Day 33: Moura to Mourao - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

March 10, 2024

Day 33: Moura to Mourao

Heart 0 Comment 0

The Santa Comba looked modest, but it did have a dining room with really nice plaster work in the ceiling. Even better, the lady introduced us to the laid out buffet, and closed the door with the Portuguese equivalent of "go for it"!

Heart 2 Comment 0

We retrieved our bikes from the locked storage and loaded them in front of the hotel. Across the street, as the owner had told me it would be, the bar was closed.

The bar is shut tight.
Heart 0 Comment 0

As a not really unexpected result, the old men (clearly kicked out of the house, again) clumped up on the street corner. They look dejected, don't you think?

Heart 2 Comment 0

For the first bit, our route was the same as our "just for fun" run out of town yesterday. This again took us back over the Ardila bridge. Of course, I shot that bridge yesterday, and in case you have forgotten that piece of travel reportage, here is the shot:

Ardila bridge, yesterday
Heart 1 Comment 0

This caused the ever supportive Dodie to show me in the evening the "much better shot" taken by Scott of the same bridge. Here it is:

Scott's take on Ardila bridge, 2013
Heart 4 Comment 1
Scott AndersonHow great! I get to like one of my own photos for a change! I owe you one.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

So today as we approached the bridge, and not that this is a competition!, I wondered "How did that guy manage the shot, anyway?" The first point is that you have to get off the bike, cross the road, and take up just the right position over there. The thing is, the position was overgrown with tall grass and brush. But then I did see a kind of trampled down bit. "Maybe this is Scott's niche!" "Not after 12 years", Dodie astutely observed.  "Perhaps people come here to pee, or maybe there are other Scotts lurking on this road".  So whatever, I took my best shot. But I think it's clear, Scott's is better. Good thing this is not a competition!

My best shot. Light is not as good, but there is more water in the river.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Scott AndersonWhat a difference the season makes! We were there in mid-autumn.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Anyway, here is Dodie crossing the darn thing!
Heart 2 Comment 1
Karen PoretThe “difference” between your photo and Scott’s is visible at the top of the bridge itself..it’s painted white!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

Crossing the bridge took us deeper into a green realm that really does qualify as one of the most pleasant and beautiful we have seen. It's not the Alps, but it sure is nice.

A quiet road into the green.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

Little brown birds flitted everywhere, almost never settling for more than a few seconds. You have to be fast to get a snap.

A Corn Bunting, same as the other day.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Widely spaced trees amid meadows.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Meadows could be all purple, but I like purple and yellow.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Scott AndersonWe’ve only been through here in the autumn. I’ve always wanted to see it in the spring too.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

At one point, instead of being covered by olive trees, the land was covered by solar panels. It was a quite large installation, but I wasn't able to track down its capacity, or for example, to see how many wind turbines or gas turbines it would be equivalent to. Like with wind, though, solar installations do allow for livestock under or around them. In this case, it was cattle.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Olives trees and purple meadows, it must be said, are a bit nicer. But those will not charge your iPad!
Heart 2 Comment 0
A Corn Bunting coyly sheltering amidst the flowers.
Heart 2 Comment 0
And another Corn Bunting, on a different fence.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The town of Povoa Santo Miguel.
Heart 0 Comment 0

A small white van pulled ahead of us on the road, stopped, and soon released a gush of pigeons. They circled for a bit, and headed off, with the van no doubt in pursuit. As you see from my hurried shot, they were not painted, so they were doing some other pigeon fun.

Heart 2 Comment 0
A bit more appreciating of the countryside, until...
Heart 1 Comment 0
A peleton put a move on Dodie. Not only did they manage to pass her, but they were over that ridge up ahead in a flash.
Heart 3 Comment 0

This left us time to appreciate the little birds that frequently, if briefly, landed in camera shot.

Crested Lark
Heart 4 Comment 0
Again, a Corn Bunting.
Heart 1 Comment 0
We passed Amareleja quickly.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Granja was the last town before crossing the big lake.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Dodie had been commenting on our not seeing storks today, but very soon after that observation we did come to one nest. Mrs. Stork was at home, and we watched as Mr. Stork arrived and prepared for a landing. But we fancied Mrs. said "Did you bring me any frogs?". Mr. never landed but set off again. We had heard frogs, but did not get consulted on where to look.

Mr. Stork, kicked out of the nest, presumably off to find frogs.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Looking at the map, which is always deceptively 2D, I had not imagined a high bridge over the lake. But from here it did look rather high. Fortunately from close it was not particularly high.

Heart 1 Comment 0
This is a green island in the reservoir. In the foreground is not pavement but water.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Starting out over the lake, Dodie was not happy about the trough on the right.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The lack of traffic made the edge of the road easy to avoid.
Heart 1 Comment 0

We had been watching the weather forecast, because although the day started clear, rain was expected. After the bridge we did get rain, and in fact by the time we got to the hotel in Mourao it was bucketing down. We were glad they let us in though it was nowhere near 3. On the way to town, almost more than rain, it was wind that gave trouble. Not only was it head wind, but also there was that problem of being blown about the road.

We passed a small area of sort of small farm plots. This compares to the olive trees to the horizon model we had been mostly observing. In one small plot there was even this attractive mother pig.

Heart 2 Comment 1
Scott Anderson“Some pig”, quoth Charlotte.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

The town of Mourao did have the requisite low white buildings, orange roofs, balconies, and such, but it struck me at first as rather run down. Perhaps that was because of the blustery wind and rain. However our guest house, the Casa Esquivel, is very substantial, with walled grounds. Out the back is a full view of the Mourao Castle, which I will no doubt shoot once the wind and rain gives me a chance!

In Mourao
Heart 2 Comment 0
Look, Dodie is in - no need to stand here in the rain.
Heart 3 Comment 0

Ok, the rain stopped and I shot this view of the castle.  The wind, even from by the guest house, is very strong. Wind in Portugal seems to be always a factor for cyclists. We are too tired to actually go visit the castle. We also read in Scott's account of walkways with no railings and some sheer drops. We'll be happy staying here in our safe and warm guesthouse!

Heart 1 Comment 0

Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 1,522 km (945 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 0