So why, might you ask, am I living in the wettest, windiest country in Europe? Okay, maybe Britain beats the Netherlands when it comes to extremes, but we've had our share lately, haven't we? Which brings me to my next point and that is an idea that is germinating in my soul about spending winter somewhere else.
At the moment, it's just a dream, but it's one I'd like to try and realise. No, it's more than that. I'm determined to realise it one day because I really don't think I can endure too many more of these northern European Januaries. Actually, perhaps I should rephrase that. What I mean is that Koos won't be able to endure me if I have to...well, you get my drift.
So where would I like to go for the winter? I'm thinking of the Spanish/Portuguese border area. That looks a pretty nice place to dream about. There's a river, see. It's called the Guadiana and it is navigable for quite some distance upstream from its mouth at Vila Real de San Antonio and there's a very pretty town where the boats stop at Alcoutim. The river is also the border between Spain and Portugal for quite some way as well. I like what I see of it. I like it a lot, and I could imagine spending winter months there very easily. I could also see us spuddling about on that river too.
|Sanlucar (on the Spanish side) and Alcoutim on the opposite|
Portuguese (photo courtesy of Rightmove Real Estate)
|Marina on the Guadiana|
at Sanlucar (again courtesy of Rightmove)
There's even a train that runs along the coast from the mouth of the river. I think it goes all the way to Lagos. I've been on the stretch from Faro to Tavira on the same line and it was lovely; delightfully informal and hopelessly late, but who cares? There is something warm, relaxed and very friendly about that part of Portugal. The eastern Algarve is not very picturesque, its scenery is a bit sparse and some of the towns are quite shabby, but it has great winter temperature, friendly locals and the kind of informality that I like.
|The station at Faro|
Where do you dream of spending the winter months, allemaal? I'd be interested to know.