Merida to Cabo da Roca started out as a fine day but when I crossed the border into Portugal it started to rain. This time I made the wise decision to take the freeway and pay the hefty tolls (€20.35 and 3 stops, 230kms) because the last time I was here I used the backroads and getting through Lisbon on the slippery cobblestones while it was raining was not nice hahaha live and learn. The toll roads are a nuisance, you usually have to stop, take a ticket at the beginning and at the end present the ticket to a machine or and operator and pay the toll, a motorcycle is in the lowest class, cars pay much more. Each time I have to stop take my gloves off, fish around for my wallet, pay the toll or put the ticket away and struggle to put on wet gloves again. Anyway I arrived at Cabo da Roca which is the Western most point of the European Continent and the rain stopped, it was still cold and windy. Beautiful views with a few tourist busses, it must be a regular stop, I took a few photos and was on my way. I stayed in a small village nearby called Almoçageme, all the roads here are steep, narrow, winding and some are made of cobblestones. 328kms in 4:04hrs
Frome Almoçageme I rode to Porto famous for producing Port. Getting back on the freeway through the back roads took a while with Garmin directing me down roads that were probably meant for horses not motor vehicles, a few missed turns later I was off and running, back on the freeway or Autopista. 363kms in 4:04hrs This time 2 toll stops and €27.20.
Porto is hilly, up and down and some streets turn into stairs hahaha. The place where everyone hangs out is Ribeira on the river bank, the other side of the river is Gaia an easy walk across the steel bridge. I walked down to Ribeira but to get out of there I took an Uber, for around €5 you can get around the city area. There should be a lift and a Funicular to get you back to the top but neither of them was working. I spent most of my time wandering the hilly streets looking for Street art while dodging rain showers. Never did get to find all the art, too many hills and showers.
A word of warning, when you order a meal at a restaurant in Portugal you will be brought bread and a few side dishes that you assume are part of your order. Assume not because if you touch any of them you will be charged extra usually an outrageous price. Let me give you an example, I ordered a glass of wine and it came along with a small bowl of olives, this is common practice in Spain and anywhere else, the olives or peanuts or whatever are free. I also ordered a meal, when I was given the bill, the wine was €3, the 10 or so olives were €2.20. No credit cards only cash so I paid in cash and was given change which I counted and it was €1 short, I pointed this out and they brought me the correct change. Another place charged me for bread which they brought along with some other stuff, none of which I touched and when I pointed this out they said Sorry and brought me the correct change. You have been told.
And of course I had to do a tour of the most iconic brand of Port in Porto “Sandeman”. A tip, if you look online the bookings will show Full but if you go to the counter in Gaia you will get a place if not the same day then the next day. That is what I did.
Was in Villamoura along mid southern Portugese coast last week !! Take care!
You were in the right place, the north is cold and wet hahaha