16 Jun Behold the gypsy curse… the long way to Constancia
Day 94 – 95 (11/12 June 2013) – After a late night listening to the concert of a local band, it’s time to get going to Avis. Since we have stopped half way there last night, today’s ride should not be too far. Yet, it takes us a relatively long time to arrive at the campsite.
We really like the municipal campgrounds in Portugal. This one is located right outside town with a beautiful view of the lake below. After setting up camp, we enjoy the view from our hammock and chill out for the rest of the evening.
Since we have a long riding day ahead of us, we get up early to beat the midday heat.
According to the map, we are still in the plains, but the terrain is slowly changing. Initially, we are still surrounded by wheat fields and cork trees, but soon we encounter more and more eucalyptus trees and the rolling hills are starting to look more rugged and overgrown.
The temperature is rising quickly today and the stifling heat is causing us to take more breaks.
As we stop to eat lunch next to a grocery store, a gypsy woman with fancy boots stops by and asks for money. We politely tell her ‘no’. Yet, she remains standing right in front of us, staring at us, not saying a word– just staring for several minutes. Feeling a little uncomfortable with the situation, we pack up to get going while the woman still stares at us without saying a word.
We take a rocky, dirt road out of town. Some of the rocks are lose and slide right from under my front wheel while riding down hill, causing me to wreck and knocking my panniers off.
After putting everything back into place we continue on, just to encounter a big pool of water that we have to cross.
Soon after the water crossing we make it back on the road, that’s when Ron notices his chain grinding, causing all kinds of horrible noises. Apparently, too much sand, dirt, and grime has accumulated on the chain and the water just got the best of it. Worried we cause more damage to the chain we stop to clean it and sacrifice some of the cooking gas, one of our toothbrushes, and too much of our water in the process.
By the time we get pedaling again, the heat is getting almost unbearable and we empty our remaining water bottles way to soon.
Once we finally arrive at another village we find the local water fountain. Unfortunately, it has an advisory taped to it, that the water is unsafe for consumption. Luckily, an elderly woman waves us over from across the street and tells us that she is expecting a truck to come by with drinking water, to refill her water jugs. So we stand and wait with her…and wait, and wait…and no truck shows up. However the nice lady disappears for a moment, comes back with a big jug of cold water, refills our bottles, and wishes us a good trip.
Soon we arrive in another town about 9 miles from our campsite. We have to climb a few miles of steep uphill in heavy traffic to make it through the town. Just as we are trying to cross the most dysfunctional intersection in town, while still climbing non the less, my pannier decides to fall off my bike again…for no apparent reason…what the heck is going on!?
The policeman watching over the crazy intersection springs into action, making sure I am clear retrieving my bag and getting myself and my bike back on the sidewalk, where Ron joins me after finding a break in traffic.
Apparently, a screw has been lost out of the securing mechanism, so we have to unpack everything to repair the pannier.
Thankfully it is only 9 more long miles to our next campground, which we manage to finish without any more difficulties.
Somehow, we actually managed not to take a single picture today…what a day!
Maybe the lesson for the day was…
“When the gypsy woman asks for money, you should give her some, or you will feel the gypsy curse”
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