European Cycle Tour is a go-go!
Left Lisbon on the 25th, Foundation day in Portugal, coincidently ANZAC day for the antipodeans, and headed south. Because of the public holiday there was confusion about which ferries were working to cross the Tagus and we ended up at a different spot across the river than planned. Riding for ten minutes was enough to be totally lost in suburbia. Shit! Should of bought a MAP!
Did circles trying to find the right road south to Setubal and finally attempted to take the freeway until a car slowed down and, with my rough Portuguese translation, told us to ‘get off the fucking road you dickheads’, with a wave of the middle finger. So we pushed back to the closest patisserie and had a much needed espresso and Portuguese tart. Too much riding in front of us for the preferred cerveja.
Met a keen cyclist soon after who spoke enough English to help. A friend in need is a friend indeed, and Santos was happy to take us south with some added stops at his favourite lookouts if we cared to join. A private tour guide! Luck was favouring the brave.
I asked how far, and our new amigo replied ‘four’. OK, we can do this. 45 minutes (and further than the four kilometres we were expecting) plus a few steep hills later we reached a magnificent view over the Atlantic and the sprawling coast of the Costa da Caparica. Then a relaxing roll down the hill and through the national park.
I enquired how far our amigo usually rode in a day.
‘Six’ Santos informed me. I worked on this maths problem as we left the beach heading back into the hills. Were we on a northerly route. Oh no.
Lesson learnt. A person wearing a zootsuit’s perception of distance should always be quieried.
We arrived back to where we first met our amigo, three hours and twenty photos since our initial encounter, nearly five hours since the ferry. A big fucking circle! He said he would love to show us more but had to meet his mother in law.
We reminded him we were trying to head south to Setublal.
‘Oh, of course’, he said and took us half a kilometre up a side road we had previously overlooked and dropped us at our turn off.
He checked his watch and warned us that the day was now getting late and Setubal was maybe too far. Perhaps to Sesimbra would be wiser after such a long ride.