Finally the day had arrived to leave for Portugal. As the sun was rising over the lake and our bags in the car, we headed to the shuttle which would take us to the airport, forgetting the GPS. What a way to start a journey!
The travel was easy to Portugal. Our friend Ricardo, and his wife Sandra, met us at the airport to take us back to their beautiful home. Like four friends that had never met before. We had such a wonderful few days with them, this was the beginning of what will become a lifelong friendship. We stayed a couple days with them meeting their children and family from England before taking of on our bikes.
Ricardo and Sandra knew exactly where to take us. Small twisty roads and no traffic, to the top of Portugal. Poor overloaded Yellow Donkey chasing Rossi on his GS. At least they waited for us.
We rode during the days, stopping for petrol, photos and espressos before finding a camping site for the evening. One of the destinations was literally the topic Portugal, in the Serra Da Estrela, Torre, at 1993 meters high. From the heat in the valleys to the chilly air at the top, what a beautiful ride on almost all green roads.
That night we found a great campsite, and the next day road through the Douro Valley. This is such a beautiful place. Imagine terraced areas of grape vines reaching from the rivers to the hill tops, small villages with friendly people and cafes around every stone corner. Sometimes there is just too much to take in. You have to just stop, put down your camera, sip your espresso and just look around.
Another perfect stop for a Curto, a short espresso in Portuguese, was the Castle Fortress of Almeida. There are two tunnel gates to enter the city. The fortified city was built because of its strategic location to Spain in 1641. It was here that Napoleon held siege to the castle for three months, but failed in his third attempt at conquering Portugal.
The next stop was Castle of Castile Rodrigo, in the northwest of Spain. The castle was built in the sixth century, and incorporated into the Kingdom of Portugal in 1297. The narrow cobbled streets wind around the stone corners of buildings while following the steep inclines of the terrain it was built on. It was quite the challenge for poor donkey and the workout for Melanie’s, “Oh Shit” actions.
As the sun lowered it was time to find a campsite for the night. The first four we looked at were closed. Finally finding one in the Porque Natural do Douro International, I realized it was the same one I had stayed at in 2020, as the virus was closing in around Europe. Another brilliant day and evening with good friends. Tomorrow we will part ways and head to Barcelona.
Cheers, and we will be back, Portugal.