Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunday 10 February - Ameixial

Where's Bertie? He is once again sitting on a football pitch, this time in the village of Ameixial. Exact location: 37.36487, -7.95908.
Weather: Largely overcast but with a few sunny intervals and one shower. The cloud seems to be drifting away as we go into evening. (Yesterday was sunny.)

In spite of initial appearances that there was nothing of interest around the motorhome parking at Pereiro, we ended up staying two nights. Our entertainment for yesterday was a morning walk around the local Petite Randonée route (about which you can read and see photos by clicking here, if you feel so inclined), followed by coffee at the one and only cafe in the village of Pereiro. In fact, except for a builders' merchant, it was, as far as we could find, the only business there.

Our walk yesterday showed that route not to be best suited to running, so this morning I took the logistically easy option of two out-and-back repetitions along a little road, taking me from the village and up to the highest point of yesterday's walk. Mick's calf managed a little jogette too, although with enough protest that he turned back after a mile.
View from my morning run. Even though I was around 500m away, my presence had upset the dogs at the white buildings you can see, who were putting up quite a din each time I went along this bit of road.

It probably wouldn't have been too difficult to while away another day where we were, but supplies continue to dwindle, so onwards we drove.

Based on our road atlas, I'd thought that our route would take us down a little yellow road to a place to the south of our destination, where we would pick up a slightly bigger red road to bring us due north up to Ameixial. Thus, when the SatNav unexpectedly told us to turn, I told Mick to ignore it, thinking it was trying to take us a silly route. A while later, once I'd managed to get Google Maps up and running, and pored over the road atlas some more, I spotted the little white road on the latter and realised that probably was a sensible route. Too late to turn around by then, onwards we went, but the next time the SatNav told us to turn, we thought we'd obey - provided that the road looked suitable as we approached. This wasn't even a white road on our road atlas; it wasn't shown at all.

The turn came, and a good, newish, strip of tarmac lay before us. Along it we went, joking that it probably only went as far as the first village, whereafter we'd find ourselves on a dirt track. When at the second village the road did appear to run out, we continued between buildings and found its continuation the other side, albeit for a little while with a surface more akin to English country lanes (i.e. a bit of a bone-shaker). Happily, the route worked out just fine. In fact, not only was it very scenic, but I think it was also the most direct line we could have taken.

It rained shortly after we arrived here, so looking around was deferred until later in the afternoon. It's a lively village on a Sunday afternoon, with half a dozen bar/cafes, most of which were well frequented. There are no shops, but apparently grocery, fish and bread vans visit. In fact, we spotted the green grocers van this afternoon.
The church, within the earshot of whose bells we are sitting.

As for the parking here, we're sitting on a grit-surfaced football pitch again, in the company of probably 20-25 other vans. There's a service point, plentiful bins and also 16 free electric points. The latter, in my opinion, is not a good thing, particularly when coupled with none of the Aires that we've come across to date in Portugal having a stay limit (in most other countries we've visited, a time limit of between 24-72 hours is normal). There are thus some vans that have taken up residence here, thinking nothing of making permanent use of the free electricity - such as the Brit to whom Mick chatted earlier, who has been here for six weeks so far. To my mind, this sort of behaviour is only going to appear parasitical and annoying to the locals, but maybe I'm wrong - perhaps the long-term people put more into the local economy than short stayers (although with such limited shopping options and with a coffee costing just 70c, it's difficult to see how one can repay all of the free facilities).

Until a month ago there were toilets and showers here too. Incredibly (considering these facilities are being provided without so much as an honesty box requesting donations) people have given the place poor reviews due to, taking two examples, the showers (when they were available) being luke warm, and latterly due to the showers not being available at all. Apparently, it's an outrage to some people that they can *only* get free parking, water, waste and electricity here. Yes, you can audibly hear my sighing as I type this...

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