Day 33 - Google maps

14 January 2022

Not the best night. Shell had an allergic reaction to the blankets. The wooly type. Around 11.00 pm she woke up with an itchy throat, coughing, and sneezing. We swapped out the blankets for sleeping bags. It took her a while to stop sneezing and coughing.

If Komoot had a slogan - ‘If there are hills, we will find them’. Today's ride looks tough on paper. More headwind. 70+ km. Hills. Two massive hills. One is 3 km long with gradients over 14%. On a tough night's sleep. Challenging.

“Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.” ― Leonard Cohen

Porridge. Load up and hit the road. More of the Eurovelo. More headwind. More long straight lines. On these legs, riding is A to B. It is not much fun. We hit Nazáre. If there is a village built for tourists, this is it. All destinations have a purpose. The swell was not huge today. Regardless, the view from the top is magnificent.

We cruise down to the beach. 100 m in altitude lost in minutes. The hill is looming. As we roll out of Nazáre Shell tells me she is on Google Maps. Her distance to destination is less than mine on Komoot. We go with Google Maps. Lead the way, Shell. We sweep around a bend. Komoot says swing right. There is it, the incline. It is huge. Google Maps says straight. Yes, please.

We follow Google Maps. It takes us through some wonderful tracks and villages. Off the coast. Away from the wind. It is much better riding. The tracks are rougher. You need to concentrate. It gives your mind something to do. We are coasting along discussing how amazing it all is and the road ends at a gate. A chicken hatchery. No way around.

Up a side dirt track. Dead end. Small farm. Massive dog. We backtrack. Google Maps keeps trying to swing us back to the dead end. Another dead end and we look at a satellite picture. There is no way around. Finally, I put our destination in Komoot. It sails us down our original road. Back on track. I can’t tell you how good Komoot is. Highly recommended.

Straight back on Google Maps and we cruise into lunch. A buffet, but it gets served for you. Only one plate. I get them to load it up. Coffee, cake, a full plate, a jug of wine; 7 euros. Incredible.

The last 20 km are great riding. Through orchards and villages. Some great gravel tracks. We hit a lagoon and take a break 10 km out. It is sunny. There is no wind. Just a moment. Shell has been huge today after a tough night.

Not all rides are going to be a fairy tale. I had low expectations today. It turned out to be a great ride. Some beautiful scenery. No gigantic hills. We push out the last 10 km. A tiny village called Óbidos. Shower and start planning tomorrow. We might swing inland. 

There is a restaurant downstairs. Shell is not drinking tonight. I am worried.

“That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” ― Charles Bukowski

Dinner is great. Brocolli soup. Sardines. Mushrooms cooked in bacon. Mussels in a broth with onion and peppers.

Today’s ride -


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