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Portugal - Ericeira // Carpark Dinners By The Sea

Killvan's Portugal. A tale of living out of a van on a surf trip through Portugal, and getting the best ocean views for dinner in Ericeria.


Hedonists, dreamers, idealists and some days we were simply dirty transient surf bandits that suited this way of life, an existence designed purely around freedom. Night after night we'd follow a loose routine post surf of uprooting the van from the last Portuguese surfing location, drive in meandering circles around a strange culture rich town looking for a park for the night. Some nights were a bitch, testing episodes, especially when we'd surfed some place extravagant made possible by rural dirt roads, as the sun was close to hitting the western deck and light was against us for thoses sessions, seeking that outdoor kitchen became wishful. Those were the nights when we were simply dirty transient surf bandits looking for cheap thrills in a beaten up van, ending our day in a dysfunctional random park by the side of some access road.

 

The van I speak of, well the van was a real peice of work that looked more like a middle eastern meat wagon for rebel soldiers, though it carried ragged surfers across Portugal, and was well suited to the carparks around Ericeria and beyond. The extended roof held the quiver of surfboards easily, the floor space was sufficient to sleep three men, four some nights and maybe even a girl. Though it was simply not equipped to handle the same three men preparing dinner. Breakfast and lunch were never a problem as when your on the road for a surf adventure the morning light and high noon spells time for rock'n roll, no time to sit and go slow. But dinner, well, dinner was complicated.

 

A position by the sea, perhaps close to a great wave, though close enough to a town was optimal. A protected nook away from the wind, a flat even surface that would make cooking from a portable gas stove possible, and a position offering a secure feeling, homely even, it's an extensive checklist that of a van bandit seeking an outdoor urban dinner setting. For the most part it was the evening wind in Portugal that proved disastrous at dinner, it would blow sand through our camp, grit into our meals and reek havoc in the sleeping bag, transforming it into a sand paper cocoon.

 

While the meals were never grand, they always tasted sweet, complimented by a local brew in a brown paper bag and sometimes a Portuguese roach burning between two waxy fingers. Fantasy rich accents that softened the blow of rugged curbside meals and makeshift seaside nights. The flavour and texture absent from our van cuisine was replaced by homely sunsets and calm streets, though often dusted with sand and a light evening breeze it made the carpark dinners in Portugal royale affairs to be remember.

 

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LOCATION OVERVIEW

Location: Portugal, Peniche and Ericeria.
Optimum: August to November.
Weather: Heavy sea air makes it cold. The water is cold in winter and comfortable in summer.
Surf Conditions: Beachbreaks, Reef Breaks, Point Breaks, Bombies.
Access: Fly in from Lisbon and drive, or drive in from Spain.
Accomodation: Camping, Holiday Rentals, Homestays. Just turn up and be friendly, run with their culture.
Live Free:  6/10.  It's what it is, Portugal.

 

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