We left the campsite and headed to the motorhome place we had found on line which was roughly 15km away… although it felt much further as the roads were all original old style cobbles which meant everything rattled …. I am sure my ears continued to ring until the evening. The chap was very helpful, but didn’t have the required adapter. He phoned around and pointed us towards a LPG workshop just up the road who thought that they would be able to help….. when we arrived however, they looked at our gas adapter like it was alien – unable to help us. After a couple of calls back to the UK to find out how much it would cost / how long it would take to get the adapter sent out to us, we agreed to continue our quest to find a gas adapter despite wanting to head up the Douro to visit more Port houses.
We headed towards Burstners’ main dealership in Portugal to see if they could help us, stopping at another dealer on route. Unfortunately, neither place had the required adapter but both pointed us to another LPG workshop/garage about 15k from Coimbra who did have an adapter, but only the one they used at the filling station and they didn’t really want to part with it. However, whilst Keith was talking to the garage owner, a gentleman was filling up his Portuguese motorhome with LPG and upon overhearing the conversation said that he had an adapter (why, we will never know, as his motorhome had a different internal fitting), and that we could have it for 20 euros. Despite thinking that he was probably trying it on a little bit with the price, Keith decided that it was much less than we would have to pay to get an adapter sent out to us – not to mention the time bearing in mind it is nearing Christmas. So, one dodgy deal later and we now have a LPG gas adapter (and filled up with LPG!).
Whilst we were at the second Burstner dealership we asked if they could fix a broken hinge in one of our cupboards and the rear central brake light which has water in it. It was obviously our day, as they had both items in stock and told us that if we went to the workshop at 3pm they would fix the parts. Upon arrival, not only did they fix the parts, there was a chap washing the roof of another motorhome and I asked whether there was any chance of Mike getting a bit of a roof scrub ….. she is one happy camper(van) 🙂
I appreciate LPG adapters and washing the roof of a motorhome is a bit dull for the rest of you, but when you are away the lack of availability of small, but important things that are so easily available in the UK can have a big impact on day to day life and can quickly become all consuming.
As it was late in the day when we left the motorhome workshop we headed to a place called Condeixa do nova which is 20km outside Coimbra. The Aire was just near the market on the edge of town approximately 2kms from one of the largest Roman settlements in Portugal – Conimbriga. In the morning we walked out to the ruins and on a circuit which took us through some of the other nearby Roman villages, before heading back to the motorhome and moving on to Coimbra.
Coimbra is a lovely old university town built on a hill by the side of the river. We headed in to town to do a bit of a recky for lunch the following day and to stretch our legs …. A bi-product of the walk ending up in coffee and cake -the local delicacy is called Pastel do Tentugal – which oddly is the place we ended up getting the LPG converter from – and it is basically filo pastry filled with an eggy/sugary mix with a dusting of icing sugar on the top…… it was ok, but they can keep it as a delicacy … neither of us would add it to our top ten pastry lists 🙂
We were surprised to see lots of motorhomes parked in the Aire when we arrived, but despite the sign stating you could only stay for 24 hours, it appears that they were all fairly long term residents but everything was clean and tidy and quiet.
On Friday morning we headed back into Coimbra to do the shopping at the market, and what a market it was. Probably one of the largest we have seen for a while with lots of small local producers as well as the larger fruit and veg stalls, fish mongers, butchers, etc. We even managed to find a little old lady who was selling figs and jars of honey…. Happy days 🙂
Following our recky we returned to the back streets in the old town to a little restaurant / Café where the queue was out the door – their speciality being suckling pig.
After a little wait we got a table and ordered two portions of suckling pig – the waitress obviously thought that we wouldn’t be able to eat two portions and only brought one to share. The meat was incredibly succulent and the crackling, perfect. So good (and we were still hungry), we ordered a suckling pig sandwich to share as well 🙂
We bought some local Portuguese cheeses this week as the Spanish ones were running low and in the evening had bread, cheese and cold meat for dinner – upon cutting the unpasteurised sheeps’ cheese open it started to walk like a very ripe camembert – delicious…. Another item on the list for Christmas day food 🙂
Hi gail, I can imagine how frustrating it is not having the little important things. I remember when you and your parents were travelling around South America and the brake pads they needed were always arriving at a place after they had left. I don’t know wether they and the pads ever met up. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time – it will make a great book!!! Love Margaret and Stuart.
Lovely to hear from you, it is funny how many ‘experiences’ are actually very similar despite us travelling in Europe and it being 27 years later… how scary is that?
We are so used to everything being readily available that we get complacent. Having to work for something makes you appreciate it a little bit more – which is a good thing.
Have a lovely ‘Christmas’, as although I am sure you won’t be celebrating it in the religious sense, it is always a good excuse to get everyone together.
Send our love to everyone
Dear Gail and Keith
Here’s wishing you a Happy Christmas wherever you draw halt !
I follow your blog with great interest. You write in such detail ……I almost feel I am with you both.
All well on Upper Hedgemead Road. Jane and Roger (now well ensconced in Number 2) had a drinks party today so the neighbours had chance to catch up.
I hope your journeys in 2015 continue safely with lovely experiences.