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Made it to Portugal!!!

Today we crossed in to Portugal.  Ciudad Rodriguo is about 25km from the border and we set off in the cold grey of the morning on more of the old rolling roads that had become so familiar. Less of a headwind but still more incline than down. Crossing the actual boarder was rather unceremonious, no checks and no guards. We stopped for coffe in the first cafe we found in Portugal to warm up (9* C) and check where would go next. The main road is an Autovia, motorway so we needed to find the old national roads that preceded the AVs but which aren't very well signed.

The scenery changed very rapidly from the open plains to steep valleys and wooded slopes and the cycling with it. Curving downhill runs followed by slow steady climbs up the other side.

Wooded hillsides











Portugal already feels very different from Spain. Softer, smaller maybe gentler. A couple of times on our first day when we were looking at maps trying to work out our route drivers stopped to ask us, in good English, if we needed help and where did we want to go. Really helpful and very friendly.  On the challenging side, Portuguese isn't at all like Spanish, or any other language to listen to, so I feel a bit adrift in a country where I can't communicate on even a basic level very easily, though we have come across people who speak French if they don't have English.  Will have to learn some basic words!

Portugal also seems to be cheaper than Spain for coffee, food etc, and economically is probably not as well off. Roads are more potted and the surfaces more cracked, more older cars on the road.

We had aimed for a small town with a campsite marked on the map, Coletico, just west of Guarda, but on arrival found there was no campsite, and as it was getting late in the day having shelters in bus stops a couple of times from heavy showers, opted for a room in a pension/hotel that we found online and was very reasonable.  Also had a simple but tasty meal in the restaurant next door, which included three courses and a couple of carafes of wine for 17€ for both us.


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