Thursday, September 15, 2016

Olá a partir Portagul

Thursday Sept. 15th.

Dear Family & Friends,

Not a lot to report today. We got up early in Leon and decided to ride over to the coast and visit Porto, Portugal.
When I was planning this trip I was concerned that the first and last week in England and northern France would be cold and rainy and that we would be to hot the rest of the time.
So far the best weather we have had has been England and Northern France!! Today started out cool and cloudy and only got worse. We spent 6 hours riding across the plains of Spain and up into the mountains of Portugal and finally dropped down to the coast.
Most the of the ride was cold and on and off again rain. After about an hour I stopped and put on every bit of warm riding clothes I had including water proof jacket and pants. The best part was my electric gloves and inner jacket liner. I went from miserably cold and damp to warm and toasty… :) The electric riding suite is like riding wrapped in an electric blanket.
By about 1pm we had just crossed into Portugal and decided to stop for lunch at a road side cafe. There was only one person working there, a women that spoke no English. Food was served cafeteria style and I really had no idea what I was ordering. I wound up with some Portuguese stew. A combination of kidney beans, a broth, and various bits of meat and sausage I did not recognize. At that point I was cold and hungry and decided it was probably best not to know what it was made of, but in the end it was delicious. I called it AMP stew… “Assorted Meat Parts”.. Some things are best left unknown.
From there we rode another couple of hours and ended up in the old Portuguese city of Porto. For the most part the ride, other than cold and wet was fairly easy but the last 45 minutes was late afternoon rush hour traffic in a good size city that was simply not moving. If any one has seen my motorcycle it is BIG and wide and I must say I am getting pretty adept at lane splitting without wiping out my large can side boxes… or other cars. We passed a couple of miles of stalled cars and made it into downtown where our hotel was.

We checked into our pre-booked rooms, rested for a while and prepared for a night out on the town.
First we walked down towards the old town (and I mean OLD!!)  located by the river and I had a local favorite, a Sangria.. A mixture of wine and fruit. Very refreshing. Then we walked around a bit more and stopped for dinner in a very old part of town in an out door cafe. We each ordered a full dinner and a glass of wine. First  the glasses of wine where HUGE, almost a half bottle each and the dinners were quite filling, the best part was the entire two dinners and two giant glasses of wine were about $18, for all of it!! Even our rooms were quite reasonable. Portugal is probably the least expensive country in  Europe.

Tomorrow I am riding down south to Lisbon to visit a friend working there. He is the son of a friend of mine. I have known this young man since elementary school and now he has a Stanford Law Degree and is working in Portugal helping Syrian refugees settle in other countries.. He is obviously a dedicated humanitarian. Most young men with that prestigious degree would be chasing the dollars, good for him.
After Lisbon I am riding over to Madrid to meet our newest addition to our team. Kim is flying in to join us for a month and quite honestly she will be a welcome relief after staring at Duane for over two weeks now..
I have lots of photos of downtown Porto. I didn't take photos of our ride over, first it was to cold and wet to stop, and second it looks basically like California.

Until next time, over and out.


The women in Europe dress very sharp.

Building code?? We don't need no stinking code.!!

Sangria,,, a refreshing mix of wine and fresh fruit.

Time for diner..

Vacationing is hard work!

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