- Elizabeth Cameron-Smith
Day 30 -Porto to Figueira da Foz - Portugal
It's been a while since my last post... I stayed in Porto with a slow wi-fi connection and the children while Grant set off once more on his way towards Spain.
I spent some time with family and doing as much sight seeing and touristy stuff with the children as I could manage and after travelling to Figueira da Foz for a last goodbye the children were devastated and thei emotions were running high for days after.
Once back in South Africa we all became ill with various maladies and only now are we starting to settle in to some normality - thus the break in the blog and the sudden stop in the progress reports.
We've had a visit to the ER, bouts of sinusitis infections and a tummy bug...so I am hoping that our illness quota is filled for the year and life can now continue!
Grant is currently in Barcelona but we will go back on our travels and continue our armchair journey across the Iberic Peninsula, and we will catch up with him as he travels onward towards the mighty Pyrenees...again!!
Grant set off on a cool morning with the weather report promising sunshine and clear skies.The plan was to make his way south from Aguda to the picturesque seaside town of Figueira da Foz and we would drive down to Coimbra for lunch and meet him in Figueira for dinner, a robust 142km ride.
After two weeks of solid rain, Grant was happy to only have one short downpour on his way along the coastal route. A great ride on a bicycle path along the coast, through forests and some muddy single track while taking in the sights and breathing in the cool sea breeze.
From Aguda to Espinho, the coastal track was a wonderful bike path and then after that the board walk became too difficult to ride on as the tumultuous weather had covered the path in deep soft beach sand, so Crazybikeguy went inland.
Through the beautiful ecologically preserved wetlands of Esmoriz, riding on a suspended bike path through the Parque do Bocaquinho, meandering through the reeds while spotting a genet and listening to birdsong; Grant continued his ride back onto the coastal path and through the pine forest on his way past Ovar.
Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal was the next city and Grant stopped to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of the many canals and waterways in this pretty enclave.
On his way to Praia da Costa Nova the pathway became complicated with the paths leading over and under major highways which Grant wasn't able to ride on, having to change his planned route as he went along and eventually making his way through Mira and arriving at the seaside town known for it's amazing deep white sandy beaches, Figueira da Foz.
Getting into Figueira was very tricky as the highways and roads are complicated and difficult to navigate on a bicycle and the GPS itself confused! After making it into town Grant headed to the wind swept beach and had a look around the old town and found a place to stay while waiting for us to make our way in from Coimbra where we had become side tracked by touring the beautiful University, the center piece of this historical city, known for it's law and medicine graduates.
We had a wonderful dinner on the beach front and then said our final teary and very emotional goodbyes, especially after spending such a wonderful time together.
Riding in Portugal has it's disadvantages- one of them being the complete disregard by motorists of cyclists on the road- such a contrast to the wide berths and courteous attention that Grant received in Spain.... but certainly made up by the warmth of the people and fellow cyclists that Grant encountered along the way.
Grant is cycling 8 800kms across Europe to create awareness of Autism and the plight of our Charity- we want to create a safe environment that enables autistic and neuro diverse adults to be involved in empowering themselves through work opportunities in a space that caters for their needs and the needs of those who require a sense of community and belonging.
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