We had planned to stay in Gerês for a day or two. To give our legs a rest and to do some planning for our onward pedal into Spain.
The shade of the trees in the campsite allowed us not to be cooked out of our tent in the morning, and gave us a few extra hours shut-eye. We woke still tired and legs aching. Pedro’s plan of going for a hike was not looking likely. The trip back from the showers to the tent was enough of a hike for my legs that day.
The late afternoon ice-cream might have powered us up the remaining hills the day before, but we couldn’t help but feel that now we were paying the consequences of overexerting ourselves. We had an exceptionally lazy day, each continuously asking the other to retrieve various belongings as the trip from just outside the front door of the tent to just inside the tent was going to take just a bit too much effort.
Somehow we mustered the energy to take out our maps of Spain (kindly donated by Ellen & Stuart) and plan our route across the North.
For us, route planning generally involves getting out a highlighter and marking on the map the places that friends and family have recommended us to pass by and then and plotting a route between them all in a vaguely straight line. Quieter roads are always best, so our routes are generally made up of the smallest looking roads we can find and roads that Michelin maps have decided are scenic, and have helpfully highlighted in green. Typically we don’t end up following the route we plan at all. But it makes us feel like grown-ups.
The day ended with us not having left the campsite at all, and yet somehow we had eaten our way through a larger than planned proportion of our food supply. Our bodies were recovering from all the mountain pedalling … right?
Day-off number two, legs re-filled with a little more energy, Pedro’s dream came true and we set of on a little hike up a not-so little looking mountain. As anyone that knows me can attest, I usually loving going on walks. But that day a kid-like desire to persistently ask if we were nearly there yet was bubbling at the surface. With regular stops to dip our heads under water fountains, our legs pulled through and we were treated to quite spectacular views from the top of the valley and reservoir below. After a nap in the hammock we made our way back down the other side and dutifully collapsed in a heap back at the campsite.
After spending more than 48 hours in one place, the usual organisation of our belongings was lost. Items were no longer in their assigned places, but strewn all over the tent, so packing up the next morning took a little longer than planned. We left the campsite with the sun already beating down, knowing that we had a good 12km climb up before we reached the Spanish border.
We arrived at Rio Homem just as the heat was on the verge of becoming unbearable. As we were locking up our bikes enjoying the sight of the water below, Pedro turned around to find André, an old climbing friend from Lisbon, also just about to enjoy a swim in the river. We left the bikes locked to the bridge, bags covered with our not-so-clean clothes, and scrambled down the rocks for a plunge. The water felt delicious and Pedro satisfied his climbing urge scrambling up and down the rocks half-in and out of the water.
After a swim, and bumping into André and family atleast three more times, we demolished a pre-border ice lolly and crossed over into Galicia.