Day 2 Vila do Conde – Porto Coastal Route


My host Lewis

My host Lewis

I welcomed breakfast, I was hungry. Luis set the table and then we tucked in. Leaving no time to waste, we ate and left the his apartment with my bike on the roof of his car. He was cycling with me today. We needed to go to a local bike shop to pick up his repaired mountain bike. Whilst there, Ruben, the co owner of the store and a professional mountain bike rider set to work on my bike. The wheels weren’t running freely, the brakes and gears were in desperate need of adjustment. Within no time at all, my bike was good to go. It felt solid and brand new again. What was even better, Ruben became my first sponsor for my fund raising cycling event. He didn’t know what I was doing, he just did the work on my bike free of charge. Whilst I think him and Luis knew each other well, this was no justification for a free service. I still find it amazing how everybody I meet on this tour, yes everybody, is incredibly helpful and kind to me.

Brilliant Mechanic

Brilliant Mechanic

The first branding on my bike. Rubens bicycle store.not forgetting the free water bottle and the 50 cent reduction off the oil I bought.

Professional without fault

Professional without fault

And so, we were know ready to hit the trails for Porto. A speedy ride through a few side streets of the town and we were soon riding the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. A made made wooden bridge type structure had been built for pedestrians and cyclists. It was higher enough from the ground to be able to see the whole coastline.  It reminded me of a pier in England, only this wooden structure didn’t route into the water, but ran alongside the coastal line. The coastal line was very much different from the coastline I was used to, The Mediterranean, that of Spain’s Costas.  This was more rugged, lots of rock formations split the paths of sand in places. As views go, it is quite spectacular.

I think we can all be forgiven for thinking, we have to travel thousands of miles to see beauty. Not so, Portugal is right on my doorstep and I have visited the majority of regions in Spain. Maybe just two or three I’ve yet to see.

Seascape, Atlantic Coast

Seascape, Atlantic Coast

We’d stopped for coffee part way on our route to Porto. A nice beachside cafeteria. What I found interesting was that, the prices were no different than if buying a drink in a grubby side street cafe. We didn’t have to pay for the privilege of our setting.

Further on down the coast, we met a row of perhaps, a dozen or more fishermen’s cottages. They couldn’t have been any closer to the waters edge. I asked Lewis the value of them. He didn’t know but said it was quite a poor area and they wouldn’t be expensive. I tried to recall an area of England where a frontline coastal house would be cheap. I don’t thing such a thing exists and there certainly wouldn’t be a poor area sitting on a coastline.

By now Luis had left me and was making his way home. I was right on the edge of Porto city. I couldn’t wait a second longer to eat. The first cafe that had wi fi, I was going to be there next customer. I was in a dodgy area where I found somewhere that had what I wanted. I spent quite sometime looking around for a safe place to lock up the bike. There wasn’t anywhere, nor was there a seat near the front window where I could keep a watchful eye on it. The owner motioned a few arm signals through the window at me, he was at the till. He was saying that I should lock the bike to the outside table and also he would keep watch. It was a done deal. I pulled a chair more towards the table and locked the bike to both of them. This was a thieves nightmare.

After two coffees and two savoury pastries at 4.20e I was ready to find my accommodation for the night. Patricia’s and Leo’s apartment, the couple from Warm showers.

Suburb of Porto

Suburb of Porto

The day was over but the night was just getting started. We chatted, had coffee, chatted some more. I had a shower, we chatted, we ate dinner, we chatted, we slept. A great day of contrasting seascapes and personalities.

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