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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Initially, I did not think of starting a new thread for my trip from Vigo, Spain to Gibraltar but, after witnessing an interesting traffic event today, I changed my mind as there may be quite a bit to write about. Of course, I am interested in everybody's comments too so maybe a thread for this trip is not such a bad idea.

The Plan
The plan was and is to leave Vigo on Monday 23rd September and drive the 400 km. (245 miles) to Lisbon where I would attend a seminar after which I would wait for my wife to arrive on Sunday evening at Lisbon airport.

We will spend two days in Lisbon, leaving for Mèrida via Evora, Spain on Tuesday, 1st October, a distance of 288 km. After two days in Mèrida, the journey is planed to continue on to Cordoba a short hop of 245 km (152 miles).

After two days seeing the sights of Cordoba, the plan is to continue to Gibraltar which is an even shorter hop at only 201 km. or 125 miles. Spanish border controls willing, we should be at the Rock a week today, Saturday, 5th October. We plan to spend 3 days looking at the Barberry apes and Gib's other attractions before once again tempting fate and the whims of the Guardia Civil when we intend to drive the short distance to Ronda at only 76 km (47 miles).

On leaving Ronda the following day, the plan is to drive to Carmona which again at only 85 km. or 53 miles is but a short hop. One night in Carmona then it is a longer trip at 338 km or 210 miles. My wife will head out from Lisbon airport for home the following morning and I will make the journey back to Vigo.

All in all, not a particularly long journey at around 2,500 km but one which, I hope, will interest some of you.

Vigo to Lisbon
The trip so far has been fairly uneventful, thankfully.

Before leaving Vigo, I filled the tank with Shell V-power. I try to use premium fuels; an issue which has been thrashed in another thread so I will not expand upon it here other than to say that I will try to continue with this throughout the trip.

From Vigo, there is a motorway all the way to Lisbon with the only difficult bit being the bridge across the river Duoro in Porto where motorways converge and the traffic is heavy at times. Once across the river the traffic thins out again and it is plane sailing until the build up in vehicle density when nearing Lisbon.

There were two events on the way to Lisbon which are noteworthy; the first of which was simply the fact that the toll-machine was not working. In Portugal there are two toll systems, one is the normal system which everybody knows - you take a ticket and you pay when you leave the motorway but on some stretches of motorway they have another system. This second system requires non-Portuguese vehicles to drive in to a special bay and have the number plate photographed. You are also required to feed a credit card into a machine and then, whenever you pass through a toll zone, you number plate is recorded and your credit card debited. At first glance the system seems logical but if you hired a car for a week, would you register? If you did, anyone driving on a Portuguese motorway with that same car would be clocking up tolls for you to pay, The period of validity is one month from registry so there could be quite a bill accumulated in that time.

This was not the problem I encountered. What happened with me is that Spantara has a blue registration plate with white numbers and letters which is a rather unusual colour combination for registration plates. Of course, the machine did not recognise this but as it happily accepted my credit card and wished me boa viagem I set off anyway. Maybe I will not be debited toll charges?

The second incident occurred when I was after rounding a blind curve on the motorway, I was astounded to see a car stopped in the outside lane, i.e. the fast lane. As I had other vehicles on my inside, the only option was to slam on the anchors and, sure enough, Spantara proved her stopping ability being brought up just short of the offending vehicle and its passengers who had now tumbled out of their car onto the motorway. What the driver was thinking of I do not know but when travelling at speed a car always has enough momentum to reach the hard shoulder. The car's occupants at least headed off the motorway but leaving the car in that position was inviting an accident and as I did not want someone crashing into my rear, I pressed on. In all this one should also realise that even though the maximum allowed speed is 120 k.p.h., Portugues drivers often exceed this by a large margin.

I observed a further incident here in Lisbon this morning. A car had broken down (it was an Opel too but not an Antara; a Corsa) blocking the traffic just after a light-controlled crossing. About 50 metres ahead of the car was a spot where the driver could have pulled in and about 30 metres behind, immediately after the cross-roads, was a bus stop where again the car could have found a temporary resting place. Instead, the car stayed where it was, blocking the traffic behind it and, as drivers were still trying to come from behind at the cross-roads, they then blocked traffic in all directions. It was absolute madness. With three people in the little Corsa it would have been easy enough to push it to the side especially as the car was on a slight down-ward slope. Instead everyone hit their horns. What a cacophony and to no avail.

That is the first report then. More to follow of course and, at the end, a summary of the journey with information about the never ending subject of fuel consumption.

Enjoy your weekends. I will have a quiet time until the memsahib arrives tomorrow evening!









Edited by: Spantara
 

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My God, I'm exhausted just reading that. Some trip.Glad to hear the Antara performed well. I have never driven outside the UK.

I once came across a landrover towing a mobile shop upsidedown with the car in my fast lane and the trailer over the central barrier on the opposite fast lane. Very scary moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Inchindown said:
My God, I'm exhausted just reading that. Some trip.Glad to hear the Antara performed well. I have never driven outside the UK.

I once came across a landrover towing a mobile shop upsidedown with the car in my fast lane and the trailer over the central barrier on the opposite fast lane. Very scary moment.
Sorry. I did not intend to exhaust you. My only intention is that some members may find the trip interesting.

I can picture the Landy and the mobile shop in the fast lane - not a sight one wishes to see. I was once driving in Sweden in winter when the car in front of me, towing a caravan, braked on snow/ice. He obviously had studded tyres as, I suppose, the caravan did too but it did not stop the caravan trying to overtake the car which resulted in both doing somersaults. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries (Volvo!) but the fire brigade had to cut the occupants out. The caravan ended up like an Ikea flat-pack. All scary stuff.

There used to be a garage on the A1 through Northumberland which placed wrecked cars at the side of the road. I don't think it is still there but it certainly got people to raise the boot off the accelerator for a while.

More episodes in Spantara goes to Gib. to follow. I hope they will be interesting

 

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Spantara said:
Inchindown said:
My God, I'm exhausted just reading that. Some trip.Glad to hear the Antara performed well. I have never driven outside the UK.

I once came across a landrover towing a mobile shop upsidedown with the car in my fast lane and the trailer over the central barrier on the opposite fast lane. Very scary moment.
Sorry. I did not intend to exhaust you. My only intention is that some members may find the trip interesting.

I can picture the Landy and the mobile shop in the fast lane - not a sight one wishes to see. I was once driving in Sweden in winter when the car in front of me, towing a caravan, braked on snow/ice. He obviously had studded tyres as, I suppose, the caravan did too but it did not stop the caravan trying to overtake the car which resulted in both doing somersaults. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries (Volvo!) but the fire brigade had to cut the occupants out. The caravan ended up like an Ikea flat-pack. All scary stuff.

There used to be a garage on the A1 through Northumberland which placed wrecked cars at the side of the road. I don't think it is still there but it certainly got people to raise the boot off the accelerator for a while.

More episodes in Spantara goes to Gib. to follow. I hope they will be interesting

Just so you know, it wasn't the post that exhausted me, rather the extent of your travels. I can only travel about 100 miles at a time and only about 200 in anyone day. Your trips would take me weeks to do.

I was in Gib in 1969 when I was in the Navy. It was my first foreign port of call. I thought it was a lovely place back then. There was a bar we used to go to on the East side of the Rock which had a veranda that hung out over the sea. It seemed like a magical place. I've often thought about going back there for a holiday.

Pity the Spanish are still being a real ass about the place after all this time. When I was there is '69, I had to do guard duty on the ship while armed with a loaded rifle. We had to keep an eye out for Spanish saboteurs attempting to plantexplosives on the ship's hull. Didn't get a chance to to take pot shots at any Spaniards though.


Hope the rest of your trip goes well.


Edited by: Inchindown
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Inchindown.

Thanks for the comments. Gib. is a great place. I was there in the 70s when I was in the Merchant Navy and am pleased I now have the chance to take the memsahib there.

It is going to be interesting to see what happens at the border now the EU inspection team has left. The blue and white registration plates I mentioned in my post above are Spanish plates but of the diplomatic sort so it will certainly be interesting to see what happens.

I will keep you posted.
 

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All good to hear and have a nice journey. All the times i went to Gib was in a Hercules aircraft always good to see road closed as we taxied in :).

Inch i have same problem driving distance why i like the tin box, 2 hours max then pull over have a brew and a lie down. Its the only way i can do it now. But still made the med from here in 3 days, compared to the 1 day it used to take me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Showery day in Lisbon today.

The memsahib is due in just before 18:00 so I will have to get myself out to the airport to meet her otherwise I will be seriously in the smelly/messy stuff. Aside from the 28km round trip to the airport and back, Spantara will be staying in the hotel garage keeping cosy and dry.

The memsahib has warned me that tomorrow will be a shopping day
. El Corte Inglais for shoes, handbags, smellies (somewhat nicer, I hope, than the smelly stuff referred to in the paragraph above) and whatever else the ladies cannot live without. The things we guys have to put up with on holiday! The fuel consumption of Spantara pales in comparison with the cost of the essential items of the fairer sex. (I expect Wilma has some comment to make in reply).

Cheers all from Lisbon




Edited by: Spantara
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The memsahib arrived yesterday evening whilst it was raining heavily. Today we are fogbound! I suppose there is nothing else to do but go shopping
 
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