Sunday, April 30, 2006

Porto-Vila do Conde-Viana do Castelo

Trip dist: 89 km. Trip time: 6 hrs 42 min. Tot dist: 549 kms.

Aaah, I could've stayed in Porto for a good while longer. But, need to get a move on if want to make it to Istanbul by autumn, so back to the road it was.

On Sundays, Porto people go to the beach. Just outside the city on the seashore is a nice 7 km-long promenade where people gather for a stroll, biking, rollerblading, and in general enjoy the beautiful weather. Which makes it a very exciting little obstacle course for the pannier-laden traveller heading like a salmon against the current in terms of people traffic-flow. :) Still, a good excuse to take it easy on the pedalling while nibbling on one of those typically summer beach day overprocessed ice-cream sandwiches they sell at the kiosks, amidst the characteristic shouts of children, fragments of relaxed conversations in Portuguese, and lazy-Sunday glee.

The ride to Viana do Castelo was easy and nice with pretty sights and bridges, and I would've probably taken less time to ride if it hadn't been for the constant fresh breeze blowing in from the Atlantic, but which, after all, contributed to the general pleasantness of the ride.

Sometime nearabouts Vila do Conde, too, I started seeing the indications for the Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrimage road to the tomb of the apostle, in most places very well marked, obvious, and protected from traffic, and it was reassuring, for once, to know in spite of my horrible maps that I was headed in the right direction.

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