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  • fionaharris0

Driving from England to the Algarve in the early 1980s

I have been lucky enough to drive from England to Praia da Luz in the Algarve on several occasions.

The first time was when a friend and I drove down and back in her Mini Countryman in 1982 just after we finished our A Levels!!


Back in those days we have very little money and we had to do the entire journey on minor roads as we couldn't afford the motorway tolls. Of course fuel was MUCH cheaper back then and flying was relatively much more expensive so by avoiding tolls and staying in the cheapest hotels, driving to the Algarve was a cheap way to get there.

We took 5 days and 4 nights over the journey and it was really an adventure. The tiny car was made even more ridiculous by the fact that we agreed to take my boyfriend's (now husband) sailboard down with us on a roof rack!

The back of the car was piled high with luggage


We stayed overnight in Poitiers, just outside Bordeaux, Madrid and Seville.


We took the opportunity to see the sights in Madrid and Seville and I recall we loved the scenery on our journey.

We had to rely on each other's judgement on the many occasions that we were stuck behind slow moving tractors and horse drawn vehicles on the minor roads. In a right hand drive Mini the driver had to trust the passenger to say 'now!' when it was safe to overtake! At 18 years old we had complete faith-I am not sure I would have that confidence these days!!!


Sadly I have very few photos that remain from that trip but here is one of my lovely friend Julia and her mini on the ferry across the river border between Sain and Portugal at Ayamonte. Now of course there is a bridge, but believe the ferry option still exists, perhaps I will try it on my next drive down-just for old times sake!!!




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