Saturday, 7 May 2022

Review Turistcampo Lagos Portugal.

 This year we have decided that we want to stay put in two camp sites for our Spring trip to Portugal.  Turistcampo, between Lagos and Luz in Portugal. A Yelloh Village resort. Booked online for 22 nights.

Turiscampo is a  large holiday resort well placed for touring the Algave. Probably one of the best kept sites we have been on. Scrupulously clean with staff constantly on duty throughout the campsite. Even the pitches get pruned and swept between customers. Toilet blocks rival a good hotel with plenty of hot water and a whole host of loos, complete bathrooms and showers. The resort is open all year round so caters for all weathers. There is a large heated indoor and outdoor swimming complex. An indoor and outdoor gym, kiddies play area and club and a great restaurant and supermarket on site. There are also a whole variation of huts on site some with their own hot tubs. Handy I guess for visitors. Our neighbours had their family visiting and collected them from Faro airport about an hours drive.

The restaurant on site has a snack bar as well as a proper restaurant and does well priced meals. We ate out quite a few times. It does get quite bust but we always managed to find a table. During the weekends there was usually some kind of entertainment. All the staff were really friendly and helpful and mostly spoke English.

The site is tiered with pitches of various sizes. We went for the "deluxe" so we had our own water and drainage. Pitches are well marked with plenty of shade.

A bus stop outside the site takes you along the coast in both directions. Pria de Luz is the nearest beach, it took us about 35 minutes, an easy walk going down to the beach, harder on the way back as it's uphill, good exercise though. Luz is a great small village, quite touristy with a lovely sandy beach at one end and loads of restaurants and bars. A large expat community!

One of the attractions of the area is walking the coastal path. Known as the "Fishermans Walk" it extends for most of the Algarve coast. Very popular with German and Dutch walkers it can be very challenging in sections, though relatively easy to follow and well marked.

The section nearest to us was Lagos to Burgau. We kind of managed to walk the majority of this section over a couple of days. Beautiful views across the sea. We almost made Burgau but gave up on a very steep final decent to the beach. At the other end a very stiff climb ruled out the top of the Roche Niga! All my fault!!

We watched as a few "bright young things" made the top. We know our limitations and descended back to the bar instead. Worth the effort though to nearly make the top!

Amazing how quickly three weeks flew by. We were just getting into the holiday spirit when it was time to leave. Certainly worth the long journey. We had a couple of damp windy days but lots of sunshine as well. A good time of the year to come in May/June the promise of summer sun and hardly any biting insects YET!

Our next stay, up the coast for an hour and a half for a month at Camping Ria Formosa ,Cabanas de Taveria and more sun we hope.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Postponed Winter Sun. Now Spring in Portugal.

Well, we are finally off for our first bit of camping fun since October 2020. Following our third cancellation, we WILL be off on through the tunnel and onwards to Portugal. We have had a few little    ( or major hiccups, like the rest of the world) in the last 12 months including a major relocation from the suburbs of town to the rural back woods near Glastonbury. A major move but at least we did something useful during lock down.

 Krystal has been washed, packed, loaded and ready to go!! Let's hope we have completed the relevant paperwork properly. 

 After an interesting drive through the picturesque Somerset villages, a quick sprint around Salisbury, and a dash around the M25, we were finally on the road to Folkestone and the tunnel. 

 Note to self: look for a better route! This was the first time we had attempted the tunnel from our new home. Our usual comatose rumble along the M4 to London from Bristol had changed. We were slightly more alert.

 In actual fact the journey was pretty uneventful, except for the long drive past the 35 miles of poor lorries and their drivers making for Dover. The tunnel was the usual slick operation we expect. No check of what we had in the fridge....just as well. No check of our jab certificates, which were all in order. A quiet casual conversation of where we were going and that was it. Tunnel, then France. We did use Den's Irish passport so I wasn't stamped out of the UK as we were together. We could stay forever!! 
Escalles, Les Erables our first stop was just as it always was. A warm welcome from Sabine and we were soon set up for our first night. A nice meal in the local restaurant Les Falaise just 75 Euros ( and well worth it)  our first Kir and Pastis, we were finally on holiday.

After a leisurely start we set off for the second big drive. A 6 hour stint mainly down the motorway to our second stop at  Camping Futuriste near Poitiers. A spot we have used many times before and really handy for the motorway. We arrived in time for a proper evening meal and a relaxing evening overlooking the valley. The campsite was pretty empty, to be expected at this time of the year.

Nice little swimming pool on this site although we didn't try it. Great views across the valley though. Future scope well worth a visit, we have been twice and loved it. It does take a whole day to get around and an evening if you want to go to the laser show. 

We had encountered a lot of  heavy rain on the way and the next day gave us much of the same. Heading for  Camping Larouletta on the French Spanish border at Urrugne, South of Bordeaux.

A long days drive and we made it. The rain had actually stopped and we were soon settling down beneath the spooky trees. 

It looks like a scene from a horror movie but actually a really nice well maintained site. We keep promising to go back in the summer when the trees are in leaf. We wandered up to the supermarket up the road and treated ourselves to our first French drink at a local bar.

Next stop Spain. It was still unsettled weather but seemed slightly more promising as we steeled ourselves for the drive across the Spanish Sierras. The last time we came this way there had been snow. Luckily no snow on show for this trip. Another hike down the motorway and we were approaching Salamanca and our first Spanish stop Camping Olimpia. We spied this camp site the last time we were this way and thought we would try it out. Lovely welcome, we were on our own but the campsite owner was happy to cook us a meal in the restaurant. Exceptionally good food and service, including wine a modest 35 Euros. We were well pleased. A great stop over and next door to a service station.

All by ourselves!

When planning this trip we had decided to give ourselves an extra days travelling to get there. This was a good move as it it so easy to under estimate the journey, especially if the weather is not so good. As we left Olimpia the Spanish sun came out. Next stop Portugal.

Camping Alentejo in Portugal our final destination before Turistcampo near Lagos. This campsite was near Everomonte a new place for us. Very tidy site with lovely loos, showers and swimming pool all for 15 Euros a bargain we thought. No restaurant, but we had a very nice pizza cooked for us on site and delivered to our van. A very well kept site with lots of shady trees which was great as the sun had come out.

Last leg of the journey the final run to our first long stay site. Turistcampo, big and busy for Easter. Well worth the extra days travelling as we had an easy run to the coast and got to the site in plenty of time to settle in. Now where's the bar??

Sunday, 8 August 2021

First Freedom Trip July 2021

 Finally made our first "Freedom Trip" since the return from Greece in October last year. Guess we were really lucky to actually have made two long trips during a Covid year! Since coming back apart from the regulatory hikes in the neighbourhood during lock down, we have actually moved house. Our main criteria for house selection was "room on the drive  for Krystal" Happily that has been achieved so we are fit to go! Sadly decorating and sorting out our new bungalow has curtailed our trips this year. Hopefully, next year normal service will be resumed.

We had planned a trip to Leeds to the Vantage factory for our second habitation check. Not much work to be done fortunately. We were looking forward to our first trip this year.

We spent the morning wandering along the Leeds canal admiring the art work. Krystal meanwhile was being prodded and poked at the Vantage factory.

There has been a lot of work done in Leeds to improve the area. There were loads of nice looking flats and apartments. We were so lucky with the weather! If we were looking for an urban environment this part of Leeds would have been worth a look. Loads going on to watch! 

Following our habitation check and a clean bill of health for Krystal, we had booked Moor View Caravan Park near Bardsey, just outside Leeds. A tidy site which was very handily placed. We had an uneventful peaceful first night. 

We even managed to spot a couple of Red Kites soaring above us putting on an energetic ariel display.

Next morning we were off for our second jaunt to Cheshire and Shays Farm. Another old site to revisit. We were spending a couple of nights here and combining it with a visit to Den's brother and his wife at Tarporley.

Shays Farm is a tidy farm site with it's own small fishing lake and camp site. Handy for Chester and surrounding area, with a lovely kiddies play area.

A very enjoyable 2 nights. All the facilities were open and The Shrewsbury Arms just 10 mins up the track serving great food.

We spent a lovely day in Chester and enjoyed a stroll around the city walls. All in all, a successful trip.

A week later we managed another two nights away. Three Castles a Tranqil Park, adults only site in Monmouthshire. A comfortable small site in great walking country. We were going to stay another night but rain stopped play! Individual showers and loos reserved in advance. Skenfrith Castle is just up the lane and for those with a BIG wallet The Bell at Skenfrith by the river, a Michelin restaurant is nearby. Remember to take provisions as this site is really in the middle of nowhere. Slight road noise but I guess we noticed it more as we have got used to the silence of the countryside ( tractors and animals excluded.)

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Greece 2020. The Journey Home.

 Finally as Covid 19  set in around us it was time to leave for home. Originally we had planned to spend some time in Italy and visit an old school friend in the north. With the rising numbers of Covid 19 and the increasing possibility of having to quarantine on our return to the UK we decided to spend a few days around Lake Garda and then head home via Germany thus avoiding quarantine!. We were disappointed at not going to visit my friend but for once decided to be sensible!

So, first stop on the journey home and we were back at San Marino. The campsite was pretty quite this time but we were able to do a good washing load and have a lovely meal in the camp site restaurant.

Dash cam San Marino to Lake Garda.

Next stop. Pescheria del Garda by the lake. 

A few lovely days in the late sun exploring the old town, riding our bikes and admiring the views.

Dash cam Lake Garda to Nattersee in Austria.

Our next stop would be a run through Austria and a one night stop at Nattersee campsite. Restaurant closed due to Covid but otherwise a very pleasant stop in the very clean Austrian air.

Dash cam Nattersee to Waldpark.

Always fabulous views at Nattersee. We would have liked to take a trip into Innsbruck, maybe next time. the following morning a quick run over Fern Pass and we were in Germany!

Heading for Waldpark Camping, another familiar site for us. Clean and comfortable. This time the restaurant was open and we had a delightful meal.

A little walk around the friendly village they were preparing for Halloween!

Dash cam Waldpark to Lindlegrund

The following day still in Germany we headed for a new campsite Lindelgrund. By now Covid wise things were getting a little tense in Germany. With cases rising in the UK they were not too keen on Brits. We talked our way onto this site, they let us on as we were on our way home and had previously been in Greece. Nice people though a well kept campsite and we had some fabulous local wine!

A busy site we were tucked up under the trees.

Dash cam Lindlegrund to AAchen

We were soon heading for our final stop in Germany an aire in Aachan. Really nice place and well worth stopping. The facilities were excellent and we would have liked more time to explore.

Dash cam Aachan, Escalles and the tunnel.

Tomorrow our last one nighter in France, at Escalles and then heading for home. The site was almost deserted. The camp owner gave us the gate code so we could leave early. We had filled out all the relevant paperwork for our tunnel crossing, no one looked at it!! No mention of Covid!

Home for the next lockdown. Who knows when we will be let out again.


Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Greece 2020 . Pelopponnese

 Finally arrived at Camping  Kato Alissos our first Greek stop in the Pelopponese. This part of mainland Greece is characterised by it's three fingers. The Western "finger" backed by the Ionion Sea contains the best of the sandy beaches, beautiful weather without the wind! Kato Alissos is a good stop from the ferry at Patras as it's only a short drive and once there you feel like you have actually arrived in Greece. Fortified by a trip to Lidl en route we arrived and decided to stay 3 nights. 

The campsite is situated in an old olive orchard. Family owned it felt very safe with fabulous views across the bay from the restaurant. 

The site is very rural and basic but also very clean with loads of  shade.

The log store.

We had a lovely dinner here on our first night under the olive tree. The bar and restaurant opens at 5 pm each day. Fabulous views across the bay.

We even managed a paddle in the sea which was beautifully warm but rocky.

The beach here has suffered heavily from erosion. Derelict bars mark the spot where a  road used to be now washed away. It looked like the locals have tried to tidy up the beach. It didn't seem to put off daily swimmers.

A good start to our "beach days". I guess the only downside to this site is the mozzies, which love the shade and me. Also the early morning calls of the wild, roosters and barking dogs! We slept soundly.

This holiday we decided to have a beach holiday and stay longer at each site. Our next site was down the road Gifla a resort camp Ionion Beach Camping. Not normally the kind of sites we stay on but this one is definitely up market and posh. Totally German but beautifully kept with amazing toilets and showers.

Dash cam of our arrival at Ionion Beach Resort.

We rocked up just in time to bag a premium beach side pitch. Only available for 3 nights though. It was a great spot backing the beach next to the beach bar and swimming pool. We spoiled ourselves for a few nights making use of all the facilities including the great restaurant. All very covid safe! There was no need to leave the resort.

The beach was good for swimming but rocky, beach shoes required.

Pool complete with jacuzzi and kiddies pool. There were a lot of young families on the resort, masses of large motor homes, best pitches all booked up. Sun beds and umbrellas bagged at dawn. Some sun beds even padlocked to the brollies ( just in case!) We were happy on our little pitch although we could have done with slightly more room. Overall a lovely few days and one we will return to on the way home ( even if it's just for the showers!)

Dash cam. Ionion Beach to Camping Erodios

Next beach, back to Camping Erodios near the resort town of Gialova ( pronounced Yay..lova) We stayed there last year and loved it. Again right on the beach, walking distance to the village, clean very well kept site. Here we stayed for two weeks. A bit of biking, swimming in the sea, exploring and chilling. The weather was glorious wall to wall sunshine usually in the 30's.

Where the wealthy hang out.

Just up from the campsite the beach is gently shelving and golden sands. A great favourite with the locals.

The sea is very clean and perfect for a daily dip. We tried to get a bit of exercise in a daily trek to the bar, a cycle ride up the track, beach ball in the sea. All totally exhausting. The campsite gradually thinned out and our pitch got bigger and bigger. We even got a sea view.

Dash cam. Erodios to Olympia.

Our next journey a few miles inland and back to the mountains of Olympia and Camping Alphios.

Camping Alphios is another one of our old favourites. Very friendly owners, good clean facilities and lovely well kept swimming pool. There is a 10 minute walk into Olympia, although a bit of a hike uphill to come back. We were really lucky when we arrived on our own on the site with the pool to ourselves. Beautiful views over the mountains. We stayed 4 nights in the end. Huge storm one night but he seemed to move around us. Wandered into Olympus for lunch one day , very quiet with no coaches .

Our pitch overlooking the mountains. 

Fabulous pool we had it all to ourselves.

During the dry season fire crew are positioned in strategic spots. A friendly bunch! I think they were a bit bored.

From Olympia we moved on back to Ionion Beach for four more nights. Enjoyed the beach, pool, restaurant and showers. We also got another beach side pitch, this time much cheaper as it was off main season and they remembered us! Following extensive hair washing, the showers are as good and clean as home we made for the coast again.

Dash cam. Olympia back to Ionion Beach.

 Heading North over the bridge at Patras and up to a beach site not too far from Pargas Sofa Beach.

Dash cam Ionion Beach to Camping Sofa

Again, very rustic but clean and friendly. A space in the olive grove by the private beach. There was also a very nice Taverna on site with home cooking.

Another pebble beach. Small but a sun trap.

Dash cam Camping Sofa Beach to Camping Elena Beach.

Two nights here and then we thought we would add a few more beach sites to our potfolio. So next stop just outside Igoumensita Elena Beach. Here we were actually on the beach. Lovely spot near a harbour so we watched all the boats in and out.

A delightful spot. Certainly on the return list. We had two very nice meals in the on site restaurant and survived another storm.

Elena Beach is a terraced site with loads of loos and showers. Lots of hot water. The owners are very friendly.

We couldn't get any nearer to the beach.

Dash cam Camping Elena Beach to Camping Drepanos

Finally we were off to our last Greek site the other side of Igoumensita Camping Drepanos. By a beautiful sandy beach. Again we managed a beachside pitch for two nights and with the help of ACSI it turned out the cheapest site of the holiday. Definitely win, win! Weather not as fabulous as last year but sun and showers were fine although we didn't manage a swim....too wimpy, it was a bit chilly!

Dash cam Camping Drepanos to the ferry at Igoumensita

Goodbye to Greece! Off to the ferry and back to Italy.

Dash cam .Off the ferry and onwards to San Marino.

Best beach pitches of the holiday, Ionion Beach and Elena Beach. 

Best site Erodius at Gialova, we spent two weeks there.

Best sandy beach Drepanos at Igoumensita. Looks like wild camping is being discouraged there as fines are being handed out. Good the campsite is lovely and good value for money.