Portugal & Spain 2017
This Year the trip will go through France, Spain and Portugal. We have planned to visit beautiful locations in the north of Spain, the Porto Area of Portugal and around the City of Pombal. Before heading home, we will travel to Madrid to visit this city. Crossing the Pyrenees, we will head home.
But first let's enjoy the trip!
Starting bright and early, instead of 8.00 hours we left due south by 8.15. traveling over the Dutch highways on a normal Thursday morning we got to the border at Breda to stop for our first coffee.
Traveling onwards towards Antwerp some moderate traffic at the good old Kennedy Tunnel. The French had the border patrol out for a short walk, nothing to do with Us. The A1 in France was almost empty so we decided to hit the peripheric Paris which cost us some time but the traffic was "fluïde" as they stated. By 15.00 hours we left the south side of Paris and travel in the direction of Tours for our first night.
As it was going to be the 14th of July the French spend some money on Fireworks, so sleep was postponed until 23.30.
Bright and early we left Tours around 8.30 to hit the traffic on the A10. We concluded the French yet have to learn how to drive. Some cursing helped us along the way before we hit Bordeaux around Lunch time. Super marches are good for these tops, you can eat, fuel up and go to the restroom. Around 17.00 We stopped in the beautiful city of Bidart just north of Biarritz.
We treated ourselves to a cold beer and watched Bargiel win the 13 stage of the Tour on the French National Holiday.
Since today would not be a long stint we started our journey around 10.00. What will the Spanish mountains bring us? How will the New oil cooler help our ride?
It worked like magic, the gearbox did not feel warm, gear-changes were smooth. A very good investment!
Our planned stop at Burgos gave us a free display of a Mirage fighter yet which turned overhead, making all the passersby turn their heads. Stopping around Valladolid was not a good plan, so we traveled a bit further to A small rural campsite near Figurealia de Arriba. In the outback, Wolf watching was an option as was a cold beer.
A Short trip just over 200 Km. To our intermediate destination of Quinta D'alijo, our 4x4 resort. On the way we stopped at a small village where we were pleasantly surprised by my own restaurant.
Just 150 KM more to our destination where we were greeted by the pool.
An early rise as we were not used to the one hour gain you have in Portugal. After breakfast we set out to do some shopping in near by Cabeseiras de baso.
Around 12 We were ready for the pool where we stayed until dinner time. After a good Schnitzel we took to the highway to go to the porto airport to meet "Prinses Leah"
The Birthday of our kids, One was present to receive the cake.
After cake we traveled to Guimareis as city with medieval village characteristics, Nice castle, good food as all cities around here an uphill battle when walking.
The weather was poor, lots of cloud and fog. However the activity was good, an uphill mountain trip with the Discovery. Small path’s, wading through water,
rough riding and climbing to the highest point of 1260 meters where the fire brigade keeps watch. Downhill driving on gravel and rock. The best ride in years.
A trip to Porto, museum of contemporary art, the city and more walking up steep hills.
Interesting to see how many tourists follow the same route as all the other “sheep”.
Not much, no traveling today, reading books, swimming in the pool. What a good part of the holiday should be. RELAX.
The Beautiful city of Braga. Less busy compared to Porto although there are still some tourists but most of them are Portuguese. The city has a nice square where you can have a drink and watch the people go by. The old Church holds Christian treasures and lots of saints are being worshipped. One thing you should not do on a Saturday is travel to Braga Parque, the biggest shopping mall in town. A Saturday is the day the Portuguese spend the little money they have.
Travel preparations for our trip down south to Tamanco near Figuera da Foz and also they day Bo has to be dropped off at Porto airport for here trip to good old Amsterdam. We will miss the tranquility of Quinta D’alijo but will return in the future.
A short trip of 230 Km to Tamanco, on the route we see a lot of 2CV’s and wonder why they are out in force. The answer will be five to us that night at Tamanco. Just after 9 o’clock 4 of the best specimens in town role on to the camp-site. We meet up with one of the owners, French and from Bordeaux who was in a good mood and talked and talked about his passion. It was the World get-together of 2CV’s this year in Lisboa Portugal
, “last year we were in Poland and in two years’ time we will be in the check republic”. Next morning they waved their hands and honked their horns as we said goodbye.
Today we travel the surrounding area to see what we mist last time. I tripe just north of Figueira da Foz to a nature reserve Natural do Cabo Mondego. A mountain trail paved but in a very bad condition.
On our way back we made a detour and ended up in Leira. A small town with a nice square and good beer.
We spoke about our return to Tamanco and decided to go and find other places we had not experienced before in Portugal.
What looked like an easy drive to our next stop would become an adventure. This year Portugal was under constant bushfires alert.
As we drove along the highway A23 we saw several planes and fire areas, the air became thick with smoke and dust.
As we turned off on to the IP2 we were stopped and told we had to take a 150 KM detour. And so, we did.
Later than planned we arrived at our new campsite. A strange place, Hot only 3 other families, only rocks but luckily there was a pool. As we immediately decided to move-on the next day we set up small camp.
Late in the evening the air got thick with smoke, dust particles started to fall, and the light changed.
Although the fire was some 50KM to the north you don’t sleep. To be ready to move out we stored everything in the car and reduced the tent to the minimum size in this way we would be able to evacuate within 10 Minutes.
Pack-up and go. It is the first time our tent smelled like it had been on fire. All our cloths did the same. Here was a thin layer of dust on the car but the air was clear again, the wind had changed. We packed up, had breakfast and moved out into the open wilderness of the Extremadura.
After 2 hours of traveling having seen a lot of countryside and we understood why this area was called Extremadura, Extreme and though! When the fultures starting to circle it became a scene out of a western.
We continued north so we could reach Madrid before the day would end.
Day 16 “Madrid”
The first time we will visit Madrid for pleasure. We drop our car at the most northerly point of the Metro in the parking lot of a large supermarket, free parking until 22.00. The Metro is always a good thing you get emerged in daily live immediately. We get to the middle of the city and have our morning coffee in a small square.
After a 30 minute walk we come to the Plaza d’Orient, just opposite of the Royal palace. Normally we are no fan of visiting palaces however when we se the grandeur of this place we have to enter.
2 hours later, lots of art and especially the pictures of “the Nose” Carlos 1td we get back to the street and find a nice place to have tapas, it is almost 3 o’clock so we can do with some food and drinks.
After visiting plaza major we feel our feet and take the metro back to our car. We will come back another time when it is not 37 degree.
On the road again. We will travel north to the Pyrenees. It will be a interesting trip via Zaragosa en Huesca. The landscape will change constantly from flat to mountains and from gray to the most beautiful colors of green and red.
Discovery 2, Land Rover, Camping, Outdoor, 4x4, OHM4x4.nl, LRCH, LRO, Pyrenees, Portugal, Big Blue,
The last part we will have steep mountain pass to cross via the A23. Although it is signed as an autobahn it is just a 2-lane track across the mountains with inclinations of max 12% and roadworks for at least ¼ of the route. After an exhausting drive we arrive at our Campsite in Gavin.
Day 18 & 19
We were not in the mood for long trips, so we stayed close to our camp-sight. Traveled to a small mountain village were in summer time not much is happening.
On our way back we stopped at a reservoir where they had hung a alpine line across.
This was a place at great height lots of wind and for those of us with vertigo not the right place to be.
But as always you have people how dare to do anything.
We packed up camp early, so we could make a good run for it. The first stretch would be a steep climb up the Col the Portalet, one of the better Tour the France stages. A beautiful two-lane road winding its way up the mountain crossing nice sky slopes. The top was as always, the moment for coffee and a walk around.
The way down was somewhat slower than expected, the French side of the mountain was more overcast with trees and stone walls that made it harder to drive fast. And what do you do then, you take it easy, stop for the occasional meal or sightseeing. Some 60 Km and 2 hours later we got on the autobahn near Pau. Our plan was to go to Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy just north of Cahors. We found a camp-site for people older than 18 years of age. at first this sounded strange but when we had a very quiet night we understood why this was good.
After breakfast we went to a nearby town to do some shopping. Getting there was easy, getting out was a problem. The Disco had developed a problem which I could not locate. It was there one moment and gone the next. A Frenchmen thought it was time for a "Marteau"
It worked so I thanked him. I still thought it was something else so when we were back at the camp-site I checked the car. Battery level seemed off? looked like the earth of the battery was not getting to the car. I started to unbolt and the bolt broke loose, SH..! made a emergency repair and left it for the night.
The next morning our neighbor a Brit told me he had swapped his Disco for a BMW since he also had these weird issues. I thanked him for the support and went to the pool for a swim after which we drove to Rocamadure to able to strike it of the bucket list.
Two days to go and we will return home. We had a long day ahead and wanted to get well past Paris so the next day would be an easy one home. (this so if it would rain on the last day we had enough time to let the tent dry out before we left our last cam-site)
Paris was a drag the periphery was loaded with people moving out for the weekend, we should have anticipated this. We nothing else to do but enjoy the peasant French motorists.
Well before 6 we entered our last stay of the holiday and what a place it was. some 40KM form Disney land Pairs this was the place to be for British people that wanted to camp on a maplins holiday camp (lots of music and load voices) and go to Disney land by day. We were the lucky people we could leave the next day!
Day 24 The final stretch
As I had expected it had rained during the night, so we had to let the tent dry out before leaving. The problem is in a forest this is not easy, so it did not work-out. It was still 25% wet when we left. Traveling through the north french country we sniffed some 1914-1918 history "La Grande Geurre" and also found several garages that had Citroen HY stashed away. This must be something to get back to when we have money to buy one of these nice old cars.
The trip was easy not much to it, we stopped for coffee and dinner along the way and returned home safe by 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
After 24 days on the road we needed to get back to work.
The issue solved
The Sunday after we returned home is started my investigation for the nor starting issue.
At first, I thought it was the starter engine, had it taken out and revised it. However, the issue was not solved. A few days later I found an issue with the BCU (Body Control unit) it did not earth the starter. Bridged it as a temporary solution so I could drive the car. Measured the signals from fuse box to BCU and when doing so I touched the gear lever. all of a sudden, the multi meter beeped to signal continuity, I wiggled the lever again and continuity went off-on-off-on. It must be somewhere in the wiring of the gearbox. And then it hit me the XYZ switch of the Disco 2 is a problem switch, it was rotten. Ordered a new one, had it installed, and issue gone.
Opened the xyz switch to see if it could be repaired but it was too late. one of the sliders had burned out.