It’s a new dawn, a new day and I’m feel’n good…

Posted by on 19, Apr 2023 in 2023 - Sicily and Italy, Europe, Portugal, Tilly the Tandem

It’s a new dawn, a new day and I’m feel’n good…
Beach Chapel
Huge waves..
Never ending cycle path… Romans must have been here!
Tilly soaking up some rays.. ????
Aveiro..Portugal’s Venice.
Striped houses in Casa Nova

Our flight from Italy was obviously not Captained by a Italian driver, all went smoothly and we landed safely in Porto,  reassembled Tilly with a slight scare when putting the chain tensioner back on the derailleur hanger and the thread was too worn for it to tighten. Fortunately I was able to remove a couple of spacers to get more purchase and it should be fine till we get home now – I hope!

Leaving the airport, we cycled off into the mountains of rubbish and the manic roads… Oh hang on,… we’re in Portugal now, so cars waited for us, slowly passed us and we didn’t see any rubbish anywhere. We even heard a bird song for the first time in weeks. Heaven.

Our hotel was only a 1km away and we adjourned to the nearby restaurant and downed a few bevvies in celebration of our arrival in Portugal.

The next morning we had a leisurely start and despite losing our flag somewhere on the cobbles had a wonderful cycle on dedicated cycle paths adjacent to the sea. It was bloody marvellous! 

The Portuguese have nailed the best cycle route in the world – the Eccovia Littoral. It starts and finishes at the Spanish borders in the south and north and is almost entirely dedicated cycle path, often by the sea.  We’ve previously done all of it, bar the section we are now doing from Porto to Lisbon and have always loved it all.

The coast is dotted with sandy beaches and the waves lined with surfers, there’s cafes galore and the property is nicely maintained often with manicured gardens. It’s the complete opposite of Italy.

We cycled through a heaving Porto and had to keep stopping to admire the sea views on a glorious sunny day and eventually reached our first stop – a surfer dude hostel.  Naturally we opted for a private room, none of that mixed dorms for us thank you very much!  Though the communal area was great fun to chat to the other residents, many of whom came to learn to surf but seemed to end up partying instead.  Obviously there was the compulsory Brexit conversation and the surf dudes from Manchester knew only 1 person who voted for it, have they all hidden in shame?   After our chat we got invited to a birthday party that night starting well after we’d have gone to bed and offered surf lessons in the morning, which we politely declined, but it was nice that they invited us. Though as the bar music at the hostel seemed to consist of people just saying muther f*”#&£, ass titty bang bang I’m not sure we’d have lasted long there anyway! I know we’re old, but how is that music?

Our route from here took us inland after some quiet rolling woods to the heart of the Portuguese Tile towns.  This area it’s common to see house and building covered in ceramic painted tiles.  Its really interesting to see all the designs and even new builds have them.

We followed a railway line for a few miles where one of their intercity expresses scared the crap out of us as it hurtled past at what seemed to be 200mph but was a stately 140mph.  Wow, it was noisy and quick. But that was the only vehicle we saw for most of the afternoon as we followed tracks through woods and by rivers watching the storks sit in the nests and listen to birds chirping away with absolutely no rubbish in sight anywhere. Ok ok, I’ll try to shut up about the rubbish and Italy!! Sorry!

The route further southwards was just fabulous. The coast is dramatic with bays and  cliffs and waves  which are so powerful, even when they look quite small.  The noise of the sea could be heard quite clearly in some of our accomodation even though we were quite a way from the sea front.  Linda said on the rough days it sounds like a jet engine, just a constant roar, not the soothing noise you get in Felixstowe!

For the first 150km we cycled the flat part of the Atlantic coast, getting our legs going ready for the more challenging sections to come.  We met a German cyclist coming the other way who was not impressed with the hills further south ‘The are just so steep and never stop’ he said… Oh dear, not what we wanted to hear….

We started to come into the hills and our first pushes when we encountered a 14% hill. No way we can cycle up that!  But in fact they aren’t too bad, they are short and hard work and all of a sudden you’ve gained quite a lot of height. But these short lumps were interspersed with long cycles through dunes and scrub on Roman like dead straight roads in what’s turning out to be a very warm spring.  We’ve been exceptionally lucky with the weather – we usually are for some reason -and it’s in the mid 20’s during the day and cloudless, but you still need a jacket in the evening.  It does make it hot work cycling though and we hate to think what it’s going to be like in August.

The beaches are still deserted here until you start getting nearer to Nazare – the home of the big surfing waves.  This is heaven for us, but does make finding somewhere that does vege food quite difficult sometimes , but we fell on our feet at the lovely sea side town of Pedroegao, finding a restaurant on the end of the headland that did omelette and chips and ice cold beer with a front seat view of a stunning sunset.. A perfect end to a day here.

One Comment

  1. Was there rubbish in Portugal… you should have mentioned that!!!

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