May to August 2016
Now, where were we?
Ah yes, we’d been to Blackpool and the Yorkshire Dales (hence the pics of Caroline at Tan Hill Inn and her study of the cake menu at Dales Cycle Centre’s cafe) and we’d dived back home for one night only.
First up on the Saturday morning was a weather check to get a ten day forecast for the Fishguard area. Yes, that was our base for five nights as we’d bagged the double ensuite at Hamilton Backpackers Lodge.
With a favourable forecast, our bags contained virtually the same items we’d had in Swaledale. Caroline’s bike kit and a few other items had been washed and had dried overnight, as had my two pairs of Rohan Goas, my Rohan polo shirts and travel towels. The bags? Yes, a brace of Ospreys…
As this was meant to be a relaxed break, Caroline hadn’t taken a lot of bike kit as she was hiring a bike rather than taking her road bike to Fishguard.
The relaxed nature of the few days down there were only matched by the relaxed nature of the plans we had for our time in the area – loose ones!
We had planned to have a Sunday lunch out and for Caroline to have a day on a bike, but that was it. With rain keeping at bay for all of the time out of Hamilton Backpackers Lodge, the clothing selection was ideal – casual for the day time and smarter casual for any nights wandering around town or heading into a pub for a bar meal.
Smarter casual attire also came into play in St. David’s, especially as Caroline was planning on wandering around the Cathedral and I headed for the cathedral’s cafe to do a spot of reading.
Our five days of bumbling around worked a treat as we took a look around museums dedicated to the Sunderland Flying Boat, wandered on quiet beaches, watched a rowing regatta and pondered a £10 each day trip to Ireland from the Fishguard ferry terminal.
Caroline got her ride in and whilst we donned smart casual kit for a last night pub meal, we have to say that our dress sense was much better than the items on the couple of plates placed in front of us when we found a pub that wasn’t having a giraffe with their pricing policy.
Did we hit the pub with the worst bar meals in the area? You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment, but I will say that it was the wurst sausage and mash I’ve ever had.
If we hadn’t been so hungry by the time the plates arrived, we’d have sent them back. We had a meal out with Caroline’s youngest son a couple of nights ago in a pub near Leeds United‘s football ground and we all agreed that the food on offer was pretty decent, even though it was fairly standard pub fodder. My choice – sausage and mash of course!!
With June and July being turned over to a bit of refurbishment and decorating of Wisepacking Towers, Our next break wasn’t until August – a three night hit and run to one of our regular get away from it all spots – North Norfolk.
Whilst it was overcast at times, North Norfolk was rather warm. As the temperatures were high, I ended up taking double the usual amount of t-shirts and polo shirts with me so one could be worn during the day and another following the pre-evening meal shower taken as part of the freshening up process.
Yes, we were back at Deepdale Backpackers once more, but as this was a last minute and almost spur of the moment thing, it was a casual affair as we weren’t eating out on an evening and the poshest place we were going to hit was the cafe at Holkham Hall where Caroline had gone to for bike hire.
Caroline did the wash and wear thing with some of her stuff – Rohan Ultra Silver Camisoles & Briefs, I did something that was quite radical given the usual nature of our travelling.
My worn stuff went into a nylon clothes bag picked up at Waterstone’s book shop in Leeds earlier in the year and was washed when we got home. No smelly socks in the bag though as the North Norfolk trip was done in sports sandals – Clark’s ATL leather for me and Merrell’s for Caroline.
It may have been a more sensible move to use ventilated approach shoes over these few days, but as temperatures were high, it was simple a matter of donning the sandals and slathering an appropriate amount of Nivea Factor 50 as sun protection.
The other factor to consider is that I rarely wear socks or footwear at home as I pad around in bare feet most of the time and have been spotted in sandals sans socks in the local chippy or Co-Op in December and January up here in deepest Yorkshire!
So, what else went along for the ride on these trips? The ever present Kindle, Nikon digital compact camera, Lifeventure and Eurohike travel towels plus Lush shampoo bars and shower gel, my Via Sonic electric toothbrush and my dumbass phone on the trips where driving was required.
Although I took the iPad Mini 2 along on the Swaledale and North Norfolk trips, it wasn’t used that much. Cinema Paradiso was viewed in Swaledale and a couple of pre-prepared wisepacking posts went live thanks to the iPad when we were in North Norfolk.
The artillery also went along to North Norfolk – my Sony A100 DSLR. This was used alongside the usual Nikon S3100 digital compact camera and it gave me the chance to remember and use some old shooting skills over those few days…
The next trips? All in the mix at the moment…
The first part – https://wisepacking.me/2016/09/07/a-a-packing-part-one/
April to August 2016, the places, the packing
April 2016 saw us hit Blackpool in a big way. Yes, it was just before the May Day Bank Holiday, but even so, one would have expected warmth and sunshine rather than the biting winds and rain we encountered.
We did find some warmth, but that happened as Status Quo kicked off what’s been touted as their last electric tour.
So, what did we take with us for the two days/one night?
In my case it was a ten litre bag that I picked up at Imperial College, London last year whilst Caroline had a fifteen litre Healthy Back Bag.
I had my TNF hooded soft shell and was wearing a TNF microfleece zip neck over a Rohan tech tee plus Peter Storm Soft Shell trousers and Salomon Gore-Tex lined approach shoes.
Inside the bag was a travel towel, basic wash kit, my meds, socks, underwear, Rohan merino wool mix t-shirt, Rohan Microgrid Stowaway zip neck fleece, Kindle and travel tickets plus the all important concert tickets…
Inside the soft shell pockets were a merino wool Edz beanie and the trusty Nikon Coolpix S3100 digital compact camera.
Caroline was similarly attired, only she’d chosen her TNF Windwall fleece jacket, her Berghaus PacLite jacket and Rohan jeans. She did however hit Primani for some leggings as she was feeling the cold and Millets didn’t have any base layer leggings left in stock.
Her bag also contained a Rohan Microgrid Stowaway zip neck – it’s not often that we wear almost matching tops, but as we both wore them for the pre-show meal and whilst waiting around in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, we didn’t much care about matching!
The mix proved to be ideal for the mooching around we did before heading to the B&B. The choice of t-shirts and fleeces for the walk back into town, our meal, the show and the walk back to the B&B was a similar success.
Friday saw more rain and we were pleased that we’d had good conversation with the B&B owners before grabbing our bags and checking out. It was cold, windy and miserable!
We sheltered for a while in the RNLI shop before braving the beach, but it didn’t take long for us to hit The Albert & Lion on the seafront for a coffee in this Wetherspoons pub.
The coffee prepared us for the walk along the prom and then back around town before we headed to Harry Ramsden’s for a fish & chip lunch. It’s not often that I have a beer with lunch, but I was pleased we were inside as some of those looked as if they’d arrived for the bank holiday weekend appeared to be underdressed and blooming freezing as they walked on by.
As we headed back to Blackpool North Station for our train, a strange apparition appeared in the sky. Yes, the sun had come out – too late for us, but right on time for the couple of hundred people we saw leaving the station in search of a Bank Holiday break.
Ten days later and we were in the car heading for a holiday of two halves.
There had been a tentative plan to try and get a week to ten days in somewhere like Rhodes or Zante for a relaxing break, but it didn’t happen, so we thought laterally and came up with a plan.
Yes, we have Internet access via desktop, tablet and Caroline’s smartphone, but the idea for the first part of our break came from a paperback book – The Independent Hostel Guide.
I’d spotted Dales Bike Centre at Fremlington near Reeth, made the call and booked ourselves in for four nights in a room at their hostel accommodation (there’s also a bike shop, bike hire and cafe on site – along with 24 hour cake supply via honesty box for those staying at the centre).
Swaledale was part of my old stamping ground as an instructor and whilst living in Darlington. Caroline knew it of old, but hadn’t been there for years.
As Caroline was taking her road bike with her to do some cycling, I was the Skoda driving equivalent of Thunderbird 2 – ready to offer assistance and with the hatchback available to be Pod 5… providing of course that both of us had a signal on our respective mobile phones.
Clothing choices for this trip were easy to sort out. The ten day forecast was set fair for both this and the next section, so in my case it was a mix of Rohan Core Silver t-shirts, Element t-shirts and the same company’s polo shirts to cover casual and smart casual situations. Trousers? Two pairs of 2015 Rohan Goas covered all eventualities.
The bag? The trusty Osprey Farpoint 40 that took all of the above plus jacket, camera, books, iPad, chargers and a bag of food too.
As Caroline was cycling, her clothing included Endura cycle pants, a Tenn cycle shirt plus a couple of Peter Storm pocketed tech t-shirts.
Tenn Ladies Sprint Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey
Rohan Essence t-shirts and vest tops plus her Rohan jeans were worn off the bike and a Rohan fleece cardigan came in useful on the nights we hit local pubs for a meal and a drop of Guinness for me and cider for Caroline.
Now I said that this trip was a break of two halves as we had a cunning plan.
It did get changed though as we had to head for home sooner than expected to sort out two tyres for the Skoda – one was punctured and replaced, but once we got to Kwik Fit, it became apparent that we needed two new tyres.
Our overnight at home had been planned as we’d already packed stuff for the next part of the trip. But it did give us a chance to have a curry and do some washing, safe in the knowledge that it would be dry in readiness for the next morning…
More on Friday!
Liverpool John Lennon Airport after dark from the Hampton by Hilton
Yes, we had another trip to Portugal in September 2015 and it was a combination of bus, train and another bus that saw us arrive at our hotel at Liverpool John Lennon Airport for a night before another early morning entrance into the terminal building across the road for our flight to Lisbon.
As we were travelling easyJet from Liverpool to Lisbon on hand luggage only once more, it was interesting to arrive in the hotel foyer as a family were trying to get up to their room.
Yes, we had our trusty Osprey packs, but this lot had so much luggage that the top case on the trolley was higher off the floor than the top of the head of the bloke trying to push said trolley in the direction of the lift.
The Sunday morning stroll across the road and into the airport may have been an early one, but breakfast had already been served in the hotel, so once we got through the fast track security process and into the airside catering area, it was time for more coffee.
As we’d taken the same flight a couple of months beforehand, we knew what the score was and where we should wait before the screens flashed up our gate number. This ensured that we were through the gate and heading to the plane in no time and seated before most of the other passengers had even joined the queue at the gate. Smug? Us? Maybe…
We also knew what to expect when we got to Lisbon. Off the plane, bus to the terminal, passports checked and then the long walk from passport control into the land side.
As we already had some euros, there was a quick right turn in the direction of the Metro station, a short wait in the queue to get a couple of Viva Viagem travel cards recharged with enough credit for the few trips we were going to be making on the Metro around Lisbon at the start and end of our trip and then it was off to Rato Metro Station.
No, we weren’t going back to Lisbon Dreams, we were heading to Casa Oliver, a boutique guest house overlooking the park at Principe Real. Our arrival at the park meant that we had some time to kill – at lunchtime.
Fortunately we’d eaten at Esplanada, the cafe in the park before, so a table was grabbed, drinks and food ordered and both were consumed in a suitably relaxed manner as befits Sunday lunch on the first day of a fortnight away.
As our check in time for Casa Oliver wasn’t until 3pm, we still had time to kill, so we adjourned to another cafe for coffee, very good lemonade and a little bit of reading too…
Cafe, lemonade and Kindle in the park – and Caroline too!
Now when I’d booked Casa Oliver, I was under the impression that it was room only and that no breakfast was available. When we checked in, it became apparent that breakfast was available and that it was €10 each. As we had a train to catch the following morning from a station that we didn’t know, breakfast was booked as a time saving measure.
The early start to the day and the lunchtime beer & wine started to kick in, so after a siesta and a shower, it was time to change, have a walk and then find an evening meal. It was Sunday evening, but the streets were busy with others wandering around in search of food, drink or friends.
Whilst it was tempting to find somewhere new to eat, the familiar surroundings of Ristorante da Vinci in Rua Jardim do Regedor beckoned us to sit, eat, drink and do some people watching whilst we were at it.
Beer, fresh orange juice, a bottle of San Pellegrino, a lasagne and a filling calzone came, were seen and were conquered in a relaxed fashion before €33.15 settled the bill for another meal taken in what has become our favourite eating place in Lisbon.
Yes, there’s a Hard Rock Cafe nearby and a Starbucks around the corner at Rossio Station, but as the staff, food, ambience and coffee have always been good at Ristorante da Vinci, we’re happy to go back there and to write about it too.
After a reasonably good night’s sleep and a light breakfast, we headed off back down in the direction of Restauradores Metro station in search of Santa Apolonia station in search of our train to Porto.
Which we found almost as soon as we hit the platform area at Santa Apolonia. After more coffee, we hit the station’s Pingo Doce mini-market.
The intention was to get some bread rolls, some cheese, some cooked meat, some canned fizz and a couple of bottles of water to have for lunch on the train. We may have booked first class tickets at a reasonable price, but even we prefer to buy food off the train rather than on on it.
As I’d sorted my food needs out quite quickly, I took a look at what else was available as we were due to be doing some self catering once we got to Porto and found Rivloi Cinema Hostel, our base for the five nights in Porto.
As I wandered past the fresh meat chiller cabinets, my eyes glanced down and noticed a few packs of meat that brought back memories of a 1970’s number one record.
There were a few packs of freshly skinned rabbits in the cabinet and whilst there was no fur in sight, I started to sing a song that summed up what had been left behind by the store’s meat prepping team – Bright Eyes…
This was the calm after the storm in Porto… more on Wednesday!
Praca dos Restaradores, Lisbon
Our trip to Lisbon in July 2015 was organised at short notice and there were a couple of things we had to take into account.
Caroline was due to attend a family wedding on Saturday 4th July and the second was the early morning check-in and flight departure on Sunday 5th July – from Liverpool John Lennon Airport as that’s where our out and back point was.
Fortunately we got a bit of a deal on the hotel, car parking and fast-tracking at the airport.
The hotel was the Hampton by Hilton and this plus said car park were across the road from the terminal. Caroline had however left the reception early to get home, change and get in the car for our drive to the airport. Arrival time? 11.15pm…
We decided not to go for the very early breakfast option, but it was still 5am when the alarm went off. Shower, breakfast and check out were completed by 6.45 and the stroll across the road to the terminal took two minutes.
Fast-tracking through security wasn’t a problem – we’d already checked in online, had hand luggage only and had already checked that our bags fitted inside the easyJet hand luggage measuring devices.
Second breakfast wasn’t an option as we had noticed the prices at various cafes, but another coffee to wake us up didn’t break the bank so that option was chosen instead.
This was the first time that we’d flown with easyJet and it has to be said that we didn’t have any problems with the airline or the flight on either our journey to or from Lisbon.
Unlike the family seated behind us. The youngest hadn’t let his mum know that he needed the loo before the seatbelt light went on as the plane started its descent and he ended up peeing himself. His father ‘fessed up to the crew about what had happened whilst his mum went slightly balistic about what had happened.
The crew were fine about it, but one question remained – would the seat be a dry one for the potential occupant on the flight home, given the rapid turnaround times on budget airlines?
Once we reached the land side of the terminal, it was time to hit the Metro to get into Lisbon. We’d used a cab on our first visit in 2013 and then we discovered Viva Viagem rechargeable travel cards.
Yes, there was queue at the machines to the left of the Metro entrance, but the wait was worth it and it wasn’t long before we were on a train and heading into Lisbon in search of Rato Metro Station.
With a few hours to kill before we could check into our digs, it was lunch time.
Our salads and cold drinks came with a friendly warning from the cafe owner about pickpockets, something that we’d read up about before our 2013 visit.
We had taken our own precautions as we were both wearing Rohan travel clothing with plenty of zipped pockets and our respective Osprey Farpoint 40 travel bags were both padlocked as a means of keeping thieving barstools at bay. Others we met during the week weren’t so lucky…
The trusty Osprey Farpoint 40 travel pack…
Lisbon Dreams Guest House was our home for the week. It’s not on the beaten track, but it ensured that there would be plenty of exercise over the next seven days as we walked into the centre of Lisbon in search of places to visit or fodder for evening meals.
Our minimalist room had a comfy bed, dressing table, a supply of snacks and drinks on an honesty box system plus a very welcome cool air fan, slippers and a rather luxurious bath robe each, handy as the room wasn’t ensuite and accessing the communal bathrooms meant walking through the TV room/lounge area.
Wine or other snacks were available in the hotel reception area or in the mini market at ground level below Lisbon Dreams and there was 24 hour coffee (instant or fresh depending on time of day) available in the breakfast room/resident’s kitchen area.
As it we were pushing the boat out on this trip and letting others do the catering rather than making meals ourselves, the time came to make a decision as to where to go for the first of those evening meals.
The decision wasn’t hard one we’d visited a good vegetarian place on our first visit to Lisbon. Terra is a few minutes walk away from Lisbon Dreams in Principe Real and it offers a good choice of both vegetarian and vegan food in its buffet spread.
You can sit inside or out in the garden area and choose from starters, mains and sweets plus alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Caroline went for fruit juice with her meal and I went for the beer option whilst post-meal drinks were Port and um bica (espresso) respectively.
It would have been quite easy to stay in the garden at Terra and linger over more port or coffee, but as it was now 9.30pm and we still had to walk back to Lisbon Dreams, discretion was the better part of valour so we wandered back to our beds and slept relatively soundly, despite the early morning delivery to the mini-market on the ground floor…
In part II tomorrow – Alafama, Belem and why you should always have some small change on you!
If you read my poshpacking post a couple of days ago, you may have noticed that I talked about the clothing and other bits and pieces that I took over to Tavira, but missed out on a few things that ensured that my Osprey hit that 8kg mark that I mentioned in poshpacking.
Three things that weren’t in my pack were my camera, Kindle and dumb-ass phone. Two out of the three items were used in Portugal and one wasn’t.
The Nikon Coolpix S3100 has been worth its weight in gold. The pics are pretty good and the few that aren’t are either dumped off the SD card on the day that they’re shot or nuked when they hit the Mac Mini that wisepacking is put together on.
As ever, the old style Kindle proved its worth. Quite a few books had been added before we headed off to Portugal so there was a good mix of biographies, travel accounts, business stuff and quite a few amusing tomes too.
The best one was started on the plane over to Faro and finished whilst in Tavira – My Dining Hell by Jay Rayner, restaurant critic for The Observer. His weekly column in that paper is always a joy to read and his book highlights several of his Greatest Hits (and mentions which ones are still around and which ones have disappeared into the ether).
Now I did take the respective chargers over for the Nikon and the Kindle with me, but neither were needed as both kept their charges well over the course of the week. The bag used to store the chargers & plug adaptors and any spare SD cards came from IKEA and was one of bags or packing cubes used to keep my stuff sorted and in order …
The phone was only taken along as we were driving to and from the airport rather than using the mix of buses and trains when we flew to Lisbon from Liverpool Airport in September 2015.
I did switch it on a couple of times whilst in Tavira, but the phone didn’t connect with any network, unlike Caroline‘s smartphone, which did and took texts and calls from her family as we’d flown over to Portugal on Mothers Day UK.
Anything else? A small bottle of Lifeventure‘s Fabric Wash did the usual trick when we were washing clothes out throughout the week – around half a bottle was used, even though we were washing shirts, trousers and underwear during that week.
Fortunately we did have a sink plug in the washbasin this time around and we didn’t have to source plug substitutes by buying packs of Pringles or tubs of Hagen Daaz ice cream!
An umbrella was taken along and placed in my day bag along with my reading specs and Transition lensed sunglasses every day… With the food being so good over the course of the week, the Sainsbury’s indigestion tablets taken along as a precautions weren’t needed either.
Some sachets of Tesco Recovery Powder were used however by myself, largely after drinks orders were lost in translation and large beers arrived on the table instead of small ones or after nights where the two of us shared a bottle of wine (we usually make a bottle last 2 nights at home, largely because of one the meds I’m on after surviving a stroke…).
Small packs of Wet Wipes did come in handy on a few occasions. The first was after a meal based around lamb cutlets where the only sensible option was to pick the cutlets up in my hands to eat them rather than trying to use a knife and fork.
The second was after a mini-meal of croquettes at a street cafe in Tavira and the third was after stubbing my toe whilst wearing the espadrilles that I’d taken along.
Yes, blood was drawn and yes, I’m on anti-coagulants. Fortunately the wound wasn’t a gusher, but the Wet Wipes did their job when Caroline used them to clean up the mess that had been made.
Owt else? A folder containing the boarding cards, car parking ticket, fast track security booking along with details of Expedia booked airport to hotel and back car transfers and our hotel booking information.
Other items in this folder were copies of our passports, travel insurance details and bus & train timetable printouts too. Had we photocopied twenty pages of guidebook information and taken those with us?
You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment!
So, how did things go with the items listed on Portugal Packing v3.0?
Very well actually (and everything bar the worn stuff did go into our respective Osprey Farpoint 40 packs). Virtually all of the clothing taken along earned their place in the pack or on me in the case of the items worn on the plane.
The only mistake I made was in taking along my pair of Peter Storm Soft Shell trousers.
They’ve been worth their weight in gold since I bought them last year, but they were too heavy an item to take along and wear in Portugal, especially given the temperatures encountered (even on the couple of wet, windy and generally stormy days).
When the storm hit Porto on the Tuesday of our trip, I ended up wearing one of my Rohan Cool Silver t-shirts, Rohan Goa trousers and the same brand’s Silver containing socks and trunks. The top layer was my HyVent jacket from The North Face. On my feet were one of the two pairs of Salomon ventilated shoes that I’d taken along.
Despite the conditions, everything worked well. Yes, I was wet from the bottom of the waterproof to the pavement and the inside of the jacket’s sleeves were damp, despite the pit zips being opened to provide some ventilation.
The rain was teeming down though and as it was still relatively warm, I’d expected some condensation in the sleeves as the linings were solid rather than mesh and also because I was wearing a t-shirt rather than a long sleeved shirt so my bare arms were helping raise those condensation levels.
Now the Goa trousers may be lightweights and meant for tropical use, but this combination worked in their favour once I got out of the rain and into the photography museum we were aiming for during the storm.
They were soaked when I entered the museum, but as I wandered around, they dried out.
So much so that I was able to sit down and partake in one of the many espressos imbibed over the course of the trip. The vending machine coffee was fine, but it wasn’t going to stop the rain, so after a while it was time to get back out there and try and find some lunch.
And yes, the Goas got soaked once more, then dried out again whilst waiting and eating fodder and then got soaked once more as we left the cafe, went to do some food shopping and headed back to the hostel we were staying in at Porto.
End result? Worn/soaked/dried/soaked/dried/soaked and you get the picture by now. Not only did they perform well under the challenging conditions, they also coped well with the heat encountered later in the week and over the time we were in Coimbra plus the lower temperatures and breezes when we were on the Atlantic Coast.
Washing and drying wasn’t a problem with the Goas either. Once we had a decent sink and places to dry kit out, then there weren’t any problems with the washing and wearing of any of the kit we’d taken along.
Caroline’s storm days kit worked as well as my own – the Rohan Thai trousers worked well as did the selection of tops used on the days and her somewhat elderly Berghaus PacLite Gore-Tex jacket. Her Ecco Blom Lite Mary Jane shoes did get a soaking, as did my Salomons, but they did dry out relatively quickly and were usable a couple of days later (something we’d anticipated, hence the decision to take two pairs of shoes each rather than lighter or flimsier items).
All of our tops performed as expected, especially the Rohan Stratum Polo Long Sleeved which came into its own on the nights when we could sit outside restaurants to have a meal.
Caroline was also more than happy with the couple of Ultra Silver Camisoles and the matching briefs that she’s taken along. These were used on their own or as part of a low-key layering system on cooler days, but washed and dried like crazy every couple of days, as did her Serene vest tops.
One thing that we did forget (okay, one thing that I forgot!) was our Lifeventure travel sink plug.
The sinks in three out of our five different lodgings in Portugal didn’t come with sink plugs, so necessity was the mother of invention. I plugged some sinks with socks whilst Caroline found that the top from her Nivea roll-on deodorant did the job in one place.
Other than that, it was make do and mend with the plastic top off a Pringles tube or the plastic top from a small tub of Hagen Daaz ice cream. Needless to say, a small amount of food consumption went on before these tops were used in the sinks…
Anything else? Yep, the tea tree oil worked well on the insect bites, as did the tube of gel that was bought in Porto to help combat the results of unexpected encounters with mosquitos.
The lavender oil had helped to keep the flying nasties at bay, but some had got through, resulting in 10 bites on my back, legs, arms and face, even though I had kept myself under the bed sheets on even the warmest nights in Portugal.
What I wasn’t expecting was for one of my pairs of shoes to deteriorate. One of the fabric lace retainers came away and as the two weeks wore on, it became apparent that the shock absorbing materials were breaking down inside the sole unit.
Although the shoes weren’t that old, they had done around 400 miles or so. Given that I have gait problems and also have trouble with my left leg as a result of that stroke a few years ago, I knew that it wasn’t something that I could put down as a problem with the shoes as I’ve been wearing Salomon shoes and boots for years now and not had any problems.
As a result, they were left in Portugal – not in a bin, but with someone who was going to repair the lace retainer and hand the shoes over to a local homeless charity.
On a lighter note, the umbrella that I’d taken along didn’t last either. It went inside out a few times in Porto and ended up being left in a guest house somewhere in Portugal.
It had served its purpose though in Somerset, London and Porto and as it had cost me the princely sum of £1, I wasn’t going to complain about being ripped off by a pound shop…
See – told you that it would be along shortly!
One of the reasons why there’s a Portugal Packing v3.0 rather than a Portugal Packing v2.1 is that our road trip in September 2015 was two weeks long rather than one week and the predicted weather conditions for the first part of the trip were dire…
Had the weather forecast been warm-hot and dry, then there wouldn’t have been any problems as all I would have done is swap a couple of t-shirts for a couple of polo shirts or smarter short sleeved shirts to ensure that there was an element of smart casual rather than just casual when eating out.
But the weather wasn’t destined to be warm-hot and dry over the first week. I’d taken the precaution of adding each of our locations to be visited on the Weather section of the BBC website so I could track a set of ten day forecasts for each town or city that we were visiting.
Every town or city showed the same prognosis for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the first week. Something was coming and it did not look good – heavy rain and high winds.
So our packing lists were thought about and adjusted accordingly to take into account of potential weather conditions that were more reminiscent of Blighty on a bad day…
The heaviest stuff was worn for the flight, a good move as the weather at Liverpool John Lennon Airport on Sunday morning as we crossed the road from the hotel to the terminal wasn’t wonderful (and we were aware of the fact that we had to walk to the plane in order to board it – none of this bus to the plane nonsense here!).
In my case the Rohan Goa trousers were packed not worn and a pair of Peter Storm Soft Shell trousers took their place. The Rohan Stronghold shirt was worn again (plenty of pockets to keep passport, camera, reading specs and change bags to hand) over one of Rohan’s Core Silver t-shirts, but the top layer was a HyVent waterproof by The North Face.
Footwear came courtesy of Salomon once more, but rather than take sandals, flip flops or espadrilles as a second item, an identical pair of Salomon ventilated shoes were packed, just in case. Yes, it was tempting to take a pair of Gore-Tex lined shoes with me to counter the potential weather conditions, but these would have added more weight to the bag and ensured that my feet could sweat buckets if these shoes were worn on warmer days (prefer Gore-Tex lined footwear between October and March in the UK rather than in warmer months).
So, that was the worn line-up, but what was inside the usual Osprey Farpoint 40 bag? Another Rohan Core Silver t-shirt, two blue and one white Rohan Element t-shirts, two Rohan polo shirts (one Progress Polo, one Stria Polo) and a Rohan Stratum Polo Long Sleeve shirt for wearing on its own or as part of a layering unit if eating outdoors on an evening.
Packed trousers were not one, but two pairs of Rohan Goas tropical trousers. I’d liked wearing these during our Lisbon stay in July as they were cool to wear in hot temperatures, had good pockets to help deter thieving bar-stools and dried quickly after washing in Lifeventure Fabric Wash.
Rohan Silver trunks came into their own once more as did a few pairs of the same brand’s socks. New to the equation though were a couple of pairs of M&S trainer liner socks – easily washed/dried, but also useful enough to deal with my feet being encased in approach shoes after several months of padding around barefoot at home or in sandals when leaving the house.
The clear bag to be examined by security contained a couple of travel size Nivea Factor 30 bottles of sun cream, the bottle of King Of Shaves shaving oil that I’d bought for the last trip, a travel tube of Colgate Total toothpaste, small bottles of tea tree oil and lavender oil (tea tree to deal with insect bites and lavender oil to help prevent them – the latter didn’t always work!). Also in the mix was a disposable Gillette razor and the Slim Sonic battery powered toothbrush.
Techie stuff was the usual Kindle and Nikon Coolpix digital compact camera plus respective chargers and one three pin to two pin plug adapter. A Petzl e+Lite was packed as a light source, a Moleskine paper notebook for notes/accounts and a Fisher Space Pen to make the notes with.
I’d also got a new set of specs for this trip so one was worn, the reacting to sunlight specs were packed and the reading glasses stayed in my trouser pocket or day bag until needed.
I’d had reacting to sunlight specs before and found them useful, but the new ones are back with my opticians at the moment as the lenses started to work their way out of the frames after being used twice on this trip – apparently it was known problem with this type, but hadn’t come up in conversation when I was buying them… Ooops!
Owt else? My usual meds and back-up literature plus a small umbrella and a copy of Rough Guide To Portugal as I’d forgotten to copy the relevant pages before we left.
A new travel wallet came into play as a means of keeping my £’s separate from my €’s and to help avoid card details being skimmed by no-gooders with scanning devices. After July’s day bag problem, the chosen one was a nylon drawstring shoe bag that I had at home. It lasted three days and was replaced by a more substantial bag bought in a sports shop in Porto.
Caroline’s bag contents included Rohan’s Thai trousers (comfortable, light, good for hot weather and easily washed and worn again).
Other options included the same brand’s Linen Plus Tunis trousers and a dress that also used their Linen Plus fabric, a couple of Ultra Silver Camisoles and a couple of Ultra Silver Briefs (the camisoles were good for layering when needed and were also easily washed and worn again).
Oh, and her Rohan Serene vests and Malay top also proved their worth once more.
To cope with the rain, Caroline also took her Berghaus PacLite Gore-Tex jacket. Two pairs of Ecco shoes (Blom Lite Ballerina Pump and Blom Lite Mary Jane) were used over the course of the trip and a newly acquired two-piece swimming cossie was used for the obvious and as spare top and knickers if needed.
And her tech? Kindle, Pentax camera, her smartphone and the necessary adaptors. Both of our sets of adaptors were stored in IKEA wash bags – small, sturdy, zipped and cheap too. As ever, Caroline’s day bag was her Rohan Stowaway Daybag 3.
Now you may be wondering why there are so many mentions for Rohan products on our packing lists…
I’ve been using Rohan clothing for around 30 years now and Caroline’s been doing the same for around 10. The items we’ve been using on our travels have usually been bought in the sales or when there’s been specific offers on items instore or online.
Heck, we’ve even paid full price for stuff on a number of occasions, because when we’ve looked at other items from competitors, they’ve not always been what we’ve wanted for one reason or another…
So what are the verdicts on items mentioned in Portugal Packing v3.0?
They will be along on Friday!