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 3: Old Friends Reunited!

DAY 3


Are You Afraid Of Heights?

Not so many kms that day but we had fun and relax all day long!
We left the three fortified city in order to Reach Sliema passing throug La Valletta. 
These pics were taken at the moment of our arrival, on the top of a rock on the port. If you are afraid of heights we really do not reccomend it. 
If it’s not a problem you will find a beautiful view!
La Valletta is the Capital of Malta and it’s very particular for its style. It has been built in a Baroque style with some elements of Mannerist, Neo classical and modern Architecture.
A kind of style you can find in all the island but especially here. The city is also knowed as “La superbissima” in Italian that means “the most proud” due to its magnificent baroque palces, gardens and churches. 
In 1980 has been recognized as World Heritage City by Unesco.


Happy Old Friends! 🙂

After relaxing in La valletta, eating some healty food in a local restaurant we headed towards our final destination Sliema and St Jullian.
Before to arrive in Sliema Bruno called one of his friend that we discovered was living in Malta and that he didn’t see in years!
Life is strange, you don’t see a person in years and then you meet him/her in a foreign country!
We met Luca in Sliema and we decided to have dinner all togheter in a Italian Restaurant in Sliema! No wait stop! We are not the classic italian people who eat pasta and pizza in every place we go! Ahah jocking, yes we are. 
But we try other food too. But that night pizza. Pizza a heart lefted. One of us left it’s heart to the waitress.. but this is another story.
St Jullian is well knowed for its nightlife and even if it was barely spring there was a lot of movida. We had a little bit of relax in a Narghilè Bar telling stories of the things happened in the past during our trips and our lives, just like people who don’t see for years do 🙂
Thanks Luca for the company! 🙂 


Time To Say Goodbye, Malta!

Here we are at the end of our trip. We slept in St Jullian and the morning after we had to come back to Italy.
We woke up early, we had to give the bikes back and reach the airport.
We want to thanks The Cyclist Malta for giving us the opportunity to try their services and for supporting us. 
The bikes were impeccable!
They also allowed us to try an e-bike. We never tried it and we have to say that is really exciting!
Maybe we will try them for an entire trip.. who knows!? 🙂


It has been a very beautiful experience in a place that we didn’t expect to be as beautiful as it is. 
Thanks to all Maltese people who helped us during the trip giving us information and thanks to us for reading us! Especially THANK YOU for putting up with our bad left-hand drive! 😛

See you on the road, have nice & safe travels.
Bruno & Arthur – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 2: BoatPhilosophy Time!

DAY 2


Country Roooad, Taake Mee…

Country roads take me hoomee cama cama cama cameleonBeginning of the day and end of the day.
Our days has been like this, dirty roads for breakfast and dirty roads for dinner, but.. we couldn’t ask anything better then this.

The first pic was taken when we were on our way to Blue Grotto, the other two on our way to Kalkara before visiting Marsa Scirocco and Marsa Scala.
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN THE TITLE? Easy, during our off road we sang this two famous song Take Me HomeKarma Chameleon mashed up convinced that was only a song.. all OK! 😀


The Blue Grotto!

Really close to Wied iż-Żurrieq port you can find Blue Grotto, that refers to a number of sea caverns.
Some of these caverns mirror the phosporescent colour of the underwater flora.
It is something you can’t miss. The spectacle is due to the position of the caves and the direction of the sunlight that hit the cavern walls and the sea.
In the first photo you can see an happy Arthur jumping from a table (why?) while in the other photos you can see the faboulous colour of the caves and the little oat we took to see them.

ISLA BORMLA AND BIRGU!

These three fortified city are very beautiful and is possible to visit them in one day.
There are narrow street that reminds you old times. It is really a pleasure to take a walk or a ride there.
These are the most historically rich, fascinating and characteristic areas of Malta.
For this reason they are inclused in the list of candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 
Unfortunately these cities are visited only by 1 tourist in 10.
Why this happen? Probably due to the industry of mass tourism that concentrate everything in some places in order to maximize the profits.Guys and girls, these placese really deserve to be visited. Trust us, and if you won’t be satisfied Bruno will pay for your next trip everywhere! 🙂


Bruno or Tutankamon?!

How to end this day?
This is how Bruno sleeps. He is really out of mind (and this cause to Arthur a lot of problem when he try to understand him)
Another sign that he’s out of mind:
In the video you can see Bruno testing the depth of another bathroom thanks to a precise measuring instrument: his shoe!

That’s enough for today!
Thanks,
Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 1: Popeye, The Sailor Man!

DAY 1


Let’s Start!

This is the second photo we took on this trip.We had barely pick up the bikes from the bike rental TheCyclist Malta when we found the first secondary road of the trip.We were really happy, we were in Malta, survived the bus that kidnapped us (we just asked for info to the driver and then we found us staggering in a bus launched at crazy speed.To start a trip is always a moment of pure Joy, you just can’t wait to reach the first place you putted on the map when you planned it! 🙂 


First city reached: Bugibba!

The first place we reached was Bugibba, just look at the colour of the sea and the perfect weather. Very beautiful, isn’t it? No, i’m not talking about Bruno, he’s ugly and crazy as hell 😛 Bugibba, with Qawra e Xemxija forms St. Paul’s Bay (San Pawl il-Baħar). This place owes its name to the legend of the shipwreck of St Paul on the small island in front of this cove.At the beginning it was a little fisherman’s bay, now one of the renowed touristic place of the island.


Leave Us There!

On our way to Mellieha we shooted this photo while resting a bit after we have discovered to have taken the wrong road.And sometimes wrong road doesn’t mean it’s all wrong, we just get lost and discovered this little corner of peace with a good view :)What about details? Look at the blue door: doesn’t that make you want to rest on it?


The World is YOURS!

To travel is to discover,is to discover new places, old places, to discover yourself. We shoot these photos at the arrival in Mellieha: Bruno entering a gate of the Santuary of our Lady, the sanctuary, a beautiful window on the sea and Bruno fronting his fear for heights.


Hello Popeye!

The Popeye village is one of the most beautiful attractions of the island. Located a few kilometers from Mellieha rises in Anchor’s bay, a beautiful bay with crystal water. This village was built in 1980 specifically for a musical film produced by Paramount and Disney in which starred a young Robin Williams.Today is a touristic attraction for families with their children or just for people who never feel to old for beautiful things :)In the last photo you can see an Arthur facing deth after a killer climb!
THIS IS A PLACE THAT YOU CAN’T MISS WHEN YOU VISIT MALTA!
Of course we will remember Malta for its climb and crazy descents!
It was a though day, we got up early, took bus, pick up the bikes and started the trip. We have decided that our mental healt is perfectly describable with this video in which Bruno tests the widht of the shower.Buut, what is madness? 😛 

Thank you for reading, see you in the next post!

Keep pedal,
Arthur and Bruno – BikesPhilosophy


The Malta Tour


Hello dears!
In this post we will talk about our little long weekend in Malta by bike!
Malta is a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, only 80 kms from Sicily and it is the smallest but most populated states in the world.
The capital of Malta is La Valletta, a fortified city that is UNESCO word heritage: a must see!


Why We Choose Malta:

Basically we choose Malta for 2 reasons: the weather and the the possibility to visit many place in few days.The island is small and the short distance between the points of interest allows you to visit it in a short time.For what concern temperature it is perfect 365 days a year, in fact it hardly ever drops below 10 degrees.


To Cycle In Malta:

What to say? We think that the very best way to explore Malta by bike is with a mountain bike. It is the best way because there are a lot of climb and possibility to follow offroad path and enjoy the wilderness of this place. If you are not trained, another possibility, is to rent an E-bike. We had the possibility to test one for the first time at the rental shop and we really liked it.It is a good way to approach the world of bike tourism and to respect the environnement. For what concern the roads you must know that Malta was an English colony and they drive on the left. It could be a little bit tricky at first but after a day it becomes normal.
Car drivers and bus driver are crazy, they go very fast but at least they respect cyclists 🙂


The Cyclist Malta

For this trip we really would like to thanks THE CYCLIST MALTA who decided to sponsor us lending us two bikes to explore Malta.The shop is located in San Jullian and is easily reachble from La Valletta by taxi or bus. They are really prepared and willing to help for any problem or necessity. 
Take a look at the shop: www.thecyclistmalta.com

Many thanks!! 🙂


HOW WE PLANNED OUR TRIP:

DAY 1 – From St.Julians to Zebbugi (Via Bugibba, Mellieha and The Popeye Village);
DAY 2 – From Zebbugi to Kalkara (Via Blue Grotto, Marsca Scala and Marsa Scirocco);
DAY 3 – From Kalkara to Paceville (Via Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua, La Valletta, Sliema and St. Julians).

Have a nice bike day!
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 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?

dav

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.

dav

Keep on traveling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 1: Let’s Up & Down, Albufeira!

Hello people, let us introduce you to our trip.

This time we decided to tour in Portugal, to discover and live the nature in all its beauty, from the hills to the beaches.

It will be divided in 8 posts:

  1. From Faro to Albufeira;
  2. From Albufeira to Lagos;
  3. From Lagos to Vila do Bispo, via Sagres;
  4. From Vila do Bispo to Odeceixe;
  5. From Odeceixe to Vila Nova De Milfontes;
  6. From Vila Nova De Milfontes to Vila Nova de Santo Andrè
  7. From Vila Nova De Santo Andrè to Tròia;
  8. From Tròia to Lisbon.

DAY 1


Let the music play: Start the journey!

dav
Early, early in the morning, but very very early morning.
No, not this time.

REWIND

Late, late in the evening, we started our journey.
the previous days were very weird. Anxiety, joy, skirt, enthusiasm.

It was the first time that we bring our bikes and you know, first time is always the first time. 🙂
Our flight was at 7.25 a.m. but due to the distance from our houses and the necessity to arrive at the airport at least 2.30 h before we decided to sleep there.
Airports at night are something special. Very few people sleeping, other people reads, someone is smoking and someone else talks with a stranger.
How many stories, how many destinies and destination.
For what it concern us we met a friend of Arthur and we spent the night helping him to choose photos for a work and trying to place his hammock.
Yes, an hammock in a airport! Can you believe it?

Look at the photo down here! 🙂

dav
The best thing happened that night was at the wake up. A stranger left a piece of toilet paper on which he wrote that he left a bag full of snacks under the hammock!
Breakfast assured 🙂


Faro, take care of us!

dav

Time to start the journey, plane takes us to Portugal!

The flight was very easy, not as it’s happened at the return (we will talk about this, oh yes!).
We arrived in Faro on time and after ONLY two hours we finished to assemble all the parts. Please have a cup of tea, it was the FIRST TIME 😛
We really appreciated that the airport was equipped with 3 “bike stations”, very useful for assembling/disassembling bicycles.
All good! The sun was shining and legs were ready! We were so excited, all went good and we were on the bikes with our yellow bags full of clothes and useless things! Useless like the blue jeans of Arthur’s father. He says that don’t know how is happened… Useful as the pair of Bruno’s jeans in excess!


Destination Algarve: The wild nature

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5 kms from the airport and we were already deep in the Algarve Region. This region is very wild and the nature is simply incredible: pines, palms and dirty roads!
kinda esotic!
To reach Albufeira is really easy, it’s just 35 kms from the airport and you can chose between different roads. If you have a mountain bike or a gravel with good tires you can take the dirty roads and enjoy the wild surroundings, otherwise you can follow the normal road.

 

 

sdr

We decided to follow both. The first part in the wild passing through the salinas and the second part on the normal road BECAUSE WE WERE DYING! Jocking 🙂
The first thing you will notice following the main road is

that is full of golf resorts. Miles and miles of green fields and people driving golf cars. We will think about this when we retire! 🙂

Jokes aside, this is a renowed region for Golf!
The first day was very easy and before noon we were in the white Albufeira.


Albufeira: Fortress of the sea

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Albufeira is a well known town in the Algarve.
The city was founded by the Arabs in order to be a fortress on the sea. His names literally means “Fortress of the sea”.
Born as a fortress, during the centuries it became a little fishing village and now, in the last 50 years, it has become one of the most touristic place in the south of Portugal.
This city is a little white pearl, full of narrow street, beautiful views, amazing beaches and its famous nightlife.
It’s a little bit difficult to visit it by bike because is built on a hill.
Up & Down, Up & Down, Up & Down…:D

The Main place to visit are the clock tower “Torre do Rologio“, the symbol of the city, and “Torre Sineira“, a beautiful tower with 8 bells.
Despite this town is full of churches and monuments we didn’t have enough time to visit them, so we decided to do a little tour of the city and then relax a little bit at “Praio di Peneco“.
We enjoyed the sunset at the beach and then we went to the hotel.


Welcome to the São Rafael Atlântico Hotel!

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davOnce arrived at the hotel we had the possibility to leave our bikes safe in a little storeroom behind the reception desk.
The whole staff was very friendly and once in the room they brought us a tasty dish with strawberry, chocolate, meringue and orange juices! NICE SURPRISE!

Look at its smile! 😀

We were happy, so happy that Arthur created a funny dance to celebrate the moment. We jealously guard the video, make an offer and we’ll let you know. 😛

The room was really beautiful, a room of a refined elegance and almost big as our houses!

And what about the view from the balcony?

After 2 days without sleeping on a bed it was like being in paradise! Oh, it’s a paradise even if you have slept normally the day before. Trust us.

If you need to relax and fully recover your strength, we strongly recommend this hotel for your stay in Albufeira.

Here you can find the link to book your stay, visit their website or learn more about the hotel: https://www.saorafaelatlantico.com

We suggest you to take a look to the photo tour on their website. You will not regret it!


After a good shower we were really hungry so we decided to have a walk outside. PLEASE DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE WE DID!
We stopped in a restaurant that was rated 4 stars on Trip Advisor.
As good italian boys we decided to order two pizzas, also because the chef reassured us that pizza was one of his specialities.
We’re still shaken by that experience that we don’t even want to mention the name of the restaurant. :’D
The tiredness accumulated from travelling by plane and bicycle was so much that once back in the room we fainted on the beds and we woke up directly in the morning.

Someone said morning?!

What’s better than a good breakfast?

What’s better than a continental breakfast?

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The buffet was so big that you can lose yourself in it.
It’s weird because when we are at home we eat just a croissant or some biscuits with a tea/coffee, while here we ate like there was no tomorrow! 😀

Too bad we stayed here only for a night .. 😥


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It was time to leave Albufeira, morning stretching, a last look to the city and we headed to our next destination: Lagos.

Thanks for your time,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

Chapter 3: Bologna & Florence, What’s better?!

Day 3 & 4


Home of the arcades: Bologna

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The alarm was ringing, it was time to get on our feet!
Just a little problem, Arthur’s knee was hurting and neither a strong breakfast with 2 slices of cakes and hot tea could help him.
After discussing about what to do, we decided to look for a therapist in the city before doing our next step. Luckily the knee wasn’t hurting so much to stop pedaling, but we didn’t want to make things worse.
We left the hotel, and the first thing we did was going to the only one therapist we found, but unfortunately he told us to come back at 6.pm.. It was 9 o’clock and our plan was to reach Roncobilaccio ( half way to Firenze) through appennines. We definitely couldn’t wait!

So we decided to pedal slowly to visit the beautiful city of Bologna.

What to see in Bologna, capital of Emilia Romagna.
Bologna is a small, welcoming city, it is like a warm hug from a person who really loves you. Bologna is a living city, a city in which, in the tumult of people, you can feel its blood flowing.
Its famous arcades, streets and people make it a picturesque city. This city famous because of its food and before that, because of its art. In fact, Bologna is considered the crossroads of Italian culture.
So, we’ll be brief: here’s what you shouldn’t miss if you visit Bologna for one day:

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  • Piazza Maggiore: the principal square in Bologna, it hosts the Basilica of San Petronio and it is surrounded by historical buildings. This square is really important because it was one of the first squares to be rebuilt after the fall of the Roman Empire. The inhabitants needed a space of aggregation, a space to be used as a market so the municipality bought and demolished the old popular buildings to make the current square. This sanctioned the birth of the Italian squares as a meeting place.
  • Basilica di San Petronio: one of the most known curches in the city. It hosts the longest sundial of the world in a structure and Bologna’s people love it.This church is a world record for many things: the 4th in italy by size, the 6th in Europe and the first Gothic brick church in the world always by size.
  • Torre degli Asinelli: The Asinelli tower, one of the main towers, is known as the symbol of the city. The tower can be visited by paying a free entrance. After 498 steps you will be able to see Bologna from above. A popular saying says don’t climb to the top if you are not graduated yet because in that case you won’t succeed. Would you challenge popular says??
  • Arcades: the arcades represents this city, they are renowned in all the world because of their extension of 40 kms. Just perfect to take a walk in all season 🙂

Walking down the streets, just before lunch, we met Hokito, a funny equilibrist with whom we talked for half an hour. He left his job 14 years ago to start traveling by bike earning a living with small shows along the road. It’s surprising. We really admire this kind of people! We do not know if we could ever make such a decision.

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Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.

Good luck Hokito!


 Time to make an HARD DECISION

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Once satisfied by the food we took a last look at the city. And here we are at the moment of the difficult decision, at the crossroads, the crossroads between heart and mind, between continuing to ride on the mountains putting in serious danger the knee of Arthur or recognize when it is time to stop.

It was hard to decide, when you think you are well trained, when nothing seems can’t stop you an old pain comes back. It’s life, and sometimes BIP happens. And sometimes the only thing you can do is going through it, through the rage, through all the “i could have trained better”. Arthur struggled for many hours with this thoughts… then he drinked a beer, took a coffee and an ice cream.

Basically a child, an happy child! 😀 DO NOT LET BAD THINGS RUIN YOUR TRIP 😀

We decided to to save energy and recover the knee for the last few days,so we went to Florence by train. It’s just an hour and a half of travel with a change to get to your destination.

We’re gonna talk about carrying your bike on a train in italy in a further post 🙂


What an ART, Florence!

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We do not believe that Florence needs introductions, but for all those who do not know what it is, we can say that it is simply the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.

It is in fact the Italian Renaissance city FOR EXCELLENCE, All those who appreciate art must at least once in their lives visit it and observe how a city can be artistic and expressive.

If you have only a few days to visit this beauty, you can’t miss:

  • Dome of Florence and Giotto’s belfry : Your visit should start with Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, heart of the city. It’s the third largest basilica of the world, second only to San Pietro of Rome and St.Paul of London. We assure you that you would only spend hours observing Brunelleschi‘s magnificent and majestic dome.

  • Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi The most famous square in Florence that houses the fourteenth-century Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civil and administrative power of the city. You will be addicted to ancient marble or stone sculptures, such as Donatello’s Marzocco or the fountain of Neptune, the first fountain in the city.After a few steps you will find yourself under the “Loggia dei Lanzi”, which was the seat of the ancient public assemblies. The Loggia today houses numerous marble sculptures, including Benvenuto Cellini’s masterpiece: The Perseo, dating back to 1554, which with an athletic gesture proudly exhibits the beheaded head of Medusa. Take a look at it:

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  • Galleria degli Uffizi: The Uffizi Gallery needs no introduction, just think that it is one of the most famous and visited museums in the world, incredibly full of priceless and unique artworks, open to the public since 1581!
  • Ponte vecchio: Symbol of the historical Florence, allows the passage over the waters of the Arno river where it narrows. The bridge is sprinkled with artisan workshops, which were once butcher shops and today are goldsmith shops. However, the shopping strip will stop in the middle, where two terraces await you. Panorama insured.
  • Giardino di Boboli: Private park of Palazzo Pitti, the ancient residence of the duchy, connects the famous palace with Forte Belvedere. 45,000 square metres of garden with museums, statues and residences. Its beauty will not leave you indifferent.

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We forgot to tell you that another essential thing to do in Florence is eating like crazy!:D

Your stomach will thank you, scout’s world of honor.

But let’s go back to our story! previously we said that due to the physical mishap we stayed two days in Florence, but we did not have a facility in which to stay the first evening and we decided to book blindly, checking Booking availability.

WE ENDED UP IN A FANTASY PLACE. The receptionist seemed to have come out from some thriller film in which he was the crazy killer: Very thin, bewildered eyes, very rapid and sudden movements, elegant jacket with sleeves covering almost entirely the hands and jeans.

Arthur asked him if by chance they had a bag of ice to try to appease the pain, but the recepetionist replied that he would have to check later because at the moment he was very very very busy. The problem was that while he was saying this, he turned and stared at his empty desk. COMPLETELY EMPTY.

In the meantime, a young man arrived and presented himself as the new receptionist on his first day in structure. Our protagonist, after welcoming the new employee, decided to accompany us to the room, climbing up the stairs when suddenly the phone rang!

PANIC! He began to run up the stairs yelling to the new receptionist (who was arrived only two minutes before) to answer the phone. In the distance we heard a shy and sketched “hello?. We laughed so much that we will hardly forget it.
That is not the end of the story! In fact, after a small evening tour in the center, we came back to the hotel thinking about how funny was the scene of the afternoon.

As soon as we crossed the threshold of the hotel we didn’t see anyone at the reception. We advanced towards the second entrance of the hotel from which on the right you can access the stairs, when an unidentified boy passed from nowhere hopping the entire hall and making strange verses. We laughed so much that Arthur risked to fall off the stairs. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THAT HOTEL!


How to end this Experience

The next day we stayed at Plus Florence, youth hostel and multicultural: Just think that the receptionists know at least 3-4 languages.

Meanwhile Arthur’s knee was almost healed so we explored the city passing by the riverside (“Lungarno”) and along the beautiful streets of the Florence.

While we were walking through Florence we were stopped by Filippo, who recognizing our BRN equipment and told us about his journey from Florence to St. Petersburg.

it’s incredible how two travel bags catch the eye: in fact we’ve been stopped several times by other like-minded people.

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In this photo you can see Arthur with a lovely couple of New Zealanders on an European bicycle tour of 6 months.

Despite the misadventure this experience has been beautiful, because the most exciting thing is that each of our adventure gives us emotions, feelings, circumstances and memories that we will always take with us and that push us to explore more and more with the bike this beloved world.

True freedom is only in yourself, never stop looking for it.

Keep pedaling,

Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy

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