Portugal, Atlantic Gales and a Bike Ride

Portugal Fishing Boat

Although the sun was shining the wind was raging and wild, someone told me later that it was something to do with Hurricane Irma on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and that may have been true, but then again maybe not.

As we walked along the seafront Kim continually complained about how cold it was and although I disagreed with her and accused her of being nesh, (nesh, if you are wondering,  is an English dialect adjective meaning ‘unusually susceptible to cold weather’’ used mostly in the Midlands) I have to  retrospectively confess that secretly I was rather cold myself.  Naturally I just shivered in silence but didn’t share this information.

With last night’s excellent local restaurant inconveniently closed we looked for an alternative and chanced upon a likely looking place quite close to the seafront.  Kim declined my invitation to sit outside so we found a table inside as near to a fire as she could find.

And then things went wrong.

I suggested a fish stew to share which looked good on the menu but when it arrived spectacularly failed to live up to its promise.  Full of bits of fish and bone that they were evidently not going to sell to anyone else.  The only recommendation that I had made whilst in Portugal and it was a near disaster – and considering the content it was relatively expensive.  Kim said nothing but I knew inside she was preparing to refuse me any further menu selections for the remainder of the holiday.

The wind continued to buffet the seafront promenade as we walked back to the hotel, it carried on howling throughout the night and it was still blowing a gale in the morning when we left the hotel after breakfast.

Vila Do Conde Portugal

The beach plan had to be revisited once more and it was clear that there would be no swimming again today.

Actually, to be fair, the weather was a lot better this morning because the sun was shining and there was no fog but there was a scything wind ripping in off the sea like the grim reaper, a dangerously high surf and a churning ocean like horses of the Camargue making a charge out of the rolling, twisting waves that relentlessly barreled and pounded the gritty shoreline.

crashing waves portugal

We thought that we might walk along the beach towards the next village to the north but we were forced to turn back after only a couple of hundred yards or so because the wind was too strong to battle against without serious discomfort and the flying shrapnel sand was stinging our faces so we gave in, turned around, made our way back to the promenade and sat for a while outside the Tourist Information Office.

I feared that this might turn out to be a very long day!  What should we do?

We considered going by train to Aveiro but to be honest we were rather weary of travelling and trains , I couldn’t face the prospect of queuing up for tickets and we would be doing that again tomorrow anyway on the way to Porto so we decided against it.  And then I remembered that the Tourist Information Office had bikes for hire so I went inside to enquire the price.

They were free, how brilliant was that, so we selected one each and then headed north out of Furadouro towards the seaside town of Praia de Esmoriz about eight miles away.

We didn’t get time to buy dayglo lycra outfits or alien shaped cycle helmets but simply set off in our beach walking clothes.

Cycling in Portugal

The gentle ride took us away from the sea and the beach and through a dense pine forest which stopped the invasive wind from penetrating and made this a pleasant pedal along a lonely cycle track.

Eventually we arrived in the unremarkable town of Praia de Esmoriz but to be fair it was now end of beach season and most of the cafés and bars were firmly closed up.  A single life guard was working his last shift on the beach.  Chairs and tables were stacked where until only recently they were set out on the pavements.  Some local men who had spent the summer chatting up girls were now doing crosswords.

Back at the coast the wind was strong again now but we found a sheltered spot and stopped for a drink before turning straight back around and making our way back to Furadouro.

Kim had complained rather a lot on the way out, the saddle was too hard, the gears didn’t work properly, the handlebars were too wide, the little bell wasn’t loud enough, the basket on the front was too small, the brakes were stiff, the list was endless so I had to find some way of incentivising the long ride back.

My solution turned out to be a complete success and I could barely keep up with her and we arrived back at the resort in about half the time that it took to cycle out.

Incentive001

The sun was shining but it was still blowing a gale and our favourite promenade bar was closed because if it had been put out then the pavement furniture would surely have been scattered way across the beach so we found an alternative along the main street and reflected on our sojourn in Furadouro.

It hadn’t worked out quite as we had planned, this was supposed to be have been a few gentle days at the seaside to break up the travelling but the weather had intervened and put paid to that.  Never mind, we had enjoyed the beach walk on the first day, the tour of the tiles in Ovar on the second, which was an unexpected bonus and our bike ride today.

Later we returned the bikes, found somewhere for evening meal and then packed our bags ready for our next train journey tomorrow to the city of Porto.

Portugal Blue Sky

37 responses to “Portugal, Atlantic Gales and a Bike Ride

  1. I’m nesh too, but I could go for your approach to encouraging a speedy bike ride.

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  2. You do like to live dangerously don’t you!

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  3. You will always remember your time there. I once hired a bike in Lao with no gears and a saddle that consisted of a bath sponge & duct tape!

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  4. Free bikes! How good is that? 🙂 🙂 Love your passage describing the roiling seas, Andrew. I can remember several similar days from Winter trips here, but you can usually find a corner cafe and keep your back to the wall. 🙂

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    • I wrote some lines in little notebook to remind me to write about it and quite by coincidence I saw that painting on the wall of the departure gate at Porto Airport on the way home!

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      • I always have to do some scribbling in my diary in the Algarve. Funny but I never bother at home. 🙂

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      • I have to record my thoughts and reactions in preparation for a blog post. At home I just tap it into a Word document and then forget about it. A diary is made for reading again whereas an e-document just isn’t!
        I should record what a beautiful day it is today here as I continue clearing the garden and waiting for the sunset!

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      • Crispy early morning frost sparkled all the way through the park. Fireworks tomorrow night, over on the Headland. I shall need 3 pairs of… 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always thought it wise to keep my opinions silent when it comes to wives and daughters. Unfortunately I often failed to follow my own advice.

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  6. You look to have had a great time!

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  7. You should patent your biking incentive contraption! Husbands all over the world would order them. 🙂

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  8. Although you never got your alien shaped cycle helmets it sounds like a fabulous day!!

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  9. So Andrew, that bottle appears empty to me… Hopefully Kim had consumed it. 🙂 Bike riding on a windy day can be tough if you are riding into the wind. There were some time when I was crossing Texas riding against a headwind when I was barely moving, even with 18 gears! Five miles seemed like 20! Fun post. –Curt

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  10. Fun post. Great incentive contraption.

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  11. Sounds like a wild adventure on the beach. At least things got better on the bike ride.

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  12. A whole day of a real fitness. Kim looks very nice without a helmet.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Portugal, Atlantic Gales and a Bike Ride — Have Bag, Will Travel – Suman Freelancer

  14. Plenty of exercise on those bikes then, Andrew? Why was the basket too small? There was no shopping involved, was there?

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