Sunshine, hills, and second-guessing: Lisbon to Portinho da Arrábida

The first day of my bike trip dawned bright and sunny. Extra bright, because it turns out I forgot my sunglasses. I walked the few blocks to Bike Iberia where the really friendly staff had my bike ready and waiting for me.

The first real hiccup of the trip had already occurred – I planned my trip and had sent the routes to my Garmin watch. Unfortunately, my watch was frozen and I realized I would be rocking this trip old school. I procured a regional road map, for a bit of advice from the bike shop staff about how to best make it out of Lisbon and was on my way.

The wait for the ferry ended up taking over an hour, but I played some Christmas carols on the uke while I waited in the sun. IMG_6674.jpgSoon I was on my way, heading south toward Sesimbra. I stopped at the Castelo de Sesimbra for lunch. While I had to bike up an endless hill to get there, it was spectacular! Nothing quite like lunching on a 13th-century castle wall overlooking the ocean. NBD. NBD.

DSC_0593.jpgDSC_0595.jpgDSC_0600.jpgIMG_6680.jpgdsc_0617DSC_0609.jpgDSC_0628.jpgDSC_0645.jpgI was trucking along pretty well, until I hit the endless hills in Parque Natural da Arrabida. My heavily loaded bike made me regret literally everything in my life – I suppressed the urge to throw out every thing strapped onto the back of my bike. IMG_6697.jpgI stopped here to text my friend “I am so not fit enough for this trip.”DSC_0663.jpgBut I guess I am stubborn enough to keep plugging. Partly because I had entered a park that was sheer vertical cliffs rising straight above the road on the left and dropping straight down on the right. IMG_6715.jpgI started to despair that there wouldn’t be a spot where I could lay my weary head for the night.

Thankfully, as the sun started to set, I stopped at a “pull off and take pictures” spot which had this strange wooden structure, which I decided I would sleep under. I was so relieved to find a flat-ish surface, I didn’t fully think the location choice through. For the following hour, there was a stream of tourists taking pictures. As that started to slow down, drunken youths seemed to gravitate to the spot, and I was (irrationally?) terrified that I would not make it through the night. Spoiler: I did make it through the night. DSC_0703.jpgDSC_0688.jpg

Route for the day:

*Apparently there is another road through the national park that runs closer to the water and may avoid some of the hills.


Remember, this is all part of my “Pedalling for Mental Health” challenge, where I am hoping to raise money for mental health research. If you are able to support this great charity, please donate here!


Today’s distance:  70miles/112km

Total miles logged: 961miles/1,528km

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