Posted by: paulgilders | May 31, 2012

Portugal Coast and back to Spain

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, and it feels like we’ve been around the world a couple of times. We’ve actually only been to the Portuguese coast and are currently back in Spain.

We originally planned to spend more time trekking up the coastal road of Portugal, but in the end, we have found the traffic levels not so conducive to cycling and once at the beach, we realised that the beaches back home on Straddie are actually better.

Viana do Castelo

Our Portuguese coastal experience was primarily a weekend stay at Viana do Castelo, which is actually a really nice port and has some fine beaches as well. The wind blows consistently most afternoons, which makes sailing, windsurfing and kite surfing big events. Viana was also the destination where I had sent a replacement hub for the tandem after experiencing a few issues with the original.

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So, despite the nice place once repaired we headed back inland. The last week or so haven’t really been the most spectacular travel experience, but we have traversed through many pretty villages and rolled along many country roads. Here are jut a few highlights.

Rolling hills to Spain

Of course, if you cone away from the coast, one thing you can expect is to be doing some uphill work. We certainly seem to have one our fair share – frequently climbing to above 600m and then dropping down to 200 m again. Here are a few samples…

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Allariz

We stopped at the beautiful town of Allariz mainly due to the fact that there was a campsite. However, we were pleased to find a lovely town, with beautiful banks along a wide river.

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Wild Camping

We have also done a little wild camping lately – mainly due to insufficient open campsites. However, our free campsites have been extremely pretty spots. Of course without showers and a hot day on the bike, that can only mean a riverside dunk before dinner…

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You can see my cycling tan is coming on nicely! (Poppy disagrees!)

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Bread

Many of you will know that I’m a bit of a bread snob, and I’m pleased to say that generally the bread in both Portugal and Spain is excellent (some of the best hot bread is also available from supermarkets). However, the best bread of the trip so far came from a small bakery in Cacabelos – wonderful wood fired baguettes and round loaves and some incredible pastries.

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Cordellera Cantabrica

Yesterday we steadily climbed from 600m to 900m and today we have hit spectacular hills in the Cordellera Cantabrica, taking us over 1200m and once again seeing snow. We are currently camping near the small village of Sena de Luna and have huge mountains surrounding us (up to 2500m). It is truly incredible and unexpected. Cycling through the valleys has been incredible – we have seen many local cyclists on the road and had plenty of encouragement when we have crawled up sone of the steeper section. This area really is cycling heaven.

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Our campsite tonight is small, by the river and with lovely grassy areas.

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Responses

  1. All I can say is WOW. I can just imagine each morning waking up to the lovely fresh air and hills with stunning views, a dip in the icy river and then a hot cafe coffee with fantastic fresh bread with some amazing cheeses and fresh tomatoes. – Oh hang on a tick that’s what I do here too – except for the icy river bit. Hee hee and I have my new puppy to play with!


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