What is this Blog about
04.03.2016 - 15.03.2016
Hopefully most of the things that I say in this overview will be repeated, with details, in the entries below.
From March 4-15, I traveled to Lagos Portugal to ride a peddle bike. The back story is that my doctors are declaring me a type II diabetic and I hope to reverse or at least slow that process with exercise. The type of exercise that I have been able to perform most reliably in recent years is riding a road bike. I can't do that during the winter at my NH home. My main motivation is avoiding type II diabetics is not an extension of life but rather my enjoyment of alcohol and beer in particular.
I went to Cancun Mexico in January and LA California in February, with the same biking drinking program.
Lagos is at the bottom of Portugal. As in Cancun I used airbnb. I had original looked at Lagos as my January destination but was correctly directed to Cancun for weather reasons.
I would never have tried Portugal or settled on Lagos if it were not for the excellent material by Huw Thomas on http://pedalportugal.com/. He posted wonderful GPS routes that formed the basis for all my rides and, in email exchanges, he helped me choose Lagos and the dates.
Two aspects of this trip set it apart from Cancun and LA. Not better or worse, just apart. First, I mainly road alone. Long and slow. I spent one wonderful afternoon with 3 Brits training for iron man. I wound occasionally catch a wheel here or there, but generally I rode alone. This allowed me for the first time to stop and take pictures. I carried binoculars and stopped to bird. I road from 10am to 4pm ish. Generally I road longer but slower. Secondly, I established a routine of visiting two young ladies working in bars. Valentina is Italian and owns Baffi Bar with her husband. She had the only Belgium beer in Lagos and I often stopped in there once before dinner and once after. Tam worked at the Lighthouse bar on the marina. I usually visited her after dinner and had the pleasure of hearing her sing for 3 hours on Sunday March 13th. Being in a strange town can be lonely. Valentina and Tam, with maybe a little help from the magic of the bottle, made me feel like a great athlete on a quest. I should also mention that I spent several meals with wonderful couples who indulged my imposing myself on their vacations.
In Cancun, we road the same sterile route daily. In LA, we had the variety of parks but still very much common vistas. Lagos was a smorgasbord of delights. Beaches, towns with tight winding roads, birds and cows, hills beyond climbing, forts on the clefts, tavernas filled with locals on the plaza. On my last ride, chance took be on a back country one lane road from a Huw Thomas map. A sheep dog playing with his pull toy. Houses so close to the road on either side that you could not imagine a car passing. Sheep in the meadow. Turn after turn. A memory that will stay with this 70 year old for many years to come.
Cost. Air was 630. Airbnb was 439. I put 717 on my credit card. I spent 694 in cash, 150 of that was for the bike rental. I later donated 60 dollars to Huw's web site. So, the total was about 2500 for the 10 days. That is very much in line with the other two trips I probably should throw on another 100$ for the "roaming" phone package I paid Verizon for while I was in Portugal.
Huw had warned me that because Lagos was full of expat Brits, I would not meet many locals. And, indeed, I did not. I hoped that the Brits would come with good beer. They did not. I was complaining about this state of affairs on the train returning to Lisbon. A local spoke up and said the Portuguese beer was specially designed and evolved to provide maximum pleasure in the climate. My response was: when you move an elephant from one country to another, does he change his diet to that offered in the new environment?
My other beer argument, to anyone who would listen, went like this. You say that you can not have good (Craft, Belgium, cask, etc) beer in Lagos because of the expense of cellaring, cooling etc. In 1930, a bunch of Brits showed up in Lagos with sticks with mettle plates on the bottom and they wanted to hit a ball around and they wanted the grass to be cut to 1/8 of an inch. The locals must have said they were crazy. Now there are 20 million dollar golf courses around Lagos. If you provide good beer, they will pay the extra and drink it!