I try to get on the road by 8:30am given that I am dependent upon the earliest breakfast at 8am. I can but only feel sad and sorry for the young woman at what can be described as hostel accommodation at Almeida. It’s not even worth 2 stars but I gave her 4 stars for effort. It was very Faulty Towers and she was a female version of Manuel! At 8:05 I came down to a dark and deserted dinning room. I politely coughed and made a few noises whereupon she appeared looking as though I had forced her out of bed. She quickly switched on an ancient analogue TV showing some European “fotbol”! Then she produced several slices of ham and cheese! She unwrapped a few individual cakes in cellophane and a basket of limp croissants then microwaved a milk coffee for me! What did impress was the offer to juice two oranges ! I accepted! Finally my attempts to pay the 30 euro were thwarted when after being declined several times, she explained that the hotel spanish bank terminal did not accept Mastercard!
As I departed rugged up ready to hit the road, I sensed her starring at my back and wondering what strange habits these tourists from far flung lands have! Stupid and uncivilised! Eating an evening meal at 7 then expecting breakfast at 7 am! In Portugal we do it differently and much more civilised – dinner never before 9 pm and breakfast therefore at the sensible hour of 9 am at the very least.
I straddled the Portuguese and Spanish border riding along the plateau in a.southerly direction for quite a few kilometres.
The village of Vilar Formosa is described as Portugal’s gateway to Europe! Look East into Portugal and the Atlantic, turn to the West and one is facing the Spanish hordes, at least that is how the Portuguese perceive things! The train station at Vilar Formosa is quite special. I gather that in villages such as these despite being in Portugal, most of the inhabitants are Spanish!
So I pedal along with Spain on my left and Portugal on my right. In case you are wondering, the village dogs are much more aggressive on my left.
Much less sudden severe up and down much more undulating. 63km and I pedalled all the way arriving at Sabugal around 13:30 hours. It dawned on me that it is Sunday which may explain the peaceful road and of course the village is desolate except for smoke filled bars where it appears that the Portuguese drink more shots of coffee than alcohol! Its only 4 o’clock so perhaps they move up to grog after 6? There is on the bar TV some sort of Portuguese Sunday festival and I am mesmerised by an aging rocker in a mustard coloured jacket, a coiffure of ginger coloured hair and aviator sunglasses! I wonder if he is Portugal’s answer to Elton John? There are two female go-go dances in powder blue hot pants and boots which completes the theatrical experience. They seem to be dancing on a stage set up in front of a church! I obviously need to spend more time in bars if this is what I am missing out on: go-go dancers and tobacco smoke.
Sabugal has yet another impressive castle but no walls! At least on this cycle trip its castles rather than cathedrals!
I am very impressed with the maps.me app on the iPhone. It has replaced my Garmin for navigation at least! I am absolutely confident that I can navigate the group on our upcoming Dutch cycle holiday, although Pamela will demand a several hour seminar on the process!
I am faced with a dilemma – My riding Nics failed the sniff test this morning! One can’t reverse cycle nics! A chamois MUST face inwards! I only packed one pair! Bother! Anyway 2 more days. Let’s see if I attract or repel the feral dogs tomorrow!