76km Guarda to Escalhão

Sunbathing in PortugalToday we moved into our new home.

No, we haven’t given up life on our bikes and bought a house. We just found a temporary home for the night, an abandoned four-wall stone house in the Portugese countryside. Just the walls are left standing (the roof is long since gone) and even they are starting to come apart as time works away at the building, but inside the doorway we found a grassy field in which to pitch our tent. Who knows what the house might have been used for. It is hard to imagine a family living here in this small windowless building. Maybe it only held a farmer’s tools many decades ago.

Before getting to our resting place for the night, we cruised the roads leading north from Guarda. At first they were fairly boring, but after Pinhel the scenery improved considerably, with deep valleys, rivers and fields filled with huge granite boulders – more evidence of the glaciers that once rolled through this area. We had to work harder in this more scenic part though as the roads wound their way down to riverbeds and then duly went back up several hundred meters. For a few minutes we stopped in the shade to watch a shepherd urge his flock of two or three hundred sheep up a hill. It must be hard work, being out in the sun all day. We ended our day by listening to the football on the BBC World Service, a taste of Britain in the middle of Portugal.

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    17th April 2007 at 6:43 pm #

    Road notes: We followed the N221 for the whole day. Pinhel and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo are the two biggest towns, with plenty of shops to help you fill your panniers. All along the route we saw water fountains regularly so you should have no troubles topping up your water bottles either. The route after Pinhel becomes more challenging, with a long uphill stretch leading into Figueira.

    What we spent: €1.20 beer, €3.50 groceries

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