After spending Friday night on a campsite in Puebla de Sanabria we crossed into Portugal through the Sierra de Cabrera which, although not quite as high as some of the mountains we’d already passed through, is remarkably large and remarkably empty. To experience this sort of remoteness in the UK you’d have to venture into the Scottish Highlands or perhaps parts of Northumberland. Again, we were surprised by just how empty the roads have been – sometimes travelling ten miles or more without seeing another vehicle. The villages on the other hand are always quiet, nobody wandering around and with all the window shutters closed you could imagine that the places are deserted.
We spent Saturday night in Braganza which would have been a great experience if, for the second year running, and in a virtual repeat of what happened in Italy, I hadn’t managed to crunch the van. Whilst manoeuvring into a slot in the Braganza camperstop I managed to reverse into a lamppost, smashing part of a rear light cluster – fortunately all the lights still work and we’re legal for the rest of the holiday. Still, at least I know where to buy the replacement parts when we get home. Bugger!
Braganza’s ‘old town’ is charming. A large medieval keep is surrounded by cottages and fortifications which the city has sensibly kept more or less intact to provide a good visitor experience. No doubt it gets crowded during the holiday season but we were able to wander about the place in relative peace and quiet before sitting down for a beer in a local bar whilst listening to local music and doing some people watching. It almost made up for my earlier faut pas. Almost.