To Elvas - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

October 23, 2019

To Elvas

It’s cold again today!  Windy, overcast, a few spots of rain on the horizon.  It reminds us that we’re getting well into the fall - November is only a week away.  It’s supposed to start warming up again tomorrow, and the sun will return.  Today though, we wait around the day room until 11 and then bundle up for a brisk ride, happy that it’s a favorable one - not too hilly, and with a good tailwind to push us south.  

We don’t make any significant stops along the way, because it’s too chilly.  Even our lunch stop is rushed.  We reach Elvas by mid afternoon and check into our apartment, which looks like a fine place to hang out for the next two nights.  As does Elvas, a UNESCO world heritage site packed with attractions.  

We’ll look at the town tomorrow though, leaving the bikes behind to explore it on foot.  For now, I’ll just put my feet up in this spacious, comfortable apartment, enjoy a glass from the complementary bottle of vinho tinto from nearby Estremoz, and catch up with the journal.  See you tomorrow.

The view from our hotel window this morning. Grey, windy, cold.
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Portugal’s streets are so interesting! The cobblestone sidewalks, even with all their curbs and obstacles, were a much better riding surface than the street. It was only like this for the first half mile though, until we reached the edge of town.
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A china hat hill, on our way out of Portalegre.
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Pavement! Most of the day will look like this - a good surface, low rollers, a good tailwind. Very nice.
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Well?
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For a few miles our route follows the Alentejo wine route.
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I was confused by the word Quinta, which we’ve seen often as a name here but means fifth in Portuguese. It is also the term for a wine producing estate, and for a classification system for rating Portuguese wine grapes.
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Ron SuchanekThere used to be a joke about La Quinta, the motel chain.
Q: You know what La Quinta means?
A: Next to Denny's!

For some reason, there was very often a Denny's restaurant right next to La Quintas in Texas. So there you are.
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1 month ago
This is almost a symbiotic relationship, growing cork trees and wine grapes together.
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Image not found :(
Corks of the year. They’re only bleeding red like this for the first year, until they grow a new skin.
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Jen GrumbyLove the cork tree photos and this caption about the color.

I never knew anything about them until this journal.
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1 month ago
A progress report.
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This ride was great fun. The tail wind was strong enough and the rises gradual enough that you can just power over them.
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Video sound track: One Door Opens,  by Richard Thompson

We considered stopping for lunch in this pretty spot in Mosteiros, but it’s too cold and windy and there’s no shelter.
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Hey, Rick! A hay rick!
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We finally stopped for lunch here, at a small park below Arronches. Not much shelter from the wind here either, so we ate fast.
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Lunch break, Arronches
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At Arronches, we changed our ride plan. We had meant to continue southeast to Campo Maior, but suddenly this road is a narrow, scary truck route. Instead, we took this direct road south through Santa Eulalia, which was beautiful.
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Finally, we’re starting to see the colors of autumn. Ash, sycamore, and locust line the roads and are all starting to turn.
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Black locust seed pods
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The bull ring, Santa Eulalia. It’s surprising that such a small town (population 1,198) can support a bull ring. Must be a minor league stadium.
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Looking east to Spain, where it appears that rain is falling on the plain. Now that we’re out of the mountainous country around Marvao (the Alte Alentejo), it feels like we’re back in Extremadura again.
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Our first view or remarkable Elvas, girded by the largest bulwarked fortification system in the world. So what’s a bulwarked fortification, anyway? I’ll have to look it up.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesShort version, defensive wall around city, often built on frontiers. For more detail, ask Mr. Google.
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1 month ago
Another remarkable feature in Elvas is this 7 km long multi-tiered aquaduct.
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This makes for an impressive entrance to the city, biking beneath this towering structure,
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One thousand miles! Took us long enough though - we’re over five weeks into the trip now. Slackers!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesThat is why we and most of the world, measure in kilometres. You get there faster (haha).
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyCongratulations on 1000!

Through days of adversity, over hills, and against headwinds .. Team Anderson arrives in Elvas with miles of smiles.

May the days ahead be mostly AFDs.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonWe’re doing pretty well, alright. Our last registered adversity was locking our hotel in Toros, so we’re up to 16 AFD’s. Not bad!

Today was a near miss though, and I thought we were back to square one again.
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1 month ago
Walking back from dinner to our spacious apartment.
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Walking up the super-steep flight of stairs to our apartment. Not bad now, but it was a bit awkward with our bikes under our wings.
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Ride stats today: 39 miles, 2,500’; for the tour: 1,019 miles, 54,800’

Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 1,021 miles (1,643 km)

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Jen GrumbyLove seeing so many videos with low to no motor vehicles!
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1 month ago