When i walked into the breakfast room of Casas Campo Cimo da Quinta, I was welcomed by the same friendly girl of the evening before. She showed me all the food on offer which was to be honest a spread fit for a king. You could get absolutely anything under the sun, from cakes to a fry, from fruit to yoghurts, it was a feast fit for a hungry cyclist.
Day# 5 was one of the shorter days, so i only left around 10:30 am on my cycle through Parque Natural de Arribes Del Duero, a fabulous park which stretches along the Douro between the Portuguese and Spanish border.
First stop of the day was the beautiful town of Miranda Do Douro, a gem located high above the Douro valley. The town has many preserved buildings of its medieval and renaissance era, all of them well kept.
The town is popular with tourists who are travelling through the Portuguese Tras-os-Montes region, but it also attract locals from the countryside.
After having played the tourist for a while, I carried on my cycle... After a few miles, I knew it would be a difficult day in the saddle. My legs felt like jelly and every rotation of the pedals hurt as bad as the previous one. But what do you do if you have a planned itinerary, you just carry on and absorb the beauty of the region.
And this region is beautiful... it is marked by steep cliff edges and sleepy hamlets, all of them to be reached by small rural roads which carve themselves up and down the steep cliffs and hills.
which meant that I had to climb up and down a lot, especially the latter part of the day.
Especially the afternoon was tough, climbing higher and higher under a pleasant 26 degrees which made for a relaxing afternoon in the saddle.
By 7pm, I reached the Douro again. As my B&B was at the river bankement of the Douro, i had to make my way down into the Douro valley which has carved itself through the rocks over 1000s of years.
A 10 minute descend into the Douro valley trough a series of hairpin turns was scary, and I was thankful I had disc brakes on my Trek gravel bike. Salto de Saucelle is a very small town which is overlooked by a dam , and on either side 300m high cliffs. Where i descended in a record time, i wasn't looking forward starting the next day with a steep climb out of the valley.
My accommodation for the night was Posada Real Quinta de la concepcion, a fabulous B&B overlooking the Douro. The swimming pool looked inviting, but I decided to give it a miss as I had booked myself in for dinner.
The dining room was full, and it wasn't hard to see why. There was only one set menu, but the food was just fantastic. After a fabulous meal and a bottle of wine (yes, it was a night where I spoiled myself), a went to bed to recover my legs.