Trip dist: 82 km. Trip time: 5 hrs 39 min. Total dist: 379 kms.
(Clicky on picture for movie)
Aaah, this is what bike rides should be like. What a nice, short, easy ride from Coimbra to Aveiro. If I were running a bike-touring company, this is the ride I'd recommend for Portugal. Flat, quiet national roads with scant traffic, through lush young forests and little towns chockablock full of azulejo-covered houses.
Heh. You know how sometimes, when you're in a ship or boat out at sea, dolphins like to swim behind the wake of the boat, and they play and cris-cross around and in front of the hull, and everyone watches, enthralled, because they seem to have so much fun, and they're so cheery and happy and it is like a bit of good luck?
The same thing happened to me as I was passing one of the towns. All of the sudden, I hear the jovial calls of some 7 or 8 youngsters aged 14-17, who caught up with me on their mountain and cross bikes, rode with me for a brief minute or two, criss-crossing each other and surrounding my bike as I rode, and then at the quick command of one of them suddenly veered off and vanished onto one of the side-roads as quickly as they appeared.
Gave me a few minutes of chuckling, that one. Put me in a good mood. :)
The weather was quite warm, summerlike, almost, but the scenery and easy ride made up for it, and it was such a nice ride I truthfully didn't want it to end, that is, until about 10 kms from Aveiro when a passing car unintentionally splashed me with about a bucketfull of some pothole-marinated brackish water, at which point I pedalled as fast as I could to reach the safety and showers of the Aveiro Youth Hostel.