Giant pinecones, half-naked trees, and pretty beaches: Setúbal – Santiago do Cacém

As you can see from the elevation map, my second day on the bike got off to a FAST start – going basically straight downhill, while swerving around tight mountainous corners. It was an exhillerating way to start the day, with epic scenery that I was going way too fast to take any pictures of.

Once I arrived in Setúbal, I had another short ferry ride in order to continue south, motoring past near desert-like landscapes for several hours. IMG_6748.jpgIMG_6739.jpgAlong the way, there were MASSIVE pine cones… DSC_0707.jpgand forests of half-naked trees! That were numbered? I have no explanation for this phenomenon that seemed to be pervasive in this entire region.  IMG_6749.jpgOn my search for coffee, I stopped in this little town. I noticed that this place had (what I had assumed to be a fake) bird on the chimney. But as I started to look around, I noticed that nearly every home had birds chilling on their chimneys. IMG_6741.jpgIMG_6744.jpg The WONDERFUL thing I learned about Portugal was that most gas stations have DELICIOUS espresso. Nothing like the swill I have drank at gas stations pretty much everywhere else in the world. Cups of perfectly prepared espresso. This soon became my life blood and I have never been so excited to get to gas stations in all my life. IMG_6745.jpgI also found the best bike snacks in the world. Stuffing a walnut into a fig? Brilliant!IMG_6746.jpgThe pretty spots along the way (beaches) are marked with brown signs (Praia). This was one of the detours from my route to the shore.

I sat and watched the waves, strumming a few tunes, before continuing on my way. DSC_0713.jpgDSC_0720.jpgDSC_0716.jpgDSC_0729.jpgDSC_0732.jpgDSC_0735.jpgIt was a long day of riding, so I was excited to crawl into my bivy sack in the woods. I bought a tiny beer, because it is adorable, and a fleet of macarons before turning in for another fitful sleep listening to the wild dogs bark and the various comings and goings of the local people. Decided it would be the last wild camping I would do in Portugal.

This is what my route looked like (approx) for the day, minus a few detours to go check out the ocean.


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:  60miles/95km

Total miles logged: 1,021miles/1,623km

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