160527 – It’s not quite this easy

The GPS tracked the direct path from Carnestros to Beja as only 40 km, so we extended the day to investigate a couple of nearby castles.

Before bed last night I checked on our attempt at laundry to find everything in the machine still wet. I strung a clothes line through several rooms and hung everything up to dry for Charlotte and Wayne to find in the morning.

We had intended for Charlotte and Wayne to go to the local cafe at 9:30 am, while I checked us out of the B&B at 10:00 am. We weren’t quite ready by 9:30 am. We did manage to be packed up and ready to go when the assistant came by to pick up the keys at 10:00 am.

On my first tour I struggled with the hlls in England. I’d never done any loaded touring before, and the roads in England climb up and down hills insta of around them. I met another cycle touring who watched my struggles. He gave me pointers on earing for hills, and told me that when I climbed hills, I should be geared so I’m not struggling, cycling casually enough that I can eat a banana. I related this story to Wayne and Charlotte. Charlotte now rates hills based on the number of bananas she could eat as she climbs.

20 km after leaving the hostel we arrived at the castle in Aljustrel. Wending our way up the steep cobblestone streets we arrived at the top to find … nothing. Originally built from packed earth, the castle withered away, with only a long flight of modern stairs and a monument at the peak with a fantastic scenic overlook. We ate lunch at the foot of the stairs before continuing onward. Wayne’s working his way through the different canned fish options available in the markets.

Now turning west, we picked up varying degrees of tailwind for the rest of the day. 10 km down the road Castle Velho proved even more disappointing, The GPS indicates only an archaeological site, which viewing from the road appearaed inaccessible, so we moved on. After a brief stop in Ervidel, we moved onto a major highway, and Wayne left us.

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As previously discussed, Wayne and Charlotte are both faster than I am, and eating something last night that made me sick didn’t help things any. Charlotte eventually stopped for me to catch up, and she let me draft behind her to make up the difference. We caught up with Wayne where he’d stopped to wait for us just outside of Beja.

We had plenty of time to kill, as we arrived in Beja by 4:00 pm with a 6:30 pm AirB&B check-in time (the AirB&B reservation wouldn’t be ready until then because they needed time to get it ready). The roads in Beja twist and turn through the city, climbing or descending in a confusing morass of narrow one-way streets. We eventually arrived at the castle, with the main keep still under renovation, and inaccessible to tourists.

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From the castle we wandered the city streets, arriving at the address for the AirB&B at 6:28 pm. The host let us in, provided a quick tour, and turned over the keys.

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Charlotte and Wayne went to clean up. I headed out to find a sporting goods store and get something to eat. I found both, but the sporting goods store only had fuel for a different type of stove, and didn’t even sell the corresponding stove, removing the consideration of buying the
different model  of stove.

While wandering about town, I try not to look like a complete tourist. Part of that relates to security, since wandering around looking like a tourist makes me a bit more of a target, but primarily I want to enjoy the environment around me as it is. Apparently doing better than usual, people stopped me today to ask for directions.

With all of us back at the B&B, we spent the evening discussing bicycle touring and our final path. We had considered leaving their rental bicycles in Evora, but Wayne prefers cycling the last leg into Lisbon if possible. We’re reviewing our options to find a way we can accomplish that.

Tomorrow is the rain day; we’ll spend the day wandering Beja. Tourist Information indicated there shoud be a large farmer’s market outside the castle in the morning. Wayne would like to pick up some bicycle accesories, and we found a flyer for a chorus in the evening. Tourist Information also highlighted some things on the map, providing a full day as we duck in and out of rainstorms, on foot.

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