Zambujeira do Mar - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

November 1, 2019

Zambujeira do Mar

Before picking up on today, lets look back at Beja again.  The editor screwed up and left that day’s video on the drafting board, so let’s look at it here before folks even remember where Beja is.  This is the day we arrived in town soaked after an unsuccessful eight mile race with the rain.  Remember?

Yesterday was Halloween, and we had our eyes out for goblins in the village last night.  It was a bit of a disappointment to see its streets dark and quiet, not a spook in sight.

Today though is All Souls Day, and they’re out in force this morning.  Kids are charmingly rushing through the streets everywhere, stopping at every promising doorway with their bags outthrust and opened wide.  It’s not quite the same version as our event though - no one is costumed to speak of, save for an occasional girl with kitty ears.  No tricks, just treats.

All Souls Day, Vila Nova de Milfontes.
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Today’s ride

Today’s ride itself scarcely bears mentioning.  At barely twenty miles and minimal hill work, it practically qualified today as a rest day.  And, even though we’re close to the Atlantic coast, the views were in general not the most interesting.  We hardly stopped, keeping our eyes on the prize - reaching our destination dry, and leaving plenty of time to explore the shore once we arrived.

A typical look for today’s ride. Today’s video gives a better sense of what it was like than this though.
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It did have a few surprises though, including this lovely plant that neither of us remembers seeing before. What is it?
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The biggest surprise was these two storks, and two others further off from the road. They apparently haven’t been checking their calendar and don’t realize they should be in Africa by now.
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Almograve

The weather has turned much more promising than we expected, and it looks like we have until late afternoon before rains are due.  When we come to Almograve at the midpoint of the ride, we decide that we should just stop here and explore the coast while the weather looks it’s best.  

Good decision, Team Anderson!   There are actually two beaches here at road’s end - broad, sandy Almograve to the south and smaller Nossa Senora just to the north, with a small headland separating them.  For the next hour or two we scramble around the rocks at the shore beneath the headland and then walk through the dunes above the crumbling cliffs that border Nossa Senora Beach.

It’s a fantastic experience, and we aren’t really done when we decide we need to hop back on the bikes.  The coastline here is incredible, and exploring it by foot is obviously the best way to experience it.  We’re both just a bit sorry we’re here with our bikes, actually.  We’d happily continue this all day, lured on by one dramatic view after another.

The small headland that separates Almograve’s two beaches.
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Below the headland.
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Rounding the headland is a bit of a scramble, balancing on the Slender ribs of the eroded dipped beds.
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Teeming with life
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The limpet lineup. It’s the second one from the right, officer. He’s the bad guy, I’m positive - I’d never forget that evil look.
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Jen GrumbyHe does look rather sinister!
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1 month ago
Another view,of the headland. It’s a pretty amazing formation, with the layered formation tipped vertical. Rachael’s seen enough here though, and is waiting for me to join her at the top.
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Awesome below, awesome above.
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Wow, look at those colorful eroded cliffs!
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I can never remember what this plant is for some reason, but it sure adds a lot of color to the scene.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesSome sort of iceplant maybe?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOf course. Thanks. I think I can’t remember it because it’s such an unlikely name for it.
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1 month ago
We’re walking the Ruta Vicentina, another of Southern Portugal’s Camino routes. This one is very popular, closely following some of the country’s most dramatic coastline. We’d like to come back and walk this stretch ourselves someday.
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More fireworks
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  Zambujeira do Mar

 We arrive in Zambujeira, our day’s final destination, at a bit after one.  Too early to check in at our lodging for the night, we settle in at Cafe Azul for a light lunch.  When we come out and head to our bikes, two young women approach us and pantomime the need for assistance.  They need a pump, badly.

We have a pump, as it happens, and are glad to help.  They’re ecstatic at their luck.  They’ve just gotten off with their bikes to begin riding the Ruta Vicentina north toward Lisbon, and just discovered that between their two front tires they have perhaps 5 psi of air pressure in them, max.  They also discovered that the nearest gas station is eight kilometers away and they were resigned to pushing the distance.

Such nice, enthusiastic, appreciative young women! They’re both from São Paulo, Brazil but moved to Portugal not long ago. It makes our day to be able to help them along.
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We’re about to hop on our bikes again when two elderly Brits walk up, wanting to chat and hear about our funny looking bikes.  Odd - after hardly speaking more than three sentences with anyone since leaving Ken and Judy a month ago, suddenly chatty folks are starting to show up with some regularity.  

Ten minutes later we role up to our room for the night, the Nature Hostel.  Sounds like a natural for a notorious pair of Hostile Actors.  We feel right at home.

Our home in Zambujeira do Mar
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Ron SuchanekIt's the Nature Hostel for Hostile Actors, Portugal branch.
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1 month ago

Well, here’s a surprise.  The beach and surrounding cliffs at Zambujeira are at least as stunningly dramatic as the ones at Albugrave - more so, probably.  What a landscape!  

Rachael’s in a bit more of a hurry to get out the door and start walking than I am, so we go our own way and agree to meet back at the room for dinner.  For the next two hours we each enjoy walking the beach and cliffs, soaking up one stunning view after another.  For myself, I follow the coast south along the Ruta Vicentina as it traces the top of these amazing cliffs.  It is very hard to turn back, and I cut it a bit close - it’s getting dusky by the time I drop back down to Zambujeira again.

At the end of the day, after enjoying another fine meal, we’re both a bit sorry that we aren’t staying in this peaceful village for a second night.  As slowly as we’re traveling right now, it still seems a bit too fast.

Alteirnhos Beach, from the town mirador.
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Just because.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesNo excuses needed for cat photos.
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1 month ago
On the beach, Zambujeira do Mar
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Jen GrumbyThe lines in those rocks remind me of your little striped hitchhiker.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOh, shoot. I didn’t think of that. It would make a good camo shot.
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1 month ago
On the beach, looking up at Zambujeira. Straight up.
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The staircase down to the next beach to the south. This would be a great place to spend multiple days and explore all of these beaches in both directions.
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Looking north toward Zambujeira do Mar.
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Zambujeira do Mar
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Ride stats today: 22 miles, 600’; for the tour: 1,298 miles, 68,700’

Today's ride: 22 miles (35 km)
Total: 1,300 miles (2,092 km)

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