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Entering Portugal, Arriving at Braganca – Day 9

20 November 2009 No Comment

Tuesday 21st July 2009 – Portugal

I awoke this morning to the strange sound of what i thought was chickens, or birds of some sort, flapping their wings and squeaking a lot. As i looked out the window of my tent i could see Red Squirrels running about, chasing each other and having little fights, it was very sweet. They were very strange sounds though, and didn’t sound like the type of sounds a squirrel should make. It was fascinating.

I discovered a better way to find places on sat nav last night, and i used this method to find an info place in Portugal, where i was headed today, in a place called Braganca. There was actually an icon on the screen of the sat nav to say that an info place was here. We’ll see. I liked this place but had to make for Portugal.

The drive was really fun today, through the small mountain roads, no main roads and no other cars to be seen. The winding roads reminded me a lot of driving in New Zealand. Small villages disappeared from view just as quickly as they had appeared, old ladies in black carrying food down the roads while old men, wielding forks and rakes, walked along with purpose. It was interesting to see.

The border crossing from Spain to Portugal was another non-event. At the border stood a derelict building and a sign saying……you guessed it, Portugal. It didn’t take long to reach Braganca from here, and it was notably much quieter, i already liked it. And the best part is, i found the info place without any problems at all.

Inside the information place, the woman was very helpful and spoke good English. She gave me a list of Hostels throughout Portugal, and was able to direct me to a book shop that sold a book on all campsites in Portugal. It was perfect.

I walked into town during the afternoon siesta and so it was very quiet, no shops open and not many people walking about. It was a good opportunity to explore the town and get some photos. There is a nice Cathedral here too.

Once the shops opened again i purchased the camping book, which was in English as well as Portuguese, and had a wealth of information inside. It was exactly what i needed. Each campsite was clearly detailed with facilities, cost, information, and clear map locations of where they were. They also had GPS coordinates which made it simple.

Inside a Braganca Campsite, PortugalI arrived at the nearest campsite (Cepo Verde) with no problems, and hoped it could all be this easy from now on. It is apparent my Portuguese is worse than my Spanish, as the guy behind the campsite reception desk found out, but managed to book myself in for the night. It was a nice site, with camping pitches dotted about on the mountainside, in amongst bushes and trees. There was a nice swimming pool too.

While pitching the tent i noticed the ants. You couldn’t miss them really, they looked like they could eat you in one go, they were huge, but thankfully few and far between. After my swim and a cool bottle of coke i was fully refreshed. I had plenty of time to choose my next campsite and program it into the sat nav, and play my guitar as well.

I had dinner at the campsite restaurant this evening, and sat on the balcony overlooking the valley and the mountains in the distance. The Portuguese girl serving the food, taking the orders and running the shop was very cute, and spoke a little bit of English too. She was very busy and didn’t have time for a long conversation, but she was a very nice girl. So, nice campsite, lovely views, great service, good meal, things were good.

At 9:00 this evening, the Cathedral, which can be heard from this peaceful campsite, rang out an enchanting tune before chiming for the hour. It was something I’ve never heard before, but was really nice. To top it all off there was a lovely sunset through the mountains.

Click here to view more pictures from today, and throughout my trip around Portugal

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Written by Daniel Stevens,
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