When I left Lisbon at the end of April I was not sure about the weather but I can say I got more than lucky. I found always great sunny and warm weather.
Nothing to compare to the heavy rains we can normally encounter during this month.
They are lovely, especially if you are not cycling. But well, I was purely cycling so thank nature for sparing my life.
- Lisbon – Setubal – Alcacer do sal – Evora
- Evora – Pavia – Avis – Alter do Chao
- Alter do Chao – Nisa – Vila Velha de Ródão – Castelo branco
- Castelo Branco – Monsanto
Before leaving Munich I talked to some cyclists in terms of route suggestions as there were just few information on the internet about cycle routes and path in Portugal.
I arrived in Lisbon and with the suggested route I went to the Federacao Portuguesa do Ciclismo hoping to get more info and tips but, you know, these guys probably just did not go further than the Belem tower because they looked at me very scared for the upcoming trip. No one there really sounded trustworthy unfortunately so I had to find someone else to talk to.
I went to Velocité café close to the Gulbenkian Museum (one of my favorite places in Lisbon) and talked to the people working at the café and workshop.
I had a coffee and they were really nice and open to help me. They gave me contacts and tips. It is a great place to meet like minded cyclists in Lisbon like Ricardo.
I also talked to Joao, met thanks to warmshowers who confirmed me the route I was about to choose and suggested some places worth a visit.
I took the train from Lisbon to Setubal as I was suggested to do so but next time I won´t miss Sesimbra and Arrabida! I swear!I arrived in Setubal after leaving my beloved Lisbon on the other side of the Rio Tejo. I have to admit it, I was scared. But also excited. I had no clue about what to expect from this trip. I did not think it could have been such an incredible experience.
When I first reached the Troia peninsula it was mid day and freaking hot.
I did not know where I would have slept the first night or if I could have managed to reach Evora. I was almost alone on the road when I met a group of cyclists from the Netherlands, together we shared few kilometres and some talks even though my mind was not prepared for it.
When I reached Alcacer Do Sal, a lovely town on the river I was not able to find an accommodation and after lunch I decided to cycle like hell to Evora.
Guys, it was my first day after 2/3 weeks spent in Lisbon drinking red wine and eating like there was no tomorrow.
I arrived in Evora almost dead. I slept at a comfortable hostel, met Pedro and Paolo and other crazy people traveling around the world.
I spent a couple of days in Evora, a very old town, quite different from Lisbon.
But even though there is no ocean, Alentejo has the flowers and everything around looked so beautiful and blooming. The air smelled like Eucaliptus (actually like my cold cream) and the region is still so wild it felt like being somewhere in Africa with white birds flock moving from a tree crown to another and strange big dark cows staring at me like I was an alien.
In a way they were not wrong actually.
I passed through small and old villages before reaching Monsanto, the most Portuguese city in Portugal (at least that is what they say)
Honestly is the strangest place I have ever seen in Portugal, built on a hill made of perfect enormous stones.
Here I slept at PEP, an eco settlement designed and built by a Scottish guy of my age who also cycled one year before deciding to move to Portugal, buy land, build an earthship and doing permaculture and forest gardening.
There I met a couple from Czech Republic who was volunteering in exchange of food and a place to sleep. They were traveling for 7 months already meanwhile he was writing his PHD thesis. They stayed first in Tenerife and Canary Islands, then they moved to Spain, Portugal, heading towards Switzerland before going back home creating something like PEP somewhere close to Austria.
I loved that place. I planned to visit some ecovillages along the way and in doing that I have heard and seen incredible stories and met beautiful people.
I left the Portugal soil only after seeing a huge iguana crossing the street and a sleepy lynx appearing under a tree (all true, I am serious) on the border to Serra da Malcata, a natural park famous for hosting this lovely feline. I run, quite fast honestly, but she did not give a damn.
I love this country, for many reasons, and the feeling in leaving it behind was intense.
I was touched and I still am when I think about it.