Matt and I didn’t have a destination leaving Porto, only that we wanted to go around 40 kilometers and find a place to stealth camp. We cruised passed FC Porto’s stadium and made our way out of the city. We would go up, then down, then get a little lost. Eventually we began the first ascent of a climb somewhere outside the reaches of city limits.
After completing a good climb, where the people cracked jokes about how uphill it was (or so we assume because we can’t speak Portuguese), we came to a bicycle shop… AND it was OPEN! On a Sunday? Yes. So, we had to go in since there was a few items we would like to carry as extra weight in our panniers. Wouldn’t you know it, the nice owner did not speak English. So there was some funny hand signals about trying to get some old towels or rags for cleaning our chain. She didn’t understand and I didn’t convey clear enough messages (Though I thought I’d had it when I grabbed a paper towel from the bathroom and pointed to my shirt fabric…) We didn’t leave empty handed, though. I bought us some chain lube! Oh yea, riding smoooooth!
After leaving the bike shop, Matt says “We should probably find a place to camp soon.” I agreed and we biked on up the hill we were climbing. In about 30 meters there happened to be a forest off the side of the road. We, as casual as possible, biked into the woods. Thus, stealth camping was underway. Complete with a can of ravioli, soup, and a bottle of wine. Reading and snuggling. Lots of farts (to warm up sleeping bags of course). It was grapes!
Today, we woke up and were on the road at around 10 am. With about 60 kilometers and some mountains to climb, we figured we would take it easy. After a couple of espressos and bathroom breaks, we started our ritual mountain climbing! We had a good ascent, a good descent. Those lead up to a good ascent, and slightly smaller descent. Finally leading up to a 1,000 meter climb for about 20 kilometers… It was grueling, long, sunny, and so very beautiful! It was a quiet road with a lot of grapes growing on terraced mountain sides. There was spring water (which we hope doesn’t make us poop, since we can’t read the signs if its good or not).
Overall, today was vicious on the legs. My knees hurt during all the uphill, estimated at about 30 kilometers. However, there is nothing more gratifying than not giving up. Climbing to the summit through pain and perspiration. Knowing that all there is to it is keeping the pedals turning. Once you realize the pain will be there, it is easy to push to the back of the mind. Really easy when your ascents are up gorgeous Portugal countryside. Then, once beaten and worn, there is the descents. They are like a cherry on top of a cake that was meant to be devoured. Fast, winding, and liberating. Travel by bike, I dare you to have this much fun!
Now, we are sitting in a 30 Euro a night hotel in Vila Real. We have our own beds, but they are pushed together. Chips, pineapple, and of course a bottle of wine. We are tired but ready for tomorrow! More climbing and more unknown, it doesn’t get too much better than that!
Oh, if you were wondering how Porto was then here is a quick breakdown. We drank port, hung out with really cool people at Mim Hostel. Cheers Bae, Marc, Dave, Laura, Tim, Carol, and everyone else we met! We hope your travels are exotic, weird, and unforgettable! We also ate Kebab’s, got interviewed by puppets (again), went clubbing with Portuguese/Russian models, and experienced life with broad, big smiles!
As always, share, repost, post up, comment, GIVE US TREASURE HUNT ITEMS (make them ambiguous, as we don’t want to go to actual places because being tied down is stinkers.) and if you have a bit of leftover funds, then donate to our cause at the link below.
Now, for some raw, unedited footage!
More coming later, they are uploading!