Day 1 Ponte de Lima – Barcelos – Vila do Condo


I left Ponte de Lima in dust of mist and fog. Moving along the pathway that ran alongside the river, my journey for today had started. The first six miles climbed steadily before a quick but short descent. Since my start at 7.30am I’d hardly seen a vehicle, just a cluster here and there, it made for a pleasant start. Nothing too much to report on, just a lady coasting down hill at speed on a moped, no engine running and without helmet. Odd! 9.00am and it was breakfast time, coffee and pastry. I forked right off the N204 towards the village of Aborim, within 300m I could see what looked like a bar. Please be open. I passed a van on my left side, just before the van and spread out at regular intervals for about twenty five metres were signs, notices. Each one showing an item with a price. Inside the back of the van were the goods for sale. No rent, rates, utility bills or staffs wages to find. Ingenious!On the fringe of this tiny village was another attempt of art. Pathetic!

Not worthy

Not worthy

Barcelos is a beautiful city and quite a size. Plenty of small independent shops, monuments and churches. I was cycling slowly on the pavement because the cobbled street were playing havoc with the comfort of my ride. I was approaching two mature guys who were standing in the middle of the pavement. The one guy looked at me as I was approaching and made no attempt to move. In fact what he did ridiculous. He parted his legs so as to plant himself firmly in position. I got virtually to the side of him and then he leaned in towards me, attempting to block my path. A quick shout and a shove in the back with my palm made way for me to pass. What is it with these arseholes? I was riding with great care at a max. speed of 2 mph.

Great architecture

Great architecture

it was time for coffee again. A little cafe on a side street out of the centre of town. Always a good bet for value for money.

Barcelos is well known for its home made ceramics. Not my thing but something the locals are passionate about. Typical is a colourful cockerel which sometimes is used an unofficial sign of Portugal. More like an advert for Kellogs Cornflakes. It’s quite hideous in my opinion.

The medieval town sits inside a walled perimeter filled with his houses of Baroque design. Not quite the same but also, almost life style statues.

Busking?

Busking?

Supposed to bring good luck

Supposed to bring good luck

I arrived at Algova just in time to recharge my phone. I love these coffee breaks but these guys can’t make coffee. The route here was along side the N205. I took the smaller roads and trails were possible, the M554 and then on to M2211. The latter didn’t need any off road rerouting, it was already off road. I must consider some front forked suspension. Having to restrict my speed reduces the fun element. Fun is needed to offset the burning muscles whilst on a climb, particularly in the cold wet.  Today had been cold at times, however the sun had shone this afternoon.

Vila do Condo was my last stop. I had a free room with shower and dinner, courtesy of a host from http://www.warmshowers.com – I’d been on the road since 7.35am, I couldn’t get to his place until 8.00pm. That’s a lot of time to kill when the distance for the day was about 35 miles, that’s all. I didn’t mind, I’m relaxed.

Immense construction

Immense construction

The image above was originally constructed of 999 arches. It is the second largest viaduct in Portugal. An artificial canal was built around 1710 with the purpose of supplying the nearby monastery through the arches.

En route to Vila do Condo I noticed in the distance an immaculately restored twin seated blue Vespa. I stopped by and looked through the open doors next to it. It was choc-o-block with Vespas and Lambrettas, some for scrap and others worth thousands of pounds. The owner allowed me inside to take photographs. I snapped away, I couldn’t believe my fortune of such a find. Some hours later when I decided to edit them for the blog, they had gone. Bastard, I was fuming! My favourite collection of images had somehow been wiped from the phone. All that had been saved is the knacker below.

Restoration project

Restoration project

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