Davis Family Road Trip – Portugal #01

So as it turns out, I haven’t had too much spare time to write (let alone sit down) between feeding, changing, loo breaks and all the other events that happen with a life of two kids! But we are almost one week into our trip and 3/4 of the way up the North coast! Camper Life is a huge adjustment but we are enjoying our space. Like a toroise carrying his home on his back so do we carry our home around with us. 


Monday : Day 1 Traveling

One always sets off optimistic. “Hey, we can do this” Its just one overnight (8 hour flight) with a bulkhead row of seats and a bassinet for the little one, (it’s virtually like a sleep over) and then a second day flight (8 hours). Ummm NO – don’t fool yourself! One bulkhead seat shared with a sweet guy that has clearly never had kids or been an uncle or been near kids in his life. These foreign aliens where quite overwhelmng for him! The flight attendant then decided to question the weight of my infant … his last inoculations (a week ago) he weighted in at 10.5kgs with Winter onesie plus nappie! Weight limit 11kg’s – “sorry his length and weight won’t allow him to sleep in the bassinet” they tell me.

Well what’s the point of offering me the bassinet seat then I ask! Next, I politely mentionen the fact that im breastfeeding so need to stay hydrated and would it be possible to get a bottle of water so i dont keep hasseling the flight attendant for water. (Because – You took my drinking bottle away during the scan point.) A very abrupt “No sorry, I’m not allowed – but here is a sip (of about 50ml) or drinking water!” 

  • Parent Coping Level: 8/10 
  • Kids Patience Level: 9/10
  • Overall Experience: 8/10
  • Highlight: Starbucks in Dubai

Tuesday: Day 2 Arrival

We have arrived! 19 hours of travel and we have arrived in Portugal. We are thrilled on touch down and surviving on a high of excitement, adrenalin and about 40 cups of aeroplane coffee. The drive through Lisbon reminded us alot of South African landscapes, the hills of Durban, lush greenery of Cape Town and a downtown PE vibe in parts. On arriving in Sintra, a small town jut outside Lisbon we head to the rental office. We arrived at 2:01pm so were told to wait an hour until they opened again at 3pm as it is lunch time and they are closed. We walked to the local diner for lunch, and it was “local local” we literally played spin the bottle to pick a meal but ended up with the most delicious prego plate, portugese bread and what we later found out was “sheep cheese”. Followed by our first introduction to Portugese Coffee (strong enough to shake any jet lag and probably stong enough to fuel the plane bact to CT!) 



For those like us that are new to the camper van rental home experience, hold on to your hats as you are in for a baptism of fire with a 3 hour induction in true Portuguese style.. “One thing at a Time” I kept being told… eventually at 6 pm I cut the man short, put on my best fake smile, told him it’s now or never, lugged each of the 20 kg bags with young James tucked under my right arm in true rugby style, Daniel running behind holding onto my pinkie and suitcase in the other arm- launching them one at a time into our soon to be camper home for the next three weeks.

On the road

James isn’t a fan of driving he never has been. Mix that cocktail with driving the opposite side of the road, on the 7.5m vehicle with no rear view and a Portuguese GpS. It’s what dreams are made of right? 

Finally a 30 Min drive from Sintra we arrive in Ericeira. Out of the concrete jungle and through the more scenic meandering (narrow roads) towards Ericeira. The closer we got to the ocean the more beautiful the farmlands and ocean side became. The small town is in its own way quietly bustling, the afternoon sun shining down as local ladies walking along the beach paths and we begin to notice the beautiful small grocers along the way. Men sitting in singe file outside the local shops, husbands and wifes ploughing the fields together and cows dotting the country side hills. 

We arrive to a beautiful camp site just out of town and find a spot under the pine trees overlooking one of the most exquisite bays before us. I stop for a moment and take it all in, check the time, the sun is out and the kids are still up. James took a bath in the sink, the boys adventured to the local showers. It’s well after 9pm! Tomorrow is a new day, we will settle into a good routine. 

Preparing for bedtime

As first time Camper novices we hitched up onto a slope, realised something was up when everything began rolling of the dining room table. We found the parking wedges and adjusted our angle 🙂 Feeling chuffed went back inside and closed up for the night.  We dropped down, what we fondly call “the envelope” which is the bed from the roof that overhangs the dining area. As I tucked James into the “luxury suite” (Master bedroom where the cabin door doubles up as the toilet, shower or bedroom door depending on which angle you swing it), the kids were happy, excited and the Davis family were settling in for adventure. We can do this! Much to my hubbys dismay, I can guarentee no funny business goes on in a camper van, the cabin quite literally shakes when Daniel our 4 year old rolls over in bed!

  • Parent Coping Level: 2/10 
  • Kids Patience Level: 7/10
  • Overall Experience: 3/10
  • Surf: flat 0.2m great looking ocean lake
  • Highlight: Prego Steak Roll (Will) & Prego Steak Plate and Salad (Roxy) 
  • Lowlight: Collecting the Camper Van Experience. I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy. 

Until Tomorrow… Good Night! 



View posts by Roxy
Roxy Davis is proudly 'Capetonian', having grown up in Kommetjie, Cape Town. Roxy has won multiple South African Surfing titles. She is a professional surf coach, business owner, wife and mother with a real zest for life and adventure!

1 Comment

  1. KarenJuly 1, 2018

    I so enjoyed reading this! So real… the ups and downs of a novice camper in a strange country WITH 2 little ones! Brave.
    Can’t wait for yhe next installment. Lets hope Roxy finds some decent surf!


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