Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Day 8- Luso to Aveiro

The castle of Bussaco is an impressive palace converted into a hotel of New Manualine style, the hotel is in the grounds of a convent with a beatiful paradise like garden, cool and green in contrast with hot and dusti Coimbra. Before leaving to Aveiro we had coffee and incredibly tastie bollo de chocolate.

From Luso we took the longer route via Agueda as the map showed this route as scenic. The route turned up to be one of the busiest and less interesting of all the ones we cycle so far. Lots of busy roads and part of the route via motorways. We stop at Agueda for a coffee and a sketch into the rua Riuz de Camoes, which was full of pasteireis, and tried the paistei de leitao, a filo pastries with caramelised baby pig.
The entrance into Aveiro was really difficult, cities are definitely not thought for cyclist or pedestrians, after several trials along the outskirts we reached the centre of Aveiro, we had booked  into the youth hostel but the whole area around it and the place  looked so uninviting, and after such an  uneasy route that we decided to treat ourselves to a hotel in one of the cobbled streets near the canals instead.

We found an nice restaurant near the fish market and enjoyed a local Barriado wine and some delicious grilled fish.  

Monday, 20 July 2015

Day 7, Coimbra to Luso

After a visit to the impressive University Library left Coimbra we left the city in middle of the day in direction to Penacova. The road, one of the most scenic we've been so far, we followed the old national road who zigzags in parallel to the Mondego river, spectacular views to the left of river beaches, crystal clear waters and lush vegetation, grapes and apples and all sorts of fruit and vegetables growing both side of the road, like a supermarket on your doorstep. And the dream for cyclist, most of the route almost no traffic for almost the 40 km, little small hill top towns along the journey helping breaking up the trip with friendly people who looked at us curiously, probably thinking WTF are you doing here. 

We arrived at Luso for dinner, after a quick deep at the hotel pool we went our for dinner to the local restaurant, very tasty "Pedra de Sal". Luso is a SPA town with a castle, famous for the LUSO water. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Day 6- Pombal to Coimbra

What we liked about Pombal is that it is non touristic town in the interior of Portugal, architecture or the landmarks are not as remarkable as other places like Sintra, but the town feels more authentically Portuguese, some street musicians and nice bars made the stay very pleasant. We had a fantastic churrasco dinner at Pombal and managed to find a launderette and a comfortable and budget hotel.

We left Pombal after a very decent breakfast early for Coimbra, probably one of the hottest and longest journeys.

Arrival to Coimbra is definitely not thought for cyclist, we arrived through a really busy road to the other side of the river, it is a pretty view with the housed accumulated into the hill.

It was almost sunset and still very hot, to avoid traffic we crossed the river using the pedestrian bridge, from were some kids were jumping into the water.

After shower and freshen up, a sketch from the hotel terrace we went to listen to fado in a mediaeval church. Napoleon told us that the fado from Coimbra was different from the fado in Lisbon, more authentic.


Napoleon town

Pombal main square


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Day 5- Ourem to Pombal

We left the pousada de Ourem quite late in the morning, after a sketch and a long complaint to the manager.

In the hottest bit of the day we headed for the famous "pegadas" dos dinosaurios. Beside the Ourem Castle and several quarries the area is very isolated, wind swept, there was no people to ask and the only bar in the area was closed for lunch. The road signs in Portugal most of them don't include distances to places and there are lots of little country roads that zigzag around the tiny villages making places more difficult to find. 

It took a while to find dinosaurs footprint place. We manage to arrive at the quarry where the dinosaur footprints were found, at the hottest time of the day, that's probably why we had the whole place to ourselves. The steps where clearly visible, from above the ground, marked into the layer of stone solidified, The care taker said there were more than 6000 footsteps. It is an impressive place you could actually imaging those massive animals, it is hard to comprehend how would the earth would have been at the time, with no humans, no roads no internet, a Jurassic wild planet...


Ourem Posada
Ourem Posada

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Ourem "Pegadas dos dinosaurios"

Friday, 17 July 2015

Day 4-Obidos to Ourem

I am writing this post from the memory some of the facts may have been 
forgotten and other blurred by time.

We left Obidos early after our medieval night in the castle, cycled in land towards Ourem a little hill top town, that you could see from miles away. After several more hours than expected we saw Ourem in the distance, a tiny perfectly kept and restored village with an impressive medieval castle overlooking a beautiful landscape. 

We cycled and cycled and just before sunset we arrived at Ourem, the town received us with a beautiful sunset light. 

There were not very many accommodation options so we stayed at the Pousada, a nicely restored small rural hotel. We left early in the morning, easy route downhill out of Ourem