Portugal II – Sintra

When Carol and I see a historical building, be it a castle, a palace, a town hall, a beautiful house, or a bridge, a monument, a statue, actually anything worthy of being photographed, we turn to each other and say “ooh look, there’s a ‘thing'” Sintra is so full of ‘things’ that in my opinion the entire town qualifies as a ‘thing’. We had a couple of recommendations to visit Sintra which is easily accessible from Lisbon for a little day trip so we thought why not!

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Portugal I – Lisbon

Or Lisboa as it is known to the locals. The first thing to say is this place is that it is hilly. Very hilly! Pick a sight to see, get Google maps to show you the way, and before long you work out that you are never far away from a turning that will lead you up a street to rival Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Yes, THAT steep! Walking in Lisbon is bloody hard work, just as well then that there alternatives such as trams, buses, an underground train network, and our personal favourites, Uber and scooters 😊

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A Day Trip to Gibraltar, August 2021

We wanted to visit Gibraltar because we want to visit every country in Europe. OK so technically it’s not a country, it’s a British Overseas Territory, ah well, we’ll just consider it a bonus then 😊. Planning a visit to Gibraltar was a little complicated as details online are not necessarily correct at the moment due to different covid restrictions. It did seem however the easiest way to get there was by bus and so after a trip to the bus station we managed to get a day return Avanza ticket between Malaga to La Linea de la Concepcion, the border of Gibraltar. It was going to be a long day as the bus trip was 3 hrs each way and about 5 hours in Gibraltar itself but off we set armed with our cameras for the day ahead.

Both of us were interested to see exactly just how British it was, being a British Territory encompassed by Spain; would it be like a little Britain, or would it be like being in Spain with everyone speaking Spanish but using the pound? We were soon to find out!

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A Few days in Cómpeta, Spain

Unless you are extraordinarily lucky, having fun doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. In Iceland that sometimes meant enduring cold and wet weather, getting up early with a full day’s schedule ahead of you, driving long distances, doing chores such as cooking and washing up, and every day packing up, putting up the tent and converting our van into our sleeping quarters. Every day. We had such an amazing time but it was time for some sun again and some downtime.

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What to know before you go! Driving a Campervan around Iceland

We learnt a lot of different things during our two week tour which we thought would be helpful to share. Camping and driving experiences can vary from country to country and Iceland is no different; we had a great time but there were a few things that would have been helpful to know before we went. We have therefore summarised some of our learning below.

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Iceland III – Two Weeks in a Campervan, July 2021

We love Iceland and up until this years adventures it had been our favourite country, having visited twice before. What we hadn’t done however was travel the entire ring road around the island. July is, in theory anyway, one of the warmest months to go and so we decided to rent a campervan and venture all the way round. It was only fair that we gave Iceland a chance to regain its number 1 spot in our hearts, having recently been overtaken by both Costa Rica and The Galápagos Islands.

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Travelling to Zante After the Travel Ban…What to expect

We booked a last minute trip to Zante after we heard that restrictions for quarantine were lifted in Greece. From our own research it appeared that Greece have managed well with Covid with only 4000ish cases and 200ish deaths (mostly on the mainland).  We were a little apprehensive of what to expect in terms of health checks and covid safety and so thought we would share our experiences to inform others.

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Vilnius, Lithuania – September 2019

Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania and has a population of over ½ million people.  It is known for its baroque architecture and cobbled streets.  It is a bustling city with something for everyone from art, history, trendy bars and restaurants and street art.   It wouldn’t be right to see so much of Lithuania without a trip to the capital!

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The Hill of Crosses & Kaunas, Lithuania – September 2019

On our journey back to Kaunas we did a detour to The Hill of Crosses; located 12km north of the city of Šiauliai in northern Lithuania.  The origins of the place are unconfirmed however the original crosses were thought to have been placed during the November Uprising or the Polish – Russian war of 1830-1831.

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Nida & Raganu Kalnas, Lithuania – September 2019

We arrived at Kaunas airport just after 12pm, picked up the hire car and began our 270Km journey heading towards Nida,  a coastal town in the Neringa Municipality.  Nida is the westernmost point of Lithuania and close to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.  The motorways in Lithuania are in pretty good condition compared to the neighbouring countries we have visited.  Approximately 30 miles along our route on the A1 we stopped for some lunch at the Kavine 130 cafe.  It is a popular and fun stop and we had some giggles with the props outside.   It was a welcome break after our very early start. Continue reading “Nida & Raganu Kalnas, Lithuania – September 2019”

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