Monday, September 25, 2006

Thursday 21st September: Let the hippying resume


We are finally back on the road again after two months spent eating curry, apple crumble and all the other stuff we missed, visiting everybody (it was nice to see you all) - and we even got to see the biggest garden spade in the world. We managed to time things quite nicely to see our littlest nephew figure out the whole walking thing - when we came back in July, he was at the standing for a couple of seconds before falling on his bum kind of stage, and we don't claim to have anything to do with this but by the time we left he was a pro. I started with the online freelancing, which has gone very well and reinforces our belief that we can support ourselves just fine in a foreign country. We also both revived our rusty sewing skills and made lovely little cases for our lovely little laptops.

We bought our new tent, the Terra Nova LaserLarge, tested it out and found it to be a dwelling of great size and luxury. Well, it's both bigger and lighter than the last one, and Dgym's feet don't stick out the end, which is a big plus.

We are now on our way to Portugal. Yesterday we cycled from Guildford to Bosham (on the south coast, near Chichester). This afternoon we will ride to Portsmouth, from which we will board the ferry. Thirty hours later (yes, thirty) we will arrive in Bilbao, on the north coast of Spain, and will doubtless struggle our way up plenty of mountains in order to reach our destination which is Somewhere In Portugal. The precise location of Somewhere is not yet known, but it will most likely be in the North or Central parts, definitely not in the expensive southern Algarve regions. Basically, we will come in from a north-easterly kind of direction, and keep going until we find somewhere we like the look of. We will then use our vast knowledge of Portuguese ("piri-piri" is all we know, and surely all we need) to get ourselves a long term let for the winter. You will all then come out and visit us when you want a nice break from your freezy British winter.

If we like Portugal, we might spend next year looking for a house to buy there. If we don't, we might spend some more time in Slovakia and maybe buy somewhere there instead. We really liked what we saw of Slovakia.

The ride yesterday was pretty harsh. We have ridden to Bosham before so we knew what was in store, the biggest challenge being the South Downs ridge, which is unavoidable. The road that goes up the Downs, just after South Harting, is the worst kind of climb, in that they didn't bother to make it nice and gently winding up the hill - it just goes straight up. The gradient must be at least 14% and it goes on for about half a mile. I know cars that probably wouldn't get up there. Last time we pushed our bikes up. This time Dgym had a bike he couldn't really push, and I was determined not to have to push mine (it's harder work anyway with that kind of load) so we did cycle up but we would stop every 100 yards or so towards the top. Dgym does that all the time because it's easy on the trike, but it's the first time I've had to stop. It was great to have made it up there, but maybe next time we'll manage to find a nice route over the Downs. (The climb up the other side of that particular hill is really good actually - it's drawn out over enough distance that it's pleasantly challenging rather than insane).

Once over the Downs, we were suddenly hit by a strong headwind. The forecast had been for a 25mph headwind but we hadn't really felt it until then. Fortunately, the hills were mostly over by then so we just struggled on into Bosham with thoughts of a nice hot shower and a long sleep.


We made a good start today - we left a full half an hour earlier than last time and only had half the distance to cover. No description of a trip vould be complete without at least ten things being nice, so the weathear was nice, some of the roads were nice and feeling the strength being sapped from your legs at an alarming rate due to a general lack of fitness was nice. There are some good hills the way we went and it didn't matter how steep they were it was still better than endless flat, I wonder how long that sentiment will last. It could be that we end up becoming fed up of hills, mountains, flats and everything in between which might be as good a point to stop as any. then we will have to either fly or sail and I think hel will take a lot of convincing on either front.

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