29 August 2010

Malaga-Cabo de Roca

27 August 2010
Well, I had been looking forward to the ride from Malaga to Milan for some time, but when the time came, I was a little concerned that the ride would be a bit too leisurely for my tastes, and eventually decided that I would tack on an excursion to Portugal to visit Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point in mainland Europe. Having already covered the eastern side of Europe (Ekaterinburg) and the southernmost point (Tarifa), all I have left is Nordkapp, which is on the list!

So I got up at o'dark thirty Moscow time (actually 04:45), flew into Malaga, went to Estepona to pack up the bike, went to a relative's house in Marbella for lunch and to say goodbye (no plans on returning to Marbella, ever), and hit the road for Cascais at about 16:00, for about a 465 mile ride. Despite the late start, it was about 95 degrees when I finally left Marbella, it looked to be a long, hot, ride.

And indeed it was. While it wasn't too bad (95 degrees) riding along the coast as far as Gibraltar, as soon as I turned away from the coast it got real hot, real quick--it was soon over 100, and kept climbing all the way to 111 degrees, and stayed north of 105 degrees for probably four or five hours. It was like riding in a freaking oven, very unpleasant, very tiring. I started pulling over every hour or so to drink water and pour a bunch of it all over my head. I was making really good time, pretty much keeping between 90 and 100 mph, because I wanted to get as close to Cabo de Roca as possible before dark.

I was still a long way from the coast when it got dark, but just kept riding because after this ride I was going to stay by the beach, dammit! I finally pulled up to the first hotel I found in a beach town called Cascais, outside of Lisbon, at about 22:30 (Spanish time, which is an hour ahead of Portugual). It was a nice hotel and much more expensive (240 euro/night!) than most other hotels I stay at, but I wasn't really up for bargain shopping at this point, so I took a room, took a shower, and headed out into the town for dinner (pizza and beer).

August 28, 2010
I had planned to ride to Cabo de Roca and Sintra today, but I was so knackered after the previous day's ride that I decided to just relax in Cascais. I strolled along the beach, explored the town more thoroughly, and even--gasp--lounged on the beach very briefly...the town is nice enough but for some reason I've always found Portugal a bit blah compared to other places, and Cascais was the same...had a nice enough dinner and then back to the hotel.

August 29, 2010
Today I got a late start and rode up to Cabo de Roca, only about twenty kilometers or so from Cascais. It was very windy, and the wind had blown large quantities of sand across the road in some places, so it was fairly slow going. Anyway, the cape is pretty cool looking, with the obligatory lighthouse, etc. Here are some pix:

After a little while at the cape, I entered Sintra into the GPS and headed off following "Jane's" directions. The GPS took me to Sintra via an excellent, narrow, tiny, twisty road through the hills--it was awesome, and a great reminder of why I love riding with a GPS after its lame performance in Morocco.

Anyway, made the mistake of hiking up to the top of the Moorish Castle in Sintra--actually it is very cool, and a good work out, but it since it was still about 95% it damn near killed me. I guess it was worth it though, here are some of the pix:

Sintra of course is a cool old town, this was my second day trip there, someday I should stay overnight. I could have really used a couple of cold beers after the hike, but since I was on the bike limited myself to a couple of cokes and large bottle of water with a rather mediocre lunch. After that, back on the bike and a quick boring ride back to Cascais (via a different route). I didn't feel like staying in the expensive hotel again, so packed up the bike once I got to the hotel and headed out of town, thinking maybe I could get to the Spanish border before it got dark.

No comments: