I’ve cycled to the centre of various places. Britain; Belgium; London; York; and of course Yorkshire (hence the world). And today I added Portugal. For two minutes, I was central to the entire country’s economy and everyone else in the land was marginal. Which was quite an achievement from buying a €1.20 coffee.
There was little else in the way of incident today. The downhill swing from our eyrie-like hotel in the morning soon turned into a pleasant if unremarkable glide along the N2’s easy ups and downs, still with little traffic, still with good scenery and still under a hot sun. I don’t travel light, but thanks to rapid consumption of sun cream, I’m travelling steadily lighter.
Outside Vila de Rei I saw a notice for the Centro Geodésico de Portugal, and I couldn’t resist the short but steep detour to see it. The Centro is at the top of a hill with panoramic views over the Lusitanian midlands, and is marked by a lighthouse-like monument, gift shop and cafe.
A posse of French motorbikers took a photo of me in return for taking a dozen pictures of them. I hope they’re better at handling motorbikes than cameras.
That was about it for the day in terms of dinner-party stories. More enjoyable quiet road cycling brought us to Abrantes, greeting us with another big yellow N2 sign decorated, or defaced, by countless stickers. People evidently get them printed up with their names and dates commemorating their road trips, specially for this. Hmph. For most of them it was only a blooming motorbike ride.
Anyway, here we had another hilltop hotel with a pool that provided an exhilarating post-ride dip. Which we needed after the sweaty business of climbing 150m up to the hotel.
We struggled a bit to find a restaurant in the town’s pleasant, higgledy-piggledy pedestrian central square, and had to make do with toasties in a friendly bar.
Finding beers and nibbles, in the gentle local buzz of this off-radar place, was less of a problem.
Miles today: 50
Miles since Chaves: 285