April 1, 2019 - Odeceixe to Zambujeira do Mar - Some More Portugal: Not Just Kicking the Tires (Tour 18) - 2019 šŸ‡µšŸ‡¹ - CycleBlaze

April 1, 2019 - Odeceixe to Zambujeira do Mar

Searching for carne de porco Alentejana

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Rosa dos Ventos, Zambujeira do Mar, €45 incl breakfast

Though the overnight forecast had been calling for clear skies, I awoke in the night to thunder, lightning and pouring rain. For fun I looked online where it said it was partly clouds with no rain in the forecast. What the..?

However, when I woke up just after 7 am there were wisps of cloud in the sky, but lots of blue sky, too. The sun had not yet risen, but it was looking pretty nice out there, so I was excited to get on the road.

I was down to the restaurant shortly after 8 am where breakfast included a fresh blueberry smoothie, an excellent omelette, a whole orange, and bread that had been delivered to the hotel a few minutes after I sat down so it was still warm. With a bit of butter on it I was in food heaven!

The hostess, her husband, and their employee were all there preparing food, or doing this or that, though at the moment I was the only one eating. One German fellow I had seen last night came in shortly before I finished eating.

The old traditional windmill on the hill in the centre of town as I headed out onto the road. -- Odeceixe, Portugal
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I packed the rest of my things in the room before heading down to load the bike and roll away. Today was to be a short day on the bike, so I had decided to veer away from EV 1 to see some of the beaches. First off was to set course for Azenha do Mar.

This tiniest of villages is perched on the cliffs above this harbour. There are some fishing boats that seem to be operational based here, too. -- Azenha do Mar, Portugal
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The first bit was on a paved road upon which were a few vehicles, but I soon turned off to a rough-ish paved road that wound its way through field after field after field of half-circle greenhouses. I am not sure what they were growing. Strawberries? They went on forever until I was just out of Azenha. It was a teeny tiny little village but what a spectacular view of the sea. High cliffs with rocks all around and the waves pommelling and crashing against them. I went down to a lookout that was well worth the steep climb where I had to push the bike to leave. Praia do Carvalhal was another descent and climb to and from another spectacular beach. Next, I set course for Zambujeira and the road sometimes led me to spectacular beaches, or kept along the flatland through more greenhouses or fields. For the most part, the remainder of the route was on packed sand roads with the odd vehicle. It is not often that I have been able to tour with such little concern for road traffic. I am going to cycle these designated cycle route more often and avoid the busier roads with crazy traffic.

It was a bit after 11 am when I arrived just above Zambujeira - with views down to the surf crashing on the beach, high cliffs, and whitewashed buildings along the top of the cliffs.

The view of the beach just around the corner from my accommodations. -- Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal
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This would be my home for the night. All the way down to beach level, then back up the other side into town, I stopped for photos here, photo there. Truly an artsy photo mecca.

The GPS quickly led me to the edge of town where I found my really nice casa. The room is small, but there is a beautiful inner courtyard with the rooms all opening into it. The hostess let me store my bike in the hallway adjacent to my room, so it is safe and sound once again. She has suggested there is another nice beach just north of town so once I have had lunch, I will head out that way.

I remembered in 1982 having an amazing Portuguese hamburger in Lisbon. So, for lunch I went to the Rita cafe and ordered a hamburger. Plain white bread, a frozen hamburger patty and frozen fries. At least the people were pleasant and the beer was fine. Enough said. Afterwards I checked TA to find they were rated the 16th of 19 restaurants in town.

After lunch I headed out along the cliff tops for pictures of the spectacular views. I sat and listened to the surf until the steady rhythm started to put me to sleep so I actually had to return to my room for a wee nap. But, this was not before hearing from home that our 17-year-old daughter is giving grief again. My stress crept up a bit, but I finally dismissed the thoughts and dozed off.

I still had not seen the Praia da Nossa Senhora Beach which the hostess had suggested, so I looked on the map to figure out how to get there - it seemed it was about a ten to fifteen minute walk. Part of the way was where I had been earlier this afternoon, but then the way veered off of the wooden boardwalk through the sand between the beach cacti (?) and flowers. It was really beautiful and smelled so fresh and nice. I was now following the Rota Vicente, a walking trail through southwestern Portugal. Then there it was wayyyy down below me. Crashing surf onto sand, stones and huge rocks sticking out of the water and beach. The cliffs themselves were really interesting and were obvious indication of the ground heaving and moving over the millenia. The cliffs looked like black layers of phylo (sp?) pastry, with the rock undulating way up, and back down again. Going down to the beach was a long staircase, in places made of stone, in others made of wood. Part way down I counted 104 steps, so there must have been a total of about 150 steps.

As the hostess suggested, there is a really nice beach a few minutes' walk north of the accommodations - Praia da Nossa Senhora beach. -- Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal
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On the beach the pounding surf was deafening but beautiful as the sun sparkled on the water. I must have sat there for almost an hour just mesmerized by the wave action. Its power and its beauty.

Once again, I am fairly full from my lunch, so am not sure how much I will have for dinner tonight. I just returned to my place and as I approached there was a couple, Jody and John from Wisconsin, who asked me if I knew if anyone was inside to ask about a room. We were just trying to figure things out when a woman came along to open up and let them select a room. They just got in to Lisbon today, are heading out for dinner, and I am sure will be done for the day when they return.

On a disturbing note, the weather forecast is now showing more rain starting on Friday and lasting til Tuesday... with lots of rain. I'll cross my fingers for the skies to keep things under control and wait til night to let loose.

Today's ride: 20 km (12 miles)
Total: 175 km (109 miles)

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Steve Miller/GrampiesWe agree, the best riding for us is often on the really small quiet roads or designated bike paths. You can just roll along gawking at the scenery with no car anxiety.
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3 years ago
Sharon PledgerHi Brent. I am enjoying your trip through Portugal and reliving some of our favourite places we cycled through thanks to your blog. Zambujeira do Mar is one of our favourite spots. As you said, cycling those quiet back roads away from traffic is the best. There are more quiet roads ahead for you tomorrow over to Cavaleiro ( lighthouse there) and on to Almograve ( a few cafes and a bakery). Shortly after a few more villages you will find yourself back on the N393, but it is not too bad, drivers were respectful when we did it last spring. Safe travels! Thanks for bringing my husband and I along. Check your door tomorrow morning for your fresh baked warm buns that will be hanging on the hook outside your door at Rosa's : )
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3 years ago
Scott AndersonWhat a great day! And thanks for the ideas. Iā€™m taking notes for our tour through here this autumn. Iā€™d never heard of Zambujeira before.
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3 years ago
Brent IrvineTo Steve Miller/GrampiesIn a way this is somewhat new-ish to me. I am only now discovering path riding as opposed to the main N roads which can be busy. I'm getting spoiled!
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3 years ago
Brent IrvineTo Sharon PledgerThe drivers, for the most part, have been very respectful of me on the road. It makes for pleasant riding for sure.
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3 years ago
Brent IrvineTo Scott AndersonI expected this route to be quite nice... but I have been continually bowled over by the sheer beauty over and over again. You won't be sorry.
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3 years ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Brent IrvineDon't look on it as getting spoiled, look on it as a true European cycling experience. This is why we keep returning to Europe (and avoiding North America), the cycling is just sooo darn good.
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3 years ago