160525 – When life gives you lemons

The forecast rain falling from the sky this morning prompted us to delay our departure from Setubal. Charlotte and I saw a castle yesterday on a mountain in the distance during our wanderings yesterday. The hostel said the castle was about 2 km away. We walked to the castle while waiting for the weather to stabilize.  And walked. And Walked. Looking at the GPS, not only was the castle in the next town, but the road to the top climbed the mountain on the back side of the mountain. We turned back around.

After stopping in a cafe and supermarket, we returned to the hostel, picked up our bicycles, and headed to the ferry across to Troia.

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Including the castle walk, stops, and ferry, we set off from Troia around 2:30 pm. In Troia we encountered signs for EuroVelo 1, with little question why. We encountered little traffic today on good roads, with at worst long sloping hills. Occasionally cycle tourists passed us on their way north. We’re probably cycling EV1 the wrong way.

I’ve always thought of Spain where you get oranges. We’ve seen more than a few orange groves and trees in private residences, but the fruit tree in Portugal is clearly the lemon. Trees everywhere hang gravid with lemons.

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Early on I worried that Wayne and Charlotte wouldn’t be able to get in shape for the trip. For the past couple of days I’ve occasionally mentioned to Charlotte that her cycling cadence could be a little faster. Well, she had fixed her cadence today; I think she’s now faster than me. We took a long break at one point today because she was wearing me out!

With the bicycle pedal incident(s) and this morning’s exploration we’ve had slow starts every day, and covered less ground than planned. Today we had a few choices for campgrounds, and wandered a bit down the coast to add a bit more distance. Wandering from the second to the third, we took a road that turned into loose sand for a couple of kilometers, giving me increased appreciation for the wider tires on Wayne and Charlotte’s rental bikes as I slid around.

Reception at the campground closed before we arrived, but the guard let us in after taking Charlotte’s passport as security. We’re camped right off the Atlantic.

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We’ve been considering how to adjust our plan. We’ve cycled shorter days, and no one is in a hurry to add an additional 100 km of cycling to make up for it. In looking at a smaller circle back to Lisbon, there’s a couple of 100 km jumps with not much in the middle. Despite daily cycling that far last year, and cycling over 1,000 kilometers in the months leading up to the trip, that now feels like a long way.

We’ve been looking at possible alternatives. We could keep cycling south; the cycling company could pick up the bikes and Wayne and Charlotte could train back to Lisbon, but we’d like to visit Beja and Evora. Both cities are steeped in history (with a castle here or there).

Tomorrow perhaps we’ll leave somewhere before afternoon. We’re cycling to Sines for lunch, and then heading inland. In theory we will then catch a regional train for Beja, and then continue cycling towards Evora. We’ll hammer out those details tomorrow.

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