Pedalling Portugal 2018: Day four- Saved by a cheese sandwich

Sertã-Tondela 74 miles.

6h53 riding time. Avg 10.7mph.

Ascent 6,381ft. Descent 6,348 ft.

By the end of today I felt BROKEN! So broken that with three minutes to go before our BnB I had a total melt down on a final hill. I struggled to get to the top. Rich made me stop and eat something even though our accommodation really was just around the corner.

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Isabel, our French host, could clearly sense how shattered I was when we knocked at the door. She said she’d drive us to the local restaurant for our dinner, which was otherwise a good 25minute walk away. But dinner would be a good few hours so I used my best francais to cheekily ask for some pain and fromage. That’s a first at a BnB. But Isabel was so lovely that she even offered me cake to go with my cheese sandwich. I really was giving off a wiped out vibe!!

Today’s riding had been brilliant. We left Sertã in the fog and climbed. Climbed some more and climbed even more.

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After three hours of going up we had broken through the clouds and reached the top of whatever and wherever the top was, under blue, sunny skies. It was pretty magical.

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The cafe was closed but a local pointed us towards a tap where we could fill our bottles. We told him we were heading to Gois. When I asked how far it was he treated us to some good news- it was around 10km and it was downhill all the way.

Dropping in to the next valley meant we were back under colder, grey skies and by the time we got to Gois I was very hungry (it’s a common theme....) This time a tuna baguette came to the rescue.... served by an English guy at a riverside cafe. It was the least likely place I expected to meet an English person! He laughed when a few minutes later I went back to order a third tuna baguette.

After lunch we came off the N2 and followed the Garmin a little more cross country. It was hill after hill but it was so good to be off the N2.

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We went through cobbled farming villages and wound our way up through pine forest after pine forest before eventually we hit the flat Ecopista do Dao.

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By this point we had around 10-15km to go but I was knackered and really had to force myself to turn the pedals to reach Isabel’s place.

Our dinner must be mentioned. Isabel recommended the local cafe which did good food and “wasn’t too expensive.”

We couldn’t help but smile when the bill came. €20.80 TOTAL for steak, chips, salad, pasta salad, rice, a pudding each, two beers, a big bottle and a small bottle of mineral water AND a full bottle of Bon plonk(!)