Miles cycled: At least 60!
Elevation: 5792 feet
The day Alice picked up a tour guide 😳
We woke up early to tear ourselves away from one of our more comfortable stays… well – comfortable for Alice and I – Mummy had spent much of the night trying to sleep in the knowledge that she was sharing her bed with a family of spiders!
We gulped down a hearty breakfast – with freshly made gluten free cake for me – so many of our hosts have been so kind cooking specially for me 😍
And then rushed to catch the first train the few miles to Coimbra as my bike wheel was really too bent to ride. Mummy clearly hadn’t got enough fun out of yesterday’s stairs as she insisted on carrying her bike over the railway despite there being a perfectly usable elevator – Alice and I clearly aren’t giving her enough of a workout on the bikes!
We then came across the most helpful bike shop of our trip – Switch Bike – they ‘trued’ my wheel in no time and fixed a few niggles on the other bikes free of charge… they also gave us bundles of free recovery sachets and helped us find our replacement ‘bounce balls’ – the Gold Star Endurance Banana Bars – aren’t quite as yummy, but certainly kept us going!!
While we waited for them to fix our bikes we visited ‘Portugal do Pequenitos’ – Portugal for the Little Ones – which was super cute… Alice seemed to be in her own wonderland!!
Once Alice had fuelled up on her new diet custard almond doughnut and coffee we headed back to get our bikes…
while I paid Alice tried getting advice from a guy in the bike shop about quieter roads we could take – and he told her we’d so far been on some of the busiest roads in Portugal 😰😂 And showed her a much quieter route for today…
We then set off excited to get some proper cycling in! We hadn’t gone more than a mile when Alice’s new friend from the bike shop cycled up behind us and offered to come a few miles to show us the way… I don’t know if it was Alice’s engaging smile or the fact that she was only wearing her bikini top, but a few miles turned into 50 as ‘Renato’ regailed us with snippets of knowledge about the local environment and history… it was quite a refreshing change to not be thinking about the route!
Because it was so hot and we took so many scenic detours we didn’t really stop for food, but we did have a couple of iced teas to cool down – I’ve not had iced tea for years – it was so refreshing!
We left our guide at Ourém to get the train back to Coimbra and continued on to Fatima – with just 5km to go we turned the corner to find the steepest sustained climb of our trip – about 2km of 12.5% – a hill which only Alice was able to conquer on the bike… while Mummy and I had to resort to pushing 😰
The views at the top were certainly something and it was then mercifully down hill to our charming guest house where we have a day to rest, regroup – and maybe even ditch some weight from our panniers – I’m now struggling to remember why I thought I needed: a sketchbook, watercolours, watercolour pencils, 5 bottles of vitamin tablets, a first aid kit the ways 800 grams, an entire large bottle of sun cream, two pairs of trainers… and 3 jumpers! Maybe I’ll see if I can post a few things home!
Our next stop will be by the Sea and I can’t wait!! I think we are all loving how sunny Portugal is! But cycling in 33 degrees is very different to the 5 degrees we had a few days ago in Spain and our bodies certainly felt it!!