Sines was a funny little place. Quaint in parts, an old castle and nice beach. As we came into Sines the night befor, we crossed what was like a superhighway of huge pipes. We couldn’t work out what it was but later we were told it was gas and oil. On our way out of town we came across where the think the pipes went – a huge great refinery or plant. By now we had taken a wrong turn and we were in the middle of an industrial estate. A very unglamorous start to the day.
It had been foggy by the hotel. We waited for our clothes to be dried by the hotel as they hadn’t dried over night so we were hardly rushing to get on our way. As we headed back to the coast from the industrial estate we came back to the fog. It’s a shame because we could really see what looked like really nice beaches again. Not just long and sandy. These were rocky and quite dramatic. Along this stretch were numerius surf schools. A Dutch family who were cycling from Setubal to Faro and were in the hotel were making their way along the coast and we kept seeing them. At Porto Covo we turned left towards the route the N120. There is an absence of Tarmac roads here – at least roads that go anywhere. The N120 seems to be the old road south and we quickly pick up signs to Lagos.
The road is a busy one. Many Portuguese cars with roof racks and surfboards on. You got the impression that some were getting a quick get away before the August migration from the north starts on Saturday (1st August). It wasn’t therefore a road where you could ride side by side chatting. It’s was a means to end so we just got on with it and covered 20 or so miles through a national park until a cafe/restaurant appeared.
The restaurant was quite full. All Portuguese. A hand written menu that was largely unreadable. Sopa de Dia stood out which was great followed by fried fish with rice and beans. Great meal to fuel us on. It was hot when we came out of the restaurant and back on to the N120. It didn’t seem as busy but the road was still a means to an end. There were a couple of towns along the way. At one point a lorry laden with bark from Cork Oaks passed me. Shortly after I saw it in a yard with tons of the stuff. I’d always seen the oaks across the algarve minus their bark but I’d never seen it in such quantities. A big descent followed and we had drinks at the bottom. Back on, the road climbed up and before long we were at Rogil on the outskirts of Aljezur and our destination for the evening.
I have to say that I’m tired. By 9.30 last night I needed my bed. I could hardly keep my eyes open. Today is the big final day. Our Alpe du Heuz stage of this years tour. 100kms over the mountains of Monchique and onto Silves. The Mountains are the highest point of the Algarve and on a clear day you can see both the south and west coasts. It’s foggy currently and it’s been raining overnight. I left my shoes outside last night for airing (couldn’t stand the smell in the room). This morning they are full of water and the balcony is soaking. Don’t get too excited about the room having a balcony – all you can see is the traffic on the N120!
So a great last day is in store if only I can encourage my legs to bend first. Should be a good day for pictures if the fog lifts!