Portugal
Reguengos de Monsaraz

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7 travelers at this place
  • Day40

    L'Alentejo, route des saveurs

    October 26, 2020 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Du vin au pata negra en passant par le fromage, les produits de ce terroir figurent parmi les trésors gastronomiques du Portugal.
    A conseiller : le porco a l'alentejana, le porc aux palourdes, délicieux.Read more

  • Day26

    Heat, Hills and Headwinds

    October 13, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    A word of explanation - before I start today's blog I thought it might be a good idea to explain what the main reason for the blog actually is. The simple truth is that, if I do not record the day's events soon after they are completed, I very quickly forget what I actually did. The main point of the blog is simply to record my own experiences before they disappear completely. The blog is usually written late in the day and is just a compilation of what I remember of the previous few hours. I know that there are often spelling mistakes and omissions, but that is representative of my state of mind when I am putting in down. In the past I have sometimes used the blog to produce a hard cover book for myself to keep as a souvenir of the trip. I may do the same again.

    So much for the preamble, now for the blog....

    The lot of the touring cyclist is not an easy one. Not only do w e have to regularly contend trials and tribulations such as punctures, aggressive dogs, hail storms and saggy lycra, we also have the three most formidable adversaries of all. These are sometimes known as the "Three Horrible Aitches" - Hills, Heat and Headwinds. Any one of these can be sufficient to take all enjoyment from a pleasant ride, but when you score the perfect trifecta, you know you are in for a battle.

    The day started pleasantly enough. When I came down for breakfast at 7.00 am I was expecting another repeat of the ugly scenes of the previous morning. The thought of contending with another hundred or so hungry bus travellers all jostling for the sole remaining portion of scrambled eggs would have been enough to make me cry. Not to mention the problem of the non existent cutlery and the ill tempered waitress.

    In fact the situation could not have been more different. There were only a small number of people there and everything was perfectly civil and orderly. I not only got my scrambled eggs, but was able to get a knife and fork as well. I did not even have to fight for a slice of raisin bread. It was only when I was about to get a glass of orange juice that I received a tap on my shoulder. I immediately thought I must have queued from the wrong direction and was about to receive a torrent of abuse, but standing before me was a short American lady who obviously had something on her mind.

    "Why are you called the Ghostriders ?" she asked.

    I was sorely tempted to make up some tale about us being the most feared cycling group south of the equator, however I took a few minutes to explain the real story. She even seemed interested, until her jealous husband over and called her away.

    The trip notes had promised another "easy day" of about 50 km. That sounded like a bit of a walk in the park, however once again the notes were completely wrong. This is definitely NOT flat countryside and we have now learned why no one in Portugal rides a bike. No one. The region is actually full of nasty little (and not so little) hills and we managed to ride up every one of the them (some of them twice).

    The ride began with a visit to the 450 year old university that was inside the Evora city walls. Not only does this institution have a history almost dating back to Adam and Eve, but the students still wear the formal uniform of a black suit and academic gown. It certainly was steeped with history.

    Jorge then explained that he wanted to take us to a "leather factory". I immediately recalled numerous previous incidents of visits to so called factories which turned out to be nothing other than an ambush to take money from tourists. He also could have told us that the factory was at the top of a huge hill. In fact everything in this place is at the top of a hill.

    With much panting and sweating we reached the factory and could see that its finest days were well behind it. The ancient place was full of rusty old machines, cobwebs and foul odours. When I looked up I saw a crumbling asbestos roof that was probably dropping huge flakes right on top of our heads. Huge piles of hides were stacked to the ceiling.

    Jorge went on to explain that the place used to have 16 employees, but only 2 remained. I assumed that the rest had been dragged into the unprotected machines or died of asbestosis. The last two people standing were a father and son team who apparently ran the entire production by themselves. I had to admit that were both very friendly and had lovely smiles.

    At the end of the tour we might have bought something if all the goods were not about 7 sizes too small for even the tiniest of us. They were obviously expecting an influx of dwarfs who would all need leather jackets.

    The next stop was lunch in a local cafe. We had to enter by going behind the counter, down a steep narrow staircase, through a secret doorway and finally found ourselves sitting at a large table in a very small room. The food itself was excellent and the staff were very friendly and eager to please.

    When we left the heat was beginning to build up again. There was also something else building up. Ever since we had arrived in Europe we had hardly ever had any hint of wind, but today it finally arrived. It would have been welcome if it had blown right in our faces for the rest of the day.

    We then spent the next few hours grinding our way up an endless succession of hills and fighting the head wind at the same time. The only thing we could be thankful for was the fact that there were no dirt roads. The entire ride was on bitumen, which certainly was a relief.

    As I neared the final roadside stop I was conscious of the fact that my nether regions were becoming very uncomfortable. I tried lifting myself out of the saddle to gain some temporary relief. It helped for a few seconds, but I was very happy to finally pull up alongside the van and climb from the bike.

    To my surprise the main topic of conversation among the riders was how sore each of their bums were. In fact it was the very first thing that every rider said when they pulled over. The peloton had obviously fallen victim to some sort of mass saddle soreness. It was a strange phenomenon indeed.

    Fortunately we only had a few kilometres left to go. Jorge had organised another wine tasting for late in the afternoon, but I told him that I had absolutely no interest and would rather head straight to the hotel instead. About half of the riders also decided to join me, while the others headed to the nearby winery.

    Although the GPS stated that the ride had finished at about 52 km, the combination of numerous hills and the continual headwind certainly made it feel much further.
    Read more

  • Day14

    pottery village

    November 2, 2016 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Our first stop on our second day bike tour is a little village known for their clay, and therefore their pottery. After all the stuff we bought yesterday, we have no room in our luggage for more souvenirs, especially heavy fragile ones, so all we did was look, even though things were very tempting to buy!

    We wandered around a family run pottery business. Generations of men worked the clay and generations of women painted the pottery.

    The kiln, and the giant rack that rolled into it, were huge!
    Read more

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Reguengos de Monsaraz