12th December 2019 – 31st December 2019
We’re off again, this time heading to Portugal to find some sun. We have left 2 months later than planned, life takes unexpected turns and we stayed home to help my Mum recover whilst she was unwell. Thankfully, on the road to recovery we felt we could leave her and so once again we packed up and headed off. Now although we should be experts at packing and setting off, oh no, that’s not the case. To be honest it is mainly me and with the worry of Mum I think this had a big influence of us driving the van out of the storage unit, heading off and suddenly getting a phone call from my Mum to say we had forgotten the Christmas Cake. Now this is not just some shop bought cake, it was lovingly made by me following Mary Berry’s recipe, baking it, pouring brandy on it, icing and decorating this cake, I wasn’t going to leave it behind. I had left Mum a quarter of the cake, because it is massive and could feed 30. When Mum rang us to say that the cake was still in the kitchen, followed by ‘It’s gorgeous, I’ve just had a slice’ I fluttered my eyelashes and lovely David did a detour and I ran to her house collected the cake, the dog lead, 2 tea cups and my soap that we had also left. Mum did say, ‘I was hoping you would have left cake’. I kissed her and promised to make another when we are back. On the way to the Euro Tunnel for our 11.20pm crossing David suddenly looks at me and says ‘did you feel that’. I hadn’t felt anything but David said that there was something wrong with the Motorhome. ‘Do you want to stop’ I said, ‘No we’ll keep going’ was David’s reply and so we did and finally reached the tunnel. Parked up, David turned the engine off and went to turn it back on again and absolutely nothing. Deep breathe, deep breathe I said to myself. David shot his seat back, said right, get the floor mats and carpet up and fiddled with the new battery, turned the engine and it started. I am amazed how practical he is and very lucky. We high fived, Chloe had a wee and then we drove onto the tunnel. The weather was appalling when we reached France and we had an hour’s drive to our first stop. The rain was horrendous, cars had aqua plainned and we were relieved and tired when we finally stopped for the night, but we had the cake !
We were going to motor through France, Spain and into Portugal as quickly as we could. We wanted to get to the warmer weather. We stayed with our lovely friends near Limoges once again for the night and then Debs packed us off with a huge Santa’s sack filled with home made Christmas pudding, mince pies, chocolates, champagne, presents and chocolate euro coins ! Totally spoilt. We passed Bordeaux, then into Spain, San Sebastián, Burgos, Valladolid, Salamanca and stopped in Badajoz. The weather was rainy, windy and cold, but between the showers we walked around the town. We love traditional Spanish towns where they do not speak any English. Google translate comes in useful when shopping though. An old castle, beautiful churches and little shops to meander around. We only stayed a night, but I would love to re-visit in better weather. The next stop was Evora, which looks an absolutely beautiful town but the weather was so bad once again, we did not venture out of the van. It was so windy, I did ask David if the van would blow over, of course he said ‘No’. We plan to visit Evora on our return journey.
We finally reach Lagos 8 days after we left the U.K. just in time for the local Christmas Carol Service in Praia Da Luz Church. I had to drag David, as believe it or not, it is not one of his favourite pastimes. Anyway, as we filed in and were given a programme of service David looked at it and said to me ‘we’ll be in here for hours’. We made our way to the second set of pews, great seats and I sung my heart out for the 7 Christmas Carols. On the way out as I shook the vicar’s hand, he said to me ‘ You nearly put me off, next time I am going to sit you at the back’. I asked David if my singing was that bad, but gallantly he said no. I couldn’t fathom out what I had done, but made a swift exit. Now as we had left with the Christmas hype in full throttle in the U.K., we were able to buy all the lovely Christmas luxuries of mince pies, crackers, cranberry sauce and our lovely local butchers created a perfect size rolled turkey breast to fit in my remoska (a fantastic electric pot) along with pigs in blankets, stuffing and sausage meat. There was five of us for Christmas Lunch and even if I say so myself it was delicious, followed by Deb’s beautiful Christmas Pudding and mince pies. Peter, who is from Germany, said it was his first experience of an English Christmas and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Champagne from Debs in France and lovely wine from Steve and Paul from Jersey and then a good snooze to recover topped a great day.
A week later we celebrated New Year’s Eve in the local Indian in Espiche. Entertainment was in the form of a belly dancer much to the delight of the male customers. Another year passes and another one begins. I get reflective at this time of year and going into a new decade makes me look back and think how much has passed over the last ten years. Is it as you get older, that you think time goes quicker ?. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be living full time in a Motorhome, having travelled to some of the places that I use to just look in the Sunday Supplements and dream about. Our life looked very different ten years ago and if life had given us a different path that we had hoped and dreamt about for so long, we would never have seen the fjords in Norway, seen reindeer and moose in the wild. Crossed the arctic circle, swam in the Greek sea with Chloe, oh the list goes on. All I can say is we took a leap of faith and if David hadn’t been holding my hand, I don’t think I would have ever done it. But, oh what an adventure we have had so far. As a result of our ‘Once in a Lifetime’ journey we have inspired 3 friends who have now bought Motorhomes and are one their own little adventures, which is just wonderful. So, if you get the chance, take that leap of faith because you never know where it takes you.