We have taken the low road back to stop Camel misbehaving herself. The mountains are much lower on the Portuguese coast and so we are chugging north with no nasty ‘bingly’ sounds or major fault messages coming up (so far, with everything crossed). We stopped at a lovely, friendly and cheap little campsite just over the boarder with the most beautiful wild flowers and heaps of birds to watch. We missed the happy hour when everyone gets together there because we did not realise we had to put our watches back by 1 hour. Other culture shocks have ensued; Portuguese is written like Spanish but sounds like a cross between Russian and Swedish. I really thought the campsite owner was from eastern Europe due to his accent, but listening to the radio soon put us right. The drive through Portugal has been superbly pretty. It is very green with lovely hills and absolutely covered in wild flowers at this time of year.
We stopped for one night at a campsite near Obidos which looked like it has a bar and a restaurant, but only the toilet block was open. There was nothing within walking distance (we are really missing our bikes) so we made do with our own supplies. We popped into Obidos when we moved on and WOW! it was really worth a visit. It is a small and perfectly preserved walled city (AKA the wedding city because the it was traditional for each king to give it to his bride when they got married). Walking around the walls was a tad terrifying.
We are staying in another nearly ghost town just south of Porto. The beach is very pretty but the bars and restaurants just do not invite you in. Porto itself is fantastic, the area around the river is gorgeous and it has a fabulous buzz about it. We ate some good food, tasted some good port and then Tim had to visit every Port cave and he actually wanted photos of him.
Thoughts about Portugal so far: it seems a bit more formal than Spain and most of the women I have seen try very hard to be a bit glamorous. It feels poorer and to be struggling more than Spain and camping here is not as much fun, as things are either shut this time of year or close down early and they also do not have the same cafe culture. We do want to came back, however, especially to Porto, which rocks.