Villa Real De Santo Antonio
Trip Start Sep 16, 2006
69Trip End Sep 16, 2007
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South Western Portugal along the Guadiana River is really REALLY beautiful.
The castle fortresses of each town are a historian's dream,
and brightly lit at night while the road and country side outside are dark; perfect for camping and great views of town that are somewhat creepy and isolated
and just plain beautiful, and awe-inspiring
The lake region of the upper Guadiana
near Moura has distant green lumps of hills spotted
with large white boulders that together look really
Next we rode into Serpa, Portugal- where along the
outskirts of town there is a steep park below the radio
tower high point, that had good bush camping in a public olive orchard.
In the morning, an old, wrinkled Shepard came through with his flock
of sheep and offered us cigarettes and chatted at us in Portuguese while we dried out our tarps and sleeping bags from the night dew. He showed us that the spinney plants growing below most of the olive trees were in fact edible wild asparagus
plants, and that picked young they are really delicious.
Next was ancient Mertola- with steep cobble stoned streets inside the castle wall town, leading to the hilltop of old, protected, still-under-excavation ruins which were once Roman bath houses and then later used as christian baptismal
After this, the beautiful rolling desert mountain region leading into
the Algarve region made us smile after all the rains of the North. The roads are lined with eucalyptus trees which provide great shade and make for snack spots in the
dry heat of the semi-desert. The lumpy hills are one lump per one km it seems. Finally, we came over the last of the hills and saw the horizon was no longer
more hills, rather the blue flat waters of the Gulf of
Cadiz and the Atlantic beyond. This was very exciting...
Monte Gordo, Portugal. On the tippy southern coast, had a municipal campsite which was a happening spot with lots of retirees and Europeans warming up in the sun outside
of their RVs: peaceful and surprisingly full in
November. The campsite is live-in, so there are lots
of over-fed, happy feral cats, a supermarcado inside the compound, a cafe, and high
security... you have to slide a reader card through a turnstyle before leaving etc. it's a funny place to stay in this super sunny touristy portion of the south near the town of Villa Real de Santo Antonio. But: mosquitoes, mosquitoes,
mosquitoes as this region is nearly all swamp land as denoted by little chevron marks on the maps. The people have been supremely nice and friendly to us, and we regret only knowing enough Portuguese to fumble talk... the language written is so similar to Espanol, but out loud it is more like Greek or Russian.