Figuera da Foz, to Olhau (Setubal) to 19/09/04

Figuera to Nazare, Castelo de Bode, Alpairca, Outao (Setubal) 4 days diary
3 night stay at Camping Outao = E21
Nazare site = Vale Paraiso

14/15/16/17/18and 19.08.04 to Setubal

Not done a complete route for a while……
Castro Jeriz BU410 to BU411 to P431 Fromista, Carion Los Condes (campsite),

N120 Sahagun. N120 to N601 to Mansilla las Mulas (campsite),

N601 Leon, N120 Astorga, LE142 Murias, El Ganso, Rabanal Del Camino, Foncebadon, Manjarin (guy with 1000 roadsigns), Acebo, Molinesca, Ponferrada (campsite),

NV1 to Villafranca, Cebreiro, LU634 to Hospital, Ponfria, Lamas, Triacastela (refugio),

Samoa, Sarria, C535 Portomarin, N540 to N547 Palas du Rei (campsite),

N547 to Santiago (campsite).

Leaving Santiago on C541 (wrong number on roadsign/map?) Puentevea, N640 Cuntis, Caldas du Rei, Vilargarcia, Cambados, Sanxenxo (campsite),

VRG 41 to Pontevedra, N550 to Redondela, Porrino, N120 Ponteareas, PO403 Salvatierra de Minho, (cross border to Portugal), N101 Valenca, N13 Caminha (campsite)

N13 Viana do Costelo, N13 Esposende, Povoa de Varzim, Vila do Conde (campsite)

Backroads to N13 to Porto, IC29 to Foz de Sousa, to N108 cross dam backroads (!) to N222 Porto , N1, backroads to esmoriz (campsite)

N109 to N224 east to IC2 to Mealhada, n234 to Cantanhede, Mira (campsite)

N109 Figuera de Foz (campsite)

N109 Leiria, N242 Marinha Grande, N242 Nazare (campsite)

N242 north to Martinganca, N356 to Batalha, Fatima, to N113 Tomar, N358-2 to Castelo du Bode (campsite)

N110 Entroncamento, N365 to N243 Alpairca, N118 to Almerim, N118 Salvaterra, Porto Alto, N10 to Setubal (Outao).

That’s the route recorded, haven’t written since the 13th, arriving at Figuera de Foz.
Too many miles on dangerous roads, not enough to eat and very very hot here.
My head went.
Had 2 nights at Figuera, a nice site on a hill next to 2 supermarkets, Leclerk and Intermarche.
Pissed off completely, overtired and worried about dealing with Lisbon.
All the roads since Porto have been relatively good, they have bad stretches but nothing like Porto. The traffic varies between horrendous, idiots in lorries etc, to nothing at all, empty roads. He further south I travel the better it gets, road surfaces are better – no cobbles here, only find them on the tiny backroads and in the towncentres – which are generally well kept, good riding.
Signposting has improved dramatically, no more navigation problems.
Careful vandalism to the roadsigns means you cant tell how far to the next town, the vandals have smashed or removed the distance parts of almost all of the signs, but generally you can tell where you are and that you are on the right track.
Roads, on average, are quieter and more drivers give more room to the bike here.
Dogs are still a problem, with dead ones everywhere on the roads. Not just small dogs, there are some large powerful animals here, boxers particularly. Dead on the tarmac, mummified skins and bones all along the hard shoulder and verges.
Campsites are variable, some very basic with bad facilities, others better, but nothing approaching the French standards, although the prices are lower here and it is out of season now.
Campsites inland are mostly closed, did 90 miles yesterday from Alpairca to Setubal to find this one. Excellent spot here now, right on the shoreline between the road and the sea. Can see the town (Setubal) to my left along the bay, and the Peninsula de Troia looks like an island from here.
Will be here a few days and rest up a little, have got my head sorted out again, ready to ride!! but am physically shattered with not having more than 2 consecutive days off since Perpignan. From memory, including today, 5 days without riding since leaving the Mediterranean, with 2 of those in Santiago. My knees hurt, my legs ache, I’m thinking very slowly, it’s to be expected on a trip like this I suppose, so no complaints, but it needs putting right before I continue.
Landscape has been a lot flatter for the last few days, some hills around Fatima, (1 big hill!) but nothing really serious. Rolling countryside, small towns, very very picturesque. I like it here there’s a good light, very bright and flat, makes colours very vivid. Maybe reflected by the land and water?
Farmland here not much good, is all sand and stones. Mostly trees, vineyards, maize (corn), the odd melon field and masses of tomato fields. The plants are not supported at all, they are just left to trail along the ground tangling together.
Passed the Heinz factory yesterday near Benavente, hundreds of tractor trailers, bulkers 20 tonnes and more all parked up fully loaded in the yard, with even more still driving on the roads. All the trailers were loaded to the absolute max with fruit falling off as they drove leaving a giant “tomato juice slick” along the edge of the road from Alpairca onwards. Overloaded trailers driving far too fast.
Am glad I’m straightened up again, the roads in Northern Portugal really knocked it out of me. Was considering quitting and flying home from Faro, thinking not now, got around Lisbon, the next big obstacle will be the motorways around Sevilla



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