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Old 11-19-2013, 11:57 PM   #106
Mike The Swede
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Well, you can call me stupid but we have just bought an property in the terrible part of the world, approx. 10k north of Lagos. To make it even worst we are considering to run a small B&B that will with a bit of luck will welcome dirty, smelling, beer drinking dirt bike riders (if they show up with some Euros that is).
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:48 AM   #107
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Well, you can call me stupid but we have just bought an property in the terrible part of the world, approx. 10k north of Lagos. To make it even worst we are considering to run a small B&B that will with a bit of luck will welcome dirty, smelling, beer drinking dirt bike riders (if they show up with some Euros that is).
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:38 AM   #108
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Monday 7th October



The settlement of Almeida can be traced back to Palaeolithic times. The town is one of the 12 Aldeias Históricas (historic villages) in Portugal and all the usual suspects - Celts, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs - have left their mark. Due to its strategic position on an important cross-border road from Spain, Almeida is has a remarkable layout - like a town inside a fortress


The town was sieged and captured several times during its history, with the siege of 1810 (during the Peninsular War) ending spectacularly when a chance shell ignited the main gunpowder magazine, which exploded, killing 500 defenders and destroying most of the town. Today Almeida has been restored to its former glory and is well worth a visit.

I certainly wanted to see more of this town, so the next morning I tore myself away from my lovely Possu's side even before sunrise and went onto another sight-seeing tour


The restaurant where we had enjoyed the previous evening


If you remember the citadel's footprint, there were two sets of walls


With deep, wide moats between them


And two sets of gates as well


Just when I entered the second entrance the sun came over the horizon and bathed every feature in the most beautiful light


On top of the gateway


The impressive 'barracks'


... with the town they guard behind




Almeida's coat of arms


View of the town wall from the market square


Easy access to the defensive structures - at least two soldiers abreast could run up and down here; and the ramp was wide enough for horses and equipment, too


I went around the whole town


... enjoying the views from different angles


These must have been the quarters of the footsoldiers (today the military museum)


Can you imagine taking care of your personal hygiene having just this trough alone - waiting your turn in line with all your comrades and in all weathers? Tough guys they must have been...


Slightly modernised gateway on the other side of town


I could have taken lots of photos more...


... but I didn't want to bore you again. Let's turn towards the centre


... approaching the churchyard


... which looked, of course, considerably less spooky in broad daylight


How many cats are in this picture?


What a beautiful place!


... and I had it all to myself


Main Guard Corps building by day


Attention to detail...


Charity has a long history in Almeida


I wonder where this gate leads to...


Mmm, where is my torch when I need it?


For once I listened to the voice of reason and turned back to the surface...


These cannons must have seen their fair share of battle


They were obviously aimed at the enemy who's made it over the first wall...


... but not through this gate yet!


I could have spent a lot longer in this fascinating town, but the agreed time for breakfast was approaching and I hurried back. If you want further information about Almeida, please feel free to zoom in


When I returned to our Residencial, the boys were enjoying the morning sun and asked me if I had been jogging - Kulturbanausen...


To be continued
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Pumpy screwed with this post 11-20-2013 at 10:48 AM Reason: Pressed 'Submit' instead of 'Preview' button...
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:38 PM   #109
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Is this post meant for this thread
Well, maybe I wasn't expressing myself very well but it was my way of saying that I also like the dirt bike riding in south of Portugal and that I now have a place there which is suitable for a pit stop on a tour similar to the one described in the thread. I don't mind if you want move or delete the post if it is inappropriate.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:51 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike The Swede View Post
Well, maybe I wasn't expressing myself very well but it was my way of saying that I also like the dirt bike riding in south of Portugal and that I now have a place there which is suitable for a pit stop on a tour similar to the one described in the thread. I don't mind if you want move or delete the post if it is inappropriate.
I think the confusion arises because we may not be aware of Lagos in Portugal, we're perhaps more familiar with Lagos, Nigeria, not quite the Portuguese trailriding country we're used to.

If you need qualified opinion of your trails and house in Portugal, just let me know, I'm available for a small fee.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:27 PM   #111
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Can you imagine taking care of your personal hygiene having just this trough alone - waiting your turn in line with all your comrades and in all weathers? Tough guys they must have been...


To be continued
Ela, at that time -and until 1900- most people should rely in going by foot to take water from a river or source maybe at several kilometers… so Soldiers were infact privileged, Water wells were a relative luxury.
When I was a kid I was able to see with my eyes old men and women still carrying water with donkeys in the interior of Sicily (my uncle was the "cadet son" of a feudal family that owned thousands of acres , sulfur mines - but this is another long story)

Fantastic pictures and really interesting place .
Waiting for the rest.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:23 AM   #112
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Giorgio, I just wanted to emphasize how lucky we are to live nowadays - not only do we have the facilities but also the privacy. And we have holidays, can ride motorcycles for pleasure and have the means to explore all corners of the world on our bikes. I feel truly privileged and grateful.

Hope to catch up with you in person again and share more long stories.

And now that I've posted all my photos of the HAF, I'll write another Portuguese instalment soon...
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:43 AM   #113
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WOW ,
what a great RR,
with the right ADV spirit
I' m Fooking jealous !!!


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Old 12-02-2013, 05:39 AM   #114
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Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback, Kurt - but your language...



Working on the next instalment!
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:57 AM   #115
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Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback, Kurt - but your language...

Yes Bollocks....'jealous' is a terrible word to use!
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:25 PM   #116
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Still Monday 7th October

After my early morning sight-seeing tour, we enjoyed the most authentic Portuguese breakfast of the entire trip - with freshly baked bread rolls, a whole local cheese, figs just picked in the garden and freshly squeezed orange juice for which you had to peel your orange first, but not the way we were used to. Only Jimmy and I mastered the art, helpfully assisted by our hostess.

The Oirish had left in the small hours, as both Seamus and Daithi had work commitments back home - and thus the Anthill Mob was down to six.

Saint Matthew kindly offered to ride with me again but I didn't want to spoil another one of his rare fun days with the boys. With hindsight I'm really glad I declined...

The lads set off to Bragança on the trails and I headed north towards the historic village of Castelo Rodrigo.


Not even 20 kilometres into the journey, not far from the parish of Vilar Torpim, the bike started to wobble a bit. It felt vaguely like a puncture but the tyres looked fine and the pressure gauge confirmed that there was nothing wrong in this regard. Mmm, let's see if I can get to a point where the trail meets the road and - with a bit of luck - ask the boys for their opinion.


Alas, in addition to the wobbly feeling I could suddenly hear a loud clanging noise from the rear of the DRZ. I stopped, checked everything I could think of, took the front sprocket cover off (I'd once trapped a small flint stone which started grinding my chain away), looked at the rear brake (thinking of another incident in the Dordogne, where the calliper got stuck and the friction heat had melted all the surrounding plastics away), but I couldn't put my finger on it. It couldn't be the wheel bearings, which I had changed only three ride-outs before the trip, could it?

However, after another circumnavigation of the impressive town wall of Castelo Rodrigo, I was sure that there was something seriously wrong with my baby.


My first point of contact, my wonderful personal mechanic, had forgotten to switch his phone on in the morning () but the Great Organizer was on call. The group was already 25 miles further north near Barca d'Alva and the Roman Road but they would come back to rescue me.

That wasn't really necessary, one experienced bike tinkerer would suffice. The boys must have had the same thoughts because half an hour later, one single knight in shining armour appeared on the horizon.


My one and only Possu!


Steve examined the DRZ, found that the brake calliper bolt hung on the last winding of its thread , test rode the bike up and down the hill and then confirmed that the rear wheel bearings had indeed collapsed.

And that was the end of my biking holiday. For the next five hours I sat in a little park outside the historic village waiting for my saviour who raced up the motorway to Bragança on his mousses, fetched our van from the camp-site and came back all the 179 kilometres to rescue his Pumpy...


My hero!


We only stopped for a quick coffee and pastry in Vila Nova de Foz Côa but it still took us until 8pm to get back to Cepo Verde - just in time for dinner with the rest of the group. Steve must have done over 330 tarmac miles that day...

I can't quite remember what we had to eat or any of the tremendous piss-taking which naturally ensued. But that may not only be down to the excitement of the day but also the copious amounts of Telmo's fabulous vinho tinto consumed in the course of the evening. The last thing I recall is sitting in the boys' cabin with several dubious bottles on the table...

Mind you, as there is no photographic evidence and no record in the Book of Truth, I'm pretty sure that nothing report-worthy happened - and I still woke up next to Possu in our own cottage the following morning...

To be continued
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:36 PM   #117
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Tuesday 8th October

The most intense way to explore the world is on foot. Now we don't have enough holiday to do this every time - and riding a bike is just too much fun - but with my DRZ out of action, I had no choice but resort to some trail walking on our last day.

The lovely camp-site crew, Telmo and Susana, didn't open the bar until 10am and so we all went to Bragança for breakfast.


Matt checking out next year's bikes...


Then the boys fanned out into the countryside and I headed for the village of Dine to start my hiking loop, as recommended by Telmo the previous day.


The Parque Natural de Montesinho comprises a total of 92 aldeias (villages) - yeah, I couldn't believe it either but I've counted them all and it's true!


After testing our van's climbing abilities on the tight twisty roads through Dine (it just amazes me what vans can do nowadays!), I thought it easier to park outside the settlement.


The start of the trail wasn't that obvious to find but Telmo's photocopied hiking map showed the path next to the river after a while - so I turned to the right following the slope of the valley...


... and it was downhill from here...


What a wonderful day - the temperature was just perfect for walking and I had the whole area to myself


Great trails


Splendid views


Food...


... and water


The Rio Tuela can rise quite a bit occasionally - see the flotsam in the fence?


And it can be cold and wet here, too


This almost looks like a ford...


... but the continuation wasn't exactly suitable for motor vehicles


The sign-posting in the natural park is exemplary: turn left / not here, numpty / yep, that's the way!


The trail led through enchanted forests...


... a seemingly Roman bath


... and a root gnomes' habitat


Trust me, they are in there somewhere...


Lots of butterflies about...


... an abundance of trails


... and plenty of food!






You won't starve in the Portuguese wilderness at this time of the year...


Mmm...


You may have to ask nicely though...


Water was not an issue either, as every little village has its own public well. In Fresulfe, my halfway point, a friendly local not only showed me to the fountain, she also helped me filling my water bladder - some times you just need three hands...

After the village the path widened


... and led through a lovely chestnut grove


Can't wait for Christmas now!


Isn't it just beau-ti-ful?


Mind you, raging fires have left their traces everywhere


After a few more kilometres Dine came into view again


See those tracks? The Anthill Mob was here!


Later it turned out that at least three different groups of riders had been out in Montesinho that day - but I liked to think that the boys had seen this gorgeous part of the park as well.

More natural delicacies in Dine - Vinho tinto in its early stages


Figos...


... and nozes


Back to the camp-site


... as I had hardly time to savour a Galão (milky coffee) at the bar before the boys returned and the big packing frenzy started


Men have their uses...


Somehow Matt reminded me of a certain monument in the Danish capital...


Talk dirty to me, Possu...


The lads' cabin, obviously


Jimmy and Gareth started early with the vinho...


The day's riding to Monsanto in body armour only had left me with a strange waffle-pattern suntan...


And then it was time for our last Portuguese feast -


Guess what was on the menu?


Master chefs Susana and Telmo excelled themselves in the kitchen and at the barbecue


... and they had a very grateful audience: happy, appreciative and absolutely stuffed at the end of the meal


Hang on, some still managed to squeeze a dessert in...


... and a few bottles of the excellent 'Montes Ermos' - for the way home to the cabins, of course


Would we all get back to Santander and catch our ferry the next day?

Don't miss the last episode...
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:29 AM   #118
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Pumpy, Matt

Big thanks for taking the effort to post your RR and pics.

Really enjoyed reading a slightly different perspective on it.

It is almost as if I were there!

Gareth

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Old 12-23-2013, 10:16 AM   #119
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Just spent a very enjoyable couple of hours or so reading this great ride report, excellent stuff!!.
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Old 12-23-2013, 03:20 PM   #120
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Thanks for posting this report!! I'll be in Portugal in May on my bike for a few weeks.
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