My friend Miguel from Tavira, is from Porto. He and many others have said “you must visit Porto.” So I found a “super hostel” just steps from the train station, THE BEST GUEST HOSTEL. Everyone there was super helpful and friendly, the rooms were spotlessly clean & included breakfast!, 16 euro. I found a friendly & informative bicycle rental company, BICLAS & TRICLAS and off I go.
Everyone asks “what was your favorite country?” I had never really thought about it because I had nothing but positive experiences everywhere I stayed. So the answer I’ve used several times: “I would re-visit every place again, if given the opportunity.” “If you told me you were going to Tavira, Portugal I would want to go with you.” The only place I visited (and without my bike) was Morocco, that I couldn’t make a recommendation one way or the other. It was great at times but trying at other times, the jury is still out on Morocco.
I’m going to write a small commentary on each country I visited. I hope there’s enough for you to plan a trip to one of the many places I visited. PORTUGAL
I pace my travel in order to avoid having to return. But I spent 5days in LISBON, I left feeling a yearning for more.
THE PUBLIC PLAZAS WERE ALL VERY INTERESTING AND CREATIVE
I RODE DURING THE EARLY SPRING BLOOMS, OUTRAGEOUSLY BEAUTIFUL
MIGEL’S HOSTEL IN TAVIRA, FELT LIKE HOME
Biking in Portugal was so satisfying, I felt all the work in planning for this trip was paid back and I could have come home. (notice could have) SPAIN
I’ve had friends rave about Spain, I get it now. The history, art, landscape diversity and the people were tops. I had a year for this adventure, I could have easily spent it all in Spain.
LOTS OF AWESOME VIEWS
CLIFF’S HOSPITALITY WAS JUST A SMALL SAMPLE OF WHAT PEOPLE EXTENDED TO ME
I FOUND THE MUSLIM ART AT BOTH ALCAZAR and ALHAMBRA TO BE IN MINT CONDITION. (much better than Topeka Palace in Turkey)
THE VILLAGE OF COLERA HAD ART, NUMEROUS ACTIVITIES: DIVING, HIKING, SNORKELING, SWIMMING, KAYAKING. HISTORY AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON NURIA’S COMMUNITY GARDEN PLOT!
After staying at 2 “border” towns I find they have a lot of the countries uniqueness without the crowds. I would re-visit COLERA without hesitation. MOROCCO
I wasn’t going to go to Morocco, but from Seville, Spain a round trip ticket cost 130 EURO ($169), OK I’ll go! I spent 2 weeks: SAHARA DESERT and SIDI IFNI and FEZ . I consider myself pretty well travelled (3 times around the world), but MARRAKESH ate me alive. I wasn’t ready for the continuous opportunities they found to take advantage of me.
I GOT SCAMMED INTO VISITING THE TANNERY DURING THIS WEEKENDS “CELEBRATION”. Remember a tannery is where they work dead animal skins, WTF!
I LOVE AND RESPECT AGRICULTURAL WORK, BUT HERE IT SEEMED ONLY THE WOMEN WERE WORKING IN THE FIELDS
THE CAMEL CAMPOUT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE AND A SUPER VALUE
AWAY FROM THE BIG CITIES BIKING CAN BE SAFE AND VERY REWARDING (rented bikes are shit)
THEN THERE’S THE GARBAGE SITUATION, TOSSED INTO THE STREET AT NIGHT, BUT CLEANED UP BY SUNRISE
MOST OF THE MOROCCANS WERE AWESOME, BUT THE SCAMMERS GAVE THE COUNTRY A BLACK EYE
Like I said earlier, the jury is out about recommending or returning to Morocco. I have a friend building a house there, so maybe I’ll return someday? FRANCE
The first 2 hours of biking in France, I flipped off 3 drivers, non previous to that. It was the start of their busy tourist season on the coast, everyone was in a hurry, to have fun? I was in France 20 years ago, you couldn’t hardly get a cup of coffee unless you spoke French. That’s over, they got the memo, English is the International language, not French. I felt so welcome speaking only english, it was awesome.
MY GOOGLE CALENDAR ALERTED ME TO NEIL YOUNG’S CONCERT, I QUICKLY LEFT SPAIN AND HEADED EAST.
THE FRENCH WERE VERY HOSPITABLE, DINNER, CONVERSATION AND LOTS OF LAUGHS
The tourist office in TENDE (another border town) recommended I visit GRANILE. The tourist office was spot on about this recommendation.
GRANILE WAS THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE I VISITED IN FRANCE
I was so close to MONACO I decided to join the 20,000 tourist who visit daily. The country is 2km X 2km, best known as a tax haven and for gambling. I thought it was kinda of a police state too, I was stopped 3 times and reprimanded for something? (no police photos from here).
MONACO’S AQUARIUM WAS AMAZING! BUILT IN 1910 (PHOTOS) ITALY
I had several awesome bike tours planned. The more I thought about it and some of my other options, it came down to, no Italy. I did spend some time in VENICE. It was pretty hot, crowded and the transportation options were limited. I was kinda burned out from traveling, so I holed up in my air-conditioned hotel room.
THE MURANO GLASS WAS REALLY AWESOME
A local told me there were three businesses that made good money: the water taxis, gondola paddlers and
THE LUGGAGE GUYS (this guy is earning his now) I NEEDED HELP GETTING MY BIKE AND TRAILER OVER A PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, $10 FOR 1 MINUTE OF WORK (I did it myself)
I got the train out of hot Venice and headed for the cool mountains of Slovenia.
RIGHT OFF THE TRAIN, I GRABBED THIS BIKE PATH ALL THE WAY TO SLOVENIA!
BUT NOT BEFORE I CAMPED ILLEGALLY AT LAGHI DI FUSINE
I really didn’t give Italy a chance to win me over, but my decsion to skip Italy proved to be life changing. Maybe Italy will be in some future travel plans. If you really must see the leaning tower of Pisa, google it.
This blog post is longer than I thought it would be, so 2 parts.
Thanks for reading (the stat page tells me your reading)
Climate Change needs your action to stop, please stand up and make a difference.
Jeff NEXT? WHAT WAS MY FAVORITE COUNTRY PART II
45% of Portugal’s energy comes from renewable greenenergy
Organic farming in Portugal has steadily increased in the past years. From only 73 producers in 1993, it rapidly grew to more than 1,500 in 2005. Today, more than 2,000 km2 are managed organically, which testifies to the prevailing dynamics. The farmers’ sudden interest in organic agriculture clearly has to do with the financial support offered by the European Union and higher market prices. In some cases, such as the olive groves of the northern and central regions, traditional farming approximates organic farming methods, which eases conversion. With horticulture or orchards, the change is not so easy, and therefore there are not as many farmers converting. The supply is still less than the demand, reflecting the fact that organic farming is still at an initial stage. The Portuguese are growing more conscious of health and the environment, which explains the rising interest in natural foods and fibres. Their increasing purchasing power encourages this development. However, these positive factors for the expansion of organic production may not be enough to guarantee a continuous increase in the future, since several obstacles hinder the farmers’ performance.
There DUII level is.05, they have no tolerance for drunk or buzzed driving. That’s almost 1/2 the .08 in the US.
I had a rash that I tried to treat before I left, didn’t work. So the hostel people told me to go to the hospital. $200 upfront, I asked for a clinic and took the subway to get there. $6 visit and $10 for the prescription. I brought back the information to the Hostel, now they’re recommending the clinic instead of the hospital.
I put together my Bike for a test run, the front sprocket got bent inflight, fixed. Rode to Belem
There was an on again off again path along the water. Public workout stations, restaurants & tons of tourist & locals. I got lost on the way home, saw a metro sign & rode the subway back.
I brought my camp stove but can’t find any white gas, so I bought a canister stove, shipping the other one home (I’ve had it since high school!)
I’m heading out Sunday for my first bike tour in Estremoz
It’s more than time to ride, I’m ready.
The streets have some asphalt,but lots of cobble stone, the 5 bikers that I have seen all ride fat tire Mt bikes. Not one sign of bike infrastructure anywhere in Lisbon. It’s a beautiful city, I never consider visiting the same place twice, but I would consider here. I’ve got a 4 four hostel room to myself for $23 a night with breakfast. I’m the only “old” person here, they’re all 20 somethings.
I went to the world heritage site of Sintra about a 1/2 hour by train from Lisbon.
Portuguese invent first electric bike. between the cobble stone and hills this is definitely the best way to bike around here.