Starting the new year in Portugal was a very good decision! Leaving Spain in the morning with rainy and foggy weather, Portugal greeted me with sunny and warm weather. Surrounded by cork trees and blooming flowers it felt like spring!
Because I've been to the Algarve several times now, I decided to go straight to Sines. A small city at the Atlantic Ocean, south of Lisbon. I found a great parking spot directly at the coast and spent there three nights.
There were a few other campervans and some locals coming to watch the sunset but all in all it was really quiet! I just like it so much to fall asleep and wake up with the sound of the ocean. Sounds a bit cheesy but it's true :)
At this point I already knew that parking along the coast is forbidden. The area is designated as a natural park and therefore no overnight parking is allowed. Luckily the GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana - the Portuguese police) didn't show up. At least not during the first two weeks...
The plan was to go north. I wanted to drive along the coast to Lisbon, Porto and then back to Northern Spain. The problem was that the weather there was quite bad. Cold, rainy, windy. Definitely not the weather I wished for while traveling with the van. Thus I decided to spend some more time in the area around Sines. And also there the weather was not the best and I got some rainy days. Loads of time for reading, listening to podcasts and thinking :)
Fortunately the rain never lasted too long and I could explore the coast. One of my highlights was Praia da Galé. This is not only a beautiful beach but it also comes with a crazy rock formation. And the best part: No people at all! That's the good thing of traveling in winter.
The beach was absolutely beautiful and pretty clean. Nevertheless, you find garbage laying around. I try to always bring a bag and some gloves and do a small clean up. It's the least I can do while walking in such an amazing landscape! On top it's a good workout and it feels good to contribute a little bit to this crazy world.
I probably don't have to emphasise that the sunset at this beach was a stunner :)
I really don't know why but the light in Portugal is just SPECIAL! Not only during sunrise and sunset but also during the day. It's the special Portuguese light. Obrigada :)
Another beautiful beach and another beach clean up I did at Praia da Comporta. Not as outstanding as Praia de Galé, but also very nice and lonesome.
Puhhh and then it was getting quite cold! Less than 10 degrees INSIDE the van during the night was too cold for me. It was finally time to find out if the heating was working. And yes it did! Thankfully! I never used it during the night but I switched it on in the morning for some time to warm the van up a little bit.
Fortunately I also find a free hot shower in Santiago do Cacém, a small village close to Sines. The first time I went there it was raining the whole day! Luckily I came back another time when the weather was really nice. It turned out the village has more to offer than a lovely hot shower :) I went for a nice walk and absolutely loved this area, although it was not at the coast but inland.
After being in Portugal for one week I was still not sure what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I spent some more time around Sines, did some more beach walks and clean ups. Since the weather in the North was still not really good, I decided to go South instead. That's the good thing about traveling with the van and traveling by myself. I can change my plans as often as I want and I can go wherever I want.
Not the nicest picture to finish the blog but that's the truth. I did a big cleanup at the beach in Sines and since then having on of the worst backaches of my life. This too will pass...