Day 13 The Big Iberian Trip - Odeciexe

After an overlong first day, a second day spoilt by navigational cock-ups, Christine's third day on the Big Iberian Trip went to plan. Helped by the distance, it was only 55km long, flat roads and very strong tail wind, we arrived at our destination without any significant moans or groans. If only every day could be like this.

We've walked through this part of Portugal before. The coastal scenery is amazing with low cliffs and frequent and very beautiful sandy beaches. The main difference between cycling and walking is that on a bike you rarely get to see the sea. If we hadn't walked the coastal path this would have been very frustrating but with the wind behind us on long straight and mostly empty roads we more than coped with scenic disappointment.

We stopped for coffee at Almograve, a place we had visited before, and were amazed to see the number of walkers heading up the coast. I've blogged about the Rota Vincentina and get hundreds of visitors to this part of the website. The number of people walking the trail explains why, it's becoming like the 'camino' - a must go to route with young people in particular.

The next stretch of cycling down to Zambujeira do Mar was particularly good, definitely my fastest cycling since yesterday's efforts to escape the clutches of the motorway.
Having buzzed along for 40km, the route then suddenly goes off-road and into sandy, dusty and even difficult terrain. The range of conditions we encountering, from road cycling to mountain biking is strange and at times tests our confidence in the route.

At Azenha do Mar we stopped for lunch and met, bang on schedule, Roger and Sue friends from London, who are walking the Rota Vincentina. The only think that went wrong was the time needed to make the Bouillabaisse​, which at 50 mins was just too long. It was great to meet them out here in Portugal and thanks Roger for the excellent photograph.

It was very hot when we eventually left the restaurant and there were some more horrible dusty trails to navigate before dropping down into a lovely valley at the end of which is Odeciexe. We are staying to the south of the town in an agriturismo, nice swimming pool, very spacious and very quiet. A perfect end to a perfect day.

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