June was strange. We spent much of the time in Portugal and also in the north of Spain but despite what should have been summer, it really wasn’t. Early in the month, the weather changed from hot and sunny to rather overcast with a cool wind, and showers and we found ourselves putting the heating back on in the van and wearing hoodies and coats!

That didn’t stop us getting out and about though, although it did mean that often with the chance of rain, we chose our sites carefully this month to be close to the attractions we wanted to visit. It was only on the 1st July when we checked mileage that we realised we hadn’t used the moped ONCE all month. That made us sad. We love zooming about and especially along coastal roads and through the countryside.

When we did this 17 years ago we were averaging about 400 miles a month on the moped. 

This time it’s much less, more like 100 miles a month and none at all in June. The one thing that has changed since then – the internet! Now we can simply log in and check on a few apps and find the perfect place to park the motorhome almost on the doorstep of the attractions we want to visit. In the ‘ old days’ we had to use a book to find campsites and they were often miles away. So we find ourselves walking 10-15 minutes into town rather than driving 10 miles on the moped. We will try to find some nice drives this coming month and get out on the poor thing. No point dragging it all this way only to look at it!

The most beautiful house in the world? Walking into the Monserrate Palace in Sintra literally made me cry. If ever a…

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Sunday, June 2, 2019

Where did we go in June?

In June we visited:

  • Alcobaca – monastery
  • Nazare – surfing town
  • Conimbriga roman ruins
  • Coimbra – oldest university
  • Costa Nova and Aveiro – pretty coastal town with canals
  • Porto – bloody marvellous!
  • Guimaraes and Penha
  • Bom Jesus De Monte – fantastic steps!
  • Ponte de Lima – roman bridge
  • Santiago de Compostela – end of the pilgrim route
  • Pontevedra
  • A Coruna – roman lighthouse
  • Lugo – beautifully preserved roman walls
  • Cathedral beach – stunning natural scenery
  • Cudillero – pretty fishing village
  • Gijon
  • Naranca – ancient churches
  • Leon – great city break

In complete contrast to last month where we barely left the beach it seemed, this month we were all over the place from coasts to cities to historical sites and religious sites to countryside – and everywhere in between. It was fun and interesting although we wish the sun had shined a bit more often. All the places named above will become clickable links once the articles have been published.

If I ever decide to un-retire I've found a great place to work! Also here in Peniche, Portugal there's a great beach called Supertubos, where I'll be able to un-retire my bodyboard! Nige

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Friday, May 31, 2019

You can find our previous stats and expenses here:

Let’s have a look at what we completed for the month of June.

We visited Nazare yesterday – a surfers paradise if you like 80 feet high waves. It was pretty flat when we went! Nige

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Thursday, June 6, 2019

Statistics for June 2019

Miles completed – van and scooter.

MileageVanScooter
February 201993687
March 201952498
April 2019668105
May 201986089
June 20198770 – yup zero!

Countries visited – Spain and Portugal

Camping nights – of the 30 nights in June, we spent each and every one of them free camping or free parking. Total spent to spend the night in June was a big fat ZERO! We didn’t even have to try hard to find somewhere. Spain and Portugal are just so easy and accommodating!

However now the weather has turned to scorching, and with the hot July, August and September months ahead of us, we do expect to spend more time on campsites so we can use the air conditioning and make sure Scruffy the cat is comfortable when we go out sightseeing.

MonthFree nightsPaid nights
February 201966
March 20191219
April 20191713
May 20192011
June 2019300

Seville Cathedral is possibly the largest in the world by volume, so large that it took us over 3 hours to look around….

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Saturday, June 15, 2019

Travel, sightseeing and living costs for the month

  • Fuel costs:
    • Camper van – €158.00
    • Moped – €0
  • Other motoring and travel costs – €17.50. Two days of train fares for Porto and one daytime parking for the camper
  • Camping costs – €0
  • Entertainment and admission – €228.30. There were quite a few cities on the itinerary this month. We found Porto to be especially expensive for entry fees. The most expensive things we visited we Coimbra University, Casa Botines in Leon (way overpriced for what it was) and a boat trip in Aveiro.
  • Eating out – €97.62. Unusually low for us because we love to eat out, but for some reason, places didn’t appeal so much this month. We also took sandwiches sometimes we visited city centres.
  • Groceries – €255. Low again this month, we were still eating our way through the stash of English foods we bought in Gibraltar and the south of Spain
  • Clothes – €15 – €5 for a hat for Deby and €10 for yet another pair of sunglasses for Nigel. He goes through them at the rate of about 1 pair a month it seems.
  • Phone and internet – £20.50 for our UK mobile phone and £26.13 for the monthly mifi charges (50GB per month).
  • Medical – £185.00 per month for our private medical insurance policy. €50.50 for the special sun cream Nigel needs for his skin.
  • Laundry – €9. We mostly did washing in the van this month.
  • LPG gas & water – €30.55 for two refills of LPG gas this month, one at the start and one right at the end. With all that wild camping, we used more gas on the fridge and water heater (and had to put the heating on quite a few times!)
  • Cat expenses – €20.44. Food and litter.
  • Van accessories – €15 on a new 12v adapter for the van, €15 for some toilet chemicals
  • Misc – €22 on a book about Gaudi, €15 on gifts to take home for people, €29.90 on a new mouse and power lead for the computer

Some photos of Deby from the last 2 weeks in Portugal at Coimbra, Aveiro and Porto.

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Tuesday, June 11, 2019
ExpensesMay
2019
June
2019
Total to 
date
Average
Fuel – van€197.62€158.00€805.97€161.19
Fuel – scooter€4.00€0€25.16€5.03
Tolls, tunnel, taxi, parking€50.86€17.50€340.00€68.00
Campsite fees€87.35€0€723.10€144.62
Entertainment & admission€363.80€228.30€940.88
€188.18
Eating out€158.89€97.62€675.30€135.06
Groceries€308.43€255.00€1,493.75€298.75
Phone and internet ££46.63£46.63£409.89
£81.98
Medical insur. & expense ££185.00
£185.00
+ €50.50
£925 +
€165.50
£185 + 
€33.10
Laundry€16.50€9€66.50€13.30
Clothing€16.99€15€473.89€94.78
LPG Gas & water€12.87€30.55€88.95€17.79
Cat expenses€8.14€20.44€59.59€11.92
Van accessories€0.00€30.00€174.20€34.84
Misc€2.95€66.90€82.35€16.47
Monthly total€1,486€1,236€7,641€1,528

Total spent in June = €1,236 (or about an average of €41.20 a day)
Average spend per day since trip began = €57.02

Thinking about love today and how it shapes the world. We visited the tomb of Ines de Castro and King Pedro, together…

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Saturday, June 8, 2019

Highlights of the month

There are a number of highlights this last month that are worth a mention. Visiting the monastery at Alcobaca, learning the history of the Corpse Queen and staying in the free campsite there – all were excellent. It’s been Scruffy’s favorite place so far. We’ll have the diary entry up for that next week.

Porto was fabulous. We came to the city with only a short to do list and wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about until we got there and saw the place. The whole old part of town is fascinating. All the buildings and architecture are lovely. You seem to turn every corner and find a delight in the way of an old tram you can ride, a church covered in striking blue and white tiles, or a charming square. And of course the beautiful iron bridge you can cross. Everything about it is perfect (although a bit expensive).

Parked the Moho on the cliff overlooking the sea. I think the motorhome gods approve. Still drawn back to the coast despite the riches of other sites in Portugal.

Posted by Deby N Nigel Coles on Thursday, May 30, 2019

Plans for the coming month

Things are really heating up now, but we’re still determined to see some of the interior of Spain. On the list for July are Avila and its amazing walls, Segovia for more Roman history, maybe Pedraza although we’ve been to a lot of walled towns recently so we may skip it. Then heading back north towards Burgos, then back up towards the coast, maybe visiting the Picas De Europa national park (although it can be a pain in the behind to take the van up winding mountain roads so we’ll see), and then some time cooling off again along the north coast of Spain. Then we’ll head east, to Bilboa and the Rioja region maybe even visiting some hot springs, then at last into France – for which we have no plans at all so far.

Looking forward to each and every stop.

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2 Comments

  1. We are now living in south africa and we will start 2021 with out van life thanks for all info

  2. Love catching up with you guys. The blog makes it easy to get a snapshot of all your adventures. Thanks! Looking forward to the next note. Paul & JoAnne

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