To Estremoz - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

October 25, 2019

To Estremoz

A short, fast post for a short, fast ride.  It’s just thirty miles from Elvas to tonight’s stop in Estremoz, a lovely white marble town we stayed at before and are eager to see again.  The weather has turned beautiful - fair, warm, almost fifteen degrees warmer than when we biked in to Elvas.  It’s not flat, but the climbs are all so gradual that it feels like it; and we even have a bit of a tail wind scooting us along.    

Quiet roads, open landscape, good views.  Pretty much an ideal ride.  We’ll let the photos and video do the talking.

Happy to have made it down our steep flight of stairs without breaking our necks, we saddle up for the day’s ride.
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A last look back at the impressive walls.
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Leaving Elvas, we follow the aquaduct west for the first few miles.
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The aquaduct crosses over the road a few times - in town, in the photo above, and now here as we look back through it toward Elvas. It’s still going about two miles west of town when it bends to the south and leaves the road.
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After a few flat miles we approach some low hills and enter wine country. I’m reminded that we had a bottle from Estremoz at dinner two nights back.
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Beautiful cycling country. We’re sailing here, on a smooth empty road in front of a fair wind.
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Our kind of country.
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I forgot to mention that there were cows in the picture today - lots of them, as well as many sheep, goats, and chickens. Livestock heaven.
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Scott AndersonCorrect. Good job!
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1 month ago
Vila Fernando ahead.
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10K to Orada, where we’ll stop on a bench in the shade for lunch. We won’t be having fish for lunch though, in spite of the name (orata is the name for sea bream in Italy and Spain, but I think not in Portugal).
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We’re on Ecovia 11 here, a bike route that could carry us all the way to Estremoz if we cared to leave the pavement at some point. With no one else to speak of on the road though, we’re content to stick with the pavement.
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Video sound track: Agua de Beber, by Lee Ritenour

A curious sight, this long lane lined with palm trees leading up to a quinta (you do remember what a quinta is, don’t you?).
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The look in this part of Alentejo is much different than what we saw around Marvao, isn’t it? A quite varied province.
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We’re starting to get that Mediterranean look. A good thing, too - it’s starting to get late in the year. Like the storks, we need to head south for the winter.
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I wonder what these huge vats are, and how they’re filled. Any theories?
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The cork shearers have been this way recently, it appears.
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We arrive at our hotel at three, check in, and then Rachael steps out for a longish walk while I rest up from our taxing ride for an hour before leaving for my own shortish, slowish walk through town.  Coincidentally again, as seems to keep happening, we’ll cross paths with each other up by the castle and walk back to the room together.

The big drama for the day, for one short on it, comes at dinner - a wonderful one, at the highly recommended Venda Azul.  It’s a place you should go to - great food, great service, warm and welcoming, quite inexpensive (as is nearly everything in Portugal, we’re finding) - but it’s a small place and you should make a reservation if you want to be sure of getting a table.

But it comes with a warning - be careful what you order, or rather how much you order.  We ordered a bowl each of the soup of the day (excellent - chicken and barley), which was large enough to share.  I finished mine, and the waiter wanted to know if I’d like more.  Rachael wisely left some in the bowl to save room for her main dish.  For mains, we each ordered half portions - I asked for secreto, and she had grilled chicken.  Only the grilled chicken arrived though, on a huge platter piled with three large chicken breasts, a mountain of fries, and another of rice.  Huge, enough for both of us - and delicious, the chicken grilled to perfection.

We shared the chicken dish, all the while dreading the appearance of my own entree, hoping against hope that our server had either misheard us or knew better and was saving us from our gluttony.  We’d have to do something credible with it if it came, but we feared ruining our AFD streak on an exploding abdomen catastrophe.

It never came, thankfully.  Realizing that was the high point of an already great day.  We’re not going to explode!  We laughed giddily about it all the way back to our room.

Estremoz is awesome.  It reminds me of Trujillo in some ways - just the right size, full of interest, not so famous that it’s packed with crowds.  It would be a good base for several days of cycling.  We’ll post photos from the walk separately.

Igredja de Sao Francisco
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The castle crowns the small hill at the west end of town.
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Like in Elvas, many of the sidewalks are colorfully patterned. These are constructed from white marble, presumably from the quarries we can see just outside of town.
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Ride stats today: 30 miles, 1,500’; for the tour: 1,049 miles, 56,300’

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 1,051 miles (1,691 km)

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Jen GrumbyNot exploding is definitely something to be happy about .. another AFD!
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1 month ago
Tricia GrahamThat was the thing we found about meals when we bikes in Portugal - the portions were far to big and no matter how hard you tried you couldnt get smaller ones I will never forget the time I ordered lasagna and got enough to feed a family of about 6
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Tricia GrahamWe’re still trying to figure it out. We did it again tonight. I think we’ll try skipping the appetizer course next and see how that goes.
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1 month ago
Tricia GrahamTo Scott AndersonI was told that it was a slight if you didn’t leave some food and showed that they were not generous enough. What a wasre
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1 month ago
Jacquie GaudetI'm thinking Al would like Portugal. Large portions are important to him.
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1 month ago