March 25, 2017. Day 9

Viseu to Celorico de Beira – 56km

It was a stunning day, as we climbed steadily on the N16 up into mountain country.  We had fine views of the snow covered Serra da Estrela and recalled our conversation yesterday with the proprietor of the VeloCafé. He told us about the great cycling in the Parque. He was also proud to know Tiego Ferreira, the world marathon mountain bike champion who comes from Viseu and frequents his store.

It was a cold ride at first, with hail ( see video) and rain, but eventually the sun came out. The inclines continue to be arduous at times. We are glad that we had planned shorter rides for the beginning of this tour – a 55km ride in the hills of Portugal feels like a 80km ride in our previous experience!

The road ran through villages with cobbled streets, which are probably easier to maintain and more sustainable than asphalt, but are somewhat reminiscent of riding on rumble strips (see video)! A particularly pretty town was Mangualde, where we stopped for lunch. Paul is enjoying the sardines!

Tomorrow will be our last ride in Portugal. Our first experience of this fascinating country has been amazing. We are now looking forward to the high (level) plains of Spain.



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