At long last the European rally season is here, and our first of the year has started in Portugal. It is being held to celebrate the opening of 2 new Aires de service in central Portugal, and has been organised by a French motorhome club, and will last for 3 weeks.

We spent a leisurely 6 days driving down through France, and across northern Spain, arriving on the 7th April at a campsite at Chaves in Portugal, to be greeted by our hosts.

A total of 7 SERG motorhomes plus 25 French, 5 Spanish, and 35 Portuguese have arrived, about 150 people in all.

Everyone attended a large welcome party in the evening, with an accordian band and lots of Portuguese "hot toddys" which is flambe' eau de vie with sugar, diced apple, and coffee beans, a really memorable greeting.

On Friday morning, we all gathered for a open train ride around Chaves, also visiting the famous thermal springs there, and in the afternoon we all drove to the town of Momdim de Basto to stay for a week. On Saturday, we had a bus trip to visit local landmarks, and had both lunch and dinner provided by the local firemen,with music in the evening. Sunday morning we all attended the inauguration of the new Aire de Service by the local mayor followed by Portuguese folk dancing. Monday started with a bus trip to a vast aquaduct and a walk back along a river, in the evening a meal and entertainment in a restaurant . Tuesday was a free day so our group held a wine, beer, and nibbles get together which is always popular. Wednesday started with a guided walking tour around Momdim de Basto, followed by an afternoon visit to the local fire station. On Thursday, we were taken into the nearby hills to a recreation area, with B.B.Q's provided for us to cook our food on, for a great party. On Friday the 15th April we all packed up and departed for the town of Izeda, to start the second half of the rally, about which I shall write next month. In the meanwhile, remember, live every day as though it's your last, one day your'll be right.

Woodies dad