Day 34 - Inland
15 January 2022
We decide to head inland. Not a bad night’s sleep. Shell’s cough is getting worse, not better. I think this will be her toughest day. From the outset, she is not herself. Could have been the cold shower this morning. Short ride. 50 km. One big hill. Less headwind off the coast I assure Shell.
We set out at 9.00 am. The first 8 km is the road we came in on. Steep hills and steep declines. Up and down. We head inland. Our reliable old friend the headwind is with us again. It shouldn't be. It is.
It is hard to enjoy the ride in the wind. You feel like you are going nowhere. Flat seems like hills. Downhills seem flat. Uphills are just tough. Not every ride is going to be great. We are on some nice tracks.
Dogs are security here. Whenever we go off-road and hit a farm, there is a dog. Or a pack of dogs. They are chained or fenced. They are huge. Rafeiro do Alentejo. The Alentejo Mastiff. They are frightening. Even just one running toward you is frightening. Three of four stops the heart. You hope the chain holds if there is no fence. If there is a fence you hope they can’t get through.
Today, in the distance seven or eight came down a hill toward our track. I could not see the fence. I had images of them tearing us to pieces. People don’t scare me. These huge dogs freeze me in my tracks.
The view is certainly amazing. We have exchanged ocean and beaches for vineyards and orchards. We wind through villages. I guess if you are tracking south, and the winds are from the south. It is what it is.
As we head out of a village we stop for a stretch. An old lady gives us a wave. Heads inside and gives us a handful of mandarines from her tree. They are tasty. She heads back inside only to return with some money for us. Politely refuse. Thankful for the mandarines. Wondering if we look homeless and destitute.
"There is one other reason for dressing well, namely that dogs respect it, and will not attack you in good clothes.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The hill comes. It is challenging. Shell powers through. On and on she goes. I am struggling, she must be doing it tough. There is no quit in her. I noticed this when we paddled together. She just keeps going.
“When you reach the top of the hill, you will see Bodrum. Don’t assume that you’ll leave as you came. The others before you were the same, too. As they departed, they all left their souls behind.” ― Halikarnas Balıkçısı
We stop at the top of the hill for some oranges. Just growing on the side of the road. Heavy with fruit. Most houses have fruit trees and a vegetable garden. I like that.
A long coast downhill. More vineyards. More orchards. A few sneaky hills just to remind us how sore our legs are. We hit Círio de Geraldes and we are done for the day. Over 50 km before lunch. I am exhausted. Shell must be rattled.
A local for lunch. Famished. Soup. Pork and chips. Pastel de nata. Shell to bed and recovery. We have a kitchen tonight. It is very well equipped. I am off to the supermarket to get some things for dinner. The supermarket is shut. The next one is a kilometer away. Off I go. Vegetable ragu tonight. It is raining on the way back.
Dinner prepared. Wine purchased, for the ragú. All I can hear is Shell coughing. I might talk her into staying another night. She needs to recover. Candlelight dinner. We finish the wine. Ready for bed by 7.00 pm.
Today had its challenges. It was a good day. Tomorrow will depend on Shell. A day to recover or 60 km to Lisbon and a few days off.
Tonight’s wine -