Wonky Internet in Nazare means two posts in one from a really great hostel in downtown Leiria. One so misses solid Internet, and feels slightly embarrassed for having missed it.
Day 2: Peniche to Nazare
Yesterday’s ride was only about 60 km, but the 15 mph and higher head/cross wind made for very slow going. Instead an acronym for wind in this journal, ala “GDMFs” for hills, we’ll just pay homage to that Monty Python bit about prejudice and Belgians, and call it what it is: Wind.
I think I can speak for all cyclists: we don’t like wind. A tailwind is nice in that bipolar girlfriend sort of way, but you know such a wind is only good for a short while. It’s bound to turn cross, or worse. Yesterday was worse.
So when I arrived at Nazare Beach on a late Sunday afternoon to find approximately the entire population of Europe crammed along its tile “boardwalk,” I was a bit underwhelmed and overheated. The cacophony of humans was far too great for the first three or four hours, but then most of the crowds went back to their cars/homes, and Nazare turned out to be a properly sleepy post-fishing village by 22:00 hours.
One thing I noticed about those boardwalk throngs. Nazare is all about the beach, and surf, but 99.3% of all visitors stick to the tiled boardwalk. Once one frees themselves from that human hamster wheel, the beach itself is simply stupendous.
So by late evening, during my largely devoid of humans second walk of the area, all you could hear was what one wants to hear: waves. And more waves. I made sure to take a leisurely Monday morning, and, sure enough, the Sunday crowds were absent and the June/pre-vacation beach was about the sound of waves, instead of waves of people.
I have little videos, too, but note that WordPress wants me to “upgrade” to show them. Look for them, if interested, over at Facebook, I suppose.
Day 3: Nazare to Leiria
A leisurely morning along the beach and no desire to make it all the way to Comibra (110 km or so), meant only the short jaunt to Leiria today. Naturally on such a short ride, the wind was not WIND, and the GDMFs were almost nonexistent. A healthy climb off the beach for about 4 km left the rest of the ride on rollers one would find in, e.g., Iowa, but with pine trees and little Portuguese villages instead of endless corn.
After a tranquil ride to the outskirts of town, I did “get” to have my first Portuguese Interstate Highway Riding Experience (PIHRE), as you “can’t quite get there from here” without a tiny bit of completely illegal bike riding on the A8 or whatever the number is (trust me, I was focusing on going as fast as I could, instead of noting highway numbers).
Still, it was only about 800 meters of white knuckle panic riding before I was swept into town. A hill or two later and I was at my delightful hostel for the afternoon and evening.