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Published: June 23rd 2014
Clarissa Tomtom let us down again as we tried to get away from the coastal area and on to the road East. It seemed to take an age to get through the little, all cobbled, roads of Estela and onto the main road we had been looking for.
We found the road eventually which was not the route Bob had originally planned but had had to change as we were starting from a point lower down the coast because of our change of campsite. We were supposed to follow a picturesque route along the river but the route we took had few points of interest.
We were to pass the medieval city of Guimaraes. We’ve been there before in 1995 on our honeymoon so I thought it might be nice to drive through or at least round to see if we remembered it. Not a good idea. We missed the turn we needed to Fafe and ended up in town, in a traffic jam as some of the roads were closed. A marathon I think.
Bob followed the traffic and took a very ill advised turn to the left and honestly there could have been little more than
1 cm on either side of Tandy at one point as we passed between a lamp-post and a drain-pipe. A lady on the pavement squashed herself into a doorway as we squeezed past after shaking her fist at us. I think she thought we might pull her door off and she was lucky that Bob’s judgement is so good as otherwise we most probably would have.
We arrived at the town, Arco de Baulhe, where our campsite for the night was supposed to be but saw no signs for the campsite. The road the Tomtom indicated to get to it was almost perpendicular so we decided maybe that was not such a good idea. As we had plenty of time and were only stopping there to split the drive, we decided to carry on to the next planned stop, in the National park near Braganca.
The drive became quite tedious as there was absolutely nowhere to stop. No lay-byes at all along the country road we were following and it was generally windy and not very wide so couldn’t just pull over. Bob realised we needed fuel so we had to find a garage not just expect to
pass one as we were getting into some pretty remote areas.
We stopped in Carrazedo de Montenegro where we found a local garage. The office was really basic comprising a table, till and card machine. The owner was full of smiles and we communicated by nods and gesticulation.
Just up the road I spotted a rather wonderful and very typically Portuguese looking church. I went off to take some photos and then realised a service was about to start. The 5 minutes bells were super as you could see them swinging from the top of the towers.
We stopped again in Vinhais and this stop made the rest of the drive absolutely worthwhile. We noticed that the middle of the road we were driving along was strewn with flowers. In big patches all the way along.
As we passed a very ornate chuch we spotted a crowd so Bob found a spot to park and we walked back just as a procession came out, up the, also flower strewn, steps and off down the road. It was the Corpo do Deus Procession and is held Portugal wide. The flowers are all scented and fresh,
I spotted and could smell lovely roses and lilies. When mixed with the scent from the Lime trees which are everywhere in this region and in full flower the perfume was almost overpowering.
Not far from Vinhais to our campsite in the National Park of Montezinho. Up a steep slope and the campsite is a rather lovely get away from it all spot and we were glad to stop.
The pool somewhat annoyingly was not open but it appears that they have only spring water here so when the pool has to be emptied to fix a pump problem it takes 10 days to refill it. We had a drink in the rather nice little bar and enjoyed the peaceful site which is full of cherry trees in full fruit.
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