Day 1 - Tui to Arcos de Valdevez

EiffelBridge (21K) Road2Arcos (28K)
Eiffel Bridge Gently undulating road
From Tui, we crossed the Rio Minho on the old combined road/rail bridge designed by Eiffel (of tower fame) and headed South on a byway leading half way up Monte do Faro. After this 300m slog, we hoped for a gently undulating road for the rest of the day, although our rather small-scale map was a bit vague about this. And, indeed for the next 20Km or so, this was what we had as we cycled along the ridge of a range of hills, with some brilliant views into the valleys below. Just before Parades de Coura, the ridge ended and we had a somewhat sudden descent. The road, which had been adequate blacktop, first disappeared, and we had to carry round some road works, then became cobbles. Portuguese cobbles are square and flat-topped, laid diagonally. The ride is better than on round cobbles, but only just.

RoadToArcosDeValdevez10 (21K)
Looking into the Parque Peneda-GerÍs
We picnicked about 2Km from Parades on the roadside, looking down on ancient black-clad women toiling in the fields with hoes. Then into Parades, where we considered making an early stop, until we noticed that every lamp-post had a loudspeaker pumping out really nauseating background music. And the tourist office was shut. So, we continued up the hill out of Parades, climbing probably another 300m. However, when we came over the brow of the hill, there laid out before us was the valley of the Rio Vez, some 500m below us, and the peaks of the Parque Peneda-GerÍs in the distance, 30Km away. The road now descended steadily for about 15Km - easy on the legs, but mighty hard on the hands for cautious wimps like us!

ArcosDeValdevez10 (27K)
Our hotel in Arcos de Valdevez
In Arcos de Valdevez, we found the tourist office despite the lack of any signs, and were offered a choice of hotels in our price range. The first we tried had a room with a balcony overlooking a quiet square. We parked the bikes and walked round the charming and unspoiled town looking for a likely restaurant for dinner