Lets Cycle Portugal – Part 6

Day 5 – Milfontes to Odeceixe 52km –  Our rest day was now behind us and we were recharged for the day ahead. As it turned out it was just as well because this day felt like the most monotonous and never-ending of days. We were mostly on main roads with tight bends. I’m sure this isn’t an issue for battle-hardened road cyclists but spare some empathy for a couple of tourists laden down with our gear and regularly hearing speeding vehicles coming up behind us just as we’re reaching a tight bend. Without fail, these vehicles would overtake us and go into the oncoming lane to get passed. Luckily, most of the time, nothing was coming around the corner but every now and again there was! Resulting in a tooting of horns and brakes quickly getting applied. Surely it was only a matter of time before we would be witnessing a head-on crash!

During this section of the road, I decided to do the gentlemanly thing and cycle behind Aileen. My thinking was that if there was going to be a crash, I would be hit and Aileen would be protected from the impact of a lorry hitting me. Somehow I think that was a bit unrealistic but it seemed to calm Aileen down. Unfortunately, it calmed her down so much that she began to relax, take her eyes off the road and paying more attention to the map on the front of her bike. This resulted in her regularly straying out to the middle of the road and I found myself having to regularly shout ‘Aileen you’re in the middle of the road’. So there I am contemplating annihilation from a big lorry,  constantly reminding Aileen where she should be on the road and feeling the compulsion to look behind me all the time.  I gave up on the fruitless reminders to Aileen about her position on the road and decided to reroute my energy to keep us alive by looking behind me all the time and listening intently for any traffic coming. This immediately reduced any potential arguments between Aileen and me  –  ”Aileen your on the wrong side of the road’ –      ”I KNOW!”

Then Aileen noticed a large hole in the road and decided to make an emergency stop just as I was looking behind me. Luckily I turned around in time to see me heading straight for the back wheel of Aileen’s bike and managed to avoid hitting her. This had involved heavy braking and a bit of zigzagging.

I decided to go back to reminding her about her position on the road and brace myself for the ‘I KNOW’. oh yeah and the hole was actually just a darker section of tarmac!

There was a random spell during our cycle along this stretch which reminded us of why we enjoy doing these types of adventures. I was now well-tuned into listening for traffic behind us but this noise was different. It sounded like the noise you hear from a distant racetrack. Engines revving up and lots of raised voices.  We decided to stop at a lay-by, before the next tight bend and investigate further.  It turned out to be a Sunday morning motorbike rally. We stood there with a smile on our faces as bike after bike passed us. They were a right motley crew and once they caught on that they had an audience, they began to show off with wheelies, standing up on their bikes and shouting out Olá. A great spectacle in an otherwise monotonous and never-ending day.

We finally reached Odeceixe. A quiet and pretty village built on a very steep hill and our hotel just happened to be nearly at the top of it. Casas do Moinho was an unusual hotel. Once we were checked in and our bikes secured within an allocated room, we grabbed all our bags and were ‘guided’  to our room. This involved a further hike up the remainder of the hill and after what felt like an eternity with our shoulders burning from the weight of our bags, we finally reached an apartment block with our room on the top floor!

We still had time for some sunbathing and our journey back down the hill to the hotel pool was made all the more enjoyable.

We also found a nice restaurant – ALTINHO – Tapas & Petiscos – Bistrô with a tasty tapas menu. Once again we were relaxed, so tuned into our adventure and happy.

We decided not to explore Odeceixe as we’d seen enough hills for one day.


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