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2003-04-18 - Trip 1 - Leg 5

Portugal, Algarve West

Odiaxere to Portimao

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23.4 km today.
71.8 km this trip.
71.8 km from start.
6 metres minimum height.
68 metres maximum height.
242 metres ascent.
246 metres descent.
 Track Log: Reconstruction.
 Travel: Bus and Train.

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Bus and train. Quiet country lanes, dirt roads through farm land, a very indirect and tiring route. We were not fit. Very nice views.

This was the hardest stage, partly because it was long but also because we were not yet fully fit. By the end of the day we had a variety of sporting injuries. Sore shins (shingles), aching toes (toeselitis), tired ankles (anklosing spondilitis) and bruised heels (bruiseelosis). Anne had hipatitis but neither of us had kneemonia or dicktheria. Wisely Margaret stayed at home.

We headed west down the road from the bus stop towards the small square. Then, we turned right. As we left the village, we passed a windmill on our right. Then we bore right on the road to Arão (left goes to the barragem - dam) (10 minutes). We crossed a river and headed north (15 minutes). Soon we crossed a second river. We went straight over the next crossroads (20 minutes) and over a levada.

We reached Alfarrobeira (35 minutes) and continued as our track joined one from the right. We enjoyed but ignored a left turn to Farta Vacas. We passed through a ninja (tunnel under a road) (50 minutes) and noted a bridge over the river to our left. Soon after this we crossed the river and at the T junction beyond the bridge, turned left. Eventually we reached Arão (a bonus because there was no sign of a way through on any of our maps), crossed over the river (Riba Arão) and followed the road as it swung to the right (1 hour 10 minutes).

We crossed the river again and then turned right. At the next T junction, we turned left along a caminhno privado (1 hour 35 minutes) and then right before a farm where we saw an ostrich. (Neil photographed this and I talked about how the ostrich was much bigger than expected. Neil then remarked how one must be careful photographing them as they have a tendency to peck the camera. I looked blank and he reminded me that this is what emus do on telly).

Prior to this we had gone astray on a dead-end uphill of Mulher Morta - Dead Woman)(1 hour 40 minutes). At the next T junction, we turned left (signed Centro Hipico) (right led over the fierce - main road)(1 hour 50 minutes) and stayed on this track until we got to a right turn leading into a valley (2 hours 10 minutes). Soon we crossed a ford. We stayed on this track through wild countryside now rather than agricultural. Another track joined ours from the left (2 hours 35 minutes) but we carried straight on over a wild bridge (2 hours 35 minutes). At the next T junction, we turned right (2 hours 55 minutes) and then crossed a river and skirted a pummock (hill) (3 hours).

We then turned left towards some megalithic tombs (3 hours 15 minutes), passed another pummock and eventually got to Poio where we turned right (3 hours 25 minutes). At Serra e Mar we crossed over the Riba Torre. Then at a T junction we turned left and under the fierce road (4 hours 15 minutes). The road now became a track (4 hours 45 minutes) and we continued along it as a second track joins from the left. At the next T junction we turned right and went over the fierce main road (4 hours 55 minutes). Then at a Y junction we turned left (5 hours 5 minutes). We carried on along her for a long time but eventually turned right (5 hours 55 minutes).

At a roundabout we turned left and headed down towards the station (6 hours 15 minutes). We enjoyed our daily trip on a train. The men had red and yellow flags to indicate whether the trains could go or not. Last year we got particularly attached to a train that hooted like a donkey. We called this train Donkyula. We hope we shall get a ride on him this year. We had thought we would go to Alvor today but it's lucky we didn't in the event as trains no longer stop there. Today at Portimão station there is a mad 'fou' Angolan Neil is not keen on. I was interested because in the African countries I have visited the 'fou' (madman) is fully accepted and just labelled a 'fou'. Such behaviour is out of sync' in Europe - a problem for Europeans and fous alike.