So, whats new on the Algarve? As the title says nothing stays the same and this can be a pleasure or a curse depending on your point of view, the issue involved and whether your cup is half empty or half full. Having endured his worst ever crossing from Portsmouth to Bilbao, where he was convinced that the crew had 'we're going to sink' written all over their faces, Mike arrived refreshed enough to get to Albufeira with only one overnight stop in Spain. He hooked up with friends down there - fellow motorhomers who we have met over the course of our travels.
As any motorhomer is aware, it's the freedom to roam in a moho that has the greatest appeal for most people. This includes Wildcamping, i.e. stopping in a quiet location that has no official designation as a camping place.
Some secluded solitary spots above
The popularity of motorhoming (new van sales up by 25% this year in the UK alone), has meant that the numbers heading south for the winter have increased dramatically since our first visit 5 years ago. These snowbirds place an enormous strain on local resources. Imagine - 20 litres of sewage per unit every couple of days, refuse, grey water and the requirement for fresh drinking water. Where does all the waste and effluent go? Sewers for the black waste, we hope, although unscrupulous types will surreptitiously dig it, chuck it in the sea or a river. Portugal is one of the poorest countries in Europe and doesn't have the resources to pay for the clear up or to provide extra services such as refuse collection. As a result local councils have granted licences for stellplatzes and aires. They're not cashing in on the opportunity, simply trying to provide facilities for this invasion.
I am writing this as a note of precaution. You need to expect to pay to stay. The sums involved aren't huge and you'll be contributing to the local economy. There are still large tracts of land in Spain where free camping is tolerated and Mike has heard anecdotes that Morocco has fallen out of favour with the French so there's more space down there.
So, I write this as a precautionary note, nothing stays the same, and as for me, I need to get on and write or you'll have me down as a procrastinator extraordinaire.
Have a great week everyone,