Portugal 2011

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Bilde1.png (466070 bytes) 17.09.2011 LISBOA-SINTRA - PENICHE
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Some go all the way to show his devotion for their bicycle .... 

DSC_0030.JPG (166446 bytes) TThis year we started the tour in Lisbon. After some track searches, we finally set the GPS right and got on the right track. After only about an hour's cycling, both I and Tommen were run straight down by a young female motorist. She blamed the backlight ... First she drove straight at me, but she didn’t stop. She just went ahead and also ran Tommen straight down. As if that wasn’t enough she eventually nearly drove over the bike ... No damage to us, but my rear wheel was slightly damaged.
Bilde4.png (1479144 bytes) We visit Sintra again as in 2005, before we continued north to Peniche. We cycled as far out to the coast as we could, but it was still not easy to get the good view, because of the vegetation. We had strong headwind heading north. I had seen Peniche on Google Earth and had great expectations for the site. The best overview I was probably still on the PC ..... We arrived quite late and we were hijacked by an elderly lady who wanted to rent us rooms in her home. After we had established ourselves and showered we went to town to eat Bakalao.
Bilde5.png (534644 bytes) 18.09.2011 PENICHE - LEIRA

DSC_0042.JPG (159648 bytes) We started from Peniche in strong headwinds that persisted all the way up to Porto. In Obidos we stopped to buy provisions at Pingo Doce. We descused for a while what we should do. Changing the route south or continue north upwind. The desire to see the Porto overcame dislike to ride in strong headwinds
DSC_0061.JPG (102202 bytes) We stayed in Leira. One of many great towns on your trip. In the evening we tried the steak. It must be the toughest steak to swallow I've ever tasted. It was simply impossible to get down. After that it was bacalao pretty much every night.
Bilde7.png (601826 bytes) 19.09.2011 LEIRA - PRAIA DE MIRA
DSC_0072.JPG (197800 bytes) We cycled west for about 30 km to get down to the coast.
Because of the strong wind, we maybe should have kept further in, but we wanted to find quiet roads as far out as possible.
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DSC_0082.JPG (160227 bytes) The choice gave us an amazing cycling along the coast with bike paths witch went straight on for 15 km.
The quality of the bike paths there were amazing. Moreover, there was almost no traffic in those areas.
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DSC_0088.JPG (148869 bytes) We had a brief stop in Figueira de Foz, before we went to Praia de Mira.
Bilde9.png (479068 bytes) 20.09.2011 PRAIA DE MIRA - PORTO
DSC_0095.JPG (173765 bytes) Praia de Mira  was a nice little vacation spot with the tour's best Bacalao
DSC_0097.JPG (138757 bytes) 2 pictures of morning mood, before we headed north. DSC_0103.JPG (151238 bytes)
IMG_0304.JPG (96850 bytes) Tommen looks very satisfied
One of the last stops we had before we arrived at Porto
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DSC_0128.jpg (52744 bytes) The closer we got to Porto, the busier the traffic became, and it only got worse and worse.
IMG_0310.JPG (105594 bytes) .As we reached the city it revealed itself in nice evening sun. The center of Porto is located in a hillside toward the river Douro. IMG_0311.JPG (129856 bytes)
IMG_0312.JPG (173450 bytes) Ceramic tile is an important constituent of Portuguese architecture.
Because of the 4 days of headwinds, we had no time to take a rest day in Porto. Therefore we took a tour bus in Porto in the morning, before we went on.
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Bilde11.png (691073 bytes) 20.09.2011 PORTO - COIMBRA
DSC_0173.JPG (134882 bytes) Due to traffic, we decided to take the train from Porto to Aveiro, to avoid traffic out of Porto. Actually, ctually, I had a desire to cycle along the river into the wine area within Porto, but unfortunately we didn’t have time for it. DSC_0175.jpg (59600 bytes)
DSC_0178.jpg (46658 bytes) On the train to Aveiro.
Aveiro was another great town that can be recommended. We continued the trip to Coimbra.
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P1010741.jpg (38925 bytes) Coimbra by night. Notice the name of the hotel to the left. Coimbra is a relatively large student town. We had a meeting with the bicycle community in town. The men looked both professional and well-trained, but “after-cycling” was perhaps a bit to “humid”?
Bilde13.png (659857 bytes) 21.09.2011 COIMBRA - TOMAR
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On the way out of Coimbra we mess around a bit before we finally got help to find the right way out of town. The first part of the stage went straight uphill. We got a deserved cold one at the top.

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IMG_0346.jpg (59694 bytes)  Tomar  is a small town with a great history dating back to the Knights Templar.
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Bilde15.png (683839 bytes) 22.09.2011 TOMAR - VILA FRANCA DE XIRA
P1010749.jpg (350363 bytes) The drive from Tomar and south was relatively rough at first, but eventually leveled out and we came down the river on the east side not far from Santarem and south to Vila Franca de Xira. Last stretch westward was a continuous queue of cars that passed. When we came over on the other side and into the town, it was too dangerous to cross the road into the town center. We had to go a little further north and carry the bikes over a footbridge, before we turned around and heaed into town.
Bilde17.png (843719 bytes) 22.09.2011 VILA FRANCA DE XIRA - LISBOA
P1010768.jpg (36053 bytes) Unfortunately we didn’t manage to see a bullfight. It did not fit with our schedule.
We cycled to the airport, dismantled the bikes and were quite ready to deliver them into the luggage
storage. However, the person in the luggage storage didn’t come from the land of smiles or appeared especially service minded. We didn’t take bikes in SAS plastic bags. It should be in the box or bag. I tried to talk sense to "Mr Smily," but it didn’t help much. I do not care, was his comment. Tommen managed to deliver his bike and Gøran and I had to put together the bikes again and ride to the hotel.
P1010784.JPG (79908 bytes) We did the town since it was Saturday .....
While we were discussing rail routes at the subway, a pleasant Portuguese woman came up to us and asked, in very good Norwegian, where we were going. She worked for the Color Line.
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P1010773.jpg (45434 bytes) Port Wine of the noble old kind.
Bilde19.png (831650 bytes) 22.09.2011 LISBON - AIRPORT
At the day of departure, we should ride to the airport at 05:30 to take the plane at 09:00 am to Oslo. When we came out of the hotel Gøran’s bike was punctured and he was (slightly) stressed / spastic when he should find patches and fix the wheel. It was finally arranged and we set off towards the airport as fast as we could. A little navigation error can be seen by the GPS plot. I saw that we probably took a turn too early in a roundabout, but didn’t dare to say anything until I was absolutely sure. I had done a few poor navigation attempt earlier :-)

Besides that, we had a great trip, a total of 800 km. Traffic is still the biggest challenge when cycling Portugal.

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