PFR Blog

The Road to Portimao. (A 2500 Mile Epic!)

The Road to Portimao. (A 2500 Mile Epic!)

Tuesday 3rd March 2020

The Road to Portimao. Well....Road/Sea/Road to be accurate.

Although a little late in this post, as we did this in November 2019, we think still worth a mention.

Always wanted to tick the "Euro Roadtrip" box.. so this was it. All a bit last minute but had to be done.
We were due to be on track on 7th - 10th Nov. (Thurs to Sunday)

The trip was to start on Sunday 3rd Nov with the following itinerary:

1) Home to Portsmouth (240 mile drive)
2) Portsmouth to Santander..2 Night "Overnight" Ferry...to arrive 8am on 5th Nov
3) Santander to Portimao (650 mile drive)

Plan then was to check in our hotel late on 5th....
Fully rested....A Lazy day on the 6th, apart from unloading the van at the track, that was only 25mins away... ready for the 7th (Day 1 on Track)

Van Loaded,(Bike, Spares, Supplies for the journey), Ferries Booked, Hotels Booked...3,2,1...GO!! (Or so we thought!)

Due to leave on Nov 3rd for Part 1 to drive to Portsmouth.
We got a text in the morning saying that our initial ferry was "Cancelled" due to Bad weather as was now due to go on the 4th.
Errrrr....OK.
We still have a day to play with. (Again...So we thought)

We finally get to our ferry for the first of our overnights.
Set off from Portsmouth....Lovely, Smooth....what could possibly go wrong?

Now, those of you that have taken the Santander ferry will know how the Bay of Biscay can be. We were soon to find out!

All I can say is..the next 33hrs were like being in an episode of "Deadliest Catch" on the Northwestern with Captain Sig Hansen!

The boat was being thrown around like a toy in the roughest sea I've ever know.
We managed to, kind of, hold it together for about 8hrs or so....then the body couldn't take it anymore and started to protest at the constant "Hidious Fairground Ride" type motion, with the Deadliest Catch "Theme Tune" continuously going through my head.

(Those who have taken this ferry route will know this only too well)

Even the crew were saying it was the worst they'd ever experienced.

On arriving at Santander port, at around 8am on the 6th Nov now, as we'd lost a day....we were told that the boat couldn't dock for another 2hrs due to being too dangerous. (Mmmmm...Nice!)
Things were now getting tight to drive the 650 miles to the track and unload the Van and set up in the allotted time that we were given...5pm to 6:30pm (Fun Eh?....lololol)

Eventually we got off the Ferry and literally drove the 650 miles direct to Portimao in "1 hit". SatNav was working overtime!

Got the track at 6:25pm.....as they were closing up! Urghhhh!

Managed to persuade them to let me literally "Dump" the contents of the Van into a garage.
Time to find the hotel now. (Missus had lost her sense of humour about 2hrs before this...But her normal medicine of "Pinot Grigio" seemed to work...Again!

Got in early to set the bike up properly, (Sort Kit out, Stands, Tyre Warmers etc)
The next 4 days on track were brilliant.
Amazingly I forgot about the epic 2.5 days to get there.

After the 4 days on track...we had planned to stay on for another 5 days in Portugal, which were a lot less stressful I can tell you.

The Return?
Apart from our ferry from Santander to Portsmouth getting cancelled yet "Again", so changed our plans on the hoof....and drove to Pamplona. Nightstop. Then, next day, drove from Pamplona to Caen to get another ferry to Portsmouth.

In conclusion..."What A Trip". For a first Euro Roadtrip!
If It could have gone wrong....It did.

Would I do It again?
Initially I said "NO".....But I'd probably say yes (But not the Portsmouth Santander Ferry). lolol