We were going to fix trusty at Robs our friend near Loule, and indeed we were camped on another site not far from him..all in previous post..Managed to get Trustys shock from a local breakers yard ,so local infarct, virtually next door to campsite..although I would never have known it..had I not been told of its whereabouts by the site owner. So scooted about under trusty and fitted it there and then..not a hard job. took me 20 mins..the yard wanted 20 euros to fit it..So as you can see, A euro a minute…Not Happening.
We had already found Mikkis on searchforsites. When we visited, it the first time it seemed closed, but it wasn’t. We just did not see the other entrance.
Mikkis Campsite Ghia/Porches
This is one of the quirkiest places we have ever been to, or stopped on..Its Chalk and Cheese as campsites go..
Mikki is an artist, Ceramics, and a good one by the looks of her work around the place. some pictured . Its a place you have to either like or dislike, no two ways about it..its popular, especially with the Dutch and Germans..but many Portuguese and Brits here to..
Note the open top Double Decker..it used to run the streets of Weston Super Mare, where we lived up and till last year, or at least were based from ..How it Got here we dont know
Amenities, best described as tired, but clean.. Staff very Friendly..and polite. Got its own bar, built inside of a disused garden centre/Barn, also very quirky. Prices in the bar reasonable..
As the only reason for staying, was to pick up the bits for Trusty arriving down the road at Direct Transport about 4 miles away. we decided to stay a couple of nights
We walked the site before paying….30 euros for two nights. with electricity..not bad but not worth it for the general condition of the site..we thought at the time, and we were not to impressed with the general cleanliness.
Dogs roaming around, not on leads and dog shit unpicked up everywhere. including in the restaurant outdoor eating area. so two nights will do. until we get Trustys parts and another site.
But also to be fair to the site owners, there were a lot of portuguese campers here, and they do kick out there dogs to roam..just like britain 40 years ago.
Things at home were not getting any better, Mandatory 2 weeks quarantine on return..Now???why ??? Let countless thousands into UK, with or without the Virus, the previous months, and now a half baked effort to restrict people coming in..Wake Up !! you idiots..the Horse has bolted..its the wrong way round and miles too late.. (Rant over)
So a move closer to The parts pick up..and a change as well. After re-looking at the site, and combined with A decision not to return to The boat, or the UK for the moment. I asked for the monthly rates, had a dig about dogs and dog shit..and it started to dissapear, and dogs were seen on leads, not all but a lot more than before. So the Monthly rates turned out to be favourable at 270 euros all inc, Around 9 euros a night..our almost max price..
Many good sites in Portugal for 10 or less, no need to pay silly prices for less quality..with some. So we went for it,. also Mikki the owner, said we could fix Trusty on the pitch…that clinched it..50 cents for a shower, so there it is !! 10 bucks a night
Now I know I post a lot of picture of Trusty, But she sulks if I dont, and the ones below are to show before and after the fix.
Yup !! Its now Trusty Bills Bikes..Not for Long though..As soon as I get a hair dryer its off.
Bull bar still a bit crunched..but staying that way for the foreseeable future..especially as I cant replace it for less than £160.
Incidentally !! the French woman whose car was involved in the accident, has never made a claim..so I assume she had no insurance, we have phone copies of her presented documents, but as we dont read french, and as it was partly her fault, and mostly mine..its a bonus. we made no claim against our insurance, although it comprehensive, as owning to trusty’s age and value,, they would have written her off.
Definitely not happening !!! Shes been too good to us to go down that road.
Hair dryer borrowed..Unsuccessful…Looks like its going to be Trustybillsbikes,until we can get home, where I can get my heat gun on it .
We are going to stick around here maybe until mid July to see how lock down restrictions are lifted.. unless I get fed up and want to move, back to UK.
Were still at Mikkis Waiting for Borris to drop this stupid 14 day. 3 months to late. Quarantine stunt,
Today we took a ride out to Silves again..
Love Silves, but we never stop there more than a day, the Aires there, which were open, dont suit us and trusty very well.
The price is right at 6 euros a day..but the sites dont have toilets. and only rudimentary showers. But Ideal for A class campers..not to close to each other, but still to close for us. but very nice.
Trusty is a bit dated.and small. We do have a toilet on board, but dont like using it and emptying it much either. so we like sites that are more equipped..
We only use our our own facilities when wild camping..and the covid restrictions have all but put paid to that..so for 10 euros. a day, long term rates at Mikkis ( 3 more than Silves) We got Showers, clubhouse/Bar, Toilets swimming pool. nice surroundings, peace and quiet, and above all plenty of space.
We did not know it when booking the month, but this site is very popular with the Spanish..a very noisey nation. If they get here en mass in the next week or two..which they apparently normally do, bugger the prepaid site payment..were off !!!
We have spent quite a few nights listening to the Din, in many places on our travels, they never seem to sleep, go on to early hours of the morning..Nope not for us.
I digress, Back to Silves.
We spent most of the day walking around the upper streets around the castle and Church. stunning up there, and almost deserted now there are virtually no tourists. Amazing and picturesque.
Silves is a great place to visit..We go there a lot, especially for our cake and coffee shop. Its a regular for us..and its only an 8 mile hop on the Bike to get there from Mikkis.
Although deserted streets devoid of tourists. is great for us, its very bad for the town, and infact the whole region. People are hurting, businesses going under everywhere. Lets hope it gets better soon for them.
The town is small enough to walk round plenty to see and do. Famous for its Piri Piri chicken Restaurants. You can get a half chicken Piri Piri lunch with wine, for around 6.50 euros. Lidle and Continente supermarkets are a stone’s throw from most anywhere in the town.
On the whole a Great place to stay..or visit.
Popped of to Portimao Yesterday to seek out another rear shock for Trusty. Used a Motor Factors which did me well for prices 3 years ago… The one nearer up the road wanted 58 euros for one shock and 96 for the pair..Very steep that..
So, 10 k extra mileage, and 30 euros later we have a new shock, went back and picked it up today . Hell of difference in price, glad I could remember where the place was. pays to shop around. Fitted it in 20 mins, same as the other side.Trusty fettled and ready to go again.
We may leave for Uk this weekend. Covid seems to be kicking off again in various places , and we dont want to get locked down for another 3 months or so.. It probably won’t happen, we hope, but talking it over we are taking no chances this time..hoping the 2 weeks quarantine will be lifted by the time we hit the UK.
Had a word with the site owner, and they will credit the other days we have not used but paid for. when we come back next year. Very decent We think.
Left Mikkis and over the border into Spain. Absolutely rushed across Spain the short route. if you can call 800 miles short. Via Salamanca, Carceres, Valladolid, to border at Irun. We took the Salamanca option, rather than travel a shorter route up through portugal, (again).
We knew now that we could cross at the main bridge Between Spain and Portugal, at Castro Marim. Which indeed we did. We were not willing to do another 600 mile round trip in portugal as we did a few weeks before, and not being allowed to cross.
Sailed through, Cops asked where we were going, told them UK, waved us through, no paperwork, no showing British embassy payper requesting repatriation, that I had painstakingly downloaded for the occasion. We never saw any at french border from Spain to France..
1st night on the return, We stopped at Caceres Aire for coffee and decided not to stay.
We have been here before, the town Square is within walking distance. and very interesting, with many good eating places, and good bars.
Our maps and stops below
Moved on toward France and decided to take a short detour on the way to Zamora,
(70 miles at the time) enticed by the park4night blag..Well it was ok and we managed to get fuel at a very cheap price and Lidl etc, but not really worth the extra mileage. The Aire was by the river room for 5/6 vans parked correctly. (two wernt), Evening when we got there, so just dark.. Managed to squeeze in. Quiet night although the Aire is alongside a main road
Well not much to quip about, cheap fuel, some of the cheapest in spain up to now. some of the town weve seen , and know what it is, so if a return is on the cards, we will give it a better going over. looks interesting enough, but no real time to explore it. its handy for a nights stop if entering Spain from Braganca Area, although most returning to UK, dont use this route. Next morning off to Irun and the french border, aim to do it in a days run.
As said, Managed to get across spain from Zamora Aire to Our Favourite French campsite, Camping Larrouleta .
Just over the Spanish/French border from Irun.. Spent a great night again !! and moved on the next day heading towards Calais, stopping at route 66 Harry’s place on the way,
Got to harry’s place in Bussiere Poitevine, Route 66 biker hotel. and as usual missed Harry, he was away for the weekend, anyway the usual spot we park in on his place, had the gates locked. Perhaps he has had some trouble, or the people running the Charity shop there locked it..
anyway we had to call in to the town of montmorillon, where we often stop for fuel and food, Lidl and Aldi there. cheaper fuel at Le eclerck fuel stop. We are following one of our tried and tested routes now, and we are revisiting some of the old Aires we stop on. And we stopped here on this one.
Its by the river, a small car park/aire. We have used it before The approach roads are a bit tight, and probably unsuitable for large campers, but ideal for us, has Dump, and auto relaise, machine,which we never use. spent a quiet night and moved on in the morning towards Calais. via Chateaudun and Evreux.
Again one we have visited before, all marked on our maps. This time we decided to stay, as we only did a quick day visit before. Its small and only room for around 8 vans..but only 5 designated spaces. The parking is situated right at the base of the Chateau, some good camera shots to be had here, and its also along side the river. so stunning and good,
Until around 11 pm a bunch of youths, (girls and boys), in 4 cars turned up. Loud booming music and wall to wall noise. we finally had enough around 2.30 and hit the road in the dark for a camping space 11 miles up the road. hurriedly found on Park4Night.
Great shame, but it can happen anywhere. Dove to this place.. In the Dark There are some better places around here with services, but all we needed was sleep !!
Alluyes, 2 Rue du Menhir https://park4night.com/fr/lieu/5541/parking-camping-car-jour-et-nuit/alluyes-2-rue-du-menhir/france/eure-et-loir#
Good night for the rest of it..silence !! woke up in the morning School 200 meters away ruined castle 50 meters, lovely surroundings, and the river.
Started out around 10ish and thought we would have a look at a aire in Evreux. Smack bang in the city. Another concrete monstrosity nearly 10 euros for no shade, and noisey road…Barriers that take Einstein to figure out..and very difficult to get into with anything over 6 meters..We Moved on sharpish.
Now’s the time to mention that we have little time left to get to the chunnel and back to Blighty (England) , so were just doing the odd ones on our way to see if we like them for further exploring in a couple of years or so. This one is on our no no list.
Where next we thought ? We have heard reports, which seem to be more than validated that Aires near Calais (around 10 miles or so) are experiencing high rates of crime..from as the French call them !! Vagants !! we all know them as Illegal Immigrants. We decided 40 or a bit less would be a good distance to stay safe and keep our belongings..so we ended up the next nigh at,
Free motorhome area Montreuil, 2-17 Avenue des Garennes
50.459499 , 1.759420
Great area very close to the town center. Officially 8 places but has a large gravel area next to it that was used as an overflow when we were there. Town has a large selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from. Great facility. No electricity but free toilet in adjacent car park. Good place to get final vet visit in before return to UK as vet just 100m away. Visited April 2018 still good. Service point is a 2 € coin.Service point not working for water when we were here. Spent a good night, but poured with rain. but its hard standing gravel. all in all a good stop. never explored town to wet.
We are now taking a couple of days rest at a campsite in Normandy, Caravaning Stoneham France 40 miles from the chunnel.
The Town is very touristy, but also very nice..the beach front is both long and varied. with plenty to do and see, Ideal for families, good walks for us Older Farts..good cafes, and shops. but high prices. 13 euros for a snack type piza..wow !!! were talking sandwich size here !! so generally a great stop if you got a couple of days to kill waiting for ferry or Train.
Pictures of the town marketplace
We have had an interesting journey across Spain and France to here since we left Mikis on the 25/06/2020.
We are contemplating a couple of years at least not doing this ..and doing the boat thing..in the UK, either way..I will continue with these records and our site..and hopefully a good blog on the Waterways of britain, (or at least some of them) Thanks to all our readers..Hope its been a help, or a laugh in places. Tony and Teresa
For your further reading until we do…