Porto - Lavander Fields, Forever - CycleBlaze

June 23, 2003

Porto

So we're at the mercy of our memory now, because the written journal I maintained for this tour ended with yesterday's stage.

Neither Rachael nor I remember any specific details from today's ride along the northwest coast from Calvi to Porto, other than that it was hot and challenging - one steep headland to climb over after another.  And, that it was a very quiet road; and fortunately so since we rode through one narrow, blind  curve after the other, with the cliffs dropping off sharply on our right for about fifty miles.  And it felt very remote, with us passing only a single small store the entire day.  And the color - the intense blue of the sea contrasting against the red cliffs and headlands - was astonishing.  And, I remember pausing by the junction with the short spur road down to the coast at Galeria, and wistfully wishing we had the time and the stamina to drop down to it and climb back out again.  And, I remember that we stayed in a modest motel a few blocks back from the waterfront in Porto.  And that after dinner on the waterfront we were presented with a complementary myrtille liquor.

Anything else?  Just the one thing: after thirty years of cycling together, today's ride still stands as the best coastal ride of our lives.  I tested this out with Rachael a bit ago, asking her what she thought were the best coast rides we'd ever done.  Instant response - Corsica.  Then a pause, while she thought a bit and then started naming off some of the other great ones: Amalfi, Puglia, parts of Sicily, the Great Ocean Road, Big Sur.  None of the others have come close though - this was the coast, this was the day.

Just look, and use your imagination.  Fifty miles.  A once in a lifetime experience.

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Total elevation gain: today, 3,250; for the tour, 21,260'

Today's ride: 83 km (52 miles)
Total: 463 km (288 miles)

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