We named her "Dolores"- a name she received much quicker than when we were with Vanessa. She was a bit older, had far more miles beneath her wheels, and when you rolled down the windows you could hear her old growl. She felt more like a tractor, but that would fit the lands we were headed towards.
On the last trip we said 'South', so this time it was the North. From Lisbon along the coast to as far as we wanted to go, and then inland to the Douro Valley where I hoped to greet the makers of my favorite wine. Just like the last time, we had pointed in a direction, and picked a relatively vague anchor point. Apart from the general triangle you could draw on the map, there was nothing planned in between - just a time limit of six days and an eager trio of mediocre surfers.
I had researched the surf spots all along the Northern coast, so we used those as our daily visit-and-maybe-sleep points. We started on Monday at 10am, and decided to go for lunch in Nazaré. I hoped the excitement of monstrous waves would pump us up for the surf to come.
But Nazaré was flat. There was not a wave in sight, and the sun wasn't playing nice either. We had trouble figuring out parking so we left town and continued along the coast. We stopped in Sao Pedro de Moel, at an abandoned night-club overlooking the beach. Kačka had been there just a few months earlier when the place was full of life. Now it was empty, with shattered windows and forgotten high-heels left on dusty bar counters. Since there was no surf, I tried skating one of the smaller empty pools. Just three meters after pushing off I slipped and smashed on my side. Pool paint is slippery.
Luck was not on our side for surfing (or my brief attempt at skateboarding). We saw almost every beach between Nazaré and Esposende (north of Porto), but we never saw any surf. We should have taken the one opportunity we had in Cabadelo, but instead we waited for more.
Fortunately, what was missing in waves was replaced by sights. We saw villages and valleys, beaches and forests. By avoiding toll roads we mostly drove on slow, wavy roads. Some villages we saw twice (because getting lost is fun), and most villagers we made curious.
Fueled by hot-dog dinners over campfires and chouriço and cheese in the comfort our beds, Toby, Kačka and I were off on another adventure in a van...