Day 22: Sintra to Grandola

Miles: Nearly 60
Elevation: About 3000 ft

Today was a LONG HOT day! We set off at dawn (without breakfast) hoping to catch the 9:20 Ferry from Lisbon…

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Not realising that Alice was expecting us to cycle on the busiest road we’ve seen along side rush hour traffic – navigating mega roundabouts… it was a bit like cycling on the A34 at 8am on a Monday… We were clearly insane. One particularly impatient car did nearly take my leg off, but mercifully we all made it to Lisbon in one piece…86BBA7AF-55E3-480D-B6E5-281A471A1533

And then enjoyed a couple of miles on a stunning seaside bike track…

We missed the early ferry and so had a quick coffee overlooking the statue of Vasco da Garma and the Tower of Belém..

while waiting for the 10:30 Ferry from Belém to Porta Barcia

(where we unfortunately missed our stop – not knowing that it barely touched land before moving on) We had to wait on the Ferry for 45 mins before it went back to our stop which was a second delay we didn’t really have time for 😜) But on the plus side we did see some pretty impressive jelly fish which made us rather glad we weren’t swimming this particular crossing!

From Porto Barcia the road went steeply up for a couple of miles before rejoining another death trap of a busy N road that rolled up and down the hilly terrain like a terrifying rollercoaster that had not passed it’s risk assessment… After about 20 miles (just before Seixal) it seemed our sanity got the better of us and we took a train the remaining few miles to Setubal.

In Setubal (after several failed attempts) we finally found a bike shop that would fix my wheel – a charming guy did it for free while Alice, of course, availed herself of the opportunity to stock up on yet another variety of power bar…3F294095-8924-4DF1-980E-96352CC1DE23.jpeg

We then rushed to catch the 4pm Ferry to Troia – only to find it was actually at 4:30 pm – giving us time to enjoy one our healthiest lunches yet 😉27CDB644-A28E-49AC-9887-6981F235EA48

This ferry crossing was much easier…

we landed in Troia feeling like we’d reached the Algarve – the terrain was suddenly completely different – unspoilt beaches, pine forests and cork trees! We followed a beautiful road for about 26 miles – it felt like a fairytale! A very HOT one…

Although after a few hours on a pretty straight road with unchanging scenery – we began to wonder if we were making any progress … we couldn’t quite work out why were slowing for the last few miles… only realising later that they were pretty much consistently uphill and into wind!EBCC48F6-509E-4129-BDDB-0E01B5CF590C

We arrived at a beautiful cork farm stay just in time to watch the sun drop down behind the trees at the end of the longest drive you’ve ever seen! (Just what you want after a 12 hour day ;))

Herdade Das Barradas da Serra is the most magically tranquil place we’ve seen so far! A farm that has been in one family for 5 generations – only opened for guests in 2009 – it feels like the Ranch from mummy’s favourite cowgirl show ‘Heartland’. We are exhausted, dehydrated and starving, but currently in heaven!

 

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