Day 31 -Figueira da Foz to Leiria, Portugal
After a slow morning - Grant was worrying about getting over the huge bridge in the traffic across the Estuary to get out of Figueira da Foz...the only way to get from where he was on his way without having to cut inland for a long distance.
There were many other cyclists out on this warm Saturday morning, so he figured if they could cross it, then he could do it too- without breaking the law!
The next bridge beckoned as he crossed the beautiful Mondego river, enjoying the warm sea breeze and the expansive scenery that was set out before him as he made his way south along the river through Lavos onto Cariço changing his route to include a forest track.
Some time ago, Portugal endured the most horrific forest fires, decimating the natural coastal forests and destroying many homes - there were lives lost and it was a truly dark time. The forests have to some extent regenerated their fauna and flora with vigour and although the blackened dead trees are standing tall, the forest floor is abuzz with signs of new life. He described it as an eerily silent ride through the most beautiful scenery as he made his way along this coastal green belt.
On this zig zagging path from Cariço, he eventually made his way back to the beach, to Praia da Vieira, where he stopped for the most delicious octopus and bean stew at a nondescript little eating house that defied its outward appearance by the interesting and tasty fare it served!
Heading east through Carvide and then across to Monte Arial where hundreds of four wheel drive vehicles joined Grant on the main road- making their way to a car show in a nearby area, Crazybikeguy had to keep his wits about him and thankfully by the time he got to Carvide they had gone in a different direction and he had the road back to himself.
Finally, Leria welcomed him with it's huge castle and scenic meandering river.
A short day with 77km under the belt gave Grant some sight seeing time in the cathedral and the castle and an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful town.
An outdoor Fado music concert in the town square where Grant had dinner,rounded off a truly wonderful day!
Crazybikeguy met the most friendly cyclists along the route out of Figueira who were interested in his mission and who provided insight into the area and the cycling paths.They posed for pics and exchanged details and even recommended a wonderful guest house owned by a friend of theirs in Leiria. By the time Grant got into town, the Guest house owner was waiting and offered him a wonderful place to stay at a reduced rate and looked after him during his stay - true Portuguese hospitality at it's best!
Tomorrow Crazybikeguy heads to Castelo Branco!
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