Beautiful Camargue and San Sebastian Before Lisbon

The rest of the way to Lisbon went quickly. Audiobooks can really help driving long distances. I spent only two more nights before getting to Lisbon, but both of them in really beautiful places.

Saintes Maries de la Mer (Camargue)

From Genoa I drove straight to a small town of Saintes Maries de la Mer on the French Mediterranean coast. My brother-in-law recommended the place to me over a year ago already. He visited the place about fifteen years ago and it left an impression on him. As soon as I was closing in on the place, I realized why. It is located in the biggest river delta in Europe (Rhône) and the landscape is really impressive. The name of the area is Camargue and it’s been a protected natural reserve for almost a hundred years.

Camargue sunset in Saintes Maries de la Mer

The town itself is really pretty too. It reminded me a lot of Portuguese coastal towns. Even the food I had ended up being something I know very well from Portugal: a Dourada.

I did a long bike tour around the nature reserve in the morning and enjoyed the sea breeze and the views. I didn’t know that flamingos lived in Europe at all. But there were plenty of them in the park. Unfortunately I was unable to get close enough of them for good photos. But seeing them was still very impressive. There were also white horses around that roam the park freely. They are used by the local “cowboys” to herd the cattle, but most of the time they have free rein.

The white dots are flamingos.
San Sebastian once again

From Saintes Maries I drove straight to one of my favorite cities: San Sebastian. I got there pretty late, but I still went out and had pintxos and a glass of wine. There is something about that place that always feels very comfortable and homelike. Who knows, maybe I will drive all the way back up there for a while before Christmas. I also walked to see the beach in the dark and took a picture of it that turned up quite nice.

Evening in San Sebastian.
A night in rainy Lisbon and picking up my board

I did my personal record of driving in a day after leaving San Sebastian. I managed to do the whole 900 kilometers to Lisbon in a day. The previous day was long too. I’m convinced that an audio book made both of those long days behind the wheel possible. In this case it has been a book called Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. It’s a long one and the kind that you can miss some things without it being a problem.

In Lisbon I stayed at a park right next to the Dois Corvos taproom that I visited last fall too. I went there quickly for a small beer, but I had no energy to do much more than that. The long drive had taken its toll. I noticed that the place I visited twice last fall, the Fábrica Braço de Prata no longer has parking possibilities for campers, but the its culture offering is still going on normally. That’s really a shame even though honestly the facilities there were pretty horrible.

I spent another night in Lisbon and did my first workday from there. After I was done I went to pick up my board from Ana and then drove to Costa. I’ve been here since then. I surfed yesterday and today, so I’m back to my Portugal routine.

In Costa da Caparica again!

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