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Guimaraes, the Damp Region of Portugal – Day 10
Wednesday 22nd July 2009 – Portugal
I set off today on another drive high up into the mountains. On the motorways they have climbing lanes for the lorries as the roads climb very steeply, but as it happens I’m using these lanes as well. My poor little car doesn’t have a lot of power. It doesn’t matter though because i can just sit back and take in the sights, and there were some stunning views along the way today.
My destination was Guimaraes. It is called the damp region, or the wet lands, and it certainly lived up to it’s reputation. From a distance the mountains were covered in low cloud, and as i drove on through at the highest point, the weather changed dramatically. The heavens opened and a thick layer of fog engulfed the car. The fog quickly passed but the rain never ceased.
The drive took me up some cobbled streets which rattled the car, and my brain, but the locals drive on these roads as though they were normal roads, so i was constantly pulling over to let them by.
Everywhere is green in this region due to all the rain, and it was still pelting it down as i arrived at the campsite (Vila Fria). The ground was sodden, and i was situated on a hillside, so all the rain was running over my camping pitch. I sat in the car waiting for the rain to stop and contemplated going to a hostel for the night, or even sleeping in the car. I wasn’t going to put the tent up in this weather. There was a lull in the bad weather, and it gave me just enough time to put the tent up, but by now it was extremely dirty, and i wasn’t relishing the thought of taking it down tomorrow and cleaning it. There was a french family near me and the guy said that tomorrow would be better weather.
I walked down to the nearby river after putting the tent up. The rain was lighter now, but was still a bit annoying. The river was lovely, and there was a small watermill near the bridge on the road. It would look great in the sunshine i bet. The views of the lush green farmland through the valley, and the river that flowed through the middle, were easily some of the best views i have seen this trip. I heard some more musical chimes from a nearby Cathedral, i guess it must be a common thing in Portugal as it is a very religious place. Rain prevented me from venturing any further, but i would have liked to have seen more. I went back to the tent to relax for a while before my evening meal, whatever it was going to be.
I had some food in the car, but it was food that needed to be cooked, so i knew i needed to use the small camping cooker. As i was boiling some water, the French family walked past, and their little girl laughed at me as i tried to boil the water in the wind and rain under my broken umbrella. I must admit i even laughed at myself. I managed to have some kind of evening meal before entering the tent for another rainy night.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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