Spain, Portugal and beyond – Travels in a little van with Workaway

We always like to read about people using Workaway to help with their travelling. James and Cath are on the road in their van, motoring through the south of Europe, making use of Workaway to find places to stay and help. One of the best parts of Workawaying is the opportunity to see a place through the eyes of a local, and this article touches on just that. Thanks for letting us repost your article guys! To read more about their adventures go to their blog: Here’s a bit about how their blog came about:

couple workaway

For the past few years I have got into the habit of just working during the summer in the UK and enjoying myself over the winter. Last year my girlfriend and I decided to jump in a van and just keep driving through the winter, and head back when the money runs out. We made it through France and a large chunk of northern Spain. This year we are doing the same, continuing where we left off. But this time, I thought it might be a good idea to write it all down!


workaway journeyWell the long drive this morning took us about three hours to complete and brought us to the little village of Carrazedo. This is where we will be spending the next two weeks volunteering in exchange for meals and accomodation. Basically, the deal is that in exchange for a few hours work a day, for just five days of the week, we get a nice cosy room and all our meals cooked for us. And loads of free time to go sight seeing.

We have done this sort of thing before and have found that as well a a cheap week/fortnight, it also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the country or region, and get to visit some out-of-the-way places and really soak up the local culture. So, on that basis, the next couple of weeks worth of blogs will feature in and around this area with little trips out and the food that we eat. After the long drive today, we just settled ourselves in and got an early night in preparation for our first day of volunteering tomorrow.

Well that’s the end of our first week at our host, and as usual it’s been fantastic. We are staying in a lovely little guest house, with its owner, her three dogs, & two cats and they are all amazing.

So far the volunteering has all been about general garden maintenance, including turning an old oil barrel into a furnace to burn garden waste, and repairing the garden gate. The food that we have been given has been second to none, incorporating a wide range of dishes, some of which are of Portuguese origin along with some specialities from our host’s home country, the Netherlands.

workaway locationDuring our time off this week, we have been taken out to some of the surrounding area, including the local market in Vieira Do Minho (an essential place to visit to get a real feel for the place, and of course language practice), cake and a coffee for about one euro, and a working museum making woollen products for sale and still made in the traditional way, right from sheep to shelf! And a little trip out to a place called Rio Caldo, which is an extremely picturesque reservoir surrounded by mountains and a little town.

An interesting thing happened last night however. Now we were both fully aware that when the weather is particularly dry in these areas, it can result in being the perfect fuel for massive hillside fires, and that is exactly what happened. The first fire I noticed was about 1km away, and it was absolutely raging, but then, as I sat down I noticed another, only about 300 metres away. A little startling at first, but perfectly safe for us given the direction of the wind. But it really was an instant realisation of what must be on people’s minds here. In addition to this the chats over dinner have been really insightful into the general way of life here and hints and tips on the language and its little colloquialisms. And also the realisations that phrase books can be pretty useless in rural areas and that you can really only learn by doing.

3 replies
  1. Cynthia Campbell
    Cynthia Campbell says:

    Am confined to where I am now for a variety of reasons, but working on getting free to GO! Reading about others’ travels helps me to experience through them/you!
    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!


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