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Week 5: Spain > Portugal

October 31, 2021

In the 1940s, General Franco changed the time zone in Spain to match that of German-occupied Europe. It doesn’t work – the ‘natural’ solar time is out of sync by around two hours in south-west Spain and, late-sleeper that I am, I’ve been shocked to find it still dark at nine in the morning.

This all changed today when the clocks went back and was further compounded by us moving west into Portugal the same day, so that in the space of 24 hours we’ve gained two. I write this at half past eight at night, feeling like it’s (at least) half past ten, and thus well past my bedtime. However, seeing as it’s Halloween I’ll type by the light of my carved Andalucian orange (we’re camping wild and Ben is routinely turning off lights as soon as I turn them on) and tell you a little about Week 5.

We were supposed to be in Portugal way before now but were having far too much fun to leave Spain. A wonderfully relaxing few days in Sotogrande (and a visit to one of the many hilltop white villages seen around these parts) led us down to the very bottom of Spain, and thus the most southerly point in Europe. Tarifa is a kite-surfer’s paradise, the warm waters of the Med colliding with the storm-tossed Atlantic Sea in the Straits separating the continent from Africa. The wind howled through the windows and vents and we sought shelter a little further along the coast in Bolonia and enjoyed a beautiful sunset at a rapidly closing bar.

The weather turned and we experienced our first rain in over three weeks, the first since entering Spain. The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Luz shopping centre where we parked up for three nights, hoping to ride it out, and we made the most of a brief break in the showers to cycle into Jerez de la Frontera, one of the three towns that make up the sherry triangle, for a tour and a tasting. We’ve got quite into sherry over the last few years, particularly the syrupy Christmas-in-a-bottle Pedro Ximénez varieties, so the tour was a real treat. Bodega Fundador is where Harvey’s Bristol Cream is made, and I hereby apologise if I’ve ever turned up my nose in the past when offered this, for it is delicious! (It just needs to be served right – cold, with ice and a slice of orange, not dusty, room-temp, and out of a bottle your Granny opened three years prior.)

After the tasting we stumbled our way into the restaurant where (I am told) we tried another four glasses and somehow cycled home. We did wear our helmets this time Mum.

The rain having abated somewhat (even if the same couldn’t be said for our hangover) we set off for Portugal and the beautiful Guadiana River that acts as a natural border. Deciding to give the zipline that you can ride from Spain into Portugal a miss (I can’t handle any more time zone transitions) we are now headed to Faro to explore the Algarve, a place I’ve not been since I was thirteen and developed a crush on a waiter at the resort where we were staying. He is likely in his late-fifties now so I probably won’t recognise him. We’ll be joined by a friend travelling out to meet us and shenanigans will undoubtedly ensue – until next time, adeus!!

From → Blog

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