Friday 1 July … Guarda to Belmonte

The down starts here says the man at reception …

Mapping the ride today … 610m descent and 70m ascent.  You never know how it pans out however it looked good but there is always a twist; we are on the old national road; the freeway and highway out of our sights.  I can hear John thinking … at any minute we will end up on a gravel track.

It was such a surprise, sunny, lovely road, shaded by tall trees, at times the sweet scent of pines and the most spectacular views of the Zezere Valley and the Serra da Estrela mountains on the other side. It was a short 22km ride and we only worked the pedals for about 3km.

A 2km very steep walk to the old town of Belmonte, today was a history lesson in this medieval town.

  • The 13th century granite castle is the birthplace of Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1467, who at 32 years old lead a fleet of 13 ships and discovered Brazil;
  • The well preserved Jewish Quarter, and a trip to the Jewish museum to learn how the Jews were banned from practising their faith but did so in secret.

The streets are interesting with shops selling local handmade produce.  A few restaurants in the tiny streets with tables and chairs under large shady trees. A lovely place to visit.

The weather is heating up again and a lovely dip in the hotel pool.

We have timed our visit to the centre of Portugal well … it is very quiet and not full of tourists … where are they all? No doubt at the coastal towns soaking up the sun at the beach. Or are they victims of the airport strikes that has hit the UK?

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