Sunday, June 20, 2010


Somedays you really know you're going to miss Portugal. Today was one of those. When you know the weather in Holland is shitty (as my girlfriend Ana reported) while Portugal is sunny and you're riding in summer kit through some stunning hilly terrain. On the list of things to do before I leave was ride the Serra da Arrábida - a hill that is visible in the distance to the south of Lisbon and that I stupidly hadn't cycled before because I thought crossing the Tejo would involve taking a train. But no - this morning I set of for a short ride to Terreiro de Paço, Lisbon's main square on the waterfront, where I took the high-speed ferry to Barreiro. From there I rode to Setúbal, had coffee and a queque (cake - sometime Portuguese is stunningly simple), and then climbed the Arrábida ridge from the NE side. A beautiful climb with rewarding views all the way. Stupidly enough I had left the camera's memory card in my laptop so I could only take a few pictures. After descending the ridge the reward would be lunch at the waterfront in Sesimbra, but the route I planned appeared to include a dirt road so I had to divert...and then, just before Sesimbra I bonked, the price you pay when you're too lazy to prepare a big breakfast in the morning. Fortunately a mueslibar sustained me over the last km and a scary descent into Sesimbra for a sardine salad at the waterfront. The climb out of Sesimbra proved as hard as I thought it would be but fortunately it was short. Back to Barreiro, last 15 k or so with a strong headwind (that is what you get for starting late). Another boatride, and then a relaxed pedal home. Feeling spent after a little over 100 k, and given yesterday's tt efforts a good indication that a daily average of 100 is a realistic aim.
Terreiro do Paço seen from the ferry - a pretty impressive entry for visitors to Lisbon who arrive by boat (and that used to be nearly everyone)

Halfway up the climb - in the distance on the left is Setúbal, and on the right is the Tróia peninsula

...and on top. Beaches, the ocean and Portugal stretching into the distance.

And now for some cycling unrelated stuff: my brother Bart just returned from a weekend playing at the Oerol festival with his band 'de Hûnekop'. Check out their new video here - even if you don't speak Frisian (a language spoken in the province of Friesland, in the north of the country) I'm sure you'll get an idea what the song is about.

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