Villamanrique to Castro Marim (Portugal)

*** For just a taster of our photos, you might like our Facebook Page: @RandomMotorhomeTravels ***

Our Park4night “Surrounded by nature” spot, was a bird reserve, with marshland, and so plenty of those pesky creatures, frogs. Having literally experienced a sleepless night in the past due to the relentlessness and intensity of these guys, we caught wind of the warning signs, and headed to a spot further away from the frog croaking epicentre. Even from that distance, we had to batten down the hatches so as cut out as much of the noise as possible, and this was one of our warmest nights yet. Anyway, sleep came, and when we woke in the morning it was perfectly peaceful.

Our journey today would take us Southwest to the coast, which then followed a general Portugal direction. First section consisted of plenty of trees, but limited access/view to the sea. We noticed that this coast had clearly seen some forest fires in recent years.

We then were forced inland for a bit into the very industrial area leading up to Huelva. In fact, Sophie loved this section so much for its photographic opportunities, that she insisted we drive away from our route and right through some sort of huge fuel processing plant, which was dissected by a public road. After about 1k, I resumed control and following a U-turn we were back on my planned route. How dare she 🙂

Next we hit the industrial port, then we topped up with Autogas. Before I could do this I had to give the car ahead of me at the garage a push, with the teenage son of the driver, so that he could give the car a bump start. Very surprisingly Sophie missed that photo opportunity.

Back to the coast, and armed with a baguette, we found a Park4night surrounded by nature stop, and met another British couple who’d just pulled in themselves. Unfortunately, the grass verge was hiding some deceptively soft sand, and they soon found themselves very stuck. We went over to help, but could do very little except watch and offer sympathy and some obvious advice, so felt a bit useless. The story does have a happy ending as they later sent us a photo of them being towed out by a tractor.

After a Lidl stop, followed immediately by a diesel top-up, we headed closer and closer to the Algarve. Incidentally, and you’re probably fully aware of this, Portuguese diesel is significantly dearer than Spanish diesel, and so a last minute top-up is advised. I’d recently read a very helpful piece of advice that suggested leaving the main motorway and heading for Cartaya, and along this road you’ll find low price diesel at a Luckoil garage. I was moments from this garage, but approaching from the Cartaya end when I found another cheap garage, Ballenoil.

We finally crossed the border and immediately headed for Castro Marim. The official aire looked as manic and sardine-like as the reviews had suggested, but we were heading to the other side of the castle, where there’s a Park4night just below the castle walls, and we only have one neighbour – ideal.

*** Just to mention that our blogs tend to be a couple of weeks behind reality, as we’re always in catch-up mode ***

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