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J49 - Friday, December 4 : Puebla de Sanabria (Espagne) – Quintela de Lampaças (Portugal)

75.5km – 9H13’

 “For a change, I started my day on foot running up a steep incline.  All of a sudden I saw a sign “Portugal 1 km,” which surprised me because I thought that the border was further away.  In the first Portuguese village, Portelo, I heard French being spoken.  “Viens ici (come here)” a lady said to her dog.  Braganza is a big, modern city, and crossing it is unpleasant because of the hills.  Wearing shorts I felt like I was a curiosity.
There were lots of ups and lots of downs.  My buttocks hurt but I don’t have any buttocks so I will have to think about doing an hour of exercises in the evening to build gluteal muscle, instead of playing card games with the team!
Come what may, I set out with the idea of doing 75 km every day.  There are dogs running free in every Portuguese village.  They don’t seem to be vicious but I prefer to walk.  A few old women speak to me but I don’t understand what they are saying. Are they perhaps asking me if my legs are cold?
I pass our camp, which is set up at km 69.  René is responsible for picking me up at the 211 marker on national road 15, he understood 213 and that’s where he is waiting for me.  He is in deep conversation, he in French and the man in front of him in Portuguese.  They are talking about Joachim Agostinho, a very well know cycling champion.  Interrupting this dialogue, which is going nowhere, I ask him to go 2 km further.I arrive at the finish at the same time as the team and I realize that the time is different.  In Portugal it is 4:30 rather than 5:30 PM so we gain an hour…Tomorrow’s departure will be at 7:00 AM Portuguese time or 8:00 AM French time “Have a nice evening »
Serge still has his sense of humor.
We are in the region of Tras-Os-Montes («Beyond the Mounts”), which is mountainous, with some terrace cultivation and lots of sheep.
 Tomorrow’s course:  Mirandela – Murça – Alijo - Pinhão

Town : Quintela de Lampaças

GPS : N°41.36107° W006.54234°