I know it’s been over a week since our last post, but I’m not a happy bunny. Firstly, my phone SD card has crashed again, and secondly, the cycling has not turned out to be that much fun. More about that later and the reasons why, but in the meantime, let’s catch up with our tour. Any photos published now are mainly recent.
After leaving the lovely town of Carrapateira, we only had 14km to our next stop at Vila do Bispo. It was mainly uphill and the trouble with travelling south at this time of the year is the low winter sun constantly in our eyes. Which must be the same for the speedy drivers coming from behind! Vila do Bispo was so quiet, but our €28 room in the old centre at Casa Mestre was cosy with terrace, kitchen and Wi-Fi.
From here, it was 21km to Praia da Luz. We had two choices. It was either the direct N120 or, alternatively, the winding, hilly M roads around to the beaches and back. We wisely chose the N120 with its wide shoulder and gentler gradients. And it wasn’t that busy.
For Luz, we turned off the main road to Bergau. A pretty village, but everything was closed. It was so quiet that whilst wandering around, we inadvertently cycled the wrong way down a one way street (80m). We never advocate doing this, but were astonished that a van driver, obviously British, admonished us in English! We can only think that the one way system is only in place because of summer traffic, especially expats. We’re sure that the old locals would have been cycling and leading their donkeys and horses two way not so long ago. Well, that’s our lame excuse.
Praia da Luz did not look any better. Very sterile. Yet our apartment at Vila da Luz for €38 was fantastic. They must have given is their prime unit. Huge space and magnificent balcony overlooking the sea. So, it was off into more lively Luz to get supplies for our great kitchen. Yet even in the town it looked like expat places were the mainstay of the open establishments.
It was with regret that we left the apartment, yet we ensured that we made the most of the morning sun and the balcony as we were only heading 10km just past Lagos. Sadly, after 5km we had to give up. The road was so narrow and busy and we just did not feel safe. This is such a shame because my Garmin Velomap was showing this as a cycle route. Clearly not. We called a taxi to Vita Sol Park (€35) and settled into another reasonable apartment for the rest of the day.
Sadly, the weather took a turn for the worse. Heavy rain and strong winds. There was no way that we would be cycling in these conditions. So another taxi took us 15km to Alvor just before Portimao. It was just as well as the road again was busy and narrow especially across the estuary bridges. It has to be said that some of this is of our decision making. We know that there is a Eurovelo route across the Algarve, yet further inland. It was our choice to stick closer to the coast.
Anyway, we stayed at Apartamentos Santa Teresinha for €31 overnight before heading to Portimao itself. The young man in reception had recently completed a 3,000km cycle trip around Portugal with his friends. Impressive.
So, here we are in Portrush. Sorry, Portimao. It just feels like Ireland. There are so many Irish bars and restaurants, and being surrounded by so much Guinness and Jameson’s, it does feel strange.
We are now settled in our time share exchanges for Christmas and New Year and feel slightly proud that we have managed to cycle the 300km from Lisbon, especially on ill equipped folding bikes. We’re not sure that there will be much more pedalling in Portugal this trip, but there will be more adventures coming soon. Rajasthan??