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Just when we thought we’d “done Portugal” and where about to cross back onto Spanish soil, we where saved by Vila Real Santo Antonio.   Vila Real S.A. is right on the Portugal Spanish boarder and for 5 weeks we quite literately wild camped on that boarder.

Great Spot for Wild Camping

Checking Google maps one day we spotted this rocky breakwater thing that hugs the river inlet and beach of the two countries so went to check it out.   It was a great spot for wild camping.  Fishing at the front of the motorhome for the boys and the beach at the rear for the girls.  Vila Real is a nice enough town, but probably wouldn’t normally have enough to capture you for a 5 week stay but for us and 3 other fellow campers it wasn’t about the destination but ALL about the people….this is what we LOVE about travelling.

It is tiring (traveling full time) and after 2.5 years it was nice to take a break and enjoy the company of fellow travelers for once as that is is what it is all about…..the people and the experiences you have along the way.

The Community

We affectionately called our little group ‘the community’ and we’d like to introduce them to you below:

Sao and Jose are from Portugal.  They where camping on the spot before any of us arrived and where the first we got to know.  They speak 6 languages, yes 6! lived in Germany for 16 years and travel as often as they can in their motorhome.  Jose is a keen fisherman and their travel these days tends to be based on where he can cast his rod in.  In one week he caught 25 Pixie Porco (Hogfish-Trigger fish) so he’s pretty good at it. Sao I really admire.

She is such a warm, welcoming beautiful person and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to her….I now refer to her as my Portuguese mum-ma. Whilst living in Germany, they learned to speak perfect German and at the same time learnt Italian from a work college.  She’s always wanting to learn and educate herself…ahh I feel so lazy “I’m lazy bones Sao”……is a wonderful cook and I’ve picked up a few yummy recipes from her. We are hoping to tease Jose with pictures of big fish that Paul catches in Australia so they come visit us.

Anacletto & Carlo.  Father and Son from Rome, Italy.  They’ve been travelling for just over a year and work from time to time from their camper.  They are very talented goldsmiths and designers and like most Italians are full of live and a joy to be around.  Carlo speaks really good English and acted as interpreter most of the time.  It’s so funny when you talk to other people who don’t speak your language and when you try and interpret something, it always gets lost in translation.  I (Rose) became known to them as ‘the donkey’.  I referred to myself as a “pack horse” one night.  After Paul explained using much charades and saying “you know – donkey – you put a big load of water & food on it, then whip it to make it walk up the hill…..eeyore eeyore…that’s Rose”.

Pina and Mauro are from Aprila, around 20mins from Rome and are just so lovely.  The world can be a really big place and a really small place at times.  Mauro and Anacletto never knew each other before this place and discovered that Anacletto worked 25 meters from where Mauro once lived.  They don’t speak much English and we don’t speak Italiano but that didn’t stop us having fabulous conversations.  Mauro was the jokester out of the group and had us all in fits of laughter most of the time.  When in school, he learnt a little bit of English but all he can remember is ‘I AM’.  So every know and then he would chuck an ‘I AM’ in the middle of his Italian the conversation and make us all laugh.  Ohhh the other word he learnt was Starlight.  So a “I AM Starlight” was thrown in from time to time too.  I promised Pina and Mauro that if they come to Australia, I would learn Italian…..So Mr and Mrs I AM STARLIGHT might pop down one OCT or NOV which will be just magic.

Nelson and Cila are from Lisbon.  These guys weren’t in a camper, they stay with family in town but Paul originally met Nelson one day on the breakwater when he was out spearfishing and it just so happens Nelson is a mad spearfisherman like Paul and they hit it off immediately.  They spent many days doing all things fisherman, in the water together, drinking beer, cooking the BBQ.  We taught Nelson how to play back gammon and he taught us how to cook fish properly.  They live in Lisbon and Nelson had taken time off work to spend summer with family in Vila Real. Cila is full of life and lots of fun to be around.  Both of them speak really good English, (along with Italian, Spanish & French – ahh I feel soo stupid) out going and easy to get along with.  We found it so easy to make friends with them and all promised to see them again one day when they visit us in Australia.

Nearly every night we’d get together, have a big cook up on the BBQ with everyone’s catch of the day, drink wine & enjoying the most entertaining nights we’ve ever had. We’d have the most wonderful conversation in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, English and if we don’t know a word in one of those languages, then we tend to find work our way though it by using charades or something else and when that failed we’d break out the translation books or Google translate.

How Much We Don’t Know About the World!

So many things got lost in translation and we also realized how much we don’t know about the world.   Yes, we live under a rock in Australia…..a really big red one in the middle of the country!  This was our catch phrase when we discovered something new.  They taught us about Don Chisiotte (pronounced Donkey Shot) – you gotta read this – click on the link – and what the big star on the Australian flag is for (commonwealth star – tad embarrassed about this one).  We taught them really intelligent things like how we “cheers” drinks in Australia…..”Cheers Big ears, same goes …. nose” and “Up your bum” (wish I got this one of tape) plus the “more beer, more beer” chant.  We taught each other swear words and I shall never forget the night when we explained the term ‘Dutch oven’….forever to be known to us now as “Hollandaise Inferno”…….tears streaming down everyone’s face after explaining this one.  ahhhhh….We really miss our evening dinner conversations and afternoon back gammon championships.

In all we spent over 40 nights together and didn’t want to say goodbye….in fact it was really hard to say goodbye and I sincerely hope we meet them all again one day.  We feel blessed that we now call all these people our friends and it surely enriched our travel experience here in Europe.  When you find somewhere that you love being because it is all about the people you meet and not about the destination….you know you have arrived.  We shall always hold Portugal dear for this, especially Vila Real Santo Antonio.

More Travel Blogs: 

DAY 887 – Comunidade
DAY 886 – Portugal’s Doctor, Tarts & Vinho Port
As We Travel
DAY 731 And Beyond



DAY 906 - home time & finally we meet Julie and Jason
DAY 866 - Portugal's Doctor, Tarts & Vinho Porto
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