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We were not aware that Viana do Castelo was to be our last stop for the sabbatical on arrival, but as so often, things changed quickly and mostly differently than we thought.
But now from the beginning. The journey from Porto to Viana took about 2hours. Our exact destination was the hotel “Feel Viana”, because there was once again the chance for windsurfing lessons and a wakeboard system. A pitch quite close to the hotel was our first destination. We got a place on a small hill overlooking the harbour and looked around. The first impression was sobering and our mood was a bit at its lowest point. The port exuded an industrial charm and the pitch was not really an option for several days, but now good.
We stayed here, definitely for one night. Astonishing even after the long time we were on the road, the effect was every time that after one night the places and atmospheres could change completely. What initially seemed to us to be unattractive often became great places. This is also the case in Viana. The harbour gradually became a place we don’t want to miss today and the beach is just gorgeous here in the corner.
So the next day we explored the surroundings, looked for possibilities for windsurfing, made a detour to the wakeboard facility and inspected the hotel. Everything was very nice and so slowly the feeling arose that we could endure it maybe a few days longer. Above all, we found a surf school directly on the beach and already a home feeling came up. If it still works with windsurfing, then we stay.

However, our planning, which had always worked wonderfully for so long, became so slowly very, very tedious. We had set ourselves a goal for the end of the sabbatical. We wanted to take part in a windsurfing camp in France in mid-September on the Mediterranean, more precisely in Leucate for a whole week. One last time fully immersed in the sport that had delighted us so much. For us the perfect conclusion before we would go back to Germany. But in recent days and weeks, corona numbers within Europe have picked up again. The news from France did not make us optimistic and we began to make new plans almost every day. Viana do Castelo became a test of nerves for us. The windsurfing camp had cancelled us, saying that we could only participate if we were already in France two weeks before. But what if we are in France and a complete lockdown prevents the camp? Staying or driving, how do we do it best? Every day these questions and we almost lost sight of the fact that it was very, very nice where we were and there was no reason for bad mood. Easier said than done. One might think we didn’t realize the luxury that was still a good 6 weeks ahead before we wanted to be back in Germany as planned. But perhaps only someone who has travelled for a similar length of time can understand this. Because in the past few months time was not an issue at all and suddenly, together with limited travel under Corona, it was more topical than we wanted it to be.

Our first plan was to treat ourselves to a bungalow in the hotel complex for a few days.
With breakfast and gym and short take time to think. We stayed there for three nights and enjoyed the luxury to the fullest. But the days were hardly over, the thoughts of the “How on?” began again. Meanwhile there was the information from the organizers of the camp, without a stop in the risk area Spain you can also come at short notice. Okay, that was something, then we can wait and enjoy the time here. No sooner had we decided on the next news. France is now a complete risk area, at least throughout the South. Another change of plan!!! We stay here… but for how long? And haven’t we already tasted everything here? So we move the “Dicke” from the parking lot of the hotel was a few hundred meters further to the pitch from the beginning. Another night here and then look.
We can tell you, at this point it got really tough and we were very close to the premature cancellation of the sabbatical.

Then a new idea. Nearby there should also be a campsite, so that we would at least have electricity, shower and toilets available again. We went there. Absurdly, only a few hundred meters in this radius.
What can we say, we landed on this square for another two weeks.
The farewell to windsurfing in France was very difficult for us, but here we also felt comfortable, we heard the surf that came ashore directly behind the dune and we were again among surfers, less windsurfers, but still a nice atmosphere that took us up.
The pitch, the hotel with the bungalow and the campsite were only a few meters apart. So we experienced the most different types of travel in our road trip in one place. All places connected by a wide and long sandy beach, lined with dunes, water sports enthusiasts from morning to evening, as far as you could see.
Now it should go on the board again for us. On the way to the beach we had simply chatted up a windsurfing instructor and made an appointment. Perhaps, but only perhaps, we had been judged a little more professionally than we were because of our announcement that we had taken the basic course in windsurfing in Tarifa. All of a time it was said that we only take a board and sail with us and you take turns practicing the so-called beach start.
Beachstart is not really something for absolute beginners and we were a bit unsettled if we had talked too loudly. Actually, we just wanted to see how much we could still implement from Tarifa. The coach was briefly consternated, because he knew enough people who overestimated each other. But hey, we wouldn’t be us if we hadn’t got the curve together. Joao and we gave everything and after the 3rd attempt it worked out. Joao, too, was good now, too, and he called out the World Cup in the beach start. Whoever had 10 successful attempts first was the new world champion. It went 10 to 7, we laughed, fought and were successful. What a great, very different from planned, windsurfing lesson. We were immediately again fire and flame. The next day we started again and this time it should get even better. We got every equipment, Joao went on the water and we surfed, so really, with turn and neck, for an hour and a half. Each of us walked off the board only once, we proudly trotted back to the “Dicken” in our wetsuits! Like such real pros. 🙂

As already noted in the last weeks, we were at the point where we enjoyed more time on site than to plan quite big trips, there were still such great things to see, for us it was no longer on this trip. We made a little trip. We went to Guimarées. A recommendation from our guide and actually a really magical place. We strolled through the small streets, visited the palace and the Castello and at the end we ate a snack among many Portuguese. Then it was said, with the “Dicken” through small villages and narrow streets, through a beautiful landscape, back to the campsite.

The day of the farewell approached and in our hearts it was clear to us, sun, beach and sea it was then for the next few months, as if we had guessed that in Germany then the request to do without domestic trips for the next months would bind us to Hamburg. We became calmer and said goodbye to an incredible journey.

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