Day 4 – EU – Portugal – Grandola (near) to Canhestros

Run: 44.1km

A fab day today! 

The start was a bit tedious, with repeated uphills on a muddy trail around the local wineries. I escaped with my life from the grandest chase from a pack of mad dogs. I wish I had live footage of the chase to share with you. I pushed BoB to a wild sprint, which, with BoB still being North of 25kgs, equated to about 12kph, and the crazy creatures were about 1m away from my ankles, barking like hell. I turned around and screamed on top of my voice. I was scared. Clearly they were not. I reached for my bottle and sprayed them with water. They looked quite disappointed at me and turned back. Victory. Yes, they were very tiny. But so vocal. And so scary. I can be a drama-queen around dogs!

Anyway. After this scary episode, I kept on going, South towards Canhestros. The road was narrow with no shoulder and sometimes no marking at all. But drivers were quite considerate and always left me  with enough safety space and almost always slowed down as they passed me by. Again, I was crossing through Portuguese rural landscapes, very green, loads of cattle and forest. This is quite a pristine area, the air is pure and the landscapes beautiful. 

As I reached the 34km point, with just 10km to go, I was quite disheartened to see that the road I had intended to take was closed for road maintenance. I saw two workers at the entrance of the road, managed to exchange a few words, and on the road I got! 10km of road to myself! I was bouncing with excitement. I then noticed that BoB was not. He was low and slow and appeared to have put on some serious weight since the morning. It was quite hard to push, though the road was mostly flat by now. It took a while. But eventually, the penny dropped: BoB was suffering from a flat tire. With the road to ourselves, we set up an emergency surgery space in the middle of the road and proceeded to tube removal and replacement. Tube fixing will have to wait for tonight. 

That done, we contemplated 10km of road without traffic, just BoB and I, the sound of his squeaky left wheel (he needs oil) and the shuffle from my feet. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to get some music on and called Spotify to the rescue. I played a song on repeat for a few kilometers. It fitted perfectly with my stride and pace, joyous, rhythmic: a welcome companion. 

A few words about Portugal. So far, their hospitality is proving to be second to none. Yesterday I got gifted a bottle of wine and traditional bread pouch. Today as I checked in, Vitolina took me through the house and (upon learning what I was doing) got me some local chorizo, a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine!

In terms of language, I am surprised how well it is going. I seem to understand / and get understood everywhere I go. I start by flashing a smile and saying “Bom Dia” – from this point on, I speak in a mixture of various languages, my own version of Esperanto maybe… Or am I just good at speaking with my hands…?!

I don’t know what to do with all that wine that is being gifted to me. The sedentary me would have been delighted and quite keen to drink it as it keeps coming. The multi-marathon runner in me is finding it quite hard just to go through a glass of wine, as it seems to just get me sleepy… I do much better with beer!

Check my daily run GPS data on Garmin or Strava (icons on top right of your screen) – here is the map of today’s run: