Today was a jobs day. Finally after the long holiday that was Easter and then Freedom day yesterday, our trip has coincided with a Hymer motorhome dealer and a working day! Happily only 25 mins drive from our camp stop and North of Porto where we planned to visit anyway.
After usual servicing of tanks, we were on the road early ready to greet them just after opening. I had tried to call last Friday but they were not answering the phone. Our water pump has been gradually failing for the last week or more. This morning, on perfect timing the trickle we had been getting stopped entirely. The problem started fairly early in our trip, when we heard an odd buzzing noise one morning. After a process of elimination, switching things off and on, we realised it was not the heating fan, but the water pump. Further investigation revealed that the shower in the garage which we never use had been knocked very slightly when we got the ramps out the night before. It was not enough for water to come out the shower but enough for the pump to run. We had been out the night before and the heating had drowned out the noise when we got back. We straightened the shower tap (it is a press handle) and fearfully checked the water pump was still working. Happily it was and we could make tea! Sadly since then, not unreasonably as water pumps are really not supposed to run that long. However, as we are still under warranty on our van we cannot really interfere too far.
We pulled up at the Go Caravaning dealers after opening. We have to pull up on the drive to the service doors as there is nowhere to stop. I go inside to ask, using Google Translate. They seem less than pleased to see me. However, they do not turn me away and tell me to wait. After 10-15 mins, an engineer plus a nice lady from office are dispatched to look. Within another 15mins, he has us in the garage out of the now pouring rain and the pump is out. He shows us where the pump has melted slightly 😳 Happily they have spares in stock so we get two 🙂 The new one is in and fitted in a few more minutes 😀 Success. The say if we want to claim under warranty they will have to invoice us and we claim from our dealer. We realise this is not really a warranty issue so are not too worried. However they insist on giving us one anyway, even though it takes much longer than it did to fit it to get the invoice. However, we get the pump fitted for €70 and they cost £70 online in the U.K., so we are pretty happy with that outcome.
We drive to the dockside in Porto to investigate a motorhome parking area in a place used for markets. However, despite pictures with lots of motorhome in Google Maps, now there is a No Motorhomes sign and reports of police moving people on. Obviously another victim of the wild camping clampdown.
We settle on a campsite a mile or two down the coast. It is very secure with a permanently locked gate and ID cards to enter and exit, plus ours and the dogs passports to check in. We are issued a pitch as the rain lashes down again. I gather that there is a bus outside to Porto but no dogs allowed on. However, local taxis will take us in with the dogs. I had planned a tour of the Port Warehouses. However, a little more research and I find a walking food and wine tour around the old city at 10am the next morning. It is 3 hours and 20 minutes drive there, plus a 15 min check in. I decide it would be much better to take the dogs than leave them for 4 hours plus as we want to have a look round afterward. I ring the tour company and agree we can take them as long as one of us waits outside where necessary and no one else on the tour objects. We decide that is a reasonable deal.
By now the sun is out and we decide on another beach walk with the dogs. Loving the endless beaches of Portugal 😀😎 A plastic bottle is soon replaced by a stick for wrestling with the dogs whilst I try to collect a few plastic bits up. By the time we reach the beach bars at the end on our walk the sun is shining.