Day 21 – Aveiro to Figuerio de Foz

The day started well after an early night. The hotel was like faulty towers. A real throw back with odd decor. Last night was cold – really cold and I had to wear my “fleece”. You couldn’t sit outside for long.

After breakfast I set off through the centre of Aveiro, along the canals and past the salt fields that we came across the day before. We were soon back on the planned route heading south. For quite sometime we followed the shore of the inland water that we’d followed the previous afternoon. After about 20km the Garmin beeped – which often means that I’d gone off course. This time it wasn’t for that – it was showing that the battery on the unit was low. This was really odd as it had been in charge all night. I knew that I could could wait another half hour or so but before long we came across a restaurant/bar and stopped. The place was very much a locals bar. It had a chicken grill at the front – some old chap stuck in a shed sized place grilling chicken.

I headed inside to find some power. I put in the regular lead and nothing happened. I tried the spare – nothing. I headed back to the bike to get all my cables. Through a process of elimination I established that the socket was fine, the adaptor was fine and so was the cable. I tried all the kit on Nicks Garmin and bingo – it charged. The only thing it could be was my Garmin. It was buggered. I just couldn’t get any power into it. My eyes through the 4 countries this far was about to give up the ghost. I felt sick. How was I going to navigate? I still have 5 days of the trip left. What about all the data – showing how far I’d cycled etc? It was an awful feeling – like I’d lost my right hand.

Thank goodness Nick was here and had his. Without it I’d be stuck. All I could think about was what would have happened if I was in the Duoro or the middle of Spain. I’d have been lost, in trouble and potentially in danger.

Whilst all this had been going on a German cyclist had turned up. He was doing it the hard way. Firstly by camping and secondly by heading north straight into the prevailing northerly winds. He was working his way from Lisbon as far as he could get in Portugal and Spain in 6 weeks. Nick had been chatting to him while I was pulling my hair out. Nick went to the bar and Stefan came to chat to me. He was holding a 10 euro note. He asked me to put it towards the funds as his wife was in remission from breast cancer. Something like that just snaps you back in to the reality of life. I can get another Garmin somehow.

We pressed on. The roads were uneventful really. Flat and residential and we cracked on at a fair pace. Before long we were on the N109 which was quite busy and got busier as we approached Figueria de Foz. Its a town built on an estuary. We made our way to the hotel – a great little family run place. The chief – the mother has done our washing and we headed to the beach to soak our legs. At the beach there was just one problem – we couldn’t see the sea. Its just like Weston Super Mare – about a mile away. Luckily after about 100m was a beach bar where we parked ourselves for the rest of the afternoon. A couple of Super Bocks later and the world is rosy.

I’ve written to Garmin – 3 working day turnaround. I’ll try and get a new device before we leave in the morning. Its a big day of over 130 Kms. I’m lost without it

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