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.
Our first day was the warmest of the 4 days we were here. So we rented bikes, rode to the dock and go to Tavira Island. (3euro). Last time I was here I walked to the dock, I tried to hitchhike, no one would give me a ride, but then I saw those same people waiting for the boat. Were they scared of me now?
TRAVELING THIS TIME OF YEAR IS THE BEST, THE FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING NOT A LOT OF TOURIST AND IT’S NOT TOO HOT. WE DID GO IN THE WATER, STILL COLD.
Tavira has a castle too, like almost every city I’ve visited n Portugal.
There was a local photographer who had collection of photos of local doors and doorways. So it sparked our interest so we walked around town, to look and take pictures of architectural features.
I had the best meal of my whole bike trip here in Tavira, but where? I couldn’t find it, I asked everyone, I downloaded the photo and showed people if they recognized the interior. Miguel thought he knew too, so we went to a place O CICLISTA (who’s logo is a chicken ridding a bike)
I LIKE THE MATCHING HAIRTHE OUTDOOR TERRACE BED
There were some fun photos to be taken too.
Tavira, Miguel and family were all awesome, they said come back in Sept. when it isn’t so hot. Natasa got a big smile on her face.
THANKS FOR READING
JEFF AND NATASA
NEXT? Get ready to go hiking is Colera, Spain (is that like walking?)
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
I was in Portugal and spotted this Policeman who looked like the “terminator” cop. I wanted to get a photo. I asked if I could, then his friend said yes, I just wanted terminator, but OK, I took this photo
PORTUGUESE POLICE PHOTO WITH THE TERMINATOR COP AND HIS FRIEND
I take the ferry to Spain, there were 2 policeman who were giving me directions to the phone store , I showed them the Portuguese photo then they offered to have their photo taken.. I said “Heck Ya.” This was the start of collecting policeman photos in every country I visited.
THE SPANISH POLICE WERE SUPER FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL
A friend (?) from France wrote and told me to look out for Spanish cops. I sent him this photo and asked, “these guys?”
I’m biking around France, shopped at a farmers market and spotted 2 policeman. I asked him for photo? No. I show him the Spanish photo, he walks away. He joins his partner across the street, then he waves me over.
TOOK SOME CONVINCING BUT I FINALLY GOT THE PICTURE OF FRENCH POLICEMAN.
My first day in Venice, Italy at the ATM I spotted 2 policeman and they eagerly agreed to the photo.
THESE ITALIAN POLICEMAN NEEDED NO CONVINCING TO HAVE THEIR PICTURE TAKEN.
Slovenia was a real task, I had to compromise some with this one. First, there are hardly any police around! I had always tried to get 2 policeman together, that wasn’t going to happen here.
THIS IS THE SLOVENIAN PARLIAMENTARY BUILDING “POLICE” GUARD. THAT’S THE BEST I COULD DO. There are really no police to be found and not 2 together for sure.
The Croatian policeman shot was just about as difficult as the Slovenian. I hardly ever saw the police here either. But when we were dropping off bike boxes at the ferry dock, I spotted several armed “dock” police.
THIS IS THE CROATIAN MARITIME POLICE, AGAIN IT’S THE BEST I COULD DO.
The Montenegro police photo was totally by “accident.” I was only going to be in Montenegro for 24 hours, so my chances were pretty slime. The bus I was riding in got in an accident, so the police arrived to take a report.
THE MONTENEGRO POLICE DELIVERED THIS PHOTO BY WAY OF AN ACCIDENT.
Albania was fairly easy, the first night in town I walked into town with a local. He convinced them it would be OK, somehow?
THIS ALBANIAN POLICEMAN PHOTO WAS TAKEN MY FIRST 5 MINUTES OF WALKING THE STREETS
The Greek policeman photo should have been of at least 2 policeman. Of the four policeman, only this one agreed to a picture.
THE GREEK POLICEMAN ALL COMPLAINED ABOUT GERMAN CHANCELLOR MERKEL’S AUSTERITY DEMANDS
This next photo of the Turkish police is the Gold Standard from which all policeman photos should be judged.
HOT TURKISH POLICEWOMEN WITH MACHINE GUN–YEP HOLY SHOT
It was fairly easy to get all the 10 countries I visited policeman photos, but one Morocco. When I asked maybe 10 different policeman the answer was always the same “IT IS FORBIDDEN.” So I pretended to be adjusting my music while taking a few pictures:
I don’t take a lot of pictures, but the few are stories, from me. Again the economy is struggling.
This is the esplanade in Monte Gordo, nobody in sight, it’s so beautiful and so quiet.
Then their was this development outside of town, every unit empty, Vende Se (for Sale)
The tourism lady sent me on a big bike journey, one thing about short riding days, is you get time to explore where you are.
She sent me back out on the highway and said there was a bike path through the national park. It was pretty awesome.
This were some flamingos hanging out, I yelled out to get them to fly, they wanted no part of that, they just walked around and flapped their beautiful wings.
I was bragging about the great camping, well I got burned again. No Pool and these were the toilets, start squatting! There’s a handy brush on the wall, in case you want to leave it clean for the next person.
Riding the ferry from Portugal to Spain (about 10 minuts)
They gave me directions to the Vodafone store, I showed them my police photos from Tavir and they asked if I wanted their picture? Well hell yes I do!
I may have to start eating beef again.
I rode to Lepe Spain today, got a Hotel, recharge my batteries (mine &; the phones). She wanted 22 Ero, I said how about 20? OK. Then I went and took a shower, it was awesome & the water glass was real glass, not plastic, I brought her the other 2 Euro, the room is great.
I just read through this a lot happens in a day and a half.
I visited Tavira Island, I walked the 2 km to the ferry, tried to hitchhike, I hate walking . When I got on the boat the people who wouldn’t give me a ride were on the boat. Nice. I got in the Mediterranean ocean for the first time.
You can rent an umbrella spot with lounge chairs for about $13. I was thinking I might have lunch on the island, the rental guy said PAVILHAO DA ILHA was the best place to eat. I had bought a local soda,SUMOL, (it’s awesome, slightly sparkling orange juice) from him on the way in. So I went and told him make me something for 8 or 10 Euro ($13),”no problem”, they bring bread, olives, sardine pate, water, & some prawns. I get the bill 18 Euro ($24). FU. no tip I paid and walked away, my only revenge is he has to live here and try to struggle out a living. Anyway, even a savoy traveller like me gets taken every so often.
On the boat ride back I hand sign a ride from a Portuguese for a ride back to town, yep (no walking)
Back to my lovely hostel ALOJAMENTO LOCAL LAGOASand my host Miguel.
This is a bed that’s outside on the rooftop terrace
I never miss an opportunity to mix with the local officials
I’m heading out on the bike today to Monte Gordo, the last campground in Portugal before entering Spain the next day. The “campgrounds” have swimming pools, tennis courts, showers, restaurants I feel like I’m at club med and its only about $6 a night.
It Is an awesome place to stay, when in Taviro stay here!
I’m about 25km from Spain, in Tavira a town with 37 churches and part of a castle. I’m sad to be leaving Portugal so soon, but I gotta keep moving. I’m staying at LAGOAS a hostel, with my own room, I’m getting the low down on Portugal politics and the corruption from the economic crisis. The owner, is super funny, I think it the hardest I’ve laughed the whole trip and I laugh a lot. I’m sitting on the roof top terrace at 6:30 in the morning.
I’m thinking about going to Morocco, without the bike. I’m so close and the chances of coming this far again are somewhat slim. I really wanted to avoid a third world type country on this trip. I love the third world, but at the same time it’s some really hard travel, but rewarding somewhat?
There’s camping on an island not far from here I was going to leave my bike and make a overnight pack, but it doesn’t open for another 2 weeks.
The weather has been incredible, sunny & warm, the tourist season doesn’t start here for another month or so. It gets real hot and dry here, water here is like in Portland, expensive! I’ve got my sleeping bag from Portland, it’s a little to warm I mean HOT. I’m going to the Sierra Nevada National Park in Spain after that I’m getting a summer bag.
View from rooftop
I went to the Castle remains yesterday, again, where’s the railing?
I saw this guy while riding to Tavira, he wanted me to pay him to take his photo.
Do you think I paid him?
I’m meeting lots of other cyclist, this is a popular route.
Roger and father in law from Holland
This is Antonio, Sm…. ( I couldn’t pronounce her name) and their very friendly dog in the homemade Bob Trailer. They were from Spain.
It’s interesting that their using a bicycle to help sell which is literally thousands of empty Condos. Below is one of the many unfinished condo projects.
Tavira Clock tower shot from Castle with sun behind the clock
If you like this blog tell me, if you want to learn something else about the country tell me what you want to know, I might be able to find out. Comments are always encouraging.
My normal touring routine is 50-60 miles a day riding, not here, 26 miles. I stop whenever I want, no set distance (just to the next campground). I stopped at a electric bike shop and talked to the mechanic for 1/2 hour, he works for a dutch guy who buys everything from Holland. I stopped and had business cards made:
I’ve written this 3 times, last time. While waiting for the cards, where I had lunch the guy said that Olhao has great ice cream. I was planning on riding to Tavira, well I got to the turnoff to Olhao, out with the google maps, type camping and sure enough just on the other side town, camping. I pull into the water front area, it’s Saturday Farmers & Crafts market. I saw comkwats for 1 euro, I knew the farmer didn’t speak English, I hand him a euro and he fills my bag. The the snails were there too, but hurry they’re escaping, ever so slowly!
Im staying at a campground about 2 km from “centro”. When I walked in he told me camping was 50% off, OK. $8 a night. I went to the pool showers only cold water, then I went to check out the other building, I could see the solar panels on top, I scorched my skin, that was the hottest-longest shower I’ve had in years.
This is the view from the closed on site restaurants, there is a recession here.
The huge water slide is covered with weeds. Some things in Portugal are struggling. But the Portuguese as host keep a helpful and cheerful attitude. The facilities that are operating are in top condition, in operation and cleanliness.
I wanted to bike from Sagres across the whole south coast, but since I’m in the middle and didn’t want to back track, I signed up for a tour bus excursion. For only $12 I got to see Legos and Sagres (the most western point in Europe). The were asking where people were from, I was the only American, it’s not that surprising, Americans don’t travel as much or as far as a lot of other cultures. They had these beautiful sweaters for sale only $35. I have zero room on my bike.
3 Dutch cyclist touring with electric bikes!
Yep that’s me, these photo stops on the bus tour never have guard rails, that would never go over in America. We were told at one stop to stay from edge because the winds were strong WTF!
You can see those people in the background , their being crazy for a picture
One more thing, in the off season you can rent an apartment with 3 meals a day for $27 a day! It’s a real recession , get ready America it could be coming to your town someday soon too
I feel like I’ve been gone for 2 months, in reality it’s only been 16 days. I just biked one of the most amazing tours ever. I was told Portugal was bike unfriendly, that’s the farthest from the truth. 99% of the drivers were way in the other lane when passing me, honking, waving, thumbs up. It was super awesome. Using Google maps enabled me to take lesser used roads. There were times I wouldn’t see a car for 20 minutes or more. I couldn’t have had a safer mor enjoyable trip if I had bought a packaged tour, wait I packaged it.
Usually when I bike tour I have say, 2 weeks and so many miles (kilometers) I must travel in order to finish and return to work. Having a year to accomplish my goal of reaching Istanbul, Turkey, I stop when ever I want. I slept by a lake last night. I saw a 35-40 cm fish, Mathew! I feel so empowered being healthy enough to pull this off.
my bike is down on the right next to the lake
I stopped at a super mercardo and had a chocolate croissant, she took it out of the oven for me. I passed a wind farm, they wind turbines were right next to the road Amazing.