Christopher Columbus Museum
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Solar and Cuba

Electricity has occupied my thoughts in the last week. Solar electricity and charging stations to be more accurate. To help the planet, we invested in an electric car, mainly because we are more or less 100% solar at home. Last week, we took off through the dry, red Alentejo countryside to Evora – a Roman town celebrate my birthday.

Roman Temple, Evora

We had done some homework about charging stations. Still, we fell at the first hurdle, not least because the instructions for charging were only in Portuguese and why not? It is Portugal, after all. We quickly translated the instructions.

The other obstacle to accessing solar juice was the need for a prepaid card. We relied on a service called Via Verde that takes the cash out of our bank account every time we pass through a toll. From what Mr Google had assured us, there would be no problem in charging the car using this service. After three hours of visiting four charging stations, we discovered that not all stations use Via Verde to provide access to solar.

In our travels, we stopped in Cuba, where the Portuguese have declared ownership of Christopher Columbus. A museum is dedicated to supporting the belief that Columbus was born in Cuba, Alentejo and not Genoa in Italy.

Christopher Columbus in Cuba
Christopher Columbus in Cuba

Cuba is a small town in the Alentejo where navigation, generosity of spirit, confusion and hope collide. In Cuba, a helpful and kind Portuguese family shared the best App to access the untouchable juice. It is Miio. The advertising states “The best app to travel with electric vehicles. Find stations near you, calculate and control costs in a transparent and personalized way.”

It is debatable whether it is the best App, but it is undoubtedly the most intuitive.

We also discovered that Lidl is leading the way in Portugal with over 130 charging stations across 200 plus stores. Fifteen minutes of charging fills the batteries and a coffee and a bun later we were on our way.

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