Day 3 of our cycle trip – Santiago to Milfontes 54km
Day 4 – rest day.
We said goodbye to our American friends and hit the road for Milfontes. As I said, I’m not going into all the details but what I will say is this. There was clearly a bit of ‘artistic license’ used when it came to the description of our trip. I would have to say that around 65% of it was on busy roads and the rest was a combination of dirt tracks, back roads and a tiny amount of cycle paths. That’s fine if that’s your thing but we had expected a different trip. Quiet roads, cycle paths, lots of quaint villages and plenty of opportunities to stop and take it all in. In truth, we spent long parts of the journey slogging out the Kilometres, getting lost due to some of the lefts and rights being around the wrong way in the directions we were given and becoming aware that by the time we had put in the distance to our next hotel, the day was nearly over. Each night we would spend walking around looking for a restaurant and each night we were overwhelmed by the smell of fish!
Our stay in Milfontes was special in many ways. We were staying here for 2 nights and we planned to have a rest from our bikes and spend a day at the beach, well we were on holiday after all. Our accommodation was also special. All our accommodation was perfect but in Milfontes we spent 2 days in the home of an elderly Portuguese couple who couldn’t have been more accommodating. Breakfast was a feast and work of art with plenty of leftover but not to worry as our host gave us tin foil and tubs to enable us to take the rest away for lunch. The sitting room had an array of spirits and wines and we were told to just help ourselves. There was a homemade cake waiting for us in our room. And all the friendly advice and directions we would need.
Later on that first night I started to fret about our last day as I couldn’t remember our rep at the start mentioning how we get to our hotel in Lagos. I knew that we finished in Sagres and would be couriered to Lagos but did this include the bikes? Was the courier taking our bikes away with him or just drop us and our bikes off in Lagos. The more I tried to remember, the more I fretted. So I decided to take out the mobile phone we had been given and simply call the office for a bit of clarity. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget how to use old-style phones with no touch screen but I eventually navigated to the phone book and scrolled through the numbers. Turns out there were a lot of numbers which included presets for our accommodation, just in case we needed to phone ahead, and a couple of ‘office’ numbers – that’ll do – hit dial! After a short ring, I was met with a pleasant female voice who was quite clearly struggling with my Scottish accent. ‘’I’m Tom Nicholson, I’m wondering if you can answer a question about our bikes’’ – Female voice ‘’Bikes?’’ – ‘’Yes bikes. – Female voice ‘’Do you want a bike?’’ – ‘’No I’m wondering if the bikes come to the hotel with us on our last day’’ – Female voice ‘’You want a room’’ –
Then through my exasperation and confusion. It suddenly dawned on me that I recognised this voice. It was our current host! I’d speed-dialed our hotel by mistake. I apologised and hung up. Breakfast the next morning was going to be embarrassing.
Day 4 – Our itinerary had included a circular cycle route, into the hills and back but we decided to treat day 4 as a rest day at the beach. So after another feast of a breakfast and a laugh about our host receiving a phone call from a crazy Scot asking odd questions about a bike, it was off to the beach for the day. Milfontes has a lovely sandy beach and we headed to a great spot with sunbeds and a nearby bar/restaurant. The contrast to our previous days cycling just helped to make our day at the beach even more relaxing and chilled.
The day passed quickly and soon it was time to find somewhere to eat. Our B & B host had recommended a nice restaurant at the end of the beach, on a hill, which gives a perfect view of the sunset. ‘Does it smell of fish?’ I asked. She gave me a puzzled look and laughed then walked off. We decided to risk it!
Restaurante A Choupana – was perfect. We were lucky to get a table at a perfect spot and as we eat, the sun began to set. It was magical. One of those moments we all look for in a trip. Bring on day 5!