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Staying in Beja today as a rest day, a “tourist” day, and to avoid the rain, we started slowly this morning. While a blustery morning, the forecast had, of course, changed to no rain. Wayne headed out to do his own thing, and Charlotte and I headed to the market. We picked up strawberries and grapes, and proceeded to wandering though the town, visiting those sites indicated on our map(s) from Tourist Information yesterday, as well as the occasonal cafe.

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At one cafe a strong gust of wind carried off our umbrella! In stopping it from crashing into the folks at the adjoining table, I scraped up the protective screen on my phone. A small price to pay.

We also found the International Comic Book Convention, in town this weekend. Not exactly Comic Con.

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According to Charlotte’s Fitbit she and I walked 20,000 steps today by the time we met back up at Wayne  6:15 pm. We met back up with Wayne to go to a local theatre event – a collection of chorale groups. I pointed out to Charlotte we were seeing all the chorale groups in Beja to which she responded “and the surrounding area.” They performed a mixed of American and regional music.

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Charlotte and Wayne then headed out for dinner, while I stayed back to make dinner for myself and enjoy some alone time.

Between the three of us, we’re now using more resources that I ever have before for finding places to stay: my paper map, OSMAnd+, Booking.com, HostelWorld, Google Maps, and AirB&B. Two I have yet to utilize, but are additional resources include couchsurfing.com and warmshowers.org. I’ve been trying to recollect how I ever managed to find places to stay before smart phones. When we stopped at the Beja Tourist Information office yesterday just before they closed I realized a core difference. Long ago I worked hard to get to my destination town before Tourist Information closed. They could then help me find accomodation, and took a percentage of that business to support the office. Almost every town of a reasonable size included a Tourist Information office, and signs all over town pointed to them. Those offices are harder to find now, probably because of the other available resources.

Another reason I could function without a smart phone derives from the fact that I started touring in the more core Western European countries which have a much higher density of hostels and camp grounds. While I believe there are more hostel now, those hostels were (are?) easier to find. Good reminders for me.

Those familiar with my modus operandi know I typically operate with only a general plan, and fill in the gaps as I go. In the case of this particular tour, I have more framework filled in. I’m cycling with Wayne and Charlotte until they depart. I then theoretically meet Sam around June 13 to cycle the Camino de Santiago, returning to Lisbon for my flight on the 30th. I find irony in that I’m already fairly certain, weeks ahead, that I’m going to run into problems in the execution.

To move from east of Lisbon to the coast I cross a fairly substantial mountain range. I’ve crossed many mountain ranges, so am well-familiar with the associated difficulties. In looking back, I’ve tackled the most difficult of those mountains after 20+ days of cycling. For this trip that will start after 10 days. From all reports I can’t readily or reliably move a bicycle in Portugal by bus or train. I’m not quite traveling in a circle, likely returning south via the same path I took north. Once I make that trek I’ll have a better idea of the likelihood of returning to Lisbon in time, since I likely have to do everything under my own power. Guess we’ll see.

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