There’s really a reason why it is called Portoilgallo, and a rooster really has something to do with it, but
we’re going to talk about it later.
It all started over a sandwich, a very good one indeed, which put us in front of the question “What do we call this trip?” There was very little to think about, since the goal was to ride and have fun and in this the destination could only promise success, since we were talking about Portugal in late August.
We wanted to stay on the coast as much as possible.
The idea was just to breathe the Ocean, know its wind and have good places to eat cheap fish. We left with our bikes packed at the airport, hoping they would land with us (that’s how it went on the departure, but not on the return).
PortoilGallo is a 10-day mixed-bottom adventure (which became 12 dawns for some of us) that covers 500km for about 5000m of elevation gain, an adventure that starts in southern Portugal and goes all the way up to the capital Lisbon.
The name of the trip came about after we met Vasco, the plastic rooster that has been our mascot throughout the trip. In constructing the itinerary, we identified 7 stages that would join the historic stretches of the Fisherman Trail until weaving through the Rota Vicentina, bouncing between the windy coast of the Algarve and the cork forests of the Alentejo.
The days, on paper, did not involve big rips or long distances so that we could also enjoy the tranquility of the Portuguese pace.From planned to concrete, however, there is a long way to go, and here we had confirmation of that. If the stages included siestas and beers, we we had to think again when faced with the strength of the ocean wind (supported by the Atlantic perturbation of those days) that forced us to take longer than expected in reaching individual destinations.
You will say, “Could you have thought about that?” Let’s say that we noticed it the night that the tarp under which we were sleeping flew away, due to wind gusts of over 100 km/h: delight for surfers, cross for those who ride.
All this, however, has done nothing but increase the authenticity of places like the Ria Formosa nature reserve, in the first few kilometers outside Faro, the Algarve’s surfing beaches (such as Praia do Amado in Carrapateira), up to the places symbol of Portuguese history (like Sines, native city of Vasco da Gama) and the forests of cork and pine nuts of the Alentejo (of which Portugal is a great exporter).
PortoilGallo allowed us to get to know a fascinating land, very rich in landscapes and unexpected spots where local cuisine and culture remain authentic and without superstructure, always ready to welcome the traveler.
Ah, the rooster (Vasco) we actually brought him.
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