By Bicycle: from Lisbon to Setubal, Portugal Part II
Vila Nova de Milfontes, Portugal
October 31, 2007
The next morning, after sleeping out a rainy night in the brush at the side of the highway, Mira awoke angry and wet. But there was not anything for us to do other than to keep bicycling on across Europe. So we did. She would not let the fact rest throughout the entire day that I let her sleep in a puddle. I always thought that if someone sleeps in a puddle it was their own fault, but now I have been initiated into another stage of being in a relationship: everything is always my fault. I laughed a little about this and kept on pedaling, as their was an angry Mira at my tail.
This day of riding was truly majestic, as we passed through a couple of coastal mountain ranges. At one point, we were able to coast down the side of one mountain for nearly two kilometers without pedaling. We just sat on our bikes as we move quickly down the huge hill and just took in the beauty of the Portuguese countryside. Portugal is a truly beautiful country. Farms stretch as far as the horizon in all directions and cows greeted our passing with disinterested moos. Cactus, fallow field, and fertile oases zipped by us as we rolled quickly with mouths agape. We had found a new way of traveling, and were enwrapped in our exuberance.
I felt like an Outlaw of the Marsh in all of this wild open freedom. I must declare that traveling by bicycle is the best way to move about the planet. On a bike, you decide where you go and what you do. You are in control of your path and direction. This is why I travel.
Soon Mira and I made it to the road that leads into Setubal, and we found the city at once to be accommodating. Its beautiful, old architecture rose out of every direction and the port-side boardwalk provided us with the perfect place to have lunch. We asked each other if we wanted to stay in Setubal for a night or if we wanted to keep moving on. It was only a little ways into the afternoon, and we could of put a few more hours of pedaling in. But we were really digging Setubal’s old time charm, so we decided to stay at the Youth Hostel (which had double rooms for 18 Euro).
We stayed in the Youth Hostel in Setubal, Portugal for the next two days; just relaxing at a local café and working on various travel projects. Mira stocked up on some jewelry making supplies (that is how she makes her money) and I wrote on my webpages.
Mira and I were warned as we checked into the youth hostel to beware of “the boys” in town. “They steal everything,” we were told. Had a run-in with them down an alley of the old shopping district. A drunken Portuguese guy of around 25 began singing a belligerent song to Mira from the doorway of a shop that we were inside of. Our bikes were positioned out side of the shop and leaned up against the opposite wall of the street on the other side of the singing drunk.
“What are they doing to our bikes!” Mira exclaimed. Behind the singer, who was offering a diversion, I saw another guy going through the makeshift panniers of my bike. I ran from the shop and chased them off.
“How much money do you want for you bike?” the singer asked me as he knew that I caught him trying to steal. This is the question that all thieves ask when they get caught. I learned this from my outlaw neighbor as a child.
“Get out of here,” I sternly spoke. They did. Our bikes were safe and the thieves got away with nothing.
- Bicycle Travel
- Bicycle Travel in Europe
- Bicycle across Portugal
- Setubal, Portugal
- Portuguese Thieves