Day 41 : Aveiro to Espinho - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

March 18, 2024

Day 41 : Aveiro to Espinho

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It was really pleasant waking up in a beautiful place like Aveiro. This was still the case despite the quirky nature of our room. We often talk about the place where you "have to make a reservation" with your partner to pass between the end of the bed and the wall. Our room this time was like that, but it had an additional "Grampie trap" feature. The bed was presumably square, but the room was not. Once you started your behind the bed journey, the space would reduce, until you had to edge sideways. Unique.

Free form room shape.
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Out by the main canal, all the boats had come home for the night, and the water was glass smooth. It was a beautiful and peaceful scene.

The main canal in morning.
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All the boats were back from their touring.
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We noted one particular building that we liked a lot.
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It was these painted tiles that caught our attention.
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At the bridge over the canal, there were two statues which represent people from the salt flats.

I think this means "a salt flats worker".
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Karen PoretBet the tagging on the bag doesn’t…:(
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4 weeks ago
Marnoto seems to be the name for what in France would be "fleur de sel".
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Our last look, on the way out of town.
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Coming from the beauty and peace of the old town, it was absolutely like a bucket of cold water in the face to run into the speedway spaghetti at the edge of town. We suddenly remembered this from last year, and how hard it had been to get into the historic centre. But this time we were more experienced, and Dodie said "I've got this". Before long, though, I said "This can't be right", and it was true. The secret is that you have to go against traffic on the speedway, in a lane that looks like instant death but which is actually an unmarked bikeway.

If you can tie your shoes, you can get out of Aveiro in just a few tries.
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After a while you realize that this is a bike way. It's entrance looks like a traffic lane coming at you.
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Karen PoretAnd the ambulance is moving along…not stopping…good sign
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4 weeks ago

Once we realized we were in a safe bike way, we could look to our left into the salt flats. and spot a few birds.

Black headed gull (breeding plumage)
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What's your issue, buddy?
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24169 Turnstone
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The salt flats
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Once the protected bike lane came to its ambiguous end (the part that had been the ambiguous start when we were coming the other way last year) we had 10 km of miscellaneous cycling, over to the ferry which would put us on the spit of land that we would take for our main journey north today.

The Angel's Trumpet grows well, and large, in Portugal.
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We had seen a manufacturer of wind turbine blades yesterday, but the photos did not seem to capture how immense they are. Here is another try, with blades that must be waiting to be sent out by ship.
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Also awaiting shipment, mountains of salt.
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I thought the combination of Norfolk Island Pine and palms was interesting.
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We arrived at the port, where ships like this one were unloading. It looked big to me, so the name Immensity seemed appropriate.
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Another look at the port.
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Our ferry, by contrast, was not immense, but it was still quite large, for the short crossing.

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At the ferry we met another Canadian couple on bikes. Ron and Chris have been in Aveiro for some weeks, and I think were hopping this ferry for a day ride to look at another place to rent, in Torreira. Unlike us, they are planning to stay in Europe for up to two years, and may land back in France, or in Germany. But like us, they do find Portugal to be very economical.

Off the ferry and now pedaling north on the peninsula, with the large lagoon on our right, we watched the fishers, with their iconically shaped and painted small fishing boats. It caused me to remark that this did not only look  "like" a typical Portuguese scene, this was the real thing, meaning this is where you would come to shoot the postcard.

Typical fishing boat scene.
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Back with a catch, maybe.
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This cormorant, anyway, just finished swallowing a fish.
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Roadside panels asserted that we could spot all sorts of marine birds, but really, we only saw a few types.

Little Egret
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Gray Heron
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The lagoon
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This boat was going just a little faster than we were. Note the heron looking on.
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The main fishing harbour was at Torreira. It had me wondering if Grampies 2023 had seen all this. I checked my phone, and oh they certainly had. In fact, Steve then had seen and thought and photographed everything that Steve now was doing now. But no matter, Steve now does not remember most of it, so it's like an all new experience and report. 

Torreira
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The fancy design conceals the fact that these are really quite small boats.
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Cormorants can look goofy.
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What kind of gull?
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We came to some docks that were just covered in small birds. It made us crazy trying to identify them all.

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So many birds on the dock.
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Plovers, and a 24170 Dunlin (long beak)
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What a crowd!
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Karen PoretWaiting for the ferry..;)
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4 weeks ago
Beyond Torreira, there was a stretch of a dozens kms of again protected bike way.
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A watershed point in the ride came a little after the bridge to Ovar. We had crossed that bridge last year, said Dodie, something that I found amazing, since it looked way too high for me. It fact is had a bike lane and is fine. We didn't take it this time, keeping instead to the coast, skipping Ovar, on a straight shot to Espinho.

Not really so scary.
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We always like to see Flamingos.
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We spotted this raptor in the air, but can't be sure what it is. 24171 Red Kite?
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Scott AndersonLikely, but I’m not sure. I don’t know any other raptors over here that are red like that. Easiest to tell if you’d seen its forked tail.
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4 weeks ago
Good biking continued for a while.
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We took a turn to head for the actual Atlantic shore, and passed by this strange photogenic display. It was just part of an ordinary family home. The home may have been ordinary, but the family was clearly a little strange.

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Karen PoretLike we all are from different families; that’s what makes us “us”..:)
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4 weeks ago
Now we entered a zone of buildings that are familiar around sea shores. The apartments are probably owned by people who live elsewhere. At the end of this street is the ocean!
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The Grampies have returned to the Atlantic.
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Yup, that's it.
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Our route now took us through a pine forest, just behind the beach dunes. It was called the Ovar Dunes Forest Trail, and it had many panels describing birds and mammals that we know we have almost zero chance of seeing. We did of course see a Hoopoe, earlier!

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The forest was interesting, in that it had been heavily pruned, and all the brush removed. Perhaps this was intended to control forest fires, of the type that did a lot of damage on similar land in France.

The pruned forest.
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Collected brush.
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The pine trees here have a beautiful bark.
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Karen PoretResembles an abstract painting !
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4 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretIt really does.
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4 weeks ago

Here are two of the advertised birds, that we did  not see: (Coal Tit and Common Firecrest). However, we are 80% sure we saw a Marsh Harrier, that took off when my brakes screetched to a halt and the camera came out.

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The trail set off through the dunes and salt marsh on a raised boardwalk. It was a bit harrowing, because some of the boards were missing, and I had a ringside view of the remaining ones flexing as Dodie's bike rolled over them.

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Yes, there is the Marsh Harrier on the info panel.
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The rest of the ride into Espinho was rather jarring, as lots of cobblestones were in use. We found our hotel, the Mar Azul (Blue Ocean), and were gratified that they had a room to put the bikes in. We stashed our bags and went out to look at the (blue) ocean.

The waterfront at Espinho
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Dodie had noticed that there was a Pingo Doce (grocery chain store)  nearby, so we strolled over there after certifying that the ocean was still in place. As we walked up the street to the store, a very small but still strange drama was playing out.  A car was positioned in the middle of the narrow street, with one flasher on, and it was periodically beeping loudly. Initially there was one car behind it, and one trying to leave a parking garage beside it. It wasn't clear which one was doing all the beeping, until we came closer, and yes it was the blocking car making the noise. But then the blocked cars and more that came along started beeping, pedestrians like us were gawking, and it was a bit of a scene. People came to the window of the blocking car and spoke to the girl driving, but for some reason she wasn't moving the car.

We went into the Pingo Doce, and like many in the store, we watched out the window to see the next act. This came quickly as the police arrived (presumably backing up the blocked, one way street).  The police did a lot of yelling at the girl, but made no progress. Finally, with a lot of arm waving, they directed her to back her car into a parked position on the side of the street. We watched in amazement as the girl moved the car forward and back, but was not quite succeeding in parking it. Did she not know how to drive? 

We gave up and went to do our shopping inside the store. This must have taken 1/2 hour. But when we got back to the front, the girl and the car and the police were still there, and the police were still waving their arms and shouting. The girl was by then out of the (crookedly parked) car, and I almost went up to her to ask what the story was. The language barrier stopped me, but even so I doubt if a coherent tale would have emerged.

At the hotel, the desk clerk had handed me the TV controller, but I gave it back since we never watch the TV. With drama like this in the street, who needs it!

Trying to talk the car out of the middle of the street.
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The police try their luck.
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A long time later, we are still discussing ... something.
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Bill ShaneyfeltShould have called the tow truck long ago.
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4 weeks ago
Karen PoretTo Bill ShaneyfeltI agree with Bill.
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4 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bill ShaneyfeltIt certainly seemed like the "driver" should have had her license puĺed, at the very least. Her inability to even move the car was shocking.
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4 weeks ago

By the way, at .39 euros each, Pastel de Nata  is five time cheaper than in Spain, although these are not gourmet specimens. Also of note, the six pack shows a per unit and not a total price. In Canada, the tray would be marked 2.34  (.39 x 6). On the other hand, there is no sneaky value added tax slapped on at the till.

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Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 2,009 km (1,248 miles)

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Karen PoretThanks for the TV show in the street. It’s so funny how everyone gawks and tries to figure out what is happening no matter WHERE you are ..
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4 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretIt is especially funny when you have no language clues to help figure out what is happening. Everyone, except for the driver but including the police, seemed to be quite cheerful about it all.
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4 weeks ago