Arrival in Faro - Iberia 2013 - CycleBlaze

October 11, 2011

Arrival in Faro

A nearly perfect beginning

We've arrived! Our flights were surprisingly and pleasantly uneventful, and we made all of our connections. We had a tense few moments in Lisbon waiting in an immense queue at passport control, and were fearing we would miss the final leg of our flight - we had always been anxious about this connection as it was, because there was only an hour between flights. We were greatly relieved when folks with tight connections were yanked from the line and expedited to the front.

Our good fortune continued in Faro when all of our baggage arrived safely. The trip's in our hands now. Assuming nothing surprising happens in reassembling our bikes, we're ready to roll.

Slow dancing into Portugal: the endless queue at the customs gate.
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A few hours later, I'm happy to report that bike reassembly was successful. While Rachael collapsed in a jet lag stupor for a few hours, I set up shop in the bar of our hotel and emerged with two functioning, raring to ride Bike Fridays. Now, its my turn to crash for a bit. Later we plan to wander through the old town and then have dinner at a restaurant that allegedly has fado performances on Friday nights. Should be great, if we're not too zombie-like to enjoy it.

Also, I want to put in a good word for our hotel, Dom Bernardo. It's a nice place, they're accommodating of bicycles, and our room has a lovely view or a church across the way. They also are being very helpful in arranging the shipment of our suitcases forward to Granada.

Another first for me. I don't think I've assembled bikes in a barroom before.
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The view from our room in Faro, at the Dom Bernardo hotel.
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Still later - in fact, late. What a wonderful first day this turned out to be. About 6 (or 10 AM Pacific time), after perhaps 5 hours of sleep in the last 30 hours, we went out to explore the town a bit before dinner. I was immediately reminded why I love this form of travel so much - suddenly we are immersed in a very foreign but beautiful land, and in all respects many miles from our home lives and routines. It is like stepping through a door into an alternate existence.

We found Faro very attractive - its very bright and colorful architecture contrasts beautifully with a gentle sense of decay. We rounded every corner with interest, often startled by some strikingly unusual facade or setting. After dark we retired to our restaurant for the evening and enjoyed the only live fado performance either of us has ever seen. Our enjoyment was marred a bit by the only sour note of the day - our orders apparently were misplaced - we waited roughly 90 minutes after placing our orders, and poor Rachael was beside herself with hunger before they arrived.

But for that though (and who needs food on a bike tour anyway), it was a near-perfect way to start a tour.

The pedestrian zone at dusk.
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Roof tiles, awning and algae.
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Faro after hours.
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The fado singer, on set break.
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