After very little sleep, my alarm went off at 4.45am UK time. Bleary eyed doesn’t even cover it. I got up and helped BattleDad sort our bags before he walked BattleDog. I got BattleKid up and dressed and we loaded the car back up, full to the gills. We set off at 5.25am to make our way out of the beautiful mountains of Northern Spain to head South, down the backbone of Spain to Portugal.
I had to admit the windy roads of the mountains did nothing for my stomach, making me reminisce about Tenerife. It took us over two and a half hours to get out of the mountains and find flat roads as we started to make our way to the A67, which we finally joined just above Osorno. To be fair we had gone through some amazing countryside, some of the likes we would never have expected for Spain.
We started searching for a services to stop at and grab some breakfast, but we soon discovered that Spanish services are not located at the side of the motorway. The first one we eventually found was more than 2 miles off the motorway! I walked BattleDog while the boys headed to the toilets before we finally sat down to bacon sandwiches (not the UK type) and a cuppa. The services were ok and we filled the car to ensure we had plenty to get us to the next one.
We had made that rule when we stopped outside Santander, and I was glad we had filled up there instead of hoping we’d have enough in the tank, as the journey out of the mountains used up quite a bit of fuel.
Bellies somewhat sated, we drove back the 2 miles to rejoin the motorway and carried on for another two hours. Somewhere before Valladolid, we diverted into a small town to fill up again with fuel. Here, an attendant filled the car, and BattleDad later wondered if she had put the right type of diesel into the car. More on that to come, keep reading.
Just outside this town, we eventually came across more motorway-type services so we decided to stop here for lunch and a toilet break for both us and the dog. The food here wasn’t great but it filled a hole. We didn’t need to fill the car as it hadn’t been long done. BattleDad said he’d carry on driving for a while longer before handing it over to me so he could get a snooze.
Literally minutes outside this services, the car went into restricted performance mode, we lost power and had a bright red engine warning light on the dash. Cue serious amounts of panicking from me. We hadn’t even passed Salamanca, had over 400 miles to go and all with a car full of belongs, dog and child. This is not what we needed right now. My panicking didn’t help the situation either.
BattleDad had a diagnostic plug-in tool with him that linked to his phone to check the error and it said something to do with the Turbo. He cleared it and said we could probably carry on but keep the revs under 2k and the speed steady to reduce our chance of the turbo kicking in. We had been making really good time, I’ll say no more, and our ETA started extending now.
An hour later we swapped over and I got my first taste of driving on the wrong side of the road. It was ok as it was motorway the whole way, so only two lanes and intermittent vehicles to worry about. We drove through some horrendous storms too as we headed South. We were really surprised as the saying “the rains in Spain fall mainly in the plains” was coming true.
After an hour BattleDad woke but I carried on, just hoping to get us to Tavira without any more hiccups. I drove us nearly 300 miles to the other side of Seville before we stopped for a toilet break. We decided not to eat as we were only an hour and a half from my parents place and I knew my Dad would be getting dinner ready for us.
BattleDad took over and just before we crossed the Spanish/Portuguese version of the Severn Bridge we got another repeat of restricted performance and red engine light. I wasn’t as worried this time as we were closer to Tavira but I was still worried. BattleDad cleared it again and we crossed the bridge into Portugal.
We came across a road block and found border patrol checking documents in some cars. Needless-to-say the UK number plate meant we were pulled over too. BattleKid was asleep and the border patrol office just checked our passports and sent us on the way. Had he opened the boot he’d have gotten a black surprise in his face.
We finally arrived into my parents place near Tavira at 6.15pm, after 13 hours on the road. Both exhausted and relieved we’d made it, I was so glad to get out of the car, unpack and sit down.
We were here, we’d arrived and our journey to start our new life in Portugal had come to an end, nearly 56 hours after we had left South Wales.
BattleDad, BattleKid and I were early to bed that night after a very long day and none of us arose until well after 9am, which is almost unheard of…..
To be continued….