18.12.2014 Portimão – Albufeira – Loule


I woke naturally, no need for an alarm today. I’d repacked last night and left some clothing behind that I’d just been lugging around for days. A heavy pair of waterproofs, a waterproof jacket, a pair of cycling gloves and a Quicksilver hat. I folded them neatly and left a message with them, ‘please give them to the homeless’. These waterproofs are good enough for light showers, but in Spain and Portugal there is no such thing. It pours down relentlessly when it does rain and no covering remains waterproof for long. I figured it was better to accept, I’m going to get wet anyway so let’s lighten the load.

The images below were my first glimpse of the coastline. I can usually ‘take it or leave it’ the coast, but this line grabbed me. I desperately wanted to go in the sea, how I wished it was summer time. Bah!

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Portimão is separated from the next town by an inlet of water from the sea. Once I’d cycled over the bridge I could get back to the coastline. This purpose built thingy above the sand was great for stargazing at the Med.

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The views are stunning and worth every second of the time it takes to stop, snap away and set off again.

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Today’s half way point was Albufeira and I was having a late lunch there. Tomorrow is a day off, I’ve got time to enjoy today and tomorrow. I cycled through some small towns and continued along the National road. I’d cycled seven miles out of Portimão, I’d got ten left before lunch. At the seven mile point I noticed a cycled path. Do I dare risk it? So many times I’ve risked it and had to turn back. I did risk it and it deserves a post based on its own merits. On the homepage select, ‘off road trails’.

I couldn’t help myself, arguably one of my favourite cars, I love them, and, I’ve never owned one. That’s just stupid!

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And just in case you missed the first picture, here is another shot!

imageAgain, such a contrast and diversity to the landscape. I’d had six miles off road of sea and land. The last four miles to Albufeira were pretty grim. The sun was out and had been all day, the sky was blue and without cloud, but unlike most bad and unsightly areas where the sun makes everything look beautiful, here, it wasn’t happening.

The best thing about Albufeira was its fine dining and sky sports. The worst thing was that it was closed and ‘up for sale’.

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Id finished lunch, chicken piri piri followed by mascarpone cheese with a small chocolate pudding. It was time to move on. Another fifteen miles and I’d be in Loule, about one hours time. The first four miles were a steady run, just covering the tarmac, the next seven will be covered in ‘off road trails’. I rode past a garage that sold and fitted tyres. It had a strange contraption of a bike outside. I had to turn back, if I didn’t I would not see it again. This was a crazy bike, the front end was ridiculously light and the crank arm wobbled and shook, like I do when I have a ‘fit’. If I am ‘The Epileptic Goat’, then I had just been introduced to ‘The Epileptic Bike’.

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I rode this thing and felt like a circus clown, how I should have been doing some juggling act or cycling across a tight rope. I have a video but can’t get it to upload.

In between the trails I had to cross a small road that led through a village. Just like every village I’d been through in Portugal, its Christmas decorations consisted of a nativity scene. This one stood out.

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By now the day had became night time and every minute was darker than the last. I’d been on some brilliant narrow trails. I came out of the forrest and turned right on to a loose surfaced small road. It’s classification was ‘off road’. Now it was dark and my lights were on. The phone, that’s my GPS, caught my eye, it flashed, ‘critical battery’. Shit! I knew it was coming, it had been on since 9.30am. I’d been using the camera heavily, a small video clip, a couple of hours of music and ‘maps GPS permanently’. It was almost 6pm, that is a brilliant battery life! I glanced at the route quickly, 2.2 miles to go. That is only a short distance, but in the dark it can take an hour or more. I memorised the map and ‘put my foot down’, just checking occassionally I was still on track. I made it and the battery never died.

The hostel is worthy of a mention. It is amazing. It’s just like being in somebodies nice home. A big lounge with a flat screen tv, huge kitchen with granite work tops, expensive original works of art and bathrooms with a bath. All this for just 10e per night and I was allowed to use the washing machine free of charge. She liked me, I liked her too. Not so sure about her husband though?

I was the only person they had booked in. This was going to be my home for two nights. It was perfect! A quick visit to the small supermarket, it was treat time. Pizza, crisps, chocolate, yoghurt, a few sweets and a bottle of diet coke.

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All by the side of my bed, apart from the pizza which was in the fridge. So, as soon as I had, had my bath I could scoff the lot in bed. Bliss! The pizza was going to be saved until tomorrow, but my back was sore from lying on the bed for a couple of hours. I had to get up for a walk and a stretch, might as well cook the pizza.

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More food to come and in bed again. Back o’the net!

Oh yeah, let’s not forget, Louis Van Gall’s Man. United tranced Liverpool 3-0 in the week.

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