Today we stayed put in our little camp under the pine trees and had a bit of a rest day, so we could do some general housekeeping, rest the legs, have a snooze and not be rushing to get up and going. The first activity was to get some laundry done, so off we went to Reception, paid our 5.00 for the machine and then went back to the campsite laundry where we again met the Jolly Laundry Lady. We’d met her yesterday when we arrived and were having a look around the place. We found the laundry building and the Laundry Lady was busy at her task.
“Lavandaria?” we asked.
She replied in a rapid flow of Portuguese, to which we smiled and gave our oft used reply, “Sorry, no Portuguese.”
To this she laughed and said, “something-something-something-English-something-something-something Portuguese” and laughed. Which we took to mean “I don’t speak English and you don’t speak Portuguese, how funny.” She was a jolly smiley lady and so it was today, that we met again. We handed over our piece of paper to say we were now in temporary possession of a washing machine, she unlocked the room for campers’ use and proceeded to explain, in Portuguese, the workings of the washing machine. We smiled and Steve began to fill the front loader with his bits and pieces. By the time Steve’s things were in there, it was pretty full. I put some of my clothes in and then made a face as if to say, “I think it’s a bit full.” With a “pfffft” and a flick of her hand, Jolly Laundry Lady indicated to just keep putting it all in. Now by this stage, I was stuffing that machine and I mean shoving things in as they were falling out. I looked at her again and she just pointed to what was left and pointed to the machine, so in it all went. I pushed and shoved and then with a 1-2-3, I pushed the door before it all came tumbling out, at which point Jolly Laundry Lady intervened. She shoved the door, then rammed her knee into it, then gave it a bit of hip and got that door closed with our washing as crammed as could be. I don’t know what I was more worried about, breaking the machine or losing all our clothes as collateral damage. She then asked us in Portuguese which cycle we would like to use and eventually we indicated what we needed, she clicked the beast into gear and it was off and rolling with the mega load. We returned 40 minutes later to find our washing clean and unscathed! So our little camp was then surrounded by tops, bottoms and smalls blowing in the breeze.
We then just pottered about camp, washed up, Steve fixed a puncture in his bike, we had a snooze, I got to read some of my book and it was a generally easy day. Lunch time came and lunch for me was a can of baked beans eaten straight from the saucepan like a real camper. I felt like the genuine article, like a student of Grizzly Adams eatin’ ma beans from ma pan straight off tha fire. Shame about the plastic ‘spork’ I was eating them with, which spoiled the effect somewhat. Steve had lunch in the camp restaurant (how civilised!) and tucked into a plate of rice and a bowl of hearty soup, which he then combined onto the one plate to create a stomach-lining rice stew. It was his “lunch surprise” because he wasn’t quite sure what he’d ordered with his pointing and lack of Portuguese, but ended up with a tasty lunch in the end. I kept him company with a cup of tea.
There’s something I’ve been wondering about. I wonder why none of the public toilets in the campsites we’ve been in have toilet seats? Just the toilet bowl, but no seats. I must say it gives one rather a good workout for the quads when a visit to the facilities is required. My theory is perhaps when you run a campground and you have so many toilets, it’s a bit easier to clean them all when you don’t have a seat to worry about. I don’t know though, I’m intrigued. The other thing I’ve noticed when we’ve been grocery shopping, which I’m waiting to hit the shelves at home, is bread with no crusts. A lot of the packaged, sliced bread is crustless. It’s almost as if an executive somewhere in the bread industry said, “Oh, I’m over it, I keep telling little Barry and little Brenda to eat their crusts and I get nothing but grief, let’s just make crustless bread and save the drama.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I haven’t seen de-crusted bread anywhere before. It looks quite cute sitting there beside its robust, crusty shelf-mates.
This afternoon we went for a walk along the beach, a nice long beach with white sand and huge crashing waves and only us to be seen. We were both quite taken with the sandstone cliffs which reminded me of pictures and footage I’ve seen of the Gallipoli landings in WWI.
Now, while there’s a slight pause in proceedings and it’s been a quiet day, I thought I’d show you just what a unique cyclist I am. The picture on the left is Steve’s bike, with his two big water bottles that he drinks from regularly. On the right is my bike, with my drink bottle that I rarely touch and underneath it, my little thermos of tea. Aren’t I precious! No electrolyte drinks for me as we pedal along, no I’ve got my dinky little thermos of tea so I can have my favoured warm beverage whenever I choose! All I need is a tartan blanket to throw over my lap as I’m riding along and the picture would be complete!
Now you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief that this is a shorter post today and you’ve been spared my endless wordiness, so I thought I’d leave you with a bit of a collection of some of the sights and scenes from Portugal so far. So go and make yourself a cuppa, grab a blankie and settle in for a picture show for your viewing pleasure.