Wild west, detours and A&E

Published by adriamatrix on

As it’s a little bit gloomy here in the Algarve today, although we can’t complain when our newsfeeds from home this morning have been filled with the white stuff, it seems like a good opportunity to catch up on the ‘ole blog.

Being a little incapacitated by my ankle injury we decided that Cadiz would have to wait for next time. Instead we decide to plough on towards the Algarve, praying the good weather that they have had over the last couple of months will hold for us. Before we left Cabo de Gato Stu went off exploring after he had been reliably informed that there were garnets in the area. Several hours later he returned to the van with what looked like little blackcurrants – whether or not they are in fact garnets who knows – but he was happy with his small haul.

We had intended to stay at a campsite nr. Motril, but after viewing it Stu decided we would be better off reverting to the Park4Night app to find somewhere to park up. It turned out to be a good choice – a lovely little spot next a beach with a lovely little wooden beach bar in hobbling distance – perfect 🙂

My extraction site feels more painful so we decided to head towards Fuengirola in search of another dentist hoping they could take a peak and rule out a dry socket. Unfortunately, the dentist was not available until after the weekend so I decided to continue with home remedies and see how it is in a few days. Our stop for the night was at Mijas Costa, a lovely little area with plenty of bars, restaurants. We take advantage of the warm sunshine whiling away a couple of hours at a little beachfront cafe. The next day starts gloomy with rain forecast after a quick look round the market right next to our parking spot we decide to head off. The weather wasn’t great so we found a stop en route to El Rocio which turned out to be a perfect place to spend a wet Saturday afternoon. The aire offers all the usual services, but also has a free shower and electric so out came the slow cooker. With the warming aroma of sausage bubbling away we shut out the rainy world and caught up on some of our box sets.

By the time we arrived at El Rocio the next day we were blessed with warm sunshine again. I had read that most of the time El Rocio is a ghost town, coming to alive once a year when the annual pilgrimage takes place, however on arrival we found lots of Spanish families and tourists milling around the shops and little restaurants making the most of the gorgeous Sunday afternoon. There are no tarmac roads in the town it is completely sand, perfect for the town’s popular mode of transport – horses. Many of the houses, bars and restaurants have places for the horses to be tied up. This strange little town is reminiscent of a wild western film set.

The annual pilgrimage combines religion and fiesta, and is held 50 days after Easter. Hundreds of thousands of people come from all over Spain, and even abroad, to make this annual pilgrimage to the shrine of La Blanca Paloma in the village of El Rocío. During this time the population temporarily swells to over a million. You can find out more about this strange little town HERE. Even if you can’t visit during the pilgrimage it’s definitely worth spending a few hours exploring this unique town.

We spent our last night near Huelva ready to head over the border the next day to meet Mark & Michelle, who we met on our travels last winter, at Armação de Pêra. The journey should have taken around 2.5hrs however our Sat Nav was feeling very mischievous and ended up taking us on an inland route that ended up taking almost double that. We finally arrived at the parking spot just before the sunset feeling a little frazzled. We have previously spent a lot of time on the beaches in the area before we had a motorhome, but had completely overlooked this little town. We spent the next 5 days exploring the little town, new beaches and of course trying out a few of the bars and restaurants. We especially enjoyed watching the sunset each evening from table 13 at Pedros bar. It was great to catch up with Mark & Michelle and meet their friends Tony & Marion.

By midweek my ankle was still badly swollen so I decided I really ought to get it checked. Although we have travel insurance it transpires you are still expected to use a public hospital so we head off to the one at Portimão. It’s the first time I have ever had cause to put my EHIC card to use and I have to say I was very impressed. I was in and out of the hospital in around 1.5 hrs; fortunately just a bad sprain which required a support and rest for a few weeks – phew!

After a few more days enjoying a mini heatwave, we headed to Silves to join Mark and Michelle for the jamming session held every Sunday evening at Art’aska, a quirky bar on the edge of the town. On arrival, I must admit we were a little unsure by lift type music that greeted us, but that soon changed to a varied catalogue of music by some very talented musicians. An enjoyable evening was had by all, even if the boys didn’t get the late night Chinese they were craving!

Art’aska Silves

Silves Castle
Silves Castle
Storks – whose clicking beaks can be heard around the town

With a cold looming and an unsettled weather forecast for the next few days we headed to Mikki’s Place to catch up on the laundry, chill for a few days and get rid of our bugs. We had heard a lot of great things about Mikki’s and we love what we have seen so far. If you like modern, pristine sites this one may not appeal to you. However, if you enjoy quirky and arty like us it’s definitely one for the list. Mikki is a potter and has built the site around her pottery. From the little details around the site it is evident that a lot of thought and love has gone into the creation of this quirky little haven.

Stops:
Motril – N36 43′ 4″ W3 33′ 36″
Mijas Costa – N36 30′ 22″ W2 40′ 55″ – since stopping I have read that local police have been clamping down on parking here – only allowing 30 and you have to register at the local Guardia
La Puebla de Cazalla – N37 13′ 30″ W5 18′ 17″ – great little stop including free shower and electric
El Rocio – N37 8′ 2″ W6 29′ 21″ – listed as day parking, but overnight may be tolerated off season
Armação de Pêra €4 per night – water & emptying available.
Silves – Parque do Castelo Aire N37 11′ 37″ W8 26′ 10″-  €6.50 pn + €2.50 EHU
Pera – Mikki’s Place – N37 7′ 42″ W8 19′ 22″ –€9.50 pn inc EHU



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