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Travelling Spain with Two Dogs & a Parrot

With a good internet connection, I can work remotely from anywhere, so my husband Rob & I took advantage of this & are travelling Spain with our pets & everything we own packed into an estate car with roof-box.

Settling into our Yellow Portuguese Home
16 November 2018 @ 09:46

The yellow house was cold.

We were cold from the very first evening & things didn't improve. We quickly realised that the lovely log fire actually kicked out very little heat.  The cast-iron free standing log burner in our Galician home acted as a storage heater.  Once it was heated through, it continued to eminate heat long after the logs had burned to ashes.  The fire here, built into the wall didn't.  Even if we were sat right in front of it, there was very little warmth.

The fire was linked to an electric pump which, once a certain temperature was reached, blew hot air through vents into the upstairs rooms in a kind of basic central heating.  However, in order to do this, air was sucked in which caused the logs to blaze & burn quickly.  Burn quickly they did & we knew our complimentary tonne would soon deplete.  There was an electic radiator in each room & we had these turned on full-time, but with an open staircase, the lounge-kitchen-diner below was uncomfortably cool.

I think the house had been empty a while as the bedding was chilled & felt damp.  The walls were cold through & it would take an age before they would warm up enough not to suck the warmth right out of each room.

To make things worse, the morning after arriving we had no hot water & the temperature dial on the tank hadn't moved from the position shown to me on our arrival.  The house was icy cold & now we couldn't even have a hot shower.  Needing provisions, we abandoned all thought of a wash & headed to Marco de Canaveses, the closest large town & found an Intermarche - all supermarkets in Portugal are open on a Sunday.  As we set off, we'd programmed Billy so we could find our way home.  However, as our house was off the main road, we'd had to choose a crossroads close-by on the lane above as the fix-point.

On the way back, we diligently followed Billy's instructions which led us up a cobbled lane neither Rob nor I could remember travelling on the way down into town.  Non-the-less we assumed that Billy had found a quicker or more direct route back.

No he hadn't & this was one of the many occasions that we exclaimed "FFS Billy!"

We climbed up, closely avoiding a red sports car driving downhill towards us, on our side of the road, round a blind bend - Portuguese drivers!  Another country & another near miss on the second day after arrival.  Just so long as they continued to be near misses & no worse...

Negotiating a fallen Eucalyptus tree, we continued to climb the cobbles right to the top of the hill.  The view was spectacular & the hillside was covered in massive rounded granite boulders.  Wanting to get back home with the food, we didn't stay, but planned to return with the dogs another time.

The cobbled road eventually ended in a single-lane of hard-packed dirt track, but still up for an adventure we continued on.  Eventually, after decsending down a steep lane we tipped out at the crossroads opposite our lane!  For some reason Billy had taken us up & over the mountain rather than the more direct & gentle route we'd taken into town.

Oh Billy!!

I knew that due to our new chosen lifestyle & adventures, that we'd have good & bad experiences with accommodation.  However, I didn't realise that we'd be able to feel if a house was right straight-away, but we did.  Just as we knew the pink Galician cottage was perfect as soon as we arrived, somehow we didn't warm to the yellow house.

It was a decent size, had all the facilities we needed (apart from hot water), had a secure garden & excellent views, but it didn't feel like home.  Both Rob & I sensed this exactly the same.

The lack of hot water was a problem & I'd emailed the landlord to ascertain if we'd omitted to do something. Following his instructions, I took photos to prove that all the switches were on in the fuse-box, the water tank was plugged in & the power indicator light was lit on it to prove this.

He promised to send a plumber the following day.

However, I was flying to London the following day for an annual client event & couldn't do-so feeling dirty.  We'd not had a bath since the previous morning & had packed, travelled, unpacked & shopped so were definitely feeling grotty.

As the flight was early from Porto an hour away, instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to drive, at 5pm, I booked a very cheap airport hotel for that night.  At least I'd (hopefully) be warm & could have a shower, so we set-off for Porto on Sunday evening.

As we'd travelled to the hotel on the motorway through many tolls, Rob decided to programme Billy to avoid tolls on the way back.  This was both to save a few Euros & in our right-hand drive car, Rob wouldn't have to get out of the car to walk around to retrieve the toll ticket & then make payment.

The journey there took less than an hour, so I was getting worried when he'd not called two hours after he'd set-off back.  Eventually a very frustrated Rob phoned.  He'd had a hell of a journey back, alone in the dark through the centre of Porto & it would have been worth the tolls to avoid the extra time taken, miles & fuel used!

Lesson learned!

Arriving in London by plane on Monday morning didn't feel any stranger than it did when trvelling by train from Nottinghamshire.  It was an alien environment for me either way.  I love working from home as a virtual PA & would hate to have an office job in the capital.  The event (which I'd helped organise) was a success & I returned to Porto early the following morning.  Now that did feel a little odd to be going 'home' to Portugal!

Like 3


Lizy said:
17 November 2018 @ 10:18

Can’t wait for your next instalment!

marelison said:
17 November 2018 @ 11:34

Good article, thank you.

Dave11 said:
17 November 2018 @ 13:14

Nice blog - all good fun.

nancybenn said:
17 November 2018 @ 21:17

Thanks for your lovely comments everyone - keeps me motivated!

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