A new minimarket and cafe in San Antonio was worth dropping in to and then we spent the day cycling over to the ever fascinating railway station at Beira before returning via Castelo de Vide along a range of tracks before stashing the bikes and other clobber away as we decided they would be unnecessary in Lisbon.
After a quiet night we then spent a pleasant day walking the streets of Lisbon to visit its many attractions ranging from the castle through to the myriad of alleyways and steep narrow streets, various chapels and churches and the main squares of this compact and lively capital. We covered over 9 miles on a sunny day and saw most of the main attractions. The colourful trams squealed their way around and we noted that a number of the tuk tuks were now silently gliding around after an upgrade to electric power.
Back at the van we showered and changed before walking the short distance (fortunately as it had started to rain) to the Portugaria where we enjoyed an excellent meal in contemporary surroundings. There was a large internet conference taking place in the city and a number of fellow diners were tech savvy twenty somethings from a range of nations no doubt defining the world of tomorrow at a level I figure I would struggle with.
On the Tuesday we set the sat nav for Aeroporto Lisboa and were soon dropping Mandy off for the shuttle bus to Terminal 2 for her flight home. A slight delay had been texted from Easy Jet but good time was made on the flight and by tea time she was safely home.
I lingered until the flight had actually departed and then crossed the long Vasco de Gama bridge with flamingoes paddling in the extensive shallows at the far side and called in to a large campsite for a Campingaz exchange - the 907 cylinders had proved elusive but 13 euros seemed a good price - less than half the UK cost.
Thus I set off for the headland at Cabo Espichel where a large sandy and mostly empty car park was to be my base for the night.
It was blowing like mad making the walk out to the chapel and church of Nossa Senhora de Cabo quite exhilerating and causing some challenging flying conditions for a large military helicopter hovering over a nearby bay - it wasn't clear whether it was a training mission or an actual rescue, either way the pilot was obviously highly skilled.
The roof of the chapel was quite probably the finest I have ever seen but photos were discouraged unfortunately.
The lighthouse began to wink as the sun set and I returned for a wild and windy night grateful once more for the cosy warmth of the Eberspacher.
Wednesday looked set to be a wet day so I decided to hunker down and read until it started to clear up at which point I dropped in to Sesimba to walk its castle walls and view the busy fishing port before doing a supermarket sweep at Setubal and heading inland where the weather seemed calmer. Whilst a planned stop north of Evora provided an opportunity to drain tanks and fill up with water I decided its location alongside a restaurant popular with HGVs might not be so peaceful so decided to stay in the city itself on the marketplace parking - another large sandy expanse with plenty of room.
Evora's main sight is the remarkably well preserved Roman temple with the aqueduct also largely intact.
The Chapel of Bones was a macabre sight whilst a collection of nativity scenes from around the world and across the generations made for interesting viewing.
Heading east I spent the night just beneath the castle walls at Marvao with spectacular views across to Spain with the sparsely scattered villages lit by sodium lights looking like a fallen galaxy.
On the Friday I called in briefly to collect my bike before taking up residence at the Barragem de Povoa which was much emptier than a fortnight previously - of people not water.
Saturday's 40 mile ride under a strong sun was a cracker - using the GPS I followed numerous tracks and trails to Montelvao and then dropped down to the hydroelectric scheme on the Tejo to cross in to Spain. Cedillo had a small shop so I stopped for refreshments before returning across the dam and making my way back via yet more tracks. Some striking cattle were grazing alongside the beautiful blue and white Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios and I arrived back in time for an hour in the sun watching a large flock of storks wading in the shallower water.
On Sunday I woke after 12 solid hours sleep and spent the day reading with the odd walk to ease my limbs before today I nipped across to Valencia for large amounts of fruit and veg, some goats cheese and a good helping of serrano ham as I am now in residence at Gary's site whilst he heads south for a few days.
I intend to give the van a good spring clean, service both bikes and enjoy what is to me the best of both worlds - an immaculate, well maintained and picturesque campsite - with no campers!!
Latest pics HERE