The previous night finished well with a big pot of seafood and rice. Good food for the ride today.
We set off from our excellent hotel having tried to buy a replacement Garmin without success. We headed over this huge bridge that spanned the estuary. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get a snap or two. The road over the bridge was a really busy road with a cycle track to the side. As we came off the bridge the cycle path ended and we were left at the mercy of the traffic. We dived off into the quiet roads of a small town but before long we were out the other side and back on the N109
The N109 was bad. One of the worst roads that I have had to ride. Thundering traffic and lots of it. Fast lorries and cars just not what I’d ride at home let alone in a foreign country. It’s interesting how you get to know someone through their routing decisions. Pedro would have put us on this road if it wasn’t absolutely necessary or it was for a purpose. There didn’t seem any alternative for the first 10 miles or so. It was just uninteresting and busy. A couple of prostitutes plied their trade on the road side and were unsuccessful in soliciting the attention of the two english cyclists and about 20 or 30 lorries that they waved at as we approached and passed them. Daisy Duke shorts (gents – if you remember the Dukes of Hazard) were just not doing it for the lorry drivers at 10.30 in the morning.
I’d been looking at the map on the Garmin whilst I’d had my head down and had decided that we were coming off the road at the first sensible opportunity. We made our way through a small village and out the other side. To our luck it appeared tha a freshly laid cycle route had been put in. We estimated less than a year old. It went in exactly the direction we wanted. Furthermore it was deserted – as was the road to its side. The red Tarmac just went on and on through pine forests. We past a lovely lake that was very tempting but we passed by. It was getting time for a bite to eat. I could see some sort of beach side village so we headed there. It appeared to be in the middle of nowhere.
Jackpot! It was fab. Great beach and a tidy looking spot. We selected a beach cafe and dived in for lunch. It was just perfect. Refuelled we headed on and out of the village. As we left we could see the straight coast line ahead going on for miles in the direction that we were heading. We left the village and as we pulled out on to the route, ahead of us was one straight road. We measured it. 9 miles without a hint of a bend – oh and a smooth cycle track too. It was just great as we made our way through the pine Forrest that hugged the sand dunes. We got occasional glimpses of the deserted beaches but we just didn’t have time to stop.
The waves got bigger as we approached Nazare. We’d been told about the huge waves at this place but all you could see was surfers waiting for the “big one” only to have had a disappointing wait. We stopped for coffee and to take some snaps and then pushed on. All day it had been relatively flat but it started getting more lumpy as we progressed south. Straight after Nazare we headed Uo to a ridge that ran parallel with the Coast. The views were just stunning – you felt as though you could see the horizon curve as you looked out to sea. Worth every effort to get up there. Eventually our route was to put us back in the N109 – which I refused to do, so we made it around the lagoon at Foz de Arelou (wrong spelling) and through the quiter but hilly country roads to Piniche. It was about 8.15 by the time we arrived at the hotel. It’s a new place that has only been opened for just 25 days.
We sat stinking at the bar – two dead foxes in Lycra. We had a couple of pints each and were then offered a welcome drink – they’d forgotten. “Have what you want as long as it’s port” was the message. We had port, quickly showered and changed and headed into the town for food. By now it was dark so I can’t tell you much about it. All in all a great day. 92 miles following the golden sandy beaches down Portugals west coast. Just perfect.