Friday 20th June 2008
Vila Cha – Vila do Conde – Vila Cha
We both had a wonderful, peaceful night in the camping of Vila Cha, after having looked quite late in the night one of the Hercule Poirot films starring David Suchet. A good way to forget a little our friends from the West Wing! Funny really, when a series is well done, you get attached to all the heroes, it is as if they belong to your everyday life, and when the series finishes, it is a kind of little inner drama. We both were very attached to the West Wingers, great actors, great characters… what a pity that they are gone!
We had decided to visit the area with the bikes, especially to drive to the next town, Vila do Conde, which was apparently of some historical interest. I could not face a drive in the motorhome: the roads are simply a catastrophe all around, and I really wonder how the motorhome has not fallen to pieces yet!
I don´t know why I thought it would be easier on bikes though. Luckily I have a strongly reinforced cover on the saddle and I can ride for a while upon the awful cobble-stones without suffering too much.
But the trip to Vila do Conde still became a nightmare, really. We were lost many times on small roads leading to nowhere, we again followed some wrong signposts, etc etc. And all that on these awful cobble-stoned roads. The worrying thing is, like Kevin says, that they build the new streets in exactly the same way. I really wonder why. I don´t believe that it is to prevent the drivers driving fast, because these don´t care at all, they drive everywhere with lightning speed, not bothered about anything which could be in their way or under their wheels, bikers for example!
Anyway as we finally arrived in Vila do Conde much later, and after much more kilometers than planned, we did not regret it. We first made a stop at the entrance of the town, where I sketched some pretty houses and an interesting church. The town was very busy, in fact, the cars were all in a slowly moving queue, and really I was happy that we were with the bikes after all. We drove through the town, from monument to cafe to monument. The town was in festival mode, music was coming out of loud speakers all over the town. Once more, like in the mass in Fatima, I noticed that the Portuguese language is wonderfully appropriate to singing, more than Spanish in fact. It is softer, more melodious. I quite like it.
We were amazed by an immense aqueduct in a fantastic state which was crossing a part of the town and ending by some extraordinary other monuments, one being a sanctuary and the other one we don´t know, surely something from an ancient regime. Concerning monuments they really have „La folie des grandeurs“ in Portugal… I wonder where that comes from. Because they are such a small land, a kind of compensation? From the same kind of thinking as little men driving big cars?
Anyway, we had a fantastic time there. We even visited a reproduction of a very ancient ship, from the 10th century if I remember well, and we both could really imagine having a sailing trip on it. It was a good occasion for reminiscences. Kevin told me about his Dad being by the Navy, and I told him the story of my brother and me, on our sailing boat „Atalante“, in a big storm lasting for many days in the middle of the Atlantic, the navigation electronics malfunctioning, the main sail ripped off, and my brother climbing the main mast, with his vertigo and his ill hands and Atalante swinging from one side to the other, so much that the point of the mast seemed to touch the sea… It was the scariest moment in all my life! I really thought that my brother would fall into the ocean and I would have no chance to save him and we would both die… I still don´t know how we then reached our goal, exhausted but safe…
After I told him that story Kevin was no more sure that he wanted to have a trip on „Paso Doble“, our new catamaran…
I made many sketches, of this great boat and “the people” on it and the houses behind, not easy really because of the super size, but the result was quite ok.
Just sitting in the sun at a cafe by the water, with all these beauties in front of us, me drawing, Kevin reading, having a milk coffee: life was a paradise again!
There was much more to see in that town but we had to keep some energy for the ride back. This time we decided to follow the main roads, more kilometres but surely less suffering for our arses and so on! We even found one kilometre of a real bike track, next to a company which filled me with disbelief as I read the name:
I won´t enter into details, but Infineon in Germany has played a role in my life in the past… I didn´t know that they had a daughter company in Portugal! I got quite emotional as I rode along, thinking how small the world is. Anyway I am quite sure that they have sponsored the bike track for their workers, this is the kind of things such companies do…
On the road we bought warm bread and as we finally arrived home it was about 6 PM. Believe me we enjoyed the late lunch with the warm bread, and the shower, and the electricity everywhere in the motorhome!