Friday, September 12, 2008

May 16, 2008 - and on to Portugal!

Shortly after leaving Cáceres we ran right off the edge of Spain and found ourselves in Portugal. Not much to mark the border except a couple of long abandoned, grime covered booths and an occasional scrofulously uniformed official wandering around clutching a beverage. Certainly no attempt was made to inspect us or our vehicle so the European Union seems to be working.
From our
perspective, Spain had been a distinct step down from France and, as we were to discover, Portugal is about an equal step down again from Spain. Ugh! At 35,645 square miles it is about the size of Indiana and is home to 10.5 million people - about the same as Michigan - 94% of whom are Catholic. With just 170 campsites - about the same number as Indiana, which is not known as a destination state - and just 850 miles of good class highway - compare to 50,000 miles in the US - Portugal is generally scruffy, crowded, ill-organized and boasts the highest number of road accidents per capita in the whole of Europe. How exciting!
Our first Portuguese
stop was in Évora, at a tacky campsite on the southwest edge of town. The visit day did not start well. After a noisy night of heavy rain augmented by a barking dog, we were preparing to cycle into the old town when we discovered that the key for the padlock manacling the bikes to Heidi, was nowhere to be found. Rats! Using available implements we finally gnawed through the industrial strength cable and then identified the whereabouts of the local Bricolage (hardware store). This was quickly added to our route for the day and off we went to buy a new padlock in Portuguese. That done, we pedaled into the old town - another UNESCO World Heritage site - and had a great day. Click here to see more.

1 comment:

Vicki and Don said...

So what's after Portugal? I keep visiting but your blog stays the same...much like ours! What gives? Are you building and/or re-building like we are? Hope everything is going well with both of you!