29th August – Viana Do Castelo, and I thought things were going well…..

I guess it makes for more of a story when things go a little of track….


Arriving at Viana Do Castelo ‘the jewel of the north’, with it’s nice beaches, old and interesting town, forest backdrop, and generally green surroundings, I decided to stay here for the final few days of van travelling ‘Europe and beyond’.

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I had said to myself only a few days earlier that I had done well to not get ill and stay relatively healthy whilst travelling around for 4 months, especially free camping and being in places that were a little less hygienic.  However….


I don’t know if it was a swim in an estuary the day before (I noticed it was not salty and quite warm but didn’t register that this might come back to haunt me), or the beef steak I had bought from the Mercado Municipal (which looked so tender I ate a some of it raw) or just a bug from some fruit or veg (that I had not washed), but whatever, I got ill, really ill…

I started off feeling a little tired, nothing serious, and then, sorry for details, after food I would be on the toilet, again, again, and…..

Bearing in mind I am free camping, with a cassette style toilet….

I remember thinking, I’ll be fine tomorrow, took some diaralyte and (stupidly) went out for bike ride, and a run, and a (very good) kite session.

The next day after no sleep (due to a family of tactically trained mosquitos in my van), I got really ill, didn’t move all day, except to try and eat something and…..

After no sleep again (mosquitos and toilet time), I decided my van was doing me no good mentally so I spent the day walking around the town, drinking water, trying to eat food….

The fourth day I felt a little better so got up and went for a swim in the sea (stupid, but I needed to do something), I came back to my van and nearly fainted.

I decided to find wifi, translate a message I could give to a pharmacist along the lines of ‘please help me, I am really not well, day 4 of not eating etc etc, can I see a doctor and get some drugs please”.

The pharmacist I found spoke some English, and smiled as she questioned me intently about my symptoms in a busy shop. She said it could be Salmonella from the estuary (hopefully not) but advised no need for a doctor, and prescribed me Pro-biotics.


I almost ate the lot there and then and spent the rest of the day in the sun, chilling. I slept well that night, and the next day, thankfully, I felt better (more like reborn!).

I have never taken Pro-biotics before, but feel I may well include them in my diet from here on in as some kind of magic formula.

Thankfully, after day 5 I was more or less on the mend, so was able to fully enjoy my final day travelling in Viana Do Castelo 🙂

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