East bound by bike

Yesterday we had a day off from cycling, gave the van a clean out and did some washing then headed into Cabanas for a coffee break. Iain found the best cake / coffee shop so we treated ourselves then went for a walk around the village and out through some of the tourist complex’s. Three hours later we got back -some day off.

So today we thought we would head East on the bikes. From the campsite it was down to the village then the path took us out past a massive old fort that has been restored and turned into holiday homes (the doors were kept looked to the fort so we couldn’t get in).  A goodish cycle path up through the villages for a good few miles and we came across Cacela Velha. Tiny little village perched on a hilltop overlooking the Ria Formosa.  There were no more than 20 houses,a church, a graveyard and three cafe / bars. From the old fort on the edge of the hill you could see for miles along the Algarve. We guess it was typical Algarve village – but seemed to us like a little Greek village.

From there the cycle path became more proper paths and was looking good. Until we came to the bridge that had literally disappeared. We had spoken to a guy in the cycle shop yesterday and he told us it fell down years ago, but as the river is dry its not worth fixing. So that’s alright then ?! – except you have to cart your bike over the rubble and up the other side. From there we went into Altura. Quite busy with tourists and lots of cyclists around, we headed straight through and found the bike route became part of the N125 main road as you came out of town. We followed for a bit hoping a cycle path would re-appear but it didn’t   We considered whether to risk riding down to the border on this road – and thought better of it, not that much fun with traffic within feet of you on a fast road.

So we headed back into Altura and investigated the beach, miles of sand and a few bars right on the beach. We stopped for a coffee break where Iain ordered himself a slice of toast – and ended up with a ham and cheese toastie (someones translations aren’t doing so well are they?) and then headed in the general direction of camp but detouring to all the beaches on route.

Manta Rota was glorious, rode the bikes along a board-walk right out to the sands. Plenty of motor-homers around and the massive car park on the beach was charging €4 a day for overnight stops – not bad considering they had laid on water and it looked great parking right by the sands.

Next stop was Fabrica beach, tiny little cove with 10-20 houses and a bar. We stopped and had our butties on the sand, then went for a paddle – water was warm, not sure we would have swam – but there was someone out in the water.

Back to camp after a nice 24 miles, slightly browner, slightly fitter and significantly exhausted. Off out for tea at the campsite bar. I had mackerel – slightly off putting having the eyes glare up at me – but to be fair very tasty.

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