Day 29 - Vigo to Porto, Portugal
Today was meant to be a journey that was split into two days. The plan was to leave Vigo and enter into Portugal and head towards Viana do Castelo on the coast for the night and then head to Porto the following day so that Grant could be there before we arrived at the end of the week.
He left Vigo with the sun shining and being inspired by the glorious sunshine and rode up to the Castle to capture the view over the bay and the city. This would be a day tackling the undulating hills all the way over the border with 500m of climbing by the time he left the city.
Following a gravel water logged Camino trail for quite a few kilometers after the rain from the last few days, Grant left the trail to continue on lesser known cycling trails and roads into the countryside which led him onto the most beautiful paths with scenic views and panoramic vistas.
Reaching beautiful Tui on the hillside overlooking the Minho River, after a slow ride spent time taking photos and navigating through some technical sections of track in forested areas, Grant stopped at a watering point for hikers and backpackers alike and decided to walk around historical town of Tui for a while to take in the wonderful views and bid farewell to Northern Spain.
Crazybikeguy crossed over into Portugal on the huge metal bridge over the river into Valenca and headed straight onto a cycle and hiking track to the right of the town. He continued on a beautifully maintained wide riverside track which he traveled on for many kilometers heading towards the northern coast of Portugal, at speeds of 30-40 km/h. At this pace Grant decided that with a bit of effort he could just cycle through to Porto and forego a night in Viana do Castelo.
The weather was starting to turn once again and the clouds became darker and the temperature dropped and Grant just pushed on along the coast towards Porto.He met up with a long distance cyclist along the way. Alex was travelling along the route but headed in the opposite way, comparing notes of places they had been and were going to go.
It was definitely cooling down and becoming inclement so the photo stops were not a priority as Grant wanted to get to Porto before it started to rain and get totally dark.
The last section of the ride brought with it lots of hills and lots of traffic which meant that there was a lot of starting and stopping making things quite tricky especially now that he wasn't riding on dedicated cycle paths.
At this stage I called Grant to find out what was happening as I knew that my Godmother Liz was waiting for him and I wasn't aware that he had decided to just go straight to Porto as I was in the throws of preparing for the last day of school and packing up for our trip to join Crazybike guy in Porto.
After 170 km Grant eventually made it into suburban Porto after a long but really enjoyable day on the bike. Being welcomed by familiar faces and a wonderful warm shower and a hearty dinner really made it worth making the trip straight form Vigo to Porto in one go.
This was always going to be the big rest stop on the trip - mainly to reconnect with us and my extended family in this beautiful city.
The children were bursting with excitement at the thought of spending time with Grant and it was great that he got to have some time to settle before we arrived two days later.
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"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings tunes without the words and never stops at all"
- Emily Dickinson