An Oasis, A River And A Glacier, All In The Space Of Two Days!

So, our oasis of calm in Sobral de Monte Agraço, became a hive of activity at 8am yesterday morning, with the arrival of council workmen landscaping the joint and resurfacing the adjoining car park! Needless to say, having been rather rudely awakened at a far too early an hour, we headed up the road sharpish to our next destination – yet another free Aire in Abrantes. Here, they have had the foresight to have not just one but two Aires – on either side of the Rio Tejo – covering all bases there! We aimed for the south side, only to find it was completely taken over by a travelling fair. No matter, we hopped back over the river to the other side and parked up in a large car park, with just one other motorhome already there. Plenty of spaces, slap bang on the river bank, with a bar/restaurant on site. With the sun beating down, and Harley almost beating us up for having had the audacity to have driven an entire 100km (!) without stopping once to let him out (that dog is becoming a spoilt brat!), we took a stroll along the river and let Himself have a cooling swim before getting out our chairs and relaxing in the sunshine.


As darkness fell, and with us marvelling at the silence, the music started-up at the fairground across the river! Ah, here now, are we EVER gonna get a good night’s sleep??? Thankfully, all had quietened down by the time bedtime came around for Team Sebo – in fact, so quiet was it, we slept in until 10am this morning! Oh dear, I sometimes think we’re taking this “retirement” thing a bit too far!

Today we had planned an even longer trek – much to Harley’s dismay! 219km to Manteigas in the Serra da Estrella mountain range, taking the “long way round” up the N roads rather than incur further toll charges on the much faster motorway. We drove up through the most spectacular scenery – wooded hillsides, small villages clinging to said hillsides for dear life. The roads were amazing – pretty smooth surfaces and virtually devoid of traffic! It was great to drive in Sebo but we did agree that it would have been a fantastic day on ‘Foxy’ our Honda VFR 750 motorbike currently hibernating back in Belfast.

Landing in Manteigas this evening, we parked-up at the Thermal Baths – nothing to say it was a private car park and. since there were several picnic tables around, we presumed it was a public place (as you would!). We’d just sat down and poured ourselves a glass of vinho verde when a dude appeared and told us we couldn’t park there as it was a hotel car park. Errrm, the hotel is currently closed and, looking at the skips full of rubble outside it’s front door, is undergoing major refurbishment! Not wishing to argue the toss, we upped sticks and headed for Torre – the highest peak in Portugal and location of Portugal’s only ski resort – half an hour later, whilst still clad in shorts (it was +20C when we set-off this morning!), we were parked-up in said ski resort, surrounded by a foot or more of snow.

This is a MUCH better parking spot than our original plan for the night – so thank you, Mr Grumpy in Manteigas, you’ve done us a favour by evicting us!

Harley didn’t know quite what to make of so much snow – he ran around eating snowballs and desperately trying to find a place to pee until he could wait no longer and finally adopted his “commando crawl” squat (we think he does this when he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s actually peeing- only he knows why he feels the need but, heyho….). We’re all warm and cosy in Sebo, with the wind howling around us and THE most amazing clear night sky above us. Tomorrow, we’ll don our thermal socks and jackets and try to find a walkable trail …..unless Karen loses control of her sensibilities and buys a day’s lift pass and rents skis and boots for us both……