Sailor, Inspiration & Tiles.

Upon leaving Faro, we headed for the fishing town of Alhao ( recommended to us). We parked up and took a wander. To be honest, not much doing, a one street town with loads of cafes/restaurants. Again probably very nice in peak season but another Portuguese ghost town. On driving out we did notice that there appears to be a large (in excess of 20 vessels) deep sea fishing fleet based there!

We drove on to our identified stop of Manta Rota – a large commercial Aire next to a beach and Boardwalk . Immediately obvious upon arrival that many of the inhabitants were there for the ‘long haul’ as they had fenced off gardens and trailers with huge solar panels, wind turbines and satellite dishes mounted on them!

On the Thursday the weather had closed in but we ventured out towards Villareal de San Antonio – the first/ last town in southern Portugal but rain stopped play and we headed back for hot showers and the heating on!

Friday morning saw us preparing to leave when another Auto Trail Delaware pulled up ( but left hand drive). So a long conversation was had with Sharon & Mick who’ve been full timing in their van for 6 years.

Finally we were off to Seville, stopping on route at Castro Marim Monte Gordo where we walked up to the hill fort and chatted to a couple of Brits who were on a day tour.

Our identified stop for Seville was at a marina in Gelves to the SW of the city. The instructions clearly state, upon arrival, find a sailor.

Mrs Mac thought heyho!

We arrived at the gate to find our way barred by another Brit in a big unit and towing a car on a trailer. Entry gained and I assisted him with manoeuvring his vehicle in place, despite it raining ‘like string’. He acknowledged his thanks by asking ‘ you ex Rif RAF?'( obviously clocked our bumper sticker) so later on sand bags were pulled up and war stories swapped between us and Bob & Julie. The evening was going well until Mrs Mac went to the bar for 3 beers & a glass of vino tinto and was asked for €29. Luckily, Diana Harper (& her dog Nellie) presented her services and sorted out that was a total bill for Bob and Julie’s tab + the round Sarah was buying. Phewwww.

So who is Diana Harper? Turns out she’s 86 yrs old and lives aboard her boat on dry land and has done so for 12 years since her hubby died. An amazing woman, fit as a fiddle and an inspiration . So our remaining 2 nights she was in our company and Mrs M treated her to hand and feet manicures/pedicures.

Saturday & Sunday saw us heading into Seville for exploration and discovery. An old town full of Moorish influence and architecturally very different. We also visited the Alcazar – Royal Palace which we both found a bit disappointing – tiles, tiles, tiles & tiles. We’d have seen less tiles if we’d spent an afternoon in our local ‘Tony’s Tile it all’ showroom.

A further observation of Spain is that although there are bus timetables, they bear no resemblance to the service provided!

We left Seville this morning and it was misty, overcast, yucky and 9•

We’ve travelled 130km to Rota ( just west of Cadiz) where it’s clear and 20•

Hopefully we will base ourselves here for a few days to explore Cadiz before moving towards Gib.

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