BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Monday, 15 April 2013

We ride further north to Pias, and visit  Convento De Christo in Tomar on the way.

Tuesday 9/4/13

Today's target was Pias, Lousada, near Porto in the north. We had a very full itinerary for the day thanks to a couple of friends who had given us a long list of places to see.

First stop for the day was a little cafe in Tomar where we managed to order toasted ham and cheese sandwiches  juice, and coffee in Portuguese. Yes, really. Well, no, not really, but we did pretty well and enjoyed our lunch.

 Outside the cafe, these were all growing on a tree where the branch met the trunk. Pretty cool.

Portuguese parking laws. There are cars on the corner, cars poking out into the street, cars parked on the footpath, cars parked pretty much wherever you like. Don't try this at home. I parked on the footpath, of course.

Our next stop was the Convent of Christ, originally the Fortress of Tomar founded in 1160. It's also where the Templars guarded the Holy Grail...cue Python Music please. What an amazing place. We both lapsed back into our old habit of saying "Wow!" every few minutes. Here's why...

All I could think of was Monty Python.

"You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called Ah-thoor Keeng, you and all your silly English K-n-n-n-n-n-n-niggits!

The bells in this tower are enormous.

I imagine this was pretty spectacular when it was first built.

I think these tiles will last forever.

The acoustics in the room were fantastic. We carried on like a couple of school kids making all sorts of noises in here.

The word elaborate comes to mind.

These spiral stairs were very steep...

...with lots of open spaces.

Fountains are very popular here.

Hmm, skinned knees, broken fingers, looking sorry for himself. Must have hit a kangaroo while he was riding a motorcycle.

The place was huge and went on forever.

We spent a lot of time looking around here and could have easily stayed longer but we had to move on.

We have an appointment in Pias on Wednesday morning so unfortunately because we spent so much time at Tomar we had to skip the rest of the day's itinerary and head straight to Pias. We will catch up on some of the sights on our return trip to Estoril.

On to the motorway we went. We had to spend quite a few euros on tolls but we covered a lot of ground quickly. At one point I was sitting on about twenty kilometres an hour over the limit and a police car came up behind me, and passed me. He must have been doing at least forty over the limit and didn't even look at us. What happened next did surprise me though. Another car passed the police car, so he must have been sitting on close to two hundred kilometres an hour. Again, the cop didn't take any notice.

I took the hint and increased our speed to around a hundred and sixty, and we were in Pias before we knew it. Well, no, not really, but we were close. We were lost in the hills around Pias. We ended up riding down a few tiny little side roads and when they turned to dirt Suzanne said "No way. Not again" So we turned around and found a cafe to regroup. After a feed and a good cup of coffee we sat down with the map and worked out exactly where we were, and roughly where we wanted to be. Before we left the cafe we had to play with the dog inside. He had a ball and fetch was his passion.

Little mate in the cafe.

We found the hotel (with a little help from the local petrol station attendant) and checked in. It was a little comical as the guy at reception didn't speak a word of English, but after a bit of sign language and showing of papers, we were in.

We'd covered about five hundred kilometres in the day so an early dinner and bed was on the cards. Dinner was served up at the restaurant across the road and was the usual. An enormous amount of delicious food, and a very nice bottle of local wine at a bargain price. The food and wine here is just soooo good. With dinner out of the way it was a quick walk back to the hotel and a very comfortable bed to sleep in.

What does tomorrow hold? Well that's a good question. We have a very interesting meeting to attend...but I can't tell you about it, yet.


OK everyone, we're heading for Barcelona and will be there from the 17th til around the 20th of April and need some cheap accommodation. Can anyone suggest somewhere?


  1. Hello Simon
    Look up the "Sant Jordi Arago Hostel"
    Arago 268, principal 1, 08009
    Barcelona, España
    Mário Galego

  2. Hi, I heard, from clients, that the Hostel Els Angels was a decent place to stay. Check it out!! Lisa