The very nice place I stayed last night
The reason I'm paying $40 a night more tonight ;-}
Well ,that beach is a few miles south of here, but I'm staying at a three star hotel in a beach town on a Saturday night. In a way I should be thankful since I have a room. Resort area hotels in Portugal fill up on Saturday night. My residencial last night had only two guests. Tonight they are full and a room cost 20 E more. My hotel tonight would have been 40 E last night, but tonight it is 70 E. So it goes.
I had another short day today - 65 miles with half a mile of climbing - but, unlike the last three days, I was not exhausted at the end of the day. In fact, if I hadn't been worried about finding a room, I probably would have ridden farther up the coast. I stopped about 100 km from Spain, after four days of riding. I expected to be in Spain tonight, but hills and, even more, the headwinds, have slowed me down a lot. That half a mile of climbing requires less extra work, and slows me down less, than riding into a moderate head wind all day!
The hardest riding today was through a major construction zone before Porto. I don't know the name of the town, but I had been seeing warnings about the construction there for more than 50 km. It was so bad that it reminded me of Albania! It was so bad that it was, in way, fun to ride through. Roughly a third of the pavement was gone and what was left was in bad shape. Saturday seemed to be some kind of festival day there so there was lots of local traffic and lots of cars and trucks parked along the road further complicating getting through the construction mess. But almost everybody took it in stride and the actual riding, though dusty and very bumpy, was almost fun. Still, it was very nice when it was over!
Getting into, and through, Porto was also a challenge. I did a lot of compass navigating and some riding down one way streets the wrong way ;-}, finding my way in. Finding my way through was even more challenging but some lucky guesses and a lot of persistence paid off, eventually. Along the way, I had a good time and saw some interesting things. I was in a mood to explore rather than focus on just getting on down the road, and that was a good frame of mind for getting through the Porto area.
Just into - having come over the river - Porto, a neat church
A major pedestrian street in Porto.
It headed north, so I rode it.
On the north side of Porto where things were a lot calmer.
Somewhere north of Porto, trying to find N-13
A wedding at at a church in one of the towns north of Porto
Once I found N-13, things were pretty straight forward. I cranked on down the road, stopping once for a beer - I made a lunch stop before Porto and a pastry stop in Porto - and a second time for icecream and espresso. The beach shot above was the result of an excursion in search of a camping place. I rode several km of cobblestone to get to that beach, and it really is a spectacular beach for the northern coast of Portugal. I didn't find the camping place, but just seeing that beach made the ride worthwhile.
Speaking of camping, I probably should have camped, as an economy measure, tonight. I could have, but the thought of a warm bed in a cool, room, was too attractive, even if it does cost $100 a night. I did try for a less expensive - $80? hotel, but it was full. Then I had to ride several km of cobblestone just to get to this small town hotel, and I'll have to ride several km back tomorrow morning. Fortunately, my suspension stem and seatpost really make riding on cobblestone OK. I'd hate to do it without them! I'm ready now for another good night's sleep. I think that made all the difference between todays ride and the last three days rides.