A shortish day, but a strenuous one. Because despite yesterday evening’s ascent, we had much more climbing this morning: five hundred or so more metres, up to a summit just shy of a thousand metres. At least it would burn off last night’s burgers and beers. And give us an appetite for tonight’s.
Portugal’s cafes do breakfasts very well, and all for half what you’d expect to pay in England. Except the pastries, coffee and custard tarts are so good, I end up having double what I’d have back home, so it’s a zero-sum game.
Tantalisingly, we passed the Raposeira factory on the way out of Lamego, as the N2 continued to rise steadily in loops and bends up the seaweed-coloured hillsides. (Seaweed, this far inland? I must be craving bacalhau.)
Once over the crest we had a super, speedy freewheel down to the town of Castro Daire, and picked up some picnic lunch stuff from a minimarket. The trend was downhill from here but with some more pokey climbs; a fairly straightforward, enjoyable day of riding the quiet and scenic N2. Not much to Instagram, but plenty to be happy about.
We were at Viseu by mid-afternoon. Our accomm was badged ‘Bikotel’, Portugal’s national association of bike-friendly hotels, and the sight of a town bike nonchalantly leant against the reception desk augured well.
Even after a leisurely shower and cool-down there was plenty of time to explore Viseu, a pleasant place with a historic centre, on foot. Its narrow streets, like my laptop at home, have ancient versions of windows.
We had a couple of beers at a bar overlooking the central square. There were a lot of fashionable, friendly, lively young Portuguese at the next table. I felt very untattooed. Back in the newer part of town, near the hotel, was a glasshouse-like bistro where we had burgers for five euros and carafes of wine for two euros and slices of cake for one fifty.
Portugal is a very agreeable country to cycle-tour.
Miles today: 48
Miles since Chaves: 113