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Via Fatima and Tomar to Praia da Mira, it gets cold

Home -> Europe -> Portugal -> Travelogue Portugal -> 01 to 03 July 2001

Sunday 01 July, via Fatima and Tomar to Praia da Mira, it gets cold

Caves of Mira de AireToday we want to go more to the north of Portugal and actually also 1 or 2 days near a beach. We've got the taste for it now! The trip leads us today to the north of Portugal, but we have no idea where we will end up. Not far from Fatima we take the tour through the caves of Mira the Aire. Only a part of this limestone cave can be visited and the tour takes about 45 minutes, really worthwhile. We are not allowed to take pictures, so we scanned this postcard.
Templars castle at TomarThe castle was build in 1160 by grandmaster Gualdim Pais. After the order of the Templar Knights had been officially abolished by the pope in 1312, the Portuguese king let the order subsist under another name, the Order of Christ, with Tomar as it's centre. The entrance fee is quite high, so we don't enter the church itself, but one can walk freely about most of the castle terrain and the gardens. When we try to look behind a door we are firmly chased away by very unfriendly personnel.
After Tomar we first drive somewhat inland, then head east towards the coast. Via Pombal (named after the Marquês de Pombal who rebuild Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755) we return to the sea at Figueira da Foz. This coast line is quite different from the coast in the Algarve. There is also much more industry. In fact, we are a bit disappointed after all the beautiful sceneries we have seen the last three weeks.
We don't want to go all the way to Porto, a real industrial area, so we end up in Praia da Mira, near the town Mira. The sandy camping is close to the beach. Teije thinks he knows a nice spot to put the tent but the car gets stuck in the sand when he tries to reach the place. After half an hour of pulling and putting stones and planks under the wheels, we ask some watching Portuguese for help and within 5 minutes the car came loose.
We have had a nice day, but somehow we have the feeling we are not quite happy here. We can't exactly say why... Maybe it is the people who seem less friendly here (at the castle, at the campsite and in the shops), maybe it is because we are heading north, in the direction of home...

Monday 02 July 2001, Praia da Mira, the weather is becoming nasty...

Praia da MiraIt is cold when we wake up, the temperature has dropped with at least 10°C and the sky looks gray. Nevertheless we go to the beach, but after shivering with cold for half an hour we get on the car to look around in the neighbourhood.
Mira looks gloomy in the rain, which has just started to fall, so we drive more to the north, to Aveiro. We walk around for a couple of hours but don't have the feeling we are on holiday, or even abroad.
Maybe our attitude is influenced by the 'bad' weather. We are so used now to only see sunshine and have high temperatures. And a country can look so depressing in the rain. Well, we see that in Holland all the time. But it is also the atmosphere which isn't as friendly as in the Algarve or Lisbon. But we decide to change our attitude and leave Aveiro for a long trip through the neighbouring villages of which some are quite nice.
There are some places in this area we want to visit, but when we hear that the weather is much better to the east, we decide to move tomorrow. Places like Coimbra and Conimbriga we can alos visit from our new place.

Tuesday 03 July 2001, to a Dutch campsite at Casfreires

We don't know exactly where to go, but we want a campsite with a swimming pool, if possible. And it must not be too far away to make trips to Viseu, Coimbra and the mountain range Serra da Estrella. So we find out there is only one campsite we can go to, one run by Dutch people in Casfreires, near Satão. The trip takes us through beautiful sceneries and we are really glad we have left Praia da Mira.
20 km. before the campsite there are clear signs showing the direction. We are welcomed very friendly and get a welcome drink. We don't like the fact there are almost only Dutch people (we haven't left Holland to meet other Dutch people here!), but they are allright. We find a nice spot for the tent and at night it is very pleasant in the pub of the campsite. It is still not very warm so it is nice to be able to sit inside. Sorry, we didn't take any pictures.


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