Day 25 – Less is More (Vila Flor)

Yesterday the ride was absolutely brutal – the hills at the end of the day in the afternoon heat on tired legs nearly finished me off! After that, neither of us fancied a big day today. The lovely motorway assistance man who had escorted us back to safety said that there was a big campsite in the woods at Vila Flor, only 20km away. We were too tired to make it yesterday but decided to have a short ride today and stay there tonight.

It feels like it was a good decision. We slept in at the hotel because we’d been informed that breakfast would be served at 9am. ‘Breakfast’ turned out to be a ham and cheese sandwich and a cup of tea, but when you’re only paying 30 euros for a big double room, you can’t be too fussy about such things.

We set off around 11am to do our short ride to Vila Flor. It was beautiful! We took a small road alongside the dreaded IC-5 and enjoyed the gentle undulating ride. No crazy steep valleys today, phew! It was hot but the road was quiet and the riding was easy, so we were alright. We went through some lovely towns, one of which sported a bus stop with a fireplace!

Through villages

Through villages

Through countryside

Through countryside

Fire place in a bus stop

Fire place in a bus stop

On one lovely downhill section, I came alongside Dave for a chat and heard a blast of lorry horn behind me! I tried to pull in and almost got us tangled up, doing 40kph with a truck behind us, but thankfully nothing was coming the other way so he could pass safely, and by some miracle or other neither of us fell off before I could get the panniers separated. We stopped in a side road to recover for a bit. This was a particularly poignant incident because my parents had a handlebar tangle crash just the other day that resulted in two fractures! So my Dad has his arm in a cast and Mum is all bruised. Luckily Dave and I didn’t follow suit. Or go under a truck. Guess I should go back to riding in the ‘gutter’!

We made it to the campsite around 12:30, showered, did our laundry (it’s going to actually dry!) and pitched the tent. Then after second lunch, we headed 3km into town, up and down some 10% hills, but without our stuff they were easy peasy!

Snack time in Vila Flor

Snack time in Vila Flor

Vila Flor church and fountain

Vila Flor church and fountain

It was really hot today and we were sweating just wandering around town doing the shopping. Then we stopped in the shady town square for some cherries and oranges before braving the sweaty 10% hill back to the campsite.

Camping under a little oak tree

Camping under a little oak tree

We set up to make dinner as a gang of French people on tour in 4x4s came in and set up camp alongside us. Hopefully they don’t like to stay up late partying! We had a delicious dinner, sorted all our stuff out and got into bed. The sun has just gone down but it’s still really warm – can’t even contemplate getting into the sleeping bag yet!

Tomorrow we’re aiming for Vila Nova de Foz Coa, a more respectable 50km away.

– Anna

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