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One year – the answers!

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Wells, Somerset – one of the locations for Hot Fuzz – May 2015

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Ogden Water, West Yorkshire – June 2015

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Tram 28, Lisbon, Portugal – July 2015

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Padrao do Descobrimentos, Belem from Rio Tejo, Portugal – July 2015

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Torre de Belem from the Rio Tejo, Belem, Portugal – July 2015

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Centro Cultural de Belem, Belem, Portugal – July 2015

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It’s a sign! Between Estoril & Cascais, Portugal – July 2015

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On the beach near Cascais, Portugal – July 2015

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Sandeman’s Port Lodge, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Portugal – September 2015

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Viana do Castelo, Portugal – September 2015

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Canal Central, Aveiro, Portugal – September 2015

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Praca 8 de Maio , Coimbra, Portugal – September 2015

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View from a room, Newcastle-upon-Tyne – October 2015

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Villa Real de Santo Antonio, The Algarve, Portugal – March 2016

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Fishing boat, Cabanas, The Algarve, Portugal – March 2016

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Tavira skyline, The Algarve, Portugal – March 2016

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To Swaledale – and beyond! Keld, North Yorkshire – May 2016

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Broad Haven beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales – May 2016

One year

So many places in just three countries…

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One of the locations for Hot Fuzz – including part of the end battle!

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The scene of The Great Teddy Toddle in deepest Yorkshire

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A smaller version is on the bookcase downstairs

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The view from the river

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The view from the river, part II

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Art for art’s sake?

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Hot day, cool beer – but not on The Algarve!

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And it’s still nowhere near The Algarve!

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And no, it’s not Zorro! Or the next Bond…

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A grand design?

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And not a Cornetto in sight!

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Market square heroes?

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No fog on the Tyne…

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Has someone painted the town red after hearing about Mourinho’s next job?

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Provider of local specialities?

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Spot the supermarket…

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For when you need to know where the highest pub in England is…

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One week ago

You can take some guesses as to where these are – the locations will be revealed tomorrow!

No prizes though as it’s just for fun.

All photos by Keith Rickaby on a Nikon Coolpix s3100 digital compact camera

A roof over your head…

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A Portuguese Pousada…

Out of all of the places Caroline and I have stayed in over the last year, this is the one that ticked all the right boxes, even though it’s several notches above our usual choice of accommodation.

Pousada do Convento da Graca is a luxury hotel in Tavira on the Algarve at a price that didn’t break the bank thanks to the over-55’s rates available via the Pousada chain’s own website and the likes of Expedia (which is where we booked our week long stay plus Monarch flights from the UK and private transfers from and to Faro Airport.

Our room was a generous size with a luxurious bathroom and a good buffet breakfast was part of the deal. Pousada do Convento da Graca is a converted convent complete with church and cloisters that is a few minutes walk away from Tavira‘s centre and bus station in one direction and the railway station and Lidl in the other direction.

Apart from breakfast, we ate out for both lunches and evening meals (and saved a reasonable amount in doing so – eating in was around €65 for two without wine or beers whilst our last night’s meal in a local restaurant cost €40 for two mains, two desserts, two coffees, a bottle of wine and a bottle of sparkling water.

http://www.pousadas.pt

Old school…

Redworth Hall Hotel near Darlington here in the UK was an independent school that I used to pass twice a day when I went to and from work in Darlington back in the 1970’s.

Caroline and I stayed there three years ago, but decided to check in again last November as part of a break in the North East.

Large rooms and big, comfortable beds are the order of the day, as are good breakfasts and some fine in-house catering (they even made sure that their take on a good burger came with a decent regular bun as requested rather than a Brioche bun).

http://www.thehotelcollection.co.uk/hotels/redworth-hall-hotel-durham

Lisbon dreams…

Yes, it’s back to Portugal time! Lisbon Dreams Guest House has a hostel vibe to it, but that is a good thing.

There’s double rooms with shared bathrooms plus very luxurious bathrobes to wander from your room to the bathroom and back without upsetting fellow residents. Breakfast is a simple affair whilst evening meals can either be taken in one of Lisbon‘s many eating places or prepared in the Lisbon Dreams kitchen – the Guest House is situated above a mini-market with a good choice of meat, fruit and bread which is a boon for self caterers.

Lisbon Dreams is in the Rato area of the city, but it’s a quiet area around twenty minutes walk from Rossio Station and ten minutes from Principe Real‘s bars and eating places. This isn’t a bad thing though, especially if you’ve been eating out as the portions can be rather generous at times…

http://www.lisbondreamsguesthouse.com

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Chilled hostel.

It only seems as though we were at Hamilton Lodge in Fishguard last week and there’s a good reason for that – we were!

For five nights in the double ensuite room (others with shared facilities are available). Light breakfasts are provided, there are several pubs and takeaways in the town centre (the nearest is a Chinese immediately opposite the hostel) and there’s Q and Jet.

Q is the laid back owner of Hamilton Lodge and Jet is a black labrador who tends to get spoiled rotten by those staying in the hostel… like us! Q has put together a comfortable environment and one that’s great to relax in either indoors or outdoors in the garden at the back of the hostel.

There’s a good kitchen to prepare meals in with hobs, oven, microwave and toaster (there’s a Co-op, a Costcutter and Tesco Express to get supplies from, along with several independent retailers too), that garden to relax and unwind in, wifi and TV’s in each room too.

We will return. Oh yes, we will return!

And I’ll be writing more about Hamilton Lodge in the not-too-distant future.

http://www.hamiltonbackpackers.co.uk

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Guess where?

Caroline and I have stayed in three proper hostels in Portugal – one H.I. affiliated in Lagos and two independently run hostels in Porto and Aveiro respectively.

Aveiro Rossio Hostel is our choice out of the three as it’s in the centre of Aveiro (but a long walk from the railway station) and therefore near the gondolas on the canal and several bars, cafes and other eating places in the centre.

Like Hamilton House, there’s a chilled atmosphere, light breakfast and a kitchen to use at other times. The double ensuite room was simply furnished and comfortable whilst the hostel lounge had an interesting mix of furniture and artwork around the room.

Any problems? Only with the door code to get into the main entrance as the keypad was playing up, something that didn’t worry us as we were coming and going at sensible hours whilst staff were in attendance and not coming back in the wee small hours.

After two nights, it was time to move on to Coimbra for three nights and boy, did we wish that we could have taken Aveiro Rossio Hostel with us (and on so many different levels too)!

http://www.aveirorossiohostel.com

And just for the record, all of the accommodation mentioned was paid for by ourselves!

All will be mentioned again in the One Year series of posts that’s coming soon!

It’s Rohantime again…

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Poshpacking required for this hotel! Pic by Keith Rickaby, Nikon Coolpix S3100

Yes, it’s Rohantime once more as my recent Poshpacking post is currently being featured on the Rohantime website.

Thanks as ever to Sarah Howcroft for picking up on it and publishing.

http://rohantime.com/64794/portugal-packing-poshpacking/

Watch out for something completely different regarding clothes and packing as wisepacking goes rocking all over the world!

In Blackpool

Accessories after the fact…

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 TaviraMy 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!

Poshpacking…

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The cloisters at Pousada Convento da Graca, Tavira

Keith Rickaby, Nikon Coolpix S3100

It all began in October last year when Caroline’s workplace approved a week away in March and then Expedia came up with an offer that we couldn’t refuse – flights from our local airport, private transfers from and to Faro airport and a week in a hotel in Tavira on the Algarve.

Not just any hotel you understand, but one that Berlitz Algarve described as “one of the most desirable places to stay on the entire coast”Pousada Convento da Graca, a converted 16th century convent complete with cloisters and its own church.

We knew that Pousadas had special rates for those of us who are over 55, but as the offer we were made beat a few of the prices we had last year for stays in guest houses or boutique hotels, it would have been madness to turn it down…

Which left a couple of problems.

The first was what to wear during our stay, given that Lonely Planet Portugal‘s comments on the Pousada started with “If you can get past the front door (there’s a bit of an attitude here)”

The second was packing to cope with any potential dress code, given that we were flying with hand luggage and that our airline – Monarch – had a 10kg weight restriction on hand luggage.

In the end, we needn’t have worried, even though the temperatures encountered during the first full week of March were below expectations after reading the ten day forecasts for Faro and Tavira.

We packed by taking our cue from these forecasts and perceptions based on looking through the photos in the Pousada Convento da Graca section of the website dedicated to the Portuguese Pousadas.

I ended up packing virtually all Rohan kit once more. Four Progress polo shirts, a couple of Stratum long sleeved polos, two Merino t-shirts, two pairs of 2015 Goa trousers, a selection of Cool Silver trunks and a few pairs of M&S silver containing socks.

Wash kit had the usual contents – factor 30 Nivea suncream, disposable razor, King of Shaves shaving oil, Via Sonic battery toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, Lush shower gel, and Sanex roll-on anti-perspirant. Spare shoes? One pair of espadrilles.

Caroline’s choices were somewhat similar and yes, most of it was also from Rohan. Ultra Silver camisoles and briefs, a couple of Serene vests, a brace of Malay tops, a pair of travel linen trousers, a pair of Trailblazer trousers bought during the Rohan sale at Trek & Trail Saltaire and a Malay dress – just in case. Oh, and a couple of Stria long sleeved tops, again just in case.

Our choices coped admirably with both the expected dress codes and the changeable weather conditions encountered. We’d layered up in readiness for the early start to the airport (3am departure from the house with a car thermometer reading – 1C), so these warm layers (Rohan, Peter Storm, Lowe Alpine) came into their own on the cooler nights during our trip.

We didn’t have any problems once we checked into the Pousada or in fitting in whilst wandering around Tavira, eating in family run restaurants such as Bica, Casa Simao and Churrasqueira O Manel or on the local buses and trains used to get us around the Algarve and the ferry used to have a few hours in Spain.

Yes, there was a bit of washing and wearing going on during the week to keep things sweet, but we stayed smart and our bags came in at 8kg each so no worries on the plane!

And we weren’t the only ones using Rohan in the Pousada either as fellow Brits were sporting Rohan trousers or shirts in and around the hotel.

An account of our visit to Tavira will be posted here soon!

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Caroline, Sunday morning, 7.15 am, waiting for the car to Faro Airport.

Keith Rickaby, Nikon Coolpix S3100

http://www.rohan.co.uk

http://www.pousadas.pt

Wisepacking meets Rohantime

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Lisbon calling – July 2015

Wisepacking meets Rohantime for the second time this year.

http://rohantime.com/60715/portugal-packing-the-results/

This one’s covering items taken along and used when Caroline and I did our September 2015 road trip from Lisbon to Porto, Viana Do Castelo, Aveiro, Coimbra and then back to Lisbon.

Yes, there’s a few references to the Rohan items we’ve bought over the last couple of years, but there’s also mentions for other brands and a couple of suggestions to plug sinks when you’re doing the wash and wear thing whilst on the road…

Thanks go to Sarah from Rohantime once more.

 

 

Portugal Packing v3.0 – the verdict!

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…

Portugal Packing v3.0

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!

Portugal packing v2.0

Why v2.0?

Because we’ve undertaken two visits to Portugal this year and our bag contents were changed from our original Portugal packing list to contend with the very different weather conditions encountered in July and September 2015.

v2.0 covers the stuff that was taken along in July when there was little chance of rain, but a very good chance of high temperatures and top of the charts UV levels, even in Lisbon – our destination and base for the week away. Fortunately, the weather conditions at home were approaching those in Lisbon.

The drive to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and a pre-flight night in the Hampton by Hilton hotel was a late one as Caroline had spent virtually all day at a family wedding. A swift change was made when she arrived home and the car was taken off the drive and pointed towards the M62 in search of the airport.

Baggage choices? Our trusty Osprey Farpoint 40 packs as usual as yes, we were travelling hand luggage, but on an airline that neither of us had used before – easyJet.

And the contents of the bags?

In my case they included a security friendly travel size wash bag that had been bought for the journey. It was originally full of predominately Gillette products aimed at travellers, but a little pruning and replacement ensured that the new contents covered all eventualities.

The disposable razor and small tube of toothpaste were retained, but in went a plastic cased Dove roll-on anti-perspirant instead of the smaller capacity metal aerosol.

That was followed by the Slim Sonic Toothbrush I mentioned a few posts back, a bottle of Lifeventure Fabric Wash for the clothes, a 100ml bottle of Lush’s Flying Fox shower gel for me, a small bottle of tea tree oil, a similarly sized bottle of King Of Shaves shaving oil and two small bottles of Nivea Factor 50 sun cream (Tesco had them on a 3 for 2 promo and they were worth the investment of buying a couple of deals each on Factor 50 and Factor 30 creams…)

Did they work? Oh yes and even though we were keeping the protection topped up, we still came back a little browner than we were when we left the UK.

As before, my usual prescribed meds, yellow Warfarin book and repeat prescription forms went in along with a pack of indigestion tablets and a few sachets of recovery powder (just in case there were too many glasses of vino collapso or local lagers imbibed over the course of a day…

Worn items included a pair of Salomon ventilated trainers, a pair of Rohan Goa trousers, one of four Rohan Core Silver t-shirts (the rest were in the bag along with a couple of Rohan Element t-shirts).

Why so many t-shirts? As good as all of these shirts are, expectations of 30+ C meant that for once I was playing safe and wearing two shirts per dayrather than one a day. I did however regret not having a polo shirt or two as a smarter option as we were eating out so much over the course of the week.

Rohan Cool Silver trunks and suitable socks completed the worn outfit and yes, there were spares in the bag of these. Other packed items included another pair of Goa trousers, my Nikon Coolpix digital compact camera and charger plus my Kindle and charger, a newly purchased Rohan Stowaway Daypack 20 packable day sack and a travel towel. Oh, and a copy of Rough Guide‘s Pocket Rough Guide to Lisbon plus a pair of Next espadrilles for sock free days or nights out…

Caroline’s clothes packing wasn’t quite a mirror image of mine as she packed a couple of Rohan Serene vest tops, a Rohan Malay Linen Plus top and a few other items from that brand’s travel linen range too.

Footwear choices were a pair of Ecco Blom Lite Mary Jane shoes and a pair of Merrell sports sandals. Her day bag was a Rohan Stowaway Daybag 3 packable handbag to hold her passport, camera, travel wallet, tissues, sun cream and a small bottle of water.

Was everything used?

Yes, it was and the washing and wearing processes also worked well too, even when washing out trousers. Washing was typically done on a morning before we went out and left to dry on hangers next to the windows once the clothing had been rolled up in a travel towel as a means of squeezing out any excess water.

The Rohan Goa trousers were just right for the trip thanks to a lightweight fabric that washed and dried quickly, two zipped pockets to take wallet, camera, reading specs and guest house keys and protect them from thieving bar-stools.

We knew that there is an ongoing problem with pickpocketing in Lisbon, but the owner of the cafe we ate in when we first arrived was quite forthright in his views when he warned us of the dangers of losing stuff (we did meet a lady who had had her smartphone stolen on a tram in Lisbon when we were in the queue for the flight home a week later…).

Out of all the things we took along with us, there was only one piece of kit that required a rethink. I’ve no doubt that the Rohan packable day sack will come into its own in the UK over days out and periods away over the coming months, but I have to admit to making a personal wrong choice by using it over the first few days in Lisbon.

It was a bit too big for what I wanted to carry around with me and I ended up buying a small cotton bag that sufficed for the rest of the week. The Rohan item won’t be wasted though, because there’s at least one trip coming up soon where it will be in its element, so it will be used again and again. The cotton bag purchased in Lisbon will be inside to use as a shopping bag…

And v3.0?

Along soon!