Tomorrow we set off on a 28 day tour of Northern Portugal and a bit of Northwest Spain. The plan is to cycle the Camino Portuguese Central up to Porto and then onto Santiago del Compestalla, turning round and then heading and back to Porto along the coastal variant of the Camino. After that we'll return along the coast all the way back to Lisbon (taking the Eurovelo along a route I've done before so can vouch for).
I see "we" because as well as Christine, wife and partner on many previous adventures, Mike and Robina will also be making the trip. The four of us cycled across Spain last year on the Camino el Cid and that was such a success that we've decided to attempt an even more ambitious trip in Portugal.
The pandemic already feels distant and it's sometimes hard to remember just how awful it was. but, amongst other things, I got out of the habit of blogging. On this trip I'm going to revive it. It's funny but having to say something about a journey made me think harder about what I was experiencing and the experience was better because of that: so I'm looking forward to this trip.
If cycling the Camino Portuguese "works", if it's likely to be attractive to cycling pilgrims, then I'll write the cycling route up in my 6th Cicerone travel guide. This will be a follow up on to my first Cicerone cycling guide which describes the Ruta Via de la Plata.
Although the Camino Portuguese is not a cycling route like a Eurovelo, plenty of people have cycled it and indeed several holiday companies offer self guided itineraries. The route is particularly popular north of Porto as it's just far enough from Santiago del Compestalla to qualify for pilgrim accreditation.
Exploring the route will involve two cyclists (Robina and Christine) on e-mountain bikes, one cyclist (Mike) on a mountain bike and one cyclist (me) on a gravel bike. The intention is to stick with the Camino wherever possible but pre-identify the really nasty bits and find alternatives. It's already apparent that a lot of the route is "off-road" mostly on forest paths wide enough for a vehicle but some single track. There are stretches where the surface is broken and as neither Robina or Christine are mountain biking experts it's these stretches we'll be trying to avoid.
So from tomorrow night you'll be getting the usual daily updates on progress. If these updates suddenly stop, and previous entries are deleted, please assume the worst. The trip wasn't a success!