I rode into the beautiful Picos de Eurpoa, an amazing national park with some incredible scenery and roads. Some of the roads were sculpted out of shear cliff faces. One cliff accessible only on foot has a 1000m shear drop.
|roads in the picos|
In some small two horse town on the back roads to Salamanca, there was some kind of fiesta on so I stopped for some lunch. Lunch consisted of a full side of ribs and some crusty old bread. I seemed to be a curious oddity and attracted some inquisitive looks.
|roadside lunch spanish style|
Next stop was Salamanca, after getting stuck in the pedestrian only section of the old city I found a hotel to stay. I did a day ride down in to the supposably poorest region of Spain, once again beautiful scenery with the hills lined with olive trees and the odd forest.
I was once again mistaken for an Austrian, this time by a German lady riding a Guzzi. We swapped stories and good routes over some majitos, cerveza and tapas, finished off with some music a local Spanish band. Next day I headed west towards Portugal.
I took a route over the boarder that has only recently opened up, It was deserted and free of traffic. The country was mountainous and rocky. Granite was the rock of choice. There had been recent bush fires which left the landscape reduced to scalded rocks and blackened remains of grazing lands with the odd stone or mud shelter. As I headed further west towards the coast the dry and blackened country side transformed into a mixture of cultivated hillsides of olives and crops and large pine and eucalypt forests.
|fires in portugal|
I arrived I Lisbon on the eve of my birthday. After walking about for hours trying to find accommodation that was not fully booked out, I resorted to a travel agent to find accommodation in the city.
I headed out for some dinner. I found a nice place with tables blocking the street. I was seated next to an Irishman, an Englishman and a Mexican, they were just returning from a business trip to Nairobi and were discussing the unpleasant experiences they had had with some dodgy prawns. Interesting entertainment for the evening. After eating ¼ of an octopus I was off to find some live music… all I could find was some buskers, they were good none the less but it was time to turn in.
Thanks for the phone calls and messages of birthday wishes. Today was my birthday and what better way to spend it than riding in Portugal. I kept heading south towards the south coast through small villages who relied on cork for income. The trees were stripped and the fresh bright brown bark exposed below.
I arrived at the coast at Albufuria a beautiful town packed with tourists and holiday makers form all over. Had a dinner of fresh shellfish and some local green wine.