Day 26 - Beaches forever
7 January 2022
I wake up sick. Again. I never really shook the cold from a few weeks ago. Just a lingering cough. Back to square one. Sore throat. Not feeling the best. The day is stunning. Blue skies. Not a cloud.
We set out at 9.00 am. It is a big day. Over 60 km to Porto. Straight onto the beaches. There is a cycle track. We jump off the Komoot GPS. It keeps dragging us off the beach. Cycle through vegetable farms and hug the coast. The first 20 km are done quick. I am feeling pretty good.
Coffee on the beach at A Ver O Mar. A nice break. Back on the road. The road is timber. It is great to ride on. Komoot keeps pulling us inland. We hug the coast on the timber track. I hate watching the Komoot GPS. Shouting at you to turn around. Porto is South. You cannot get any more direct than hugging the coastline. It is a stunning coast. Massive swell. I love it when there is huge surf. The waves thunder. Reminds you how small you are.
“Sometimes, you need the ocean light, and colors you’ve never seen before painted through an evening sky" - David Whyte
Our luck runs out at around 35 km. The timber track turns to sand. Soft beach sand. We are off and pushing. How long will it remain sand? Should we turn back? Should we push on?
‘The worse thing about today is your whining. Stop your whining and push your bike’ - Rachelle Griffin
Back on the cycleway. Smooth sailing to lunch until we hit stairs. A cycleway with stairs? Unloaded, these bikes are light. You pick them up and carry them. Loaded they are heavy and awkward. The stairs are steep. There are six flights. Shells up first. Tough going. Mine is heavier. I get them both to the top and I am exhausted. It is like my body decided to remind me I was ill. I did not whine.
Coast into Leça do Palmiera. Ride past a lady cooking fish on a charcoal BBQ. Lunch. I know I am sick when I am not hungry. Sea bass for two with potatoes and salad. Cooked over charcoal. On the ocean. A half bottle of house vino blanco.
18 km to Porto and I am feeling every kilometer. It is flat. The view is amazing. I am struggling. We hit Porto. Incredible harbor. Up there with Sydney. We wind our way along the water. With 2 km to go we suddenly went up. Steep.
Porto is Unesco listed city. It is beautiful. It is ancient. Everywhere you look is something centuries old. Up and up we go. Pushing the bikes when it gets too steep. We get to our place. Stairs. Stairs to reception. We are on the third floor. Stairs. Stairs do not bother me. Today I am exhausted. 65 km trip. Every step hurts after the hill.
The place is beautiful. We have a window overlooking the city which is also a balcony. Andre, our host, is excellent. We shower, change and head out for some cold medication. Doesn’t exist. I guess you need a prescription. I will medicate with wine.
Pass a barber. Shell suggests a cut. I am indifferent. Shell a little forceful. I don’t think she likes me untidy. I get a cut. Feel much better.
We book another night here. We pretend it is so we can see the city. We both know I need to shake the cold. We head out and grab a bottle of wine for dinner. I am exhausted. Choose a local wine. Settle in for the night. Until Shell needs a cup of tea. Down the stairs I go. First lot not hot enough. Back down I go. Lucky the wine has hit and I feel much better.
Tonight’s wine -
2020 Monte da Ravasqueira Vinho Alentejano Dona Vitoria Grande Escolha
Tomorrow I will feel better and we will explore Porto. I can’t wait.
Shell just proofread this post.
'You did whine a lot. I love you but' - Rachelle Griffin
I have decided to start quoting Shell. Her work is outstanding.
Today's ride -