10 DAYS IN NORTH PORTUGAL (part 5/8)

DAY 6 - Biking to Valenca, crossing to Spain and back




Programme of the day
Today we hired the bikes from Siân and Steve and headed for our first bike trip. The plan was to bike to Valença ( www.cm-valenca.pt), crossing to Spain and back to Covas. It was very hot as you can imagine but nevertheless it was one the best bike trip we have ever done.

As the Covas village, where the barn is, is in the hills we had to first bike down to the valley. We stopped many times to take the photos of picturesque villages and churches and to taste great local grapes so we nearly did not get to Valença.

Finally when we managed to get there we were amazed how the historical centre of Valença is beautiful. It sits on a hill surrounded by a massive fortification and overlooking a town of Tui; a Spanish stronghold on the other side of the river Minho that separates them. There were fierce battles in the past between Portugal and Spain over the control of this area. Now it´s all peaceful, so we could enjoy our late lunch.

For lunch we recommend Restaurante o Monumental (it is situated in the fortified city centre, address: Largo Dr. Alfredo Magalhaes s/n, 4930-688 Valença).
With our English&Portuguese we wanted to order something small so we can still bike to Spain and back home. So we ordered just a salad... called in Portuguese „salade mista monumentale“. We were a bit worried about the word “monumentale”, but we thought it is there just to celebrate that monumental fortification in Valença. But no, „monumentale“ in Portuguese means what you are already thinking... MONUMENTAL! The salad was really huge but also very tasty, so we had no problem eating it. So... we also ordered local speciality, a soup caldo verde and lamb on the bone. It came with huge bowl of potatoes and rice. It was fantastic but we were not sure how we will get back to our barn when we finished it. So we decided to carry on with a nice espresso :) Why not :) It´s holidays.

But we knew we HAVE to bike back, so with full “belly” we crossed the bridge to Spain, we picked some edible chestnuts on the way (can be found everywhere) and it took us another 4 hours of biking to get home.
The last hour we had to bike quite hard as the barn is in the hills, but we were rewarded with the outstanding sun set (see the photos below).

Map (cycle route: from Covas to Valença, crossing to Tui in Spain and back to Covas; difficulty: moderate-hard; length: 64 km / 39 mi.): http://goo.gl/maps/oz5t

Photos from North Portugal: check our gallery

Enjoy North Portugal, Jakub & Eva






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