Melides to Vila nova de Milfontes, 22/09/04

Sitava Camping E6.50
22.09.04 wed Melides to Vila Nova de Milfontes 45 miles
45 miles in 4h 0min riding time. 3624 miles total.
Backroads to N621 to Santiago, N120 (starts before Santiago??) to IC4 to Cercal, N390 to Melides. Campismo sign says 4km, wrong! Is 4 miles.
Beautiful roads all the way – hills and valleys – excellent. The road leaving Cercal climbs and then runs along a hilltop/mountaintop ridge for 2 to 3 miles with views down 1000’ each side through the cork oak forests. Cattle here and the farmers/ranchers are driving around in Japanese 4x4, all wearing cowboy hats and check shirts, straight out of Hollywood, its almost a uniform, all the same Ha.
The houses are all the same too, all painted white, single storey, dotted around the hills.
Hot again today, 36’c (riding), found an Intermarche supermarket whilst leaving Santiago on the Cercal road, airconditioning , food and cold drinks, a lifesaver.
This town is built on the side of a hill. Theres a castle on top that you can see for miles on the way in. A 200 or 300 foot climb up to it, not a lot but its Vsteep and Hot. Guy with the traffic control flag at the roadworks near the top of the hill stopped the traffic and let me through, all the road gang were cheering me on……. A little embarrassing but a good vibe.
Chain keeps jumping off when changing down to front first, maybe getting a little slack, its done 6000 km or so now, will get a new one in Faro.
Celebrated 6000km with Zarah, a remote toast by SMS text message, “ready” “now” and I’m drinking here at the same moment that she is in Cambodia, (19.30pm Portuguese) a bottle of stout versus hot chocolate, very nice, thank you Z.
The alcohol knocked me out for a couple of hours, I’m not used to it, needed a cold shower when it got dark and cooler.
Big 4* site here, lots of space and a good pitch, I can hear large waves breaking somewhere close by, same as last night. Not seen the sea since the north, apart from Setubal, but that was a flat calm estuary. Sounds good, will have to go look before I get onto the southern coast and the straits of Gibraltar.
Cercal’s a nice town. A big lawned roundabout/junction in the centre with lots of space. Pavement cafes all packed with people watching the traffic pass by, is like France.
Only done 45 miles today, but I’m knackered again. Maybe the hills and climate, maybe the 69 miles yesterday, who knows. Will find somewhere decent on the south coast and rest up again. Cant get much hotter surely now, am almost as far south as I can go.



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