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Wayne left the hostel at some ungodly hour this morning to explore the city. Charlotte and I got up later and had breakfast together. We met a woman hiking her way around Portugal at breakfast, and she and Charlotte hit it off. With a plan to meet back at  the central square at 1:00 pm, I left at 9:30 am to find a bicycle shop. I left with the bicycle fully-loaded to increase my street cred at the bicycle shop. The first shop directed me to yet another shop. Fortunately I convinced the owner to point out the next shop on my GPS or I never would have found it.

Yet at 10:00 am the shop still hadn’t opened. As I prepared to seek out another shop, Daniel arrived at 10:15 amto open the shop. While his English only barely exceeding my Portuguese, he examined the bike. After replacing the rear bearings, grinding noises still emanated from the wheel. Further investigation determined that someting had struck the rear hub, leaving a metal spur rubbing against the axel. Daniel filed it down, and pronounced the hub repaired.  He also told me that sometimes you can put a bicycle on a train. A bicycle. If there’s already a bicycle on the train, that will be the only one. Still, useful information.

Still well before our meeting time, I stopped by a camping store. Again they sell the wrong fuel, and don’t sell a matching stove. I stopped at a supermarket to pick up supplies, and then headed to the nearby McDonald’s for lunch, conveniently located on the way out of Evora. Messaging redirected Wayne and Charlotte to my location.

Upon arrival, Wayne went to buy lunch. When he failed to return, I wandered inside to check on him. He’d gotten in the wrong line, and was now puzzling out the display on the ordering terminal. I pointed him to the option to get everything in English, and he ordered something regional. Charlotte arrived soon thereafter, having encountered delays of police barricades, one-way streets, and  unclosed doors. She’d spent part of the morning talking to our companion from breakfast.

Outside Evora we encountered a sign for historic monuments. The hostel staff mentioned these to Charlotte before she left as being on our way today. With only 50 km on the day’s agenda, we decided to divert and explore. 4 km and two wrong turns later, the road turned to sand with a sign indicating another 4 km. The sign included pictures of the monoliths, and we unanimously decided that pictures accomplished our goal. We returned to the main road, and continued on our way.

As we headed onto Montemor and the indicated castle, I hoped we would find something a bit more interesting than the castle encounters so far, mostly closed or private, and all fairly small. The castle in Montemor did not disappoint. Parked high on a hill, towers, ruins of buildings, and a 15th century abbey provided plenty to explore.

Now 5:15 pm, and still 25 km from our final destination of Vendas Novas, I decided to reach out to our accomodation for the night to confirm our later arrival. The phone number didn’t work, and I couldn’t decide if  communication inside of booking.com went to the hotel or the website. Hmm, if someone waited for us to arrive and gave up we could lose our place to stay.  

Near the end of the day, Wayne took the lead, blocking the headwinds for Charlotte, with me tailing along. Just before 7:00 pm we arrived in Vendas Novas. After a brief search, we located the motel-like establishment, and checked into our room. Nothing special, three beds in a room, but nice enough. The manager carefully instructed us on how to use the totally standard latch in the bathroom door, and retired for the night.

Once we were cleaned up, we walked into town to find dinner, stopping at a Chinese place. A great last evening, with all of us chatting about the trip and life experiences. On the way back to the motel, Wayne tried to snag an orange from a street-side tree, but he wasn’t the first. With no low-hanging fruit, I jumped up and grabbed one, and then Charlotte climbed up into the tree for a few more. That’s when we discovered that Portuguese orange trees can defend themselves. The vampire tree managed to stab Charlotte with thorns along the branches. Only marginally the worse for wear, we retired to our room.

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