We woke up around 7am keen to crack on with the days ride, however went we went downstairs around 7.30am for breakfast everything was closed, the whole town was shut down.
The only sign of life was a dude setting up a market stall in the towns Main Street in thick fog hoping for a good days trading and a cat (don gato) wondering around looking for some love. I gave it some.
After a wonder around we went back inside and slept for another hour and went down again around 9am when everything started to open.
Our Portuguese hotelier made us an amazing breakfast of fried eggs and cooked sweet salty Parma ham with two slices of doorstop toasted bread with butter and jams. Bloody Lovely. It really set me up for the day.
After breakfast we went for a brisk walk around the town again and I bought a beanie hat from the dude with the stall as it was one of the items I forgot to pack.
The temperature in the town was -2c, pretty cold to go riding and there was a thick low laying fog that didn’t want to clear and show us the view of the huge lake we were next too. Shame. None the less, we went back to the hotel and packed our bags went down to the garage and got on our bikes and rolled very slowly out of town. Slowly because the cobbled streets were frozen with slippery ice!
We found a petrol station and filled up and rode on towards the start point of the TET.
The fog was really thick for a while and the temperature dropped to -5.5c at one point.
Until we started to get higher up in the mountains then it started to dissipate and soon we were left with icy roads and blue skies and views of mountain ranges as far as the eye could see.
Around 1pm we stopped for fuel and rode on again for another 50 miles until our final fuel stop before joint the TET trail. We met a Portuguese chap on a KTM who had been out riding the trails
He’d just cleaned his bike, whilst ours were about to get dirty!!
We headed out along the road a decided to try what we thought might be a shortcut through the woods, so we rode up the trail. It it ended in a big downhill decline that I would have never got my G back up from had I gone down it. So I sent Chris down to do a reccy of the situation and see if there was a way through. He we rode down and had a look, but sadly there was no path through, but also being on a steep hill his engine started to flood and he had trouble getting it started.
I walked down to give him a hand turning the engine over as he was getting tired and amazingly the sun was out.
We managed to get it started and I offered to ride it up the hill for him! It was so light and bouncy compared to my GSA!
I managed to get started and ride up the hill like a trooper! We caught our breathes and rested a while then carried on back out of the track and on to the road where working 15 minutes we were at a small village and the red line on my Garmin navigator appeared and we were at the start of our TET route!
We went up following the red line on the Garmin and were soon at a gate which we went through and ended up going into nowhere! A dead end! Not a good start!
We went back out again and followed a different route around and joined up with the red line again and rode though some fire roads and then through some thick undergrowth and bushes. The tracks were so overgrown and under used they were hardly visible. If it wasn’t for the red line on my GPS there’s no way I’d be going through, but as there was I rode on with Chris behind me.
The Jerry fuel can Chris was carrying started to come loose so we stopped to strap it back on again and this ended up being the thorn in our side for the afternoon. We stopped it on again and pushed on as the light was fading. But soon enough it wriggled itself off again and th strap got caught in his chain. So we stopped and strapped it on again!
After one more time of coming loose I decided to strap it to my bike and it seemed okay enough to carry on. It was so much fun. Total unknown trails around and up and down mountains, lots of hill climbs and descents.
we passed many old abandoned houses and buildings along the way. My foot went through the floor when I went inside this one so rotten were the floorboards.
Eventually the daylight started to disappear as the sun was setting on a lovely days ride.
So I plotted a route along the way to the nearest town we could find a hotel that had a room.
And unlike the unborn baby Jesus we managed to find a room in the inn.
We had about an hours ride from where were where to get to Mogadouro, when we arrived town was quiet and when we got to the hotel is appeared to be locked, shut down with no signs of life. Luckily there was a number on the door to call, so I called it up and within a few minutes the owner was walking down the street to open up for us.
The hotel was pretty empty and the town was just as quiet too. We changed quickly and went for a walk around in search of food and beer, to which we only found the beer!
We stopped at one bar which was just closing up for Christmas eve at 8pm, no doubt so the owner could have dinner with his family, as Christmas is celebrated on Christmas eve here rather than Christmas day. So we had a quick beer, wondered around the rest of the town up and down the main street until we eventually found another bar which was just about to close, however the owner took us in and gave us free beer to have and take with us and also some Christmas cake and port to drink at the bar! The hospitality was great and very different from what you might find in London.
After a while the bar had to close and the locals told us to head up the hill to the church at midnight as there would be a big fire there, so we went back to the hotel room to wait for midnight to come.
After a few hours or internet and shit TV midnight was looming so we walked up the hill and found the church where most of the town was inside celebrating midnight mass, the other few town folk were standing around a ginormous fire of the likes I’d never seen before. This thing was the biggest bonfire I’d ever seen. I was in awe of it.
It must have been 25ft long by 15ft wide, with some gigantic tree trunks piled on top of it. The heat the fire gave off was super super hot. The night itself was freezing cold, but this thing was radiating heat like the sun. I tried to stand close towards it and my face started to burn like I was over the stove in a hot kitchen from 15 ft away!
we stayed up by the fire for a few hours then eventually made our way back in to the cold of the night and back to the hotel saying our good nights to the town folk along the way! Happy Christmas All!