Lets Cycle Portugal – Part 1

September 2017 and our daughter is leaving for a year in Australia and we didn’t want to sit about straight after she left so booked a cheap flight to Faro – somewhere new for us and would help keep us occupied for a few days while we came to terms with the fact that our daughter was half way around the world for at least a year.

We dropped her at airport and then went straight to a different airport for our flight.

Whilst out exploring, we found a cycle path and discovered Eco Via Litoral cycling route which planted the seed for a cycling holiday in Portugal.

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After lots of research, which included the idea that we would arrange everything ourselves, we decided to go with a pre-arranged self-guided trip. This gave us the security of pre-booked accommodation, GPS, emergency support and rented bikes.

Once we had decided on this, we realised that we had another problem to overcome! How do we physically transport a weeks’ supply of clothing, toiletries etc from our house to our panniers? Suitcase were no good so further research was required. In Tom’s world surely somebody has invented a foldaway rucksack and guess what we found one (There will be regular future referral to Tom’s world which is different from Aileen’s world!)

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Not only was it foldaway it ticked other boxes – It was a perfect size for cabin luggage. It was 40 litres which equalled the panniers capacity and it folded away into a hand size pouch – Result for Tom’s world!

You will also pick up from future blogs that we are almost anal about our preparation and research. We had researched the cycling company, our route, the bags and bought the flights. We were flying to Lisbon, staying overnight to start our cycle the next day. We were then cycling from Lisbon to Sagres (over 7 days), getting picked up by shuttle and transferred to Lagos to spend our last night and getting the train from Lagos to Faro to stay the night and then fly home. All sorted!!

Fast forward to June 2018 only a few months from our September trip (almost exactly a year since our first trip to Faro), during a camping holiday to North Devon we received an email from that lovely Irish airline telling us our flight to Lisbon was cancelled but guess what they could offer us a flight two days later – what use was that when everything else was booked?!

Our initial reaction was I’m never using Ryanair again they are a bunch of unreliable so and so’s and we rolled up our sleeves and spent the next few hours trying to find a flight from Glasgow to Lisbon on the right dates but to no avail.

Cap in hand back to Ryanair to take seats on flight to Faro but now leaving a day earlier which had a knock on effect of having to board the dog for an extra day, an extra night accommodation in Faro, a hired car to get from Faro to Lisbon and then the metro from Lisbon to accommodation.

In a strange example of coincidence – Almost a year to the day from dropping our daughter off at the airport, we were now picking her up again and heading to another airport for our cycling adventure.

Highlights to follow

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