Toro – Miranda do Douro

If I had published this travelogue two days ago, it would have had a more negative tone. The third day in the Tierra de Campos into headwind—in fact the strongest wind there was anywhere on the Iberian Peninsula in those days. My notes from that day read as follows:

Perhaps I’m just mentally empty. I mentioned 2 weeks ago that wind is more a mental problem than a physical one for me. The flat, dreary landscape does not help to keep the mind engaged and think about anything else than how to motivate myself to go another 40, 50, 60 km. Maybe this trip turned from enjoying the days and making experiences to getting from A to B. I pack my bags every morning to leave a hotel, to get to the next hotel, get something to eat at a supermarket, and collapse on my bed.

I scribbled this down while sitting next to the road outside a small village. Later that day, I left the bleak Tierra de Campos. The roads got smaller, they wound up and down hills, between Portuguese Oak and Olive trees, lined with low walls built from field stones.

Road in the foreground winding down a hill, fields in the middleground and mostly cloudy skies.
Street sign in a field saying it's 44km to Portugal.

I got into Portugal via the Miranda dam. Standing on the dam, taking pictures and taking in the breathtaking cliffs around was more emotional than I had expected. The world does not stop just because I go on a big bike-ride. There are things happening, friends who I can’t be physically be there for, even though they might need me. Moreover, being on a bike 7-9 hours a day, that’s a lot of time to think and be in one’s own mind. Sporadically, I have to actively stop myself thinking the same thought over and over and over again.

Rocky fields with olive and oak trees cloudy skies with a little of blue sky showing.
My bike leaned against the border sign of Portugal on the Miranda Dam. Concrete Dam structure in the background.
A bend in Douro River with colorful cliffs rocky cliffs showing on the Spanish side of the border

To get to my cabin attached to a campground just outside of Miranda do Douro, I had to climb a few switchbacks that I sincerely enjoyed. I have less than 300 km to go to Porto, yet there are still around 5000 meters of altitude to climb. I’m happy that my nonexistent plan seems pretty accurate.

Strava map of my ride from Toro to Miranda do Douro
Check out this windy ride on Strava

Watch a reel for this day on Instagram