S. Korea biking to Munsan on lifeday 25,443

Start of the 4 Rivers trail

After spending 24 hours in a windowless world yesterday (why does everyone shut the blinds on aeroplane) and OK 8 hours of which was stuck in Doha airport with no windows but it did have a 25 metre indoor pool if you remembered to put your costume in your carry on bag – I didn’t 🙁  I must also remember to carry a fine pen for filling in the 3 landing forms.

Arriving in Incheon airport I failed on both of my customary tasks when first arriving in a new country, both reflect rather badly on Korea. First job is to hit the ATM’s all my cards failed on all machines, I had revert to the expensive way of changing my £ notes 🙁 Next job was to get a SIM for my dongle or phone both failed miserably, all they want you to do is rent kit, tempting you with expensive unlimited data. Not much use when you aren’t returning to the airport! My worst experience of any country in the world. So much for hi-tech Korea!

I was picked up by Incheon Airport Best Guesthouse (using WeChat on the airport WiFi) so soon had my bike box in my room 10 floors up.

This morning I biked the  6 miles, all wrapped up, to Unseo station, on lovely cycle tracks, thinking I might spy some cash machines or phone stockists but to no avail, although I did procure a European plug to fit on my extension lead

The train was ultra smart, although it’s a steep climb up the 3 flights to the platform. 36 minutes later I arrived at Cheonga Int’l City Station and ready for the adventure.I rode around to the

Ara lock stamping box

I rode around to the Ara West Sea lock and bought a passport (nope the cash machines don’t work there either). There were loads of cyclists there today since it was a sunny Saturday. After stamping it at the first lock I was away 🙂 the cycle track is wide and really smooth, very easy to follow so no GPS required 🙂 Where the canal meets the river I left the 4 Rivers route to head north so I could visit the Dora Observatory. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the instructions Mark gave me (and no online maps) I somehow ended up in the wrong Paju 🙁 However, one good came out of this I found a huge supermarket with an array of ATM’s one of which finally behaved and released a pile of notes, but only with my Barclays account the others still failed to work. To celebrate I devoured two large scoops of very nutty ice cream.

Still the old ways

Once I realised my error, after chatting to a pair of MTB’ lads I decided to carry on North with the intention of starting The DMZ trail (interestingly I could see I was quite close by seeing the trail on the phone but with no maps). I was beginning to worry a bit when no hotels appeared and anyone I asked looked at me a bit weird 🙁 Eventually in Musan someone understood and pointed up at a huge building, The Royal Motel is up on the eighth floor and with the key you are given an interesting bag of goodies for those who are here for very short stays 😉

A lovely ride, although the cycle paths soon revert to the English variation with tree root bumps and disappearing.all the time once you leave the 4 rivers way.

Strava says 44.9 miles but there is an additional 6 to add at the start.

Pictures here

Fishermans Trail – Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe on lifeday 25,435

Sally Kelly on the coas

Sally on The Fishermans Trail

We started the day at 8 am with a 15 minute €20 taxi ride up the coast to Zambujeira do Mar where we had a lovely breakfast at the Por do Sol cafe. Fortunately, the rain stopped just before we departed in the cab 🙂

After breakfast, we started on The Fishermans Trail all be it the final section. After some confusion, we finally found the trail on the other side of a huge empty car park. This place must be heaving in the summer with the vast car parks and large number of hotels/b&b etc

The trail is delightful with splendid views and very hilly, constantly dropping down to sea level and then straight back up. Very reminiscent for me of my walk on the South West Coast Path in Cornwall. However, one huge difference is the sand! how does all the sand get on top of the cliffs?  was my constant thought.


The eponymous Fisherman

Once again the trail was virtually devoid of people even though it was sunny today.

The last 4km into Odeceixe was a bit disappointing as it’s along on a flat surfaced road, at least it had no cars on it.

The trail itself was a fine end to our short walking holiday of just over 80 miles and 7,260 feet of ascent.

Today’s photos are here and Strava is here

Here’s my little spreadsheet:-

Trip to Portugal Km 128.5 2.2
Miles 80.3 7261.0
Day Date From To Walk Days Miles fromStrava Elevation (ft) min/mile % Gradient Hotel
Saturday 11 Mar 2017 Cambridge Sagres Mareta View
Sunday 12 Mar 2017 Sagres Vila do Bispo 1 14.4 1319 21.37 3.47% Pure Flor de Esteva
Monday 13 Mar 2017 Vila do Bispo Carrapateira 2 14.3 964 19.3 2.55% Carrapateira Guest House
Tuesday 14 Mar 2017 Carrapateira Arrifana 3 15.4 1746 19.34 4.29% Arrifana Destination Hostel
Wednesday 15 Mar 2017 Arrifana Aljezur 4 12.6 1361 21.3 4.09% Amazigh Hostel
Thursday 16 Mar 2017 Aljezur Odeceixe 5 11.5 444 18.57 1.46% Hospedaria Firmino Bernardino
Friday 17 Mar 2017 Zambujeira do Mar to Odeceixe Odeceixe 6 12.1 1427 22.1 4.47% Hospedaria Firmino Bernardino

A walk in the rain from Aljezur to Odeceixe on lifeday 25,434

Sally Kelly walking in the rain

Sally walking in the rain

By the time we had finished breakfast at 8.45 it was pouring down with rain 🙁 Neither of us had bought our full UK weather kit with us 🙁 so we hung around to see if it would stop.

At 10.15 we gave in and left, me with a small brolly Sally with my new rain jacket. It was still pouring down making the pavement slippery and gooey mud. The first section is uphill at the top it plateaus out and you meet the levada (water channel for irrigation) with the route hugging it, complete with mud 🙁

Not sure if this is an instruction to do bunny hops across the canal!

Eventually, we made it to Rogil and a cafe for a drink and pastry, it was still raining when we left but gradually turning into showers with longer dry spells. By the time we dropped down into  Odeceixe the rain had given up allowing us to look around.

We found the Hospedaria Firmino Bernardino on the edge of the village, the owners baby daughter took one look at me and ran away screaming 🙁   (and as I write this, in the evening, she is still screaming upstairs). One interesting factoid on this trip is that none of the hotels we have stayed in have AC but all have heaters in the rooms, perhaps Portugal is not so hot after all!

Odeceixe village

Odeceixe village

The village is quite pleasant but cold and deserted. I guess most of the properties are holiday homes or summer lets. Tomorrow we hope to get a taxi to Zambujeira do mar and then walk back here via The Fishermans Trail.

So Strava says a short day of 11.5 miles and only 444ft of climbing.

The few pictures are here

Walking from Arrafana to Aljezur via the Rota Vicentina on lifeday 25433

Cliff top nature reserve

Cliff top nature reserve

We left the hostel with our fellow walkers and the donkey drivers 🙂 at 9.25 after the poorest breakfast of this holiday so far  🙁

Sedimentary Rocks pushed vertical

Sedimentary Rocks pushed vertical

We decided to take the longer route via the cliff tops. An excellent choice with the wildflowers in bloom along a sandy track so making it a very pleasant stroll indeed, at the cliff edge it is amazing to see the sedimentary rocks now pushed vertical!

At the disused buildings on a promontory who should we meet but Emma & Patty, the American ladies we met at the pizza place last night 🙂 Later still we dropped down to the lovely beach at Praia de Monte Clerigo and a cafe selling the yummy Portuguese delicacies Pastel de Nata, 4 were dispatched in rapid time 🙂

Praia de Monte Clerigo

Praia de Monte Clerigo

Afterwards, the walk turned inland and into a real slog first on the road and then onto tracks, very steep and like a roller coaster,  more annoying to me was on the final descent you can see the beach we were on and a  river with a road alongside totally flat 🙁

Aljezur is a very pleasant town built on the side of a hill with white painted houses, although its a pity that the 3 arch stone bridge destroyed by floods in 1947 was replaced with a steel structure. Our Amazigh Hostel is right in the centre and our room has an excellent view. The town even has a huge supermarket so we could buy some snacks for the first time to fill up on before hitting the restaurant.

All in all another very pleasant days walking in decent weather 🙂 Strava says we walked just under 13 miles with 1361 feet of ascent, although it felt a lot more!

Todays pictures are here