I was still feeling rough from yesterday. My stomach was bloated and the sharp pains hadn’t eased. I had breakfast,two cakes and a coffee before I left for V. de Leiria. The start of the ride went well and it was no time at all before I’d done a dozen miles. It was time to look for a cafe. Coffee was needed, though my gut didn’t think so, every push down on the pedal encouraged additional pain. I didn’t find a cafe.
I’d got to a junction where my navigation system said turn right, then at the next roundabout turn left. Easy no problem. It was the next command where I started to get, shall we say, a little disgruntled. No, we shall not. I was mega pissed. Forty minutes had passed and I was no further forward. The navigation system had taken me to an area where there was an office and a load of lorries. I circumnavigated this area, looking for my road or pathway. All the time I was thinking, this could be a toll road or a testing station for lorries. Had I arrived and the place would have been empty, I’m certain my journey would have continued without trauma.
So when the lorry park couldn’t give me an answer to my route, I went and looked elsewhere. I wanted to find a small detour where I could pick up my route again. This is where forty minutes were lost. I had no joy, an industrial park and a cheap housing estate on the coast, with one road that was in and out. I went back to the lorry park and chatted with the drivers. None of them had a clue about this road. The security guard came over. Why they needed one, I don’t know. He said the road I wanted didn’t exist. I smelled a rat, I didn’t believe him, however, I had no choice but go back to my original spot, where I turned right. Thing was, I was really feeling much worse. I asked the lorry drivers if I could get a ride with one of them. Nobody came forward.
For a distance of a couple of miles, this particular road was running almost parallel with the road / track I wanted, but it would soon bend to the left and put a couple of hours on my journey. I couldn’t have that. There was a small road to my right, into the forest. This road would take me in the direction of where I wanted to be, the route that the security guard said didn’t exist. After about ten minutes I could see a building of some type. Initially it looked like a house that was inside a four metre high wall. When I got closer, there were other commercial looking buildings attached to the supposed house. Even now I don’t know what that building was, but before it stood a huge sign that read ‘keep out’. This was no tame sign, it meant what it said. It made me feel, the consequences of getting caught where taken care of by an individual or organisation, not the police.
I couldn’t turn back, this route was my route. I pedalled really slowly, so if there were any guard dogs, I hoped they wouldn’t hear me. I couldn’t coast either, the hub of my rear wheel made a lovely sound of quality. After getting past the house without any commotion, I waited until I was far enough past, so I could pedal like merry hell for a short while. My stomach pain was worsening but I had other things on my mind, like, I hope I don’t get caught.
I rode for about six to eight miles in a straight line. The road surface hadn’t charged, it was still cobbled. The forest was still to my left and right and stretched to the horizon. It was vast. A small bend ahead and what should appear, a small open backed van travelling towards me. Here we go, this is going to be fun. I didn’t like this situation. I didn’t look at them, I continued to cycle. To my amazement they didn’t pull me over. I looked over my shoulder when I thought it would be safe to do so. I didn’t want to trigger any suspission. The van was slowly disappearing. Once more I could see straight ahead of me for miles, and the further I cycled the longer distance I could see behind me. If I saw another vehicle approaching from either direction, my plan was to scoot into the forest and lie down and hide whilst it went past. The road was above the floor of the forest. I was comfortable with my whereabout now I had a plan.
Cycling on many more miles was trouble free. Then, something in the distance. A lorry with a cranes arm hanging over the back of it. I really hoped it was unused and unmanned. It wasn’t. There was a shape moving, the closer I got, the more I realised there were men at work. The lorry took up one side of the road and a guy seemed to be covering the other half. They were tree felling and because of this, they didn’t stop me. What they were doing was illegal I thought. I rode past unscathed.
Id almost made the journey through battlefield, one last leg of about four miles and I was back on safe territory. I had to cross a road, one that cut through the forrest and on to my last dicing with danger stunt. After a few hundred yards the terrain changed, deep sand, it was not suitable for walking, never mind pushing a bike through it.
These are the tracks I can cycle for hours, with a bit of momentum they can be great fun.
I wanted to have a coffee and some chill time before arriving at Aurel’s, my French host, so when I saw this large cafe ahead of me I thought I was sorted. It wasn’t until I got right up to the front door and saw a woman rocking in a chair, that I noticed a sign that resembled in English, ‘home for the elderly’. I got to Aurel’s and immediately liked him. His partner arrived some time later, she was lovely too. My stomach was still in knots, I knew if I could go the damn lol I would a start of recovery. The lady cooked, we had three courses, I ate loads. Soon after eating I retired to my bedroom, I wasn’t at all well and they could tell. As luck would have it, the loo was calling me. I could have watched a movie the length of time I was in there. I was shivering but not cold enough to warrant that. My bed was loaded with blankets. It was 21:00 and I fell straight asleep. I woke some thirteen hours later, feeling a lot better.
It was 10am and the house was empty. The table was set for me to have breakfast. Honey and bread rolls with coffee I chose. I sat in the lounge with my coffee, it was lovely and warm. The downstairs of the house kept its warmth well. We had a real fire on both nights.
Aurel’s arrived home and we chatted through Google translate. Shortly afterwards his partner arrived, it was time for lunch and what a surprise I had. Grilled Dorada with salad and boiled potatoes. I couldn’t wait.
Then came desert, The Cake of Kings and cheese with fruit. Oh man, this just got better and better.
I didn’t move off the sofa until 5pm. Aurel wanted to take me out in the car. One of his relatives had purchased a house nearby, just 5 miles from the beach and he was overseeing the work.
We got back to the house a while later and dinner was served. I couldn’t believe it. Soup, spaghetti bolognese, cheese and more cake. I was stuffed and sat on the couch for a while before having another early night. A day of rest and eating, it was lovely, one to remember.