Chapter 6: Jungle, Highway ‘n madness until Vila Nova De Santo Andrè

DAY 6


Here Comes The Sun!

In the previous chapter we didn’t tell you that before having that marvelous breakfast we went to the beach to admire our first ever sunrise on the ocean. Could we ever miss a similar spectacle the first time we saw the ocean? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
After this great good morning we shared the breakfast with other cyclo tourist from Switzerland and New Zealand!
We spent the first our of the day talking about paths in Portugal and route to follow in other countries. To share point of view and tips it’s always a pleasure when you find such open minded people.

After breakfast we packed our things in order to start our day buuut not before a beer! We don’t know why Bruno had this amazing idea before to start pedaling but ok!
Not very healty but after all we ate it was mandatory to drink a beer! Do you agree? Yes, we know you agree! 🙂 That was what we needed! 🙂

We were leaving Casa do Adro when Idalia, the owner of the guesthouse, called and gave us a tasteful piece of chocolate cake. A little gift for our ride! Some people are just amazing!
Sometimes are the small gestures to enlight your day, and we will never forget about this. Thank you Nonna Idalia!


Next Destination: Paradise!

A quick look at the village, some photos of us and we were back on our bikes! We splitted the route in two parts: the first one from Vilanova to Porto Covo and the second one, the thoughest, from Porto Covo to Santo Andres.
The first part was quite easy, a little bit of wind but nothing really improving.
When we reached Porto Covo we thought we were in paradise. A little village and the ocean, the ocean and his amazing power. One of most magnific blue we have ever seen.
Blue and powerful. We stayed there for one hour watching the big waves and the 50 shades of blue. It was a very happy moment and the best way the take this moment to the next level
was to eat the piece of chocolate cake that Nonna Idalia gave us before our departure while we were watching this spectacle:


Next Destination: Unknown!

The second part of our day was the most incredible, the most risky, the most crazy of all the trip! First of all you have to know to know that from Sintra to Santo Andres there are no more cyclable streets. Yes, there is anything for the bikes. Yes, or rather there was a cycle path. What a pity it is not viable. At a certain point the only thing you can do is to decide if to take the highway or a dirty road. Bikes can’t go on a highway, right? Of course we decided for the dirty road. At the beginning. But let’s go for step. We were at the crossroad and the highway was cyclable once upon a time. When we arrived there was a big red prohibition for bikes sign. Ok, we had the other choice and so we did. At the beginning. After 500 metres we found ourselves in a jungle! Look at the picture below:

It was a freaking jungle with the vegetation folded on itself. We dismounted from the bikes and we tried to walk but after 100 metres we had to run away from a million of hornets. It was very scary!
The result? First of all we came back at the beginning of the dirty road, we saw an house and we knocked at the door to get some info. The only thing we had were an old couple that told us to use the highway because it was the only way to reach santo andre (10 kms far).
Ok, we tried to ask for a ride, we were hoping that a person with a truck would load us and take us to our destination, but that didn’t happen. So, after 30 minutes waiting in vain we decided to take the higway! It was the very best freacking crazy thing we did. Luckily, once upon a time, it was possible to cycle in that highway and the road was large enough for the bikes! We have never pedaled so fast and so desperate. We were seeing ourselves in jail or in a very very bad situation. We pedaled for 4 km when our navy told us to exit and to take a cycleble path just along the highway. Incredible. When we took the cycle path we met other cyclist and cyclo traveller that did our same thing. We were all asking each other how is possible to do something like this, to ban the bikes from a road that was used to be cyclable and don’t give any other alternative to the people who want to move with a bike.
We continued the rest of the trip on the cyclepath and they lived happily ever after.


Welcome To Santo Andre: Hotel Vila Park!

What to say? For sure, if you decide to pass from Santo Andre this is definitely a place where you have to stay for the night. We think is one of the best here for services and reception. We have been welcomed very well and they permitted us to leave the bikes at safe behind the reception in a locked room that only the receptionists can open! The hall was very big, there was a restaurant, a bar, a snooker table and a big swimming pool on the outside. Our room was very cozy and clean. Once arrived we soon decided what to do. We alternately took a looooong relaxing bath before to go eat something at the restaurant. We don’t know what there is on the nearby but we found the restaurant and its cakes very good!


We were really tired and the day after would be the last long ride of the trip! We decided to go to sleep early and after a good drink we were already sleeping and dreaming Dreaming of the huge amount of jam we would eat the next morning.
Night, the moment when you think about how your day has been.
We did something crazy, we were happy. It was a good day.

Thanks for reading us.
Stay tuned for the next chapter and keep pedal!
Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 5: Embrace the ocean in Vila Nova De Milfontes!

DAY 5


Never Give Up!

We left you in the last post with our night in the beautiful Odeceixe, and after all this time we remember
every single thing of the little town.
We woke up at 8.00 o’clock, a little bit tired because of the day before,Bruno had headache and Arthur was worried about his knee after what is happened at the beginning of spring in Bologna, do you remember it? –> From Bologna To Florence

The road wasn’t hard but due of our condition we had to slow down in order to avoid accidents.
Breakfast time! Before the road of pain we had a great breakfast in a local bar and then we mounted on our bikes to reach Vilanova de Milfontes, it surely helped to restore our condition!

Nothing is better than cappuccino & Croissants, nothing. 😀
From Odeceixe to Vilanova it’s just about 45 kms-50 depending on which route you prefer to follow. We followed the one that pass through S.Teotonio and proceed toward the crossroad of Odemira. Here we decided to skip Odemira and take the N393 in order to shorten the road.

We were in the middle of the route and  hungry, but a (not great) surprise was waiting for us.


Important Lesson: NEVER TRUST THE BREAD!

Bruno’s headache was killing him so we decided to stop at the local Aldi before the crossroads.
First of all (and this is a precious advice) keep your eyes on the price! We entered in the supermarket just to buy some bread and ham. Result? 16 euros! You may say what did you buy, if the bread was made of gold and dream and you know what? It was made of nightmares! We were cutting the bread outside the
supermarket when we realized that all the bread we bought was filled with a weird meat and GARLIC! A lot of GARLIC! The positive side is that we discovered what we don’t like! That’s why we came back in the supermarket and bought some real bread! Stretching and back on the road!

It was an hard ride but we reached Vila Nova De Milfontes very early, around 4.30 p.m.


Vila Nova De Milfontes: Embrace the Ocean!

Finally Vila Nova, finally the first beach on the ocean! What a spectacle!

The beach was very particular, to reach it we had to follow a little path in the wild and pass through a lot of rock stacked on
itselves. Rock stacking is considered a form of natural art which consist in stacking rocks and create something like a tower. Look at the photos below!

We relaxed on the beach talking and taking photos, then we decided to reach our guesthouse for the night.


The GuestHouse For Excellence: Casa Do Adro!

Once arrived we received a very warm welcome from Idalia and her husband, the owners of the guesthouse.
We have discovered that this place is one of the most known in Vila Nova de Milfontes and we also discovered why!
The 2 owners are simply the best! They welcomed us with a slice of chocolate cake and hot tea! What’s better after a day riding a bicycle?
The house is really spectacular, the atmosphere brought us to our grandparents houses. It’s like a gradmahouse with a very special touch of class! Our room was big enough for two person and the bathroom is the best to have some relax: a big bathub with hydromassage!
What else? A little courtyard where to park the bikes and a balcony where to enjoy the fresh air and the free beers for the guests!
Take a look at this cozy house:


W H A T   A   B R E A K F A S T !

Vila Nova is very quite at night and to have a walk till the ocean is something you can’t miss.

We decided to have a dinner in a local restaurant and then we went back to the guesthouse for the night.

When we woke up we had the best surprise of the world! The biggest breakfast ever seen on this planet.

Just look these photo:

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Bread, jam, bread, ham, eggs, a lot of fruit, a big choices of tea, toasted bread with honey.. ALL TOP QUALITY! 

We were ready to face another day!
Thanks for reading, see you in the next post: From Vilanova to Santo Adres! We’re going to speak about
Porto Covo, a jungle and the highway! 🙂


KEEP PEDALING!

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 4: The great descent to Odeceixe!

DAY 4


All Ready To Climb!

This has been the most difficult day of the trip: No flat roads but 50 kms completely on the hills!
We woke up at 9 o’clock and after breakfast and stop at the local supermarket to buy some chocolate and some bananas, we started our day with a little climb (just to start the day with smiles on our faces) followed by a fabolous descent until Bordeira.

We knew that after the descent there would be a long ride upwind on the hills and that’s why we bought chocolate and bananas. 😀

that climb had a name: Monte Ruvio.

This stretch of road was very tough and we really suggest you to be prepared if you are going to follow this route.
We are not professional cyclists, but by training twice a week we were able to face this challenge without too many difficulty.
At the top of the hill, we decided to leave the road to do a little offroad to reach the very top of the mount. Once there we realized that wasn’t the very top but we were still happy.
Months of efforts really paid us with that beautiful view!

We started our descent to Aljezur sure of the fact that troubles were finished.


Aljezur: maybe it’s better wear a raincot? Or maybe not?

WE WERE WRONG!
Aljezur is a small village considered the paradise for windsurfing and that’s why you will see a lot of Van full of surfer.
We stopped here just to have lunch and here is where the troubles began.
Just a second before our departure it started raining cats ‘n dogs! It wasn’t really a problem because we were equipped with k-ways.
we changed our clothes and under the heavy rain we started pedal; of course the road wasn’t flat and the second part of the climb started here.
After 5 minutes struggling facing the hills, it stopped raining and we had to stop again to change our clothes because we were boiling.

C’mon rain, you hitted us just for 5 minutes?

Not even the time to change our outfit! 😀
Never never never stop in the middle of a climb or you will regret it for the further half ‘n hour because it really breaks your legs.
Despite everything we managed to survive once again and we reached the pictoresque Rogil, a little town on the way to Odeceixe with some beautiful windmills and houses adorned with azulejos.


A crazy descent on a beautiful fairy village: Odeceixe

We were really close to Odeceixe, just 7 kms on a flat road before a crazy descent long 1km on a gradient of 100 meters.
The view from the top of the descent was really awesome.

This little white village deeped into a green valley with a river in the background.

We stopped here to enjoy the landscape and then we started the crazy descent screaming like crazy.

Don’t ask us why but we started screaming as if we wanted to release all the effort we’d
accumulated. REALLY LIBERATING!
A little bit awkward at the arrival…did anyone hear us?…Who cares! we are still laughing about this funny moment right now 😀
This little white town (961 inhabitants in 2011) is considered one of the most beautiful villages of Portugal. With its white houses reminds us some beautiful villages in Greece like Santorini.
It’s not very popular in winter but from spring to autumn it’s full of people that come here following the “Rota Vicentina”.
Once arrived we found an hotel for the night runned by a crazy receptionist we are used to crazy receptionist: Italian Tour: From Bologna To Florence
We only say that we rang the doorbell (it wasn’t working) and after 5 minutes of waiting the receptionist came to give us a room. Just note that the doorbell started ringing only when the receptionist restored the electric power… 😀


Eat a lot or eat so much: That is the question

We were really hungry so we decided to have a shower and find a place where to have dinner.
Once again one of the speciality of the city was fish and we ended in the best restaurant.
We started our dinner with very tasteful raw shrimps and a fish pudding.

As main dishes we have ordered octopus with sweet potatoes (really sweet and typical from aljezur) and Maccaroni with fish (we don’t know what it was exactly but the taste was good 🙂 )
How to end your day at the best? Double cheesecake for us!

It was definitely a long and hard day for us, we did a lot of stretching along the road in order to avoid issue but we were really paid by all the beauty and the nature we saw.
Big climbs, big descents, heavy rain and big smiles! We think that every situation could be easier if you set your mind in a happy mood and don’t let the fear of not succeeding catch you!

Before going to sleep we had a walk in the quiet sourroundigs and talked a lot about these days.

We were halfway and we were happy. Nothing better before going to sleep.

Don’t stop pedal,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy


Chapter 3: The end of the world: Sagres & Cabo De Sao Vicente

DAY 3


Going To Sagres

New Day to the south-western point of Europe!
We woke up early and after the morning exercises we came back to Lagos to took some photos of the city and its famous Dona Ana beach.
After the photos we headed toward Sagres and Cabo De Sao Vicente.
There’s not to much to say about this part of the route because we followed the N125 and the N268.
Being a main road is well maintained and pretty flat… this is one of the last flat route covered before the ups and downs, up & downs, up & downs… 😀


Sagres & Cabo De Sao Vicente: Natural beauties!

We reached Sagres that our stomaches were making the rumbles, so before to talk about Sagres we will talk about the MARVELOUS lunch that we had in front of the Spar Supermarket!
We walked in the Spar with a big smiles on our faces and we grabbed EVERYTHING: The first thing that Arthur took was a bunch of prunes while Bruno took some wafers.Fair enough.
All ok till now, not ok 2 seconds later. We bought 200 gramm of salami, 200g of raw ham, 100g of mozzarella, candies, crisps, 6 empty buns and also tuna. We don’t know why tuna, stay healthy!
After this epic meal we visited this little town well known for surfing.
There’s not to much to see in this town: the main spots are the “Fortaleza do Sagres“, a fortress on the coast from which you can enjoy a good view of the ocean and the surroundings, and “Cabo De Sao Vicente“, a lighthouse in the south western point of Europe, also known as “The end of the world“.
The road from Sagres to Cabo De Sao Vicente it’s something magic.

Have you ever played Final Fantasy? 6 kms in the middle of nowhere, only us, the road, the coast and the view of the lighthouse in the distance. WOW, that’s why we make this stretch of road listening to Final Fantasy soundtrack: Road To Zanarkand

That’s a reason why it’s called The end of the world and the reason is that’s really the end of the world, it’s really beautiful! It’s like to be in front of the infinite. There’s not a rational reason. It’s something you can’t miss when you visit the Algarve region.


 

Into the Wild: Vila Do Bispo

Vila do Bispo is situated at the crossroad between Sagres and Odeceixe. to reach Vila Do Bispo from Cabo De Sao Vicente you have 2 choices: you can follow back the route (14kms) or take a dirty road (11kms).
Guess what we choose? The shorter one, of course. The shorter one but the hardest one. Do our choice only if you have a Gravel or Mountain bike. Please.
The road was really spectacular, deep into the wild, so wild that wasn’t possible to see the main road.
You can’t imagine what a breath we took when we saw Vila do Bispo from the top of a hill 1km away! Look at it:

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Vila Do Bispo is a small village used only as a place for the night by the cyclists and the hikers. There’s not much to say except that we ate pizza even this time. 😀
After dinner we went to bed early to rest in view of the toughest day of the trip: From Vila Do Bispo to Odeceixe.

Thanks for your time,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 2: Beaches and fresh fish dishes in Lagos!

Day 2


What to eat to boost you up?

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Sunny day!
Just a little bit of stretching to wake up our legs and we were ready for the new day: 51kms to Lagos.
We followed the main route with the exception of the first strecth of road. It was funny but dangerous.
As we said in the previous post you have to be well equipped to go offroad in Portugal.
Some roads are not easy even if you have a good gravel, for example we had to stop many times to screw the screws back in; and above all have the right wheels.

We can’t deny that it was so much fun “skating” with our bike on the shingle! 😀
After this little offroad we went back to a secondary road on the hills where we discovered the joy of long descents after big climbs.
As well as being sweaty we had to look pretty desperate, so desperate that an old lady who was selling oranges along the way stopped us to give us a couple!

Ahh vitamins! It’s so beautiful when you met this kind of person with a very big big big big x5 heart.
With this load of energy and love we continued our route trough beautiful and different landscapes: from the red rocks to cozy villages, cows and the beautiful bridge of Portimao on the Arade river.
Cycling makes you hungry, so we stopped in the first place that we found along the road.
RIGHT CHOICE: Piri Piri Chicken makes you better, a better person! 😀 and of course it will.


it’s so spicy that had  invigorated our legs to the point of making us do the last 20km in just an hour!


The Azulejos City: Lagos

Lagos, together with Albufeira and Faro is one of the most famous tourist resorts in the Algarve.
It is not BIG, but it is very pretty. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and the walls of the houses adorned with azulejos, small tiles that resemble Sicilian majolica and give a taste of freshness and antiquity at the same time to the city.

Here you will find many of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve, for example the beautiful beach of Dona Ana near the city center. Look at this beauty!
In addition to the beaches there are several monuments that you can visit including the entirely covered with azulejos “Igreja of sait antonio” or the “Forte da ponta da Bandiera” from wich you can have a beutiful view of the sea.

We gave a quick look to the city and we decided to reach our resort in order to have a shower, relax a little bit and come back in the evening to have dinner!


Time To Rest:  ALDEIA AZUL RESORT

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It was half past 5 o’clock when we arrived at the Aldeia Azul Resort where we met Lucas, the most prepared receptionist about Algarve! He spent a lot of his time giving us precious tips about what to do, what to visit and what dishes try in the cities of the algarve. He was so convincing that we need to come back in Portugal because we didn’t visited Sintra! He spent some fantastic words for it! 😛
Once we did the check in he accompanied us to our apartment. Just look at the photo below?

Was it paradise?
If we have to buy an house we definitely ask for a copy of this apartment. Or Maybe a copy of this resort! PRETTY COOL!
You can find anything you need: Spa, gym, Swimming pool, tennis and beach volley courts, soccer field, minigolf and a good bar where we drunk an excellent gin tonic!
For sure, it’s good especially for families and cyclist who want some good relax.


Time To Dinner Ladies and Gentlemen!

If you choose a resort outside the city center, our suggest is to absolutely bring the lights because the roads are not enlightened. For what concern us we decide to take a taxi that for 10 euros brought us in the city center. Much safer and not expensive 🙂

As Lagos is a sea village, its speciality are fresh fish dishes!
So, don’t miss the fabolous fish soup that many restaurants propose to its clients! And don’t miss the sweet potatoes too!


The following morning we decided to get up early and take some fresh air in front of the swimming pool. What’s better for your spirit?

Dawn, fresh air, respiration exercise and we were ready for the new day! We know that every single day traveling by bike has something different from another one! We love that feeling!

We were ready to reach vila do bispo, but first passing through Sagres and Cabo De Sao Vicente, the southwest point of the European continent.

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Keep on traveling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy