Tomar to Coimbra


I had planned to ride beyond Coimbra today, but the need for internet access and the beating my body took yesterday changed my mind. The half a mile of climbing between Tomar and Coimbra didn't help and the headwind that I had everywhere it wasn't blocked by the hill I was climbing also contributed to my decision to take a short, five hour, day.

I worked on the Lisbon to Tomar web page after breakfast , which, at my 25 E residential, was much better than breakfast at our 50 E residential in Lisbon. I left about 10:30 and after some trouble finding the way out of town and a minor adjustment on my bike, climbed for the next half an hour ;-}. Then, having reached the IC-3 highway that goes most of the way to Coimbra, I went up and down for the rest of the day. Coimbra is at about the same altitude as Tomar, but the hills in between go up almost 1000 feet higher than either town.

A truck passsing me on IC-3
This was normal truck passing style

I stopped at Tojal, a small town only 12.5 miles from where I started, for lunch. It was just past noon and those twelve miles had taken 1.5 hours to ride. Lunch, as yesterday, was great and inexpensive. It cost me 4.5 E for a good lunch with beer and espresso. The main course was squid, which seems to be a regional favorite, and, of course, potatoes - which are a staple in Portugal, some kind of green leafy vegetable, and three pieces of good bread. It was all delicious and there was so much of it that I took the largest piece of bread with me for a snack. Breakfast had also been so big that I couldn't eat all of it, so I also had a sweet roll from breakfast in my food supply. After lunch, I rode on, feeling good despite the hills and headwinds.

A flatter section of IC-3

There were many. many flowers, mostly roses, along the road today

A town with old walls
There are lots of Roman ruins in this area

IC-3 becomes an auto-route - no bikes allowed - in the Tomar valley and I wondered if I would run into that again. I did, but only once. Then, a road went off to one side and, although it was not marked, it was obviously the old N110 which is the road my maps show between Tomar and Coimbra. At the other end of that valley, it rejoined IC-3 which went back to being a normal highway.

Climbing on IC-3r

The land got hilier, higher, and prettier as I rode north

Burned forest around new homes that were saved
There were terrible fires in this area in 2004

Coming into Coimbra, IC-2 became auto-route, but this time I stayed on it. There was a half mile or so of construction that blocked the shoulder and I was coming down a long hill at 25 to 30 mph - because of the construction, the speed limit was 50 kph or roughly 35 mph - trying not to hold up traffic too much. At the bottom of that hill, IC-2 splits with the right hand lane going across a beautiful new bridge. It would have been dangerous for me to try to move to the other lane and, until I was actually in the turning lane, I couldn't see the no bicycles allowed sign. What the hell, I wanted to ride across that bridge anyway! I got off ASAP on the other side and found a pastry place for solace and recovery from the trauma of having broken the law ;-}.

On the bridge I wasn't allowed to ride

The new bridge, what looks like a pedestrian bridge, viewed from the bridge I should have ridden
and there are several other bridges in Coimbra!

I asked for directions to the center of town - go down that street, up a big hill and back down again and you are there - and, only having to walk a bit at a frenetic roundabout at the top of the big hill - found the centrum.

Since I had not seen one internet cafe on this trip to Portugal, and only found one on my last trip, I stopped at an Ibis hotel which has, costly, wireless access in its rooms. As I type this, I am up loading about half a gigabyte of images I took in Lisbon. Hopefully my connection will hold while I sleep. At 20 KB/second it will take most of the night for those images to upload.

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