Day 8 – Km high club… almost!!

Today I start the route home…. I’m up earlyish so that I can get packed, not too bad given the very late night.

All ready to go by 11.30… have decided to ride up to a place called Chaves.. just because it’s called Chaves.  It is quite some distance away, 240 miles, so I need to get a move on.  I’ve decided to take motorway most of the time to get through the mountains without too much time lost… there’s no getting out of Portugal without going through the mountains if you’re heading north I’ve found.  I do like riding in the mountains but it takes such a long time with all the convoluted roads and I want to try and get out of Portugal by tomorrow morning.

The owner of the Guest house comes out to see me off… such a lovely man and so friendly and obliging, nothing is to much trouble, but typical me I’ve forgotten his name.

It’s 80 degrees and rising in Cascais but as I travel inland the clouds begin to loom…

South

North

Problem number 1 – I seem to be heading to Lisbon… well the gps must be right so I guess better stay with it.  Next thing I know I’m on the same road I took to come down… nah don’t want that so keep going for a while then turn off eastwards.

Before long I am bursting for a pee so turn off to a town called Batalha… its really very nice and as I look to my left I see the most unusual church

It seems this is quite a popular place… there’s a couple of souvenir shops, some cafes and a large tourist information centre, which is closed – well it is Sunday.

Anyway this town has some connection to that famous Portuguese navigator – Prince Henry the Navigator… and here he is

Not sure where he navigated too or from… hang on let’s check wikipedia…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Henry_the_Navigator

enjoy

The other interesting fact I found was that Batalha is the where the famous portuguese cockerel comes from…

I feel another wiki moment coming on…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cock_of_Barcelos

The other thing I didn’t know is that Portugal is the cork capital of the world… they make everything out of cork… shoes, hats, bags, purses, and even this

Unfortunately they didn’t have one in my size…  seriously though, I never thought one could make something as soft as cloth from cork!!

Problem number 2 – get onto a toll road.. don’t want a toll road but I’m on here now so better carry on.

Problem number 3 – gps routes me off A1 onto the E801 and here is the toll booth to pay the toll.  The woman says ‘ticket please’… ‘ticket??  Don’t have one’ ‘OK you have to pay fine, no ticket’  ‘Oh how much’  €40… ‘but I never saw any ticket’  ‘no ticket you must pay’…. I give in….sigh!!

The weather starts to get a bit chillier as I begin to ascend the mountains, better put my jacket on then.  Not long after the sun comes out and it’s getting really hot, but I can’t be bothered to take the jacket off and sure enough the sun disappears, but it’s still quite warm.  It begins to rain very lightly… I’m not cold so don’t bother with the orange romper suit.

Lots of fantastic scenery…

Problem number 4 – suddenly its pissing it down… I’m soaked… stop to get more petrol (3rd time today) and put on orange romper suit!  Can’t be bothered with the trousers, as jeans already soaking wet so just put the jacket on and some warmer gloves.

The petrol station is almost a km above sea level…

and a few miles further on I reach the dizzy height of 977m – does that get me into the km high club???

You can see I am riding amongst the clouds – very reminiscent of the Pyrenees… burrrr

Not long after this I decide I can’t go on much longer as tired and wet so not going to make it to Chaves… shame.

I get out the trusty Booking.com app on my phone and look at possible hotels.  The next biggish town on my route is Vila Real.. hotels seem quite expensive but there is one for €45, more than I want to pay but beggars etc.

Back on the road and it’s starting to get dark so glad I’ve decided to stop soon.  Arrive at the hotel and omg it looks dead posh… I pull in to the front and check my phone to make sure I have stopped at the right place.. yep this is it.

I’m very impressed.. obviously booking at the very last minute gets you some great deals.  I’ve got a huge twin room with fantastic views over the gorge… even at night…

After I drop stuff in my room I go down to the restaurant but I’m too late… have to get a bar snack instead but it’s better than nothing.

Back in my room I check out the map for tomorrows journey… can’t be bothered to decide tonight… I’ll do it in the morning….. zzzzzzzzzz

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