To Braga - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

September 26, 2019

To Braga

We went to bed last night contemplating some unhappy, frustrating news.  We received a message from UPS that our suitcases are back in Santiago, after having been rejected by the hotel we shipped them to in Valencia.  Astounding - we received confirmation from that hotel (Malcom and Barrett, which we advise you to not patronize) that they would store our suitcases just two days earlier.  Apparently their front desk and receiving department are not on speaking terms.

So, now what?  We have been charged 72 euros for the original shipment and 72 euros for the return shipment, and we’re still standing on square one.  We decide to sleep on it and hope the problem will magically disappear in the night.

It’s still there when we wake up, but we have happier matters to think on - we have a reunion to attend.  Our friends Ken and Judy from Kamloops are stopping by the hotel on their way out of town!  We haven’t seen them since our visit with them in Kamloops last summer, and there is plenty to talk about.  They’re on their way north, hoofing it from Porto to Santiago along the Portuguese Camino.  We’ve known of their plans for awhile and have been tracking their progress hoping that we might cross paths.   So much easier to rendezvous here than trekking back up to Kamloops again.

We enjoy a great visit over coffee and pastries and then walk down to the famous bridge with them to see them off on today’s stage.  Our only disappointment this morning was finding out that Judy had forgotten to bring along her famous chocolate beet cake to sweeten up the occasion.

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7:30 on the riverfront. A terrible time for this photo, which should have been taken yesterday afternoon.
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Reunited!
Heart 4 Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesAn historic photo!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonYup. If we could have rounded up seven more CycleBlazers we could have had a BBQ and gone for a record.
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2 months ago
Crossing the Lima over the famous bridge, Ken and Judy set off to Rubiães on one the shorter stages of the Portuguese Camino: 18 kilometers, with a climb over a low pass. A mere walk in the park.
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The bridge has two sections, one old and one really old. The nearest section is medieval, from about 1370. The farthest five arches, not visible from this angle, are Roman from the 1st century A.D.
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After they leave we return to our hotel for a real breakfast, pack up, and head of on our own short stage, to Braga.  Our plan is to stay there for two nights and then double back here to Ponte de Lima on our way back to Spain.  We don’t bother looking around this beautiful village, reputed to be the oldest in Portugal, because we’ll have plenty of time when we return here from Braga.

It’s only 21 miles to Braga by the route we have mapped out.  There’s climbing involved, but nothing really serious.  We expect to get in early, find a nice restaurant for lunch as our main meal of the day, and then check in to our room.  

It doesn’t work that way though.  The hills are stiffer than we expected, and slow us down considerably.  The main road is well paved but quite narrow and busier than we’d like, so we keep breaking away from it onto smaller lanes that are quite pleasant until they unexpectedly turn to cobblestones.  These things all add up, take time, and erode the team’s morale.

The most concerning thing though is the state of my health.  As the day goes on it becomes apparent that I’m getting a cold.  By the time we reach Braga I’m really not feeling well and am ready to find a bed.  We’re staying in a very nice apartment, right in the heart of this great historical city, marred only by the fact that it’s three flights up an elevator-free building.  We both find it interesting that our host, a large, burly young man, watches us carry our bikes up the stairs and return downstairs for our panniers, and makes no offer to help with our luggage.

Braga looks amazing.  Hopefully the meds will work their wonders and I’ll feel feel well enough to appreciate it in the morning.  In the meantime, I’ll just lie down for a nap and contemplate our undelivered suitcases.

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We didn’t stop for many photos today, but I did like the small Pedrinha Bridge over the Neiva, built in the Middle Ages but upgraded to its current form in the 1620’s.
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Looking back at the Pedrinha Bridge.
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Looking south toward Braga from the high point of the day.
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Crossing the Cavado River. It looks quiet here, but it does carry traffic and it’s a slow, jarring crossing. But then we knew that this was what to expect in northern Portugal, so we have no complaints.
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Don’t take this route literally. We didn’t keep a track for it, and it’s just a best guess.
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Ride stats today: 25 miles, 2,500’; for the tour: 187 miles, 9,600’

Today's ride: 25 miles (40 km)
Total: 187 miles (301 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 2
Jen GrumbyHope to you get enough rest to feel at least a little recovered!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThanks! I have been getting rest, and am steadily getting my health back at a fair clip. I hope to be back on the bike tomorrow, which is as good as I could hope for.
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2 months ago