Portugal Journal Entries

Climbing to EvoramonteOf all the countries in Europe, we liked Portugal the best.

It was cheap, with beautiful and quiet roads and fantastic local food. Think hearty sausages, fresh fish, fantastic red wine and plenty of cheese to sample.

The clean and affordable municipal campgrounds only added to our happiness. We’d go back to Portugal again in a heartbeat.

90km Monte Gordo to Almancil

Posted on:
30 Mar 2007

Today we saw a naked cyclist. Now that we’ve got your attention we’ll admit the truth: he wasn’t entirely naked. But even half-naked cyclists are quite a sight to remember! At first glance this man wasn’t naked at all but wearing the racing cyclist’s typical top and lycra shorts. Obviously it was his favourite outfit

58km Almancil to Ameixial

Posted on:
3 Apr 2007

One of the harder parts of touring now that we are on the road (the hardest part of this trip was actually making the decision to go in the first place, leaving behind our friends, family, jobs and routines) is making a start after a few days in one place. We got so comfortable the

91km Ameixial to Beja

Posted on:
4 Apr 2007

For a big day we started out slowly, lazily rolling out of our wild camping spot about 9am, then stopping for coffee in a tiny village down the road. All the smallest Portugese towns seem to have a combination café-bar, even if there is nothing else for miles around. This one greeted us with a

96km Beja to Evora

Posted on:
6 Apr 2007

“We are not thinkers, los espanoles, we don’t stay at home and think like the Germans; that’s why we have practically no philosophers. We like to be out where it’s sunny and interesting, where we can see what’s going on. When we go to other countries, the streets look empty to us. We think, where

57km Évora to Estramoz

Posted on:
7 Apr 2007

We woke to a slight chill in the air; something we are slowly readjusting to as we work our way north after a winter in the warmer parts of the world. The daytime temperatures are just right for cycling but the cool mornings don’t do much to encourage us out of our sleeping bags. We

96km Estramoz – Nisa

Posted on:
8 Apr 2007

We’ve had a lot of rainy mornings lately (maybe a sign of what we can expect for our springtime cycle ride across Europe) and this morning the drops started hitting our tent around dawn. As we rolled out we were bracing ourselves for a wet day but surprisingly enough the rain held off and sometimes

52km Nisa to Castelo Branco

Posted on:
9 Apr 2007

Quiet roads led us to the town of Castelo Branco, where we stopped a bit earlier than normal for an Easter Monday lunch and, less excitingly, to wash our growing pile of dirty clothes from a couple days of wild camping. The route leading to Castelo Branco was slightly hard work – a 2.5km downhill

51km Castelo Branco to Paradanta

Posted on:
10 Apr 2007

Our “to do” list was growing rather large so this morning we set off to get a few things done: first a shopping trip to refill our panniers. Peanut butter, check. Bananas, check. Large quantities of cheese, check. Chorizo sausage, check. Once we got everything needed to sustain two hungry cyclists and managed to stuff

39km Paradanta to Pião

Posted on:
11 Apr 2007

Attention cyclists: the town of Covilhã can be dangerous to your health! After a morning hiding under our tarp in the Serra da Gardunha mountains, waiting for the rain to stop, and then a few hours spent online in the town of Fundão, we had not expected such a tough end to the day as

28km Pião – Torre (1993m) – Covão d’Ametade (1420m)

Posted on:
12 Apr 2007

So often on a trip like this, how far you get, or in today’s case how high you get, is all a matter of believing you can do it. We knew we had a tough slog ahead of us when we set out from the campsite at Pião, back onto the roads that we struggled

55km Covão d’Ametade to Guarda

Posted on:
13 Apr 2007

Our sleeping bags kept us nice and cosy throughout the night as the wind blew down the Zêzere valley and past our tent, following on the icy hailstorm the evening before. We’d been told that the weather could be less than reliable this time of year in the Serra da Estrela and now we were

76km Guarda to Escalhão

Posted on:
15 Apr 2007

Today 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

78km Escalhão to Algozinho

Posted on:
16 Apr 2007

We were slowly pedalling our way up a windy stretch of road, with olive trees and vineyards all around us, the sun beating down on our heads and a view of the Douro River far below, at the bottom of the steep banks separating Spain and Portugal. “Hi,” said a voice from out of nowhere

62km Algozinho – Mirando do Douro

Posted on:
17 Apr 2007

We woke up this morning realising that our choice of camping location probably could have been better. From now there will be no more camping in ploughed fields! The field wasn’t newly ploughed so we had no worry that the farmer would mind, but the soil had hardened over time into dips and mounds. Not

74km Miranda do Douro to Zamora

Posted on:
18 Apr 2007

Once again we set out to do a half day and ended up putting in a fair number of kilometers. We rose early from our bed in the hotel room overlooking the gorge carved out by the Douro river and headed straight down to the internet cafe to make the most of our last chance

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