Thursday

Setubal to Melides, 21/09/04

Clube de Campismo de Lisboa 1 night E16.20
21.09.04 Setubal to Melides 69.26 miles
69.26 miles in 5h 48min riding time. 3579 miles total now.
Left the campsite and the flies at 09.00.
Another Dutch couple cycling, arrived at Outao same time as me. They had given up and were catching the train to Faro. They started at Porto, their first cycling holiday… 2.5 weeks cycling in Portugal, their first time riding abroad together.
Mistake. Should have chosen France.
Mixture of long empty roads and busy stretches today.
Met another Dog Problem first thing this morning, was climbing the hill away from the campsite when a pitbull came running like hell towards me, straight down the middle of the road, passed me without a glance. 150 yards further on, round a bend and in the shade of some trees and there’s an alsation and a bigger, long legged mongrel trotting down the road, matted fur and hyper excited. There were more dogs barking in the trees on both sides of the road, was no traffic around, and I was climbing a steep hill with a heavy load.
Awkward situation.
Stood up on the pedals, traveling as fast as I could (10 mph HA!) straight at them whilst shouting at the top of my voice. There was a little confusion for a moment, then they both gave me a Long Look, then trotted off into the trees, thank God!
Setubal traffic mad, lorries, lorries and more lorries, all cutting the corners as they turned, chewing up the dust and the verges past the hard shoulders. Old Portuguese guy on a bike cursing them as they missed him by inches. Left town via the industrial district, followed the coast with the sea to my right. Past the 2 chimneys and onto the N10 next to the Ibis Hotel, 10 miles back out on the road I came in on. It’s a terrible surface but that doesn’t slow these people down, they just bounce past at the same speeds. Crazy.
Onto the IC1 (or N5, depending which signs you believe), a long, empty, desert of a road through cork oak forests and mountains of plastic litter.
Gypsie type travelers stop at the sides of the road here and nobody seems to clean up the mess they leave behind. A sure indicator is a plastic bag tied to the branches of a tree overhanging the road, a kind of “camp here” sign. Every time without fail, just past the bags, and it’s a complete dump.
Layby’s here all have something for sale, either fruit and veg stalls or a couple of girls in miniskirts.
Tree roots push up the road edge in huge mounds, awkward to spot in the bright sun/shade contrasts.
Big, ranch - type gateways painted white every couple of miles, but you don’t see the houses, just an unmade road twisting off through the cork trees. The bark of the trees is all harvested up to about 7 or 8 feet from the ground with the year written on them in white spray paint. Fresh ones from this year are a glowing orange colour. Lorries piled high with bark have been passing me all day.
Nice landscape here, rolling hills maybe 100’ high, one after another.
HOT though, 38’c whilst moving.
Cold water and “Walls Magnums” from the fridges in the petrol stations, strange looks from the sales reps in their shiny suits and cars.
Lots of waves today, passing cars blowing horns.
Aussie surfers in one filling station, X reg (English plates) VW Combi, have driven from London to surf Portugal! Then onto Canada!?!
A good laugh
.
“you’ve come from Where?? “,
England
“and you’re going WHERE ??”
Gibraltar
“Madman!”
Ha

IC1 to IC33 (IP8 signs again) just above Grandola climbed up to 1000’ on the edge of the Sierra de Grandola, then downhill to Melides, a beautiful run to the coast. IC33 (IP8) and N261.2 perfect roads for riding. Campsite past the village towards the coast. When you lose the signs saying ‘Campismo’ then guess and turn left, works every time.
Huge site here but all the pitches taken by touring caravans made permanent. They all have awnings and marquees built over them. Potted plants, picket fences and crazy paving. Looka ok though, is clean and very quiet, not a soul around. Am camped on someones parking spot, ahh well, he’s not here.
EXPENSIVE E16.20 a night.

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Good luck with your own journey.
Thanks for visiting,
Rob.