Pass the Port…

WRWR Day 18 – My Day 8 Vinhais, Portugal to Seville, Spain

16th March 2019

This morning its a very early start as we are supposed to gather for a 7 am photo shoot, we more or less manage to be ready at 8am lol.

Just as we are about to leave the cabin Colette doesn’t drop her bike, more like guides it to the ground.. oh oh, copying my trick.. forgot to take the disc lock off… oops!! At least there’s no damage.

We take some time to have photos taken, the Portuguese have had a banner made.. excellent.

c. Susana Rico Photography

They also have a van so Colette immediately unloads her luggage to go on the van.  There are also several photo/videographers to record every second of the event.

Now it is time to say farewell to the Spanish riders… I have to say I have really warmed to them all and do regret being such a gloomy cow yesterday.

I am particularly sad to say goodbye to Mar, but she makes me promise to keep in touch and to let her know when I am in Spain again so we can go riding together.. I tell her that is a definite.  I also say farewell to Sandra and tell her to sit still when she is riding, she thinks this is hilarious!!

Finally it is time to bid farewell to Colette the English/South African/Australian woman who is attempting to ride all the way round the world or a far as funds and her will to continue lasts.

It has been fantastic to meet/ride and laugh with her the last few days, from UK through France into Spain and now Portugal, I hope she realises her dream. We promise to see each other again sometime.. I still hope to make it to New Zealand one day so we will arrange to ride together again then.

The route today is approximately 500kms to Lisbon, I have miscalculated the time I have available so I am not going to be able to ride all the way with them and will have to make my way to Gibraltar today instead of tomorrow.  I ask the ride leader, Livi founder of the Litas Motorcycle Club, whether they are going straight on to the Autorua?  She says they will ride some country roads first, great so I will peel off when they reach the Autorua and make my own way.

We are soon on our way, back onto the great, twisty country roads.  A quick stop to pick up another woman and then for petrol.  The new woman, (I’m sorry I didn’t get her name), seems to be the official photographer and she asks me if she can take a photo of me sometime on the route.  I tell her I am leaving soon as I have to make my way to Gibraltar so she asks me to pose with my bike there and then.  Gosh, this trip is a hedonists dream lol.

Back on the road and there is another photographer riding with us, a woman pillion is taking photos as we ride and the pilot is overtaking and cutting in for her to get the best shots.. I really look forward to seeing them.

All too soon we are approaching the Autorua so I make my way to the front of the group and wave my goodbyes to them all.  I have already said individual goodbyes so I simply roar off into the distance – hasta la vista… baby!!

Here are some fantastic photos taken by Susana Rico, check out her work here at https://www.susanarico.com

Suddenly a motorcycle overtakes me.. it’s the photographer pillion bike… a final shot and they are gone… ciao.

I need coffee…. I continue riding for a little while avoiding toll roads of course.  I then find myself in this lovely little town so I pull up and take a break.

I go into a cafe and, remembering my last time in Portugal a few years ago, order a Galão… (sounds like galon), which is a tall, white, delicious coffee and a croissant… obrigado, (thanks… my other Portuguese word, besides Ola that is).

I enjoy a very pleasant break and indeed order a second Galão, it is just so nice to be on my own, doing things at Pogs’ pace and not having to rush or panic…. it has been a fantastic experience riding with all these great women, but I have to admit I really do like my own company and to do my own thing.  My only objective today is to get as far as I can to Gibraltar, no need to bomb along and endure excruciating pain, I can stop as many times as I want and enjoy just riding my beloved fat girrrrrl, gaze at the scenery, take photos, change direction etc. etc…. pure bliss!!

I have made a decision to head to Cáceres, just over the border in Spain as a potential overnight stop, but I have nothing booked and will sort something out when I am ready to stop.

I leave the town of Vila Flor Capital Do Mundo and find myself on the N332 a fantastic well surfaced road with some nice curves to keep me occupied.  The scenery is just great and the sun is shining… am having an absolute blast.

The road is so great that I just have to stop and take some photos…

However, each time I ride through the centre of a town the Portuguese have a very clever way of slowing the traffic down… yes there are the occasional speed humps, but it seems every town centre is cobbled, believe me that concentrates the mind to keep the speed down and the bike under control.

I must say I really do like Portugal and would love to have a biking holiday here sometime, rather than just riding through or attending a HOG rally… ok Dykes on Bikes London, a holiday in northern Spain with Mar and an exploration of Portugal is definitely on the cards.

On my route I pass through Almeida, and what a lovely surprise, oh I wish I had time to stop and visit… right this is deffo on the itinerary dykes…

As you can see it is now 80 degrees, a lovely hot day. After a time I look up and see the pylons all have storks in them… I have never seen this before and they are all concentrated in a very small area, how odd!

Quite suddenly I am at the border with Spain… mmmm, no more Galão, quick turn around and I find Cafe Taba here in Vilar Formoso, literally 1km from the Spanish border. Time for a spot of lunch too as it’s now 2pm.  The man behind the bar seems like a nice boy… I wonder if he is the only gay in the village lol???

Once across I am still heading towards Cáceres, but am now on faster roads.  I am feeling pretty good so I think why not try to get all the way to Gibraltar??  Oh, I remember I haven’t brought the apartment keys with me so I will have to get the guest set from our friends who look after it for us when we are not there..  at this rate I’m probably not going to arrive until about midnight, not really a good idea to bother them, but I could ask her to leave the keys under a flower pot.. mmmm

I carry on as far as I can and around 9pm decide not to be daft, I can’t make it to Gibraltar tonight, but I will carry on a little longer.  Eventually I pass by Seville and come to a place called Dos Hermanas and am ready to stop.  Out with the trusty booking.com app, but there is nothing available here… well not in my price range.  I do find a Hostal just 30km away on the A480 so book a room there.

I arrive at around 10pm, it is pretty basic, but clean and the restaurant is still open so I order something to eat.  As I’m eating the restaurant starts to fill up, I am amazed at how many people are having their evening meal so late. I know the Spanish like to eat late in the summer, but still I am surprised.  Off to bed, but there is a lobby just on the floor below where a man is on the phone, loudly, the sound is being amplified by the usual tiled surfaces in most Spanish hotels, so I am still awake at midnight… sigh!!

In total I have ridden 770km today, roughly 500 miles, I think that is my record… don’t know why, I just kept going… strange.  Just one and a half hours to go tomorrow into Gibraltar.. yay!!

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