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21 travelers at this place

  • Day27

    The Best Cycling Day So Far

    October 14, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Our brief time in Reguengoz de Monsaraz proved to be quite eventful. As we rode into the town we soon discovered that the council had been very busy destroying all of the footpaths and most of the roads. I suspect that they might eventually get around to putting them back again, but in the meantime anyone walking around the town has to navigate past piles of dirt and slabs of concrete.

    We had an enjoyable dinner at a local restaurant where the owner spent most of his time and his limited vocabulary in telling us what a fantastic bloke he was. To emphasize the point he had decorated the dining room with large photos and drawings of himself. To be fair, the food was pretty good.

    I had not been long in bed when a mighty storm broke overhead, complete with rolling thunder, lightning and heavy rain. My main concern was over whether it would be still pouring down in the morning. In spite of the rain I did eventually fall asleep, only to be awoken when the room was brightly illuminated. At first I thought it might have been a police raid because I had not shown my passport when checking into the hotel, however it turned out to be the automatic emergency lighting. There had obviously been a power blackout and there was no way to turn off the emergency lights. It was like trying to fall asleep under a searchlight.

    In the morning I awoke to find the rain stopped. It was not the only thing that had stopped – the internet had also stopped working and no one seemed to know how to turn it off and on again to get it working again. The television at least, was still working and the lead story was of how Portugal had been hit by one of the worst storms in history. Winds of up to 170 kph had destroyed much of the trees of Lisbon and the north of the country had suffered huge damage. That was the region we had been in just 4 days earlier, so we counted our blessings that our hardships had been relatively minor by comparison.

    It was about this time that I witnessed one of the most amazing sights of my lifetime. While I was sitting in my room, gazing at the screen of my notebook computer, I heard a rustling noise close by. I glanced across to see that Helen was actually climbing in through my open window. At first I thought it was some sort of joke, but realized that she was intent on climbing the whole way in. It took a while for my addled brain to click into gear and the only thing I could think of to say was “What the hell are you doing?”. From the startled look on her face it was obvious that she had been sleepwalking and had regressed to her previous life as a cat burglar. She immediately climbed back out again, the same way she had entered and I was left wandering whether I had imagined the entire episode. An alternative explanation might have something to do with the fact that her room was right next to mine and she just made an honest mistake, but I will leave it up to the readers to make up their own minds.

    By the time we were ready to start riding we got the message that Jorge was running late and was still 30 minutes away. Allan used the time to discover that his key would not open his bike lock and hoped that Jorge had an angle grinder in the van. We eventually managed to cut through the lock with a pair of pliers and a lot of elbow grease.

    At least the overnight storm had lowered the temperature to a much more comfortable level. This made our early cycling absolutely delightful. We even had the assistance of a lovely tail wind. The combination of lovely smooth bitumen, cool weather and helpful wind surely made for the best riding of our trip so far. We even managed to hold the peloton together. Well that last sentence is not perfectly correct. When we stopped for our first rest break we found that three riders were missing. Since we had been riding at a very sensible (modest) pace we could not understand how that could have happened. A phone call revealed that they had gotten rather muddled and had headed back in the same direction we had arrived from the previous afternoon. They had thus succeeded in riding about 3 km in the opposite direction to the rest of us. Old age really is a bummer sometimes.

    With the group all reunited we were able to make good, cohesive progress with everyone obviously enjoying the picturesque surroundings and the great road. For the first time since the ride started, it really could be accurately described as “flat”. The only problem was that we all knew that the ride was going to have a mountain top finish.

    The fortified village of Monsaraz can be clearly seen from many kilometres away and we could all see that it was going to be a serious challenge to get to the summit. The road kicked up to around 5% at the base of the climb and must have been over 10% on the tight corners. Riders sought ever lower gears as they slowly made their way up the mountain. It certainly was a help that the temperature was cool and the wind was still mostly on our backs. I am sure that our riders were justifiably all proud of their efforts when we finally reached the town entrance and were able to enjoy the panoramic views in all directions.

    The landscape was dominated by the massive Alqueva Dam Reservoir, the largest artificial lake in Europe. The white city inside the city walls was easily the prettiest town we had seen thus far and the lunch we enjoyed at an old olive mill was equally as impressive.

    The final attraction was the magnificent Hotel Rural Horta da Moura we had been booked in for the night. The only way I could describe this place is SUPERB. I think we could have happily stayed here for a week.
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  • Day42

    #Stellplatz Monsaraz

    November 12, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Die Straße war auf den letzten Metern waren etwas eng und steil, aber der Weg hat sich bei der Aussicht gelohnt. Wir übernachten hier.
    Die Stadt war schnell besichtigt und den Roller haben wir auch wieder bewegt, aber in der Umgebung ist uns nichts besonderes aufgefallen.
    Als Zugabe gab es noch ein Porsche Treffen von Franzosen. Morgen geht es wieder in Richtung Meer.
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  • Day3

    Monsaraz - Portugals vackraste by?

    September 25, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 32 °C

    Monsaraz ligger på gränsen till Spanien, en liten by med 782 invånare. Undrar var de var nånstans? Vi såg bara 10 av dem. Mysig liten by var det i alla fall, kringgärdad av försvarsmurar från 1200-talet och med fin utsikt över Europas största konstgjorda sjö, Alqueva. Gränsen mellan Portugal och Spanien går mitt i sjön.
    Sedan vinprovning på Esporao, en av Portugals största vinproducenter. En mindre del av de mer exklusiva vinerna framställs på gammaldags sätt för att bevara traditionerna. Bl.a. fottrampas druvorna i stora marmorkar.
    Varmt var det även idag, +36°, vinkällaren var ett bra ställe att vara på 😎.
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  • Day32

    A beach in the middle of the desert

    August 20, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    Still roasting, so having left Lisbon we decided to try and find some water and found this great place with a beach by a lake. Water is beautifully warm and the perfect way to cool off

  • Day14

    biking to castle

    November 2, 2016 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Next we biked up a short (1mile) but very very steep road to an small village and ancient castle on the top of a hill. Good thing I had an electric bike! I was able to power up the hill without too much effort.

    The road up had great views of the largest artificial lake in Europe. It was dammed and created about 15 years ago. Great for irrigation and for electric power production, but evidently it has changed the local climate making it more humid and the temperature less variable through the year.
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  • Day6


    April 20, 2019 in Portugal

    We arrived at our next destination in Monsaraz in the Alentejo region of Portugal in the afternoon. We arrived down a long gravel path and came up to our next hotel - Sao Laurenco do Barroncal. It is stunning! The resort sits on a working winery with a cobblestone path running down the middle and white washed buildings on either side. We are staying in a huge, three bedroom cottage and it is SO nice. Each room has a bathroom and there is a large living area downstairs. The property is massive with bikes, two pools and even a kids play area. Of course the girls wanted to go in the pool straight away so we changed and walked over. It was super freezing so they didn't stay long but I'm glad they got to get in the water at least. After the swim we changed into clothes for dinner (pajamas for the kids - of course) where the weather was nice enough that we could eat outside. The set up was perfect because the table was right next to an enormous lawn with all of these rocks formations to climb on so the kids were able to run around while we had some drinks and hung out. The girls made a cute little Dutch friend who they played with for the next couple of days. We ordered a cocktail which took ages to come and were sort of strange (of course). The food was delicious so it made up for that. We had grilled pork which was insanely good (even the kids loved it) and the kids had a massive appetite from all that running around. At 9:30ish (they are staying up so late here!) I took the kids back to the room and put them to bed while everyone else finished dinner. They came back with a bottle of wine for a night cap and we spent the rest of the evening hiding Easter candy!Read more

  • Day7


    April 21, 2019 in Portugal

    Omg what an awful night. Hannah had been fighting a cold all week and woke up coughing at 4:00am - croup. Coughed alllllll morning. It was so painful to hear and none of us slept. Definitely not the way we wanted to spend Easter morning. We went straight to breakfast so that I could give her her steroid medicine - I remember being on the phone with our pediatrician in NY (at 3am no less) sobbing on the phone. Sigh. On the plus side the breakfast was wonderful! After breakfast we came back to the hotel for the egg hunt. Hannah was feeling a bit better as the steroid helped her breathing so they searched for eggs and opened their baskets. They were so excited. We let them watch a little tv while the adults power napped and then put them in the stroller and went for a walk on the backside of the property. I had hoped that Hannah would fall asleep since she was so tired but of course she didn't. The plus side was that the walk was gorgeous and the day was beautiful - the wildflowers were out and fields were filled with yellows, purples and white flowers. The path was a little rough for our beat up stroller but we made it work :) After our walk the kids REALLY wanted to swim so we put on their suits and headed to the pool. The water was super cold but they had fun jumping in and out and it was sunny enough for the adults to lay out in their suits! Matt got a cheese board for lunch/snack and it was nice to eat by the pool in the sun despite poor Hannah's constant coughing. We stayed at the pool pretty much all day. After pool time we decided to take the kids on a bike ride as they had some bikes with kid seats on them. We started the ride which was super gravelly and almost slipped and fell over a hundred times - nerve wracking! Finally we made it through to the trail and it was gorgeous - wildflowers and birds everywhere. We rode past a lake and saw a pack of wild horses!! The girls were ecstatic. We got a little lost on the way back but eventually made it to the hotel bar for happy hour and snacks and played cards for awhile before heading back to the room to get ready dinner. The kids were understandably cranky and tired so we fed them and they played for awhile before Matt put them to bed. We watched them on the camera so the adults had their own dinner! It started to get a bit chilly so we moved inside for dessert but it was nice to have some adult time. Hoping we get a good nights sleep!Read more

  • Day8


    April 22, 2019 in Portugal

    It was NOT a good night sleep after all :( Hannah woke up at 1:30am with a coughing fit and woke Evie up. Evie came in to sleep with me and Matt stayed with Hannah who finally stopped coughing around 4:00am and we were all able to sleep a bit. Double ugh. We woke up and dressed for a final bleary breakfast at the hotel (delicious) and then the kids wanted to do a treasure hunt. The hunt turned out to be super fun - they had to follow clues all over the resort before they could get their prize! Afterwards, they got to take a donkey cart ride all over the property and even got to the hold the reins! They were very excited about that (even though poor Hannah was coughing the whole time). After the donkeys we packed up the room and then headed out to make our way over to Spain !!Read more

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