It’s Mothering Sunday here when we cross the border into Portugal and with the radio now blaring out modern or just tunes we know it already seems calmer here. 

Yellow broom protecting a workers vehicle

The beginning of May marks the month-long Maio Festival and with the yellow broom in full blossom, it’s interesting to observe some of their traditions, where ever we look there are people, cars, and even front doors dressed with this bush covered in vivid yellow pea-like flowers. However, the yellow broom isn’t just an amulet or charm for many Galician and Portuguese people it’s worn to ward off the evil spirits.

Tonights dinner bought from the boot of a car
Tonights view Lima Estuary

Since 2021 wild camping is prohibited in Portugal so this part of our trip will be on official sites, albeit some of them are just dusty car parks. 

Santuário de Santa Luzia up on the hill

The main aire in Viana do Castelo is rammed with vans and the services are disgusting. We are always respectful of the area and the environment around us, making sure we dispose of our rubbish and wastewater in the correct place so it is just annoying when other people abuse the aires and at this particular aire the vans seem to be abandoned all over the place most with the letter ‘P’ on their registration plates, so when I start spouting off about how disrespectful the polish is, John rightly informs me that the ‘P’ stands for Portuguese, I think all this swapping time zones is getting to me!!

So we opt to spend the night on the opposite side of the river in a car park. From here it’s just a 5-minute walk into the town where we walk through what is called the Labyrinth with its busy bars and restaurants. 

Old train station at Viana do Castelo

With just 4 vans here for the night, we have great views of the Lima estuary, cargo ships are loading to the front and behind us we see the local fishermen setting off for the night only to hear them return early the next morning.

Busy during the day but only 4 vans left tonight and our French neighbours move closer they feel safer

Lima Estuary

The Gil Eannes Hospital Ship, built in Viana do Castelo in 1955, for decades supported the Portuguese cod fishing fleet that operated on the banks of Newfoundland and Greenland, it’s now a museum ship and youth h

Stumbling across the Literacy fair we go to look at the books. Data from a survey commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation of the Institute of Social Sciences showed that, in the last year, 61% of the Portuguese surveyed had not read any book. So this is part of a vast program which includes various initiatives such as book sessions, conferences, workshops, shows, theatre, and concerts. 

We plan to stop at the town of Esposende but when we arrive we find the market in full swing so we move on. 

Down this part of the coast, it’s tricky finding aires with services and in need of water, we decide on a campsite for the night. 

Campsite in Vila do Conde

Leaving the main road it’s a bumpy drive along the cobbled streets of  Vila do Conde where we find the campsite tucked up one of the back streets so we are surprised at how big the site is when we drive in.

Its a blustery day in Vila do Conde

Under the supervision of the very efficient site staff, we are parked up amongst well-established caravans and awnings awaiting their owner’s return and a handful of motorhomes just there for a few days. 

Vila do Conde

What once was a traditional fishing village it’s now a popular holiday spot. Being a Monday there isn’t much open so we walk down to the beach, where it’s meant to shelter us from the wind, but it’s blowing a hooley as we sit by the rocks.

Ovos moles, are made from paper-thin wafers and then filled with a creamy mixture of egg yolks and sugar that are typically shaped into maritime symbols such as shells, fish, or barrels, all associated with the picturesque city of Aveiro. The locals have them with a coffee but they are so sweet we can’t eat them.

Once a trading city Aveiro is now frequently described as the Venice of Portugal, with its canals crisscrossing the city and gondola-like boats known as the Moliceiros travelling its waterways.


It’s a place full of character and tradition with Art Nouveau houses in pastel shades and delicious local treats.

Ties Bridge was born after two students tied ribbons to the bridge as a symbol of love and friendship. challenging the ones passing by to leave a ribbon.
The pastel-coloured houses are the icing on the cake, and there’s no lack of tuk-tuks to carry you off on a quick tour.

We were on our way to Costa de Lavos an area we visited a few years ago when our tyre burst. 

Dinner €11 for 4 courses Costa de Lavos
Costa do Lavos, different day same clothes, life of a motorhomer!!
Costa do Lavos

So instead of sightseeing we spend the next couple of days around this area ordering tyres and seeing if we can find a part for our wastewater pipe that broke when the tyre burst. 

John gets a lift to the bank

Four new tyres, a trip to the bank for John because this garage doesn’t accept English bank cards, then for the bank not to allow him to withdraw money, he then as to find several different cash machines,  it’s been a challenging day!

We watch the sunset whilst chatting to our neighbours John and Sandra at Costa de Lavos

Finally, I’m up to date on where we have been and we are now on our way to the next house sit for a couple of weeks, where John can drown his sorrows this spending malarkey has hit him hard, it is certainly an experience we won’t forget.

We decide to bite the bullet and replace all of the tyres, Figueira da Foz

Coordinates for Aires Portugal 

Viana do Castelo

N 41° 41′ 2

W 8° 50′ 0


N 41° 32′ 20

W 8° 46′ 43

Vila do Conde, Porto,

N 41° 17′ 54

W 8° 43′ 58


N 40° 38′ 34

W 8° 38′ 20

Figueira da Foz

N 40° 8′ 51

W 8° 52′ 2

Costa de Lavos

N 40° 5′ 16

W 8° 52′ 23

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