The winter was upon me as I drove away from the house to start my #vanlife adventure, a nervous sensation fluttering in my stomach a mixture of excitement and apprehension for the journey to come. I was to sail from Portsmouth that evening and this was the first time Bee, my self built camper, had been taken out for a drive and I had no idea if she was going to get me to the port let alone around Europe.
I stopped off after a while in a lovely patch of woods for a bite to eat, Bee had been driving nicely with just a couple of little quirks, the brakes were soft as butter and she pulled slightly to the left. Minor little issues we could fix as we went.
We set sail early evening with a winters darkness all around making a lovely backdrop of the heavily navel port of Portsmouth as we headed out and towards Spain. It’s a 24hr sea crossing from Portsmouth to Santander and I was doing it in winter. Amazingly my luck was in and the sea was reasonably calm for the entire trip.
Arriving in Santander in the late afternoon my plan was to drive south and over the mountains before the heavy snows fell that was due in the forecasts. Night driving has the advantage of less traffic but you do miss all the scenery as you pass by. It was snowing as I hit the mountains around Reinosa and although I could see the glimmering peaks in the moon light I really wished I could of seen it in all its glory during daylight.
The boredom and tiredness started to kick in after 6 hours of driving south, Bee was behaving superbly, the engine was purring along, there were a few rattles and was still pulling slightly to the left. This was insignificant in comparison to my numb ass due to the impossibly uncomfortable drivers seat. Time for a break and sleep.
When I pulled into this car park spot in the middle of the night it was just me, in the middle of nowhere by myself, I was awoken blurry eyed to fifty Spanish guys all kitted out in camouflage gear carrying shotguns. I found myself almost blocked into the parking spot and maybe needed to leave before I really was blocked. So early in the morning I started to drive further south and towards Portugal.
After about an hour I came to the boarder with Portugal, around Evora. A quick look at the map and I realised I could make it to the sea and the algarve by lunch time. I carried on driving dreaming of the sea, ice cream and glorious tiger prawns as my reward.
My destination Barranco beach on the south west corner very close to Vila do Bispo. A hippy haven of campervans and vanlifers and the perfect spot to relax and unwind for a few days