near river & camp-site. A bit muddy but stayed on the the hard bit, nice quiet night.
GPS N47º17'21” E00º44'03”
Sunday 21st February
Did a fairly long drive to Nersac, stayed there before, much easier to get there this time. Free electric/water/emptying. A couple of vans already there, bit of a panic as I had to change the plug to fit the one of the 2 remaining hook ups especially as a Dutch van pulled in & took one of them!! Managed to get it done & we had power. Took advantage of hot water for showers & filled up the water. Hadn't been there that long when the 'King' arrived (couple we met in 2007 when we had the Master van) Lieve and Adrien. Had a nice evening with them sharing their Moroccan wine & hearing about their trip to Morocco, they were on their way home to Belgium.
GPS N45º37'33” E00º03'01”
Monday 22nd February
Had a nice drive down to Capbreton, not many campers there, no water there. Dutch couple parked next to us lost their dog. Weather was nice & sunny, had a walk into Capbreton. Stayed 2 nights.
GPS N43º38'12” E01º26'49”
Wednesday 24th February
Drove down to Hendaye, stopped on the way at Biarritz to fill up with water. Stopped first at St Jean du Luz, had a walk around the town but decided not to stay as it was noisy with the road on one side & railway on the other. Had a walk into Hendaye at night but it was raining & not very pleasant. About 8 vans when we got there but it filled up later & quite a few vans drove past as there wasn't any room.
GPS N43º22'12” W01º45'53”
Thursday 25th February
Drove to Palencia, weather was really bad, wet, windy. We decided that we would give Vitoria Gasteiz a miss. Not many vans there, a couple (Maureen & Maurice) in a Herald van parked next to us, we met them at Mar Menor when we had the Master & also at Palencia last year on our way home. They were heading down to Portugal, stayed 2 nights.
GPS N42º00'14” W04º32'04”
Saturday 27th February
Decided to try some of the aires nearby, drove to Fromista. Found the aire but it wasn't particulary nice, Adria Vison parked there. Had a drive around but didn't look like there were many shops so decided to move on. Weather wet & miserable. Ended up staying by a sports centre at Carrion de los Condes, had to move in the night as there were pieces of roofing about 6 foot square flying about, very high winds (it was the storm that killed many in France)
GPS N42º20'16” W04º15'29”
Sunday 28th February
Drove to Villada (another aire close to Palencia) really nice well kept aire but suprisingly difficult to find. Signs showing aire coming into the town but we drove past it once, found it driving the second time around, next to a pilgrims bar. Water turned off but managed to get water from public fountain about 100 metres away.
GPS N45º15'18” W04º57'53”
Monday 1st March
Drove to Portugal, stopped for gas at Repsol garage in Spain & got a map showing gas outlets. Didn't take road we intended into Portugal,very slow going & just on the border there were of villages with very narrow cobbled streets & overhanging balconies (at times didn't think we could get through). Found stopping place at the citadel in Branaca, really nice place with excellent dumping & water. Had a walk into the town (very hilly) found tourist information & she gave us a map showing Lidl & Intermarche. Stayed 2 days, Dutch couple came Bert & Gees (pronounced Haze) he gave us loads of information which we copied on wildcamping places.
GPS N41º48'13” W06º44'47”
Wednesday 3rd March
Drove to Mirandella, from info from Bert. Wildcamped on car park by river, not particularly quiet night, lots of traffic road noise.
GPS N41º29'11” W07º11'05”
Thursday 4th March
Tried a few places, Vila Real was a campsite about €15 a night very awkward to get to & didn't look that good. Amarante was a nightmare with one way streets & road works. Saw a place by the river but it looked full & we couldn't find a way to get in to it. In the end gave up in frustration. Decided to head for the coast, got to Vila do Conde. Large parking area at the end of the town overlooking the harbour. German guy with Phoenix motorhome with St Christopher on back was here (saw him a few times last year). Night was very noisy & uncomfrtable with lots of cars coming & going until about 3 am. Next day went shopping at the large supermarket out of town, saw vans parked other part of town on the front (about 15 Portuguese vans) got in there after we had been shopping. One couple very friendly Maria & Jose who we think lived in England (daughter & husband lived in Devon) Weather on Sunday was almost continuous rain, managed to get out for a walk.
Looked at the place we first stopped & there was a group of Portuguese vans. Further along there was a quiet car park with about 10 vans there, asked if staying there was ok & they said yes but they all left later. In the end went back to the place by the church, there were still 4 vans there so we stayed. Quiet except for the 'bells' (same tune as Castello Mondeo)
GPS N41º20'33” W08º44'45”
GPS N41º21'50” W08º45'37”
Monday 8th March
Decided to head south looking for better weather, did consider Porto but thought it might be a bit noisy. Found Pardilho, (another one from Bert's info), proper aire for 10 vans. Area is by marsh land estuary, very flat. Phone number to ring for access to water & wc dump. Electric available, also found water tap by building (think it was rowing club) Also a canoe club, asked a couple of guys in there & they rang the number & seemed to say that somebody would come shortly (nobody came) went for a walk to the village.
GPS N40º48'04” W08º38'05”
Tuesday 9th March
Drove to Estarreja (about 9 km) Tomtom took us down a road that came to an end by the railway line (seemed to think it was a round about) Eventually got to the other side of the railway track, missed the turning for the aire first time & had to turn around. Today was market day so it was a bit chaotic. There were 4 other vans here 3 French & 1 Portuguese. The French all left & not sure about the other guy, he's been cleaning his van all day. Bays were all locked with a bar across the middle, found out that you have to go to the café for a key (cost €2 for 48 hours inc. electric, water & emptying).
GPS N40º45'13” W08º33'58”
Thursday 11th March
Aveiro, parked by the canal, tourist information said it was ok. Another camper (French) arrived. Nice place with canals & boat trips. Found we could have got there easier if we turned off the motorway & gone away from the town, there was a bridge not marked on Tomtom that avoided going through the town. Had a good walk along the canal. Quiet night except for the odd few cars.
GPS N40º38'37” W08º39'28”
Friday 12th March
Thought it better we get somewhere for the weekend by the coast. First stopped at Prai de Barra, dutch guy we spoke to at Braganca said you couldn't stay. It was confusing as may roads had no entry signs for autocaravans but we could see some parked. Drove down to the other end & found there were no signs, also signs saying autocaravan parking. Decided to get the bike out & had a ride down to Costa Nova do Prado, about 3 kms & found a nice aire by the beach, lot of French vans there. There was water & emptying, went back & got the van. Lots of striped houses there but only small shops. Plenty of other places to park motorhomes. Stayed until Monday, had a ride down the peninsula & back the other side.
GPS N40º38'37” W08º44'30”
GPS N40º36'51” W08º45'06”
Monday 15th March
Tried Prai de Mira, places we had marked had signs saying no autocaravans. While driving out spotted a camper on a car park next to the closed municipal campsite. Spoke to French guy & he said it was ok there, also lone German VW. Had a walk & spoke to Dutch guy in large Burstner parked by the lake. Later he moved around to where we were, a Belgium came & later a Brit van. After that a few others included 2 Irish vans came.
GPS N40º26'59” W08º48'09”
Tuesday 16th March
Filled up with gas at Mira, got food & drink from Intermarche. Had a look at a place Prai de Tocha, looked ok but with no other vans there we decided to play safe & got to Figuiera da Foz.