Day 1, Sunday, May 27 – Cascais to Setubal, Portugal

Monday 28 May 2012

I will have to admitted I was a bit intimidated and concerned by the hills that I saw through the window as we flew in the other day.  That and knowing our training had not included anything but flat land, plus a new bike and cobblestones.   There, all the whining is done; let’s get this started.

Our first 16 miles to the Port of Lisbon was along the coast road with no shoulder, in fact not even a white line to ride on, but the drivers are very courteous to bicycles so it was no problem.  We did have a lot going for us though, beautiful sunshine, cool breeze to our back and some beautiful sights along the way and it really was SO good to be back on the bicycle.

As we pulled away we were able to catch a final glimpse of Lisbonand the hills that stood before us.

The hills turned out to be not so bad in the beginning.  The morning was filled with the smell of Eucalyptus trees and every kind of meat being grilled on outdoor fire pits.  Luckily the small villages were few and far between.

After a quick picnic lunch the hills began, but they wound through wine fieldsso we were pleasantly distracted.

Our last climb finished with a drop into the town of Setúbal. We checked in, quickly took a shower and were out of the door again to stroll the streets in the fabulous weather. Actually, we had no particular reason or anything to see to leave so quickly, but it was worth it nonetheless.  Though there were people everywhere, it wasn’t loud, no particular chaos, just everyone enjoying the day.

The town was in the middle of a festival of “choco”, which we thought was chocolate; better yet…..octopus/squid; which they consider to be the same animal?!  The town of Sentubal is also know for their fish, “best port for fresh fish”.  We of course, must test their theory.  On our first lap around the town we stop for some fresh squid, to help them celebrate.  We opted for the grilled instead of fried and were quite (delightfully) surprised…..the squid came with INK (and boiled potatoes) and it was Fabulous! Needless to say, our lips, teeth, smiles were black.  Do you realize how impossible it is NOT to smile when you know you look like your made-up for Halloween?!

Managed to put a few hours of touring in

in between our 3:00 ‘inking’ and dinner, since we were not at all hungry.

We were pulled into a restaurant by a very gregarious waiter, who insisted we try the wonderful fish……..his recommendations were ‘spot on’. Thank goodness we were not hungry!

You wouldn’t think 45 miles would cause us to eat so much, but we were tired and we have a long few months ahead of us, so off to bed.

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